Nintendo has been trying to put a brave face on their Wii U console ever since it launched in late 2012 to lackluster sales and has failed to catch on ever since. Addressing the Wii U’s poor start in an interview with gaming outlet Polygon at E3 last week, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime was quick to cite a lack of games as the main reason the console didn’t catch on with consumers.
“This industry is all about content. I can map out why the Wii took off at launch, it had two killer pieces at launch: Twilight Princess, Wii Sports. Look at our DS business. Our DS business was OK, but it was the launch of DS Lite, the launch of Nintendogs, the launch of the first New Super Mario Bros. where that system sort of dramatically took off.”
Fils-Aime went on to talk about the same philosophy in regards to the company’s handheld system the 3DS, which also suffered from a rough start when it launched in Spring 2011. It wasn’t until later that year when compelling titles like Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land (combined with a significant summer price drop) helped turn the system’s fortunes around.
He went onto claim that the Wii U has been doing much better ever since it started receiving system-selling games. “So what happened with Wii U?” Once the software came that showcased the capabilities of the system, guess what happened? The hardware took off.”
While it’s true that the Wii U is doing much better now, especially after a strong 2014 lineup that included heavy-hitters like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros., it’s difficult to not consider the Wii U as anything other than a commercial flop at this point. As of March 2015, the console was sitting at close to 10 million units sold worldwide and is widely believed to top out at 25 million or considerably less. Compare that to the Wii, which managed to sell over 100 million units worldwide, and it’s hard to concur with Fils-Aime’s assessment that the Wii U has “taken off.”
Of course, the Wii U’s fortunes could change, but considering Nintendo’s less than stellar lineup of upcoming games featured at this year’s E3 and the fact that they are working on a follow-up dubbed the “NX”, it sure feels like they’re ready to move on from their massive mistake.