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Wii U launch may outpace Wii's, though momentum is the real challenge
Wii U launch may outpace Wii's, though momentum is the real challenge
November 12, 2012 | By Mike Rose

November 12, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Although the Nintendo Wii U is set to outperform its predecessor in its first few months on sale, analysis from IHS Screen Digest suggests that the new console will have a "major challenge" in keeping this momentum up.

IHS expects the Wii U, launching November 18, to sell more than 3.5 million units worldwide by the end of the year, compared to the 3.1 million units the original Wii sold over a similar sales period at the end of 2006.

Though the Wii U's base price of $300 (a deluxe set is sold for $50 more) is higher than the Wii's $250 launch price, IHS said it expects Nintendo faithful -- the "evangelists" -- to drive high initial sell-through during the holidays.

IHS senior principal analyst Piers Harding-Rolls believes that retailers will have a hard time keeping up with demand, with stock shortages expected due to Nintendo's tight inventory control.

But looking to the future of the hardware, IHS notes that matching the original Wii's success will be a difficult task for Nintendo. "This time around, Wii U's pure innovation, coupled with a limited volume of high-quality Nintendo software, will not be enough to drive the ongoing sales momentum we witnessed with the Wii console, especially at a higher price point," predicted Harding-Rolls.

"Long-term success depends on ongoing consumer engagement delivered through the constant release of high-quality content from both first and third parties, a competitive non-games entertainment proposition and a sound digital and online strategy to go along with such innovation."

The Wii U (and other platforms, for that matter) comes at a time when the market is highly-fragmented: Consumers have many options in how and where they buy and play their games. "Nintendo is still some way short of delivering a comprehensive engagement-led value proposition at the launch of the Wii U," said Harding-Rolls.

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William Johnson
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I don't know. I recall hearing lots of good things about the 3DS when it first launched...and...yeah...

I would not be against the WiiU being a repeat of the 3DS, because I think the WiiU is too expensive. I know its not kosher to bet on failure. But I'm getting tired of paying a premium price and not feeling like I'm getting a premium product.

The iPad mini changes the conversation a bit. Its $20 cheaper then the premium WiiU and $30 more then the base WiiU. So you can get a mobile tablet experience that isn't tied down to your TV and has a longer battery life for a little more or a little less. Of course, there is the argument about buttons and power. But there is also the problem of price per game and library. I know its not exactly super equivalent, but their prices are a bit too close to each other to avoid the conversation.

I also think the iPad mini is over priced, but Nintendo could have avoided this conversation if they had picked a lower price point.

I like Nintendo and I like Apple. But Nintendo isn't Apple.

Michael Pianta
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I have trouble being objective about these things because I've been a dedicated gaming consumer for basically my entire life, but I can't imagine there are many people who see the Wii-U and iPad as equivalent purchases. I suppose it's true, since I hear it repeated so often, but for me they have completely different purposes and uses. For instance the idea that the Wii-U is too expensive - how so? Because new iPhones come out every 18 months or something and they cost as much as a Wii-U and people line up around the block to buy them. And a Wii-U is less costly than the 360 and PS3 were when they launched - and it does more than them besides. Does anyone think the other new consoles will be cheaper when they get announced?

The things you present as positives for the iPad seem like negatives to me. As a gamer I don't want a mobile tablet experience. I much prefer to have it hook up to the TV. Like anyone, I have an iPhone and I sometimes play "games" on it - like Sudoku or something. But I have never played "real" (if you will) games on it. Partly that's because the experience is inferior, but also it's because "real" games require too much attention. I don't see why anyone over the age of 15 would want or need portable games of the sort a home console offers.

My basic intuition (and again, maybe I'm wrong) is that the mobile market and the home console market basically don't overlap - they are two separate markets and they do not affect each other (or at least, not as much as is being reported).

But at any rate, time will tell.

William Johnson
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@Michael Pianta

The reason I think the WiiU is too expensive is for a few reasons.

