It appears that all is not well in the land that Mario built, with Nintendo reducing its sales forecast for the Wii U console just two months after the system’s launch. The downward adjustment comes at a time when game-industry aficionados and media are starting to ramp-up speculation about the innovative capabilities of the next Xbox and PlayStation systems.
As reported by The New York Times:
The latest numbers from Nintendo are not promising. The company said that it had sold 3.06 million Wii U games and that it expected sales to hit just 4 million units through March, almost 30 percent less than a previous projection of 5.5 million.
Nintendo also downgraded its 3DS sales expectations, saying that it would sell 15 million units through March instead of its previous forecast of 17.5 million units, and that it expected to sell fewer games.
While the Wii U news is surely discouraging for Nintendo, a letdown of sorts was to be expected, considering the massive sales leap the original Nintendo Wii made out of the gate. Although Wii sales ended up being outpaced by Microsoft’s Xbox 360, the Wii certainly represented a sales upgrade from the GameCube, and it created some massive shoes to fill for the Wii U.
Nintendo’s news comes at particularly precarious time, with Microsoft and Sony all but certain to unveil their next consoles at the E3 convention in June. It’s highly unlikely to see an uptick in Wii U sales until those announcements are made, as gamers wait to see which console most deserves their purchase. And, if Microsoft and Sony make radical changes to their own hardware philosophy, Wii U sales may continue to miss projections as gamers opt for the newest system.
To Nintendo’s credit, the Wii U is innovative in its own right, with a tablet-like touchscreen controller that doubles as a second screen as appropriate. The approach, coupled with the first-for-Nintendo incorporation of HD graphics, was designed to appeal to both core and casual gamers alike. Based on the results Nintendo has reported so far, that strategy may not have been fully successful, although there is still time for the company to revitalize the Wii U via new software (Zelda, Mario Kart, Smash Bros., etc.).
More to come as we learn it, and certainly from E3 in June. We already have our media badges.