Nintendo’s Wii U has struggled to keep up with the other consoles in this generation, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. It has sold 9.5 million units as of May since it’s launch in 2012. This is quite a small number compared to it’s competition: PS4 has sold 22.3 million since late 2013. Nintendo executive and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto believes the system’s poor commercial performance is due to it’s cost and launch environment.
He spoke up about what he thought about this in an interview with NPR. He explained that the price was probably too high to be attractive to consumers. Launching at $300 for a base system and then $350 for an option with more storage the Wii U was not too much cheaper than it’s more powerful competitor, the PS4. “So unfortunately with our latest system, the Wii U, the price point was one that ended up getting a little higher than we wanted,” he said to NPR. “But what we are always striving to do is to find a way to take novel technology that we can take and offer it to people at a price that everybody can afford.”
He went on to talk about how Nintendo attempted to push tablet technology forward with the Wii U’s gamepad, but released the console too late to take advantage of the popularity of them. The company positioned the gamepad as the Wii U’s main selling point, and it was supposed to be a second-screen companion type. However, Nintendo didn’t anticipate the proliferation of tablet technology.
“I think unfortunately what ended up happening was that tablets themselves appeared in the marketplace and evolved very, very rapidly,” Miyamoto said. ” The uniqueness of [the Wii U’s tablet] features were perhaps not as strong as they were when we had first begun developing them.” He also discussed Mario and The Legend of Zelda in this interview with NPR.
Although selling slowly, Nintendo is getting some games that might up the system’s selling points this year. I personally believe there is a little more to the reason behind why the Wii U is slightly lagging behind, but I’m happy to see the company is aware of the systems slow moving sales.