The Wii U has been selling about as well as used toilet paper, but Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata thinks that the system’s problem isn’t its price, but its software line-up.
“If the price is actually an issue [with Wii U], then there is some contradiction between the current sales balance between the Basic and Premium versions of the Wii U,” Iwata told CVG. “The basic version should have sold a lot, but the fact of the matter is that people are buying more of the premium version. So the issue is not there.”
According to sales data released by Nintendo, the Premium Wii U bundle has outsold the cheaper basic package at a ratio of almost three to one.
Nintendo recently announced that despite turning a healthy profit for the first quarter of 2013, Wii U sales have still been dismal, as the system has only sold 160,ooo units in the last three months.
“I understand that the real issue is the lack of software,” Iwata said, “and the only solution is to provide the mass-market with a number of quality software titles.”
Iwata seems like a smart guy, but I don’t really agree with his assessment this time: the Premium bundle has outsold the Basic set because the Premium bundle is a much, much better value: despite only costing $50 more, the Premium comes with twice the internal memory and a free game. While the Premium bundle has outsold the Basic set, neither one has sold particularly well when compared to other consoles. Iwata is correct in thinking that the Wii U needs more (and better) games, but despite how hyped I am for Wind Waker HD and the new Smash Bros., I honestly don’t see why anybody would buy a Wii U for $350 this holiday season when they can get a Playstation 4 for just fifty dollars more.
The Wii U needs both a strong software line-up and a substantial price-cut; I don’t think that having one without the other will accomplish much. The 3DS was in a similarly dire situation in its first year on shelves, and it was the combination of a deep price-cut and a string of strong software releases that got it back on track. Despite being declared dead on arrival by a lot of supposed industry analysts, the 3DS has spent the last few months topping hardware sales charts worldwide. Nintendo still has a chance to pull off a similar miracle for the Wii U, but I don’t see them pulling it off while the Premium system’s price is above $300.