Wii U Sales: Shigeru Miyamoto Says Give Console A Chance, Will Pick Up Eventually
Wii U sales are bad now, but it's not the end of the world, according to Shigeru Miyamoto, who hopes that people will just give the Wii U some time to breathe before coming to a final conclusion about its worth. The console launched in November 2012, to huge initial sales and a quick decline, followed by slow and modest sales thereafter and predictions of doom and gloom from every quarter. Nintendo would leave the hardware business. It would go out of business altogether. It would go handheld only. Miyamoto thinks that's all nonsense. We just need to give Wii U some time.
Wii U sales actually closely parallel the story arc of the Nintendo DS, according to Miyamoto's interview with CNN. The DS, originally released in 2004, started with a weak software library and an inscrutably unprecedented two screens. Most developers - arguably including Nintendo - didn't know what to do with them. The system suffered from poor sales, a slow adoption rate, and few games, and it had significantly worse graphics and other technical specs than the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), which launched around the same time at a substantially higher price point. The Nintendo DS ended up becoming a massive success for Nintendo, printing money on the same level as the Wii did.
Wii U sales would pick up for the same reason Nintendo DS sales eventually did: more and better games, particularly exclusives, that made better use of the unique feature of the hardware. In the case of the DS, that was a second screen and a touchscreen with a stylus. In the case of the Wii U, it's... a second screen and a touchscreen with a stylus, but for a console, not handheld. Right now, the Wii U's second screen is alienating for developers. But Miyamoto believes that eventually "there is going to come a point where they feel like 'I can't do everything I want to do if I don't have a second screen.'" The second screen will become de rigueur rather than anathema.
Wii U sales would dramatically rise in such a circumstance. Miyamoto, who in addition to his work as a designer is still one of the de facto top executives at Nintendo, claims that Nintendo is working on it. He told CNN that "our immediate objective over the next few months is to improve the Wii U system and make it a little more stable," and that the company must focus on "getting people to understand... and convey the usefulness of Wii U to them."
Wii U sales will almost certainly turn a corner, to some extent, with the release of the year's two major Nintendo titles: Pikmin 3 and Wind Waker HD. But Nintendo will need more than that. It needs a real Zelda, a new Zelda. A Metroid wouldn't hurt either. Nor, for that matter, would a Mass Effect.
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