1. Nintendo systems are not known for being expensive. NES, SNES, N64, and Gamecube all launched at around $200. Wii was at $250, but came with a game, so it help offset the increase in price.

I know that the counter argument for this is inflation. But inflation does not effect the price of technology in the same way it effects gasoline and postage stamps. If it did, my gum-drop iMac would be worth like $1500 instead of $20. Technology does not appreciate in value, but depreciates and rapidly.

2. Retail is kind of dying. If XB360 and PS3 aren't even having good sales at their price points, and the WiiU doesn't look to be a drastic leap forward compared to these two, what makes Nintendo think they can charge more?

If you are a "dedicated gamer" why would you want to pay more for the same experience? You can say the touch screen, but does not that go against why someone wouldn't want to game on the iPad?

As for the iPad not having games. I guess if you don't like Ghost Trick, Final Fantasy Tactics, Lost Wind, Secret of Monkey Island, Deathsmiles, etc etc. I can understand. But I love those, and all the experiences that can only be found on iOS.

I'm not sure how much over lap there is between dedicated systems and mobile devices, but I can assure you, I am the over lap at least. I haven't bought a new game for my Xbox or Wii since, the Last Story a few months back. And I only picked that up because I knew it'd be very difficult to find if I didn't. While the last game I bought for my iPhone was Burn Your Fat with Me like last month. I bought that because I like quirky experimental titles, not because I thought the game was actually going to be that good. But that's me. I like experimental stuff.

I'd say Nintendo like's experimental stuff too...but I still don't see Rainbow Man, Disaster: Day of Crisis, and Trace Memory 2 out in America yet...

Ian Uniacke
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I think it's a different market because iPad is designed primarily for single user play (by which I include social games such as words with friends) versus multi user play/party play. I know that I'm looking forward to the WiiU as a way to get my family to interact more rather than all of us looking into our phones.

David Holmin
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@William Johnson

1. To many people, including me, touch screen games can never replace games that use buttons for input. It's just not at all the same experience for the vast majority of action games.

2. As for the cost of Wii U:

SNES was more expensive, relatively speaking, than Wii U is, according to that chart.

Eric Geer
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I'm still not sure why people like to compare an iPad or touchscreen device to a dedicated gaming system. There is some overlap but they are definitely not replacements for one another.

Ujn Hunter
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@William Johnson

"As for the iPad not having games. I guess if you don't like Ghost Trick, Final Fantasy Tactics, Lost Wind, Secret of Monkey Island, Deathsmiles, etc etc. I can understand. But I love those, and all the experiences that can only be found on iOS."

All of the games you just mentioned are inferior ports of games from other systems... I'm glad you like them, because they are all good games, but they're better in their original form on the systems they were created for.

Jonathan Jou
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You are entitled to your opinion, but you seem to have really mistaken the facts. I will lay them out for you!

1. First of all, as Ujn has already noted, the "exclusives" you're talking about aren't exclusive to iOS. In fact, they have far superior experiences on their original hardware, for the most part. I'm not even sure why you thought Final Fantasy Tactics was an iOS exclusive, that's a remake of a classic Playstation game from 1997. You'll find the experiences unique to the iPad tend to stray very far from things like Mario, Halo, and so on, and for good reason.

2. To the less discerning eye, the iPad mini and the Wii U could be seen as offering equivalent gaming experiences. Let's not forget that the iPad mini is one screen, whereas the whole selling point of the Wii U should be the fact that it displays on the TV AND a controller. Or that the Wii U supports not only the tablet controller but also up to 4 Wiimotes, and even potentially a second Wii U gamepad. Or that the Wii U is a dedicated console designed to display HD graphics on 40-inch televisions, which is how games are intended to be developed for it. I don't think the people who are debating over buying a Wii U are troubled by the presence of the iPad mini when they could be thinking about an Xbox or PS3 instead.

3. Since I am a dedicated gamer, I have to really point out that you're fooling yourself if you think it'll be the "same experience." Dedicated gaming hardware and a slate device are not the same, and I can't imagine anyone who knows what a Wii U is has trouble distinguishing the experience.

