Can the Wii U Reach the Popularity Level of the Wii?
The release of Mario Kart 8 has boosted Wii U console sales. Is there anyway Nintendo could continue this trend? What is holding people back from buying the Wii U at this point? Does Nintendo have a long term plan to boost sales of the system? The Gamers Lounge speculates on what the sales numbers mean and asks the question can the Wii U succeed the same way the Wii could?
The short answer is probably no. As of right now there are about 7 million Wii U’s in the world. The PS4 and Xbox One have been out for a year and they have sold 10 million. The Wii U has been out for two years. In comparison the first two years the Wii was out from 06-08 it sold over 40 million consoles.
So what is the plan Nintendo? The Wii took off because it appealed to mass audience. People who normally wouldn’t buy consoles flocked to the Wii. Gameradar has an interesting article about the top 20 best selling games of the last generation and the Wii dominates the list with games like Wii Sports, Super Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros, Wii Fit, Wii Play, and Animal Crossing. Mario Kart Wii tops the list with over 35 million copies sold. It looks like software was never the issue, and although none of the third party software sold like this, the Wii had plenty of support due to its success and popularity.
This is not the case with the Wii U. Third party support has slowed to a crawl. There are a few must have games from Nintendo including Mario Kart 8 and the upcoming Super Smash Bros and Hyrule Warriors. It seems the Wii U doesn’t have the mass appeal the Wii did. The gamepad is not enough of a gimmick for people to buy the system. As of right now I can’t speculate if Nintendo has a plan to boost console sales. I would think a price drop or a $250 bundle might help. Getting the third party developers back would also help but many of them are reluctant to commit due to the poor sales numbers of some of their games. Maybe if Nintendo implemented some sort of online service like Playstation Plus and offered games for free, this could be a win win for the consumer and game publishers.
As a new Wii U owner, I enjoy the games the system has. I am excited to play Bayonetta 2 but I think overall, about 10-20% of Wii U owners are actually interested in that game. I feel as if the UI and parts of the system are not next gen and I know I’m not the only one. Yet Nintendo has made some improvements with its online components from last generation. For some gamers, the Wii U will remain the 3rd system on the shelf, destined for console exclusives. Is it possible for Nintendo to reach the sales levels and success of the Wii? Its possible in the long run, but more games are needed and gamers will have to see how the future plays out.