4. You're not making the right comparison when you think the Wii U is equivalent to an iPad in cost. The Wii U is the equivalent of a modern HD console and a touchscreen control system. The actual hardware of the Wii U is a full-blown console which could be played without the Gamepad, and an additional Gamepad with a touchscreen display and almost all the bells and whistles of that iPad mini you want so badly to compare it to. So no. It's not an iPad mini.

Sadly enough, my guess is that yours is the prevailing opinion, though. I fear for a world where consumers are treated like they don't know better and the better product is forsaken in favor of a flashier brand name--

Wait. Nevermind. We already live in that world. Silly me.

William Johnson
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@Jonathan Jou
I didn't pick them because they're exclusive. I picked them because they're games that are popular that there is no debate in them being games because they're found on other systems. If I go and talk about how sweet Game Developer Story is or Cubes vs Spheres, I'd hear the argument that they aren't games. So rather then debate what a game is, I used clear examples of games that are proven to be games. By attacking iOS games as non-games, you'd be saying that FFT or Ghost Trick, or whatever are also not games. And that's just silly.

@Ujn Hunter & Ian Uniacke
I'm sure people used those same arguments to explain why arcades will never die, and yet here we are. Arcades still have better controls and graphics, and yet arcades are pretty much dead, at least in America.

And I do admit that some games do play better depending on the input device, but at the same time its not really that surprising that games need to be made to optimize their input methods. I can't imagine this is a radical revolution in game theory.

An example being Viewtiful Joe. On the Gamecube it was a really amazing experience, but on the PS2 it just wasn't the same with the buttons being so spread out. It was a lot harder to hit the punch, kick, and jump buttons on the PS2 because you actually have to completely reposition your thumb to hit any of those buttons. While on the GCN you get easy access to those three buttons by simply rolling your thumb a bit. So yes, input can make a game better, but it doesn't mean that it becomes unplayable or such an inferior experience that it discredits a system that you play games on.

Thom Q
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"I'm getting tired of paying a premium price and not feeling like I'm getting a premium product."

Thats exactly how I feel about any iOS device..

wes bogdan
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Well my own anayisis is as follows ,"I buy nintendo hardware for nintendo games and not games i have on my ps3 or 360."

Take everything else away and you're left with demmo land and nsmb u...that's it no new 101,pikmin 3 or rayman legends.

Reggie can say come buy our new powerful hardware so you can play games you ALREADY OWN?!!

The wii u might fly off shelves for new smb u but after that wears off and reality sets in there's nothing to do except use hdmi on wii sd games and wait.

Will nintendo network ,online play ,acomplishments or the e-shop be up day 1 i doubt it and what about the recording your tv with an external hdd.

For all cod fans you'll need a headset plugged in because the internal mic is not for in game use only app use outside the game.

Between dec -mid jan the honeymoon will be over and everyone will wait on new

wes bogdan
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Games which will trickle in between march -dec 2013. Games to buy a wii u for mario,metroid and zelda so there's still no 3d mario,kart,smash even remotely close to release so wii u imho is 3ds launch 2.0 without steel diver and only 1 good nintendo game.

Jonathan Murphy
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It will be very difficult to determine exactly how the Wii U will fair. But based on what I've seen the Wii U will not hold 1st in sales. Why? This is hands down the worst marketing for a major console I have ever seen. More than half of people don't even know what the Wii U is, and most don't even know what it can do. William Johnson made a lot of valid points above. Take your bets now. Mine is a repeat of PS3 sales. Large off the bat then like a cliff it'll drop off. Prove me wrong Nintendo. Prove me wrong.

Leon T
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I always find it hard to doubt the selling power of a Mario game or Nintendo hardware during the end of the year holidays. Those are two things Nintendo has going for it at launch.

After launch it still has a good lineup of games to keep things moving if games like Nintendoland and ZombiU are good enough to help push the system. Lego City is wild card and could be a kids GTA hit if it is great. It always comes down to the games and that is what the Wii U launch has over the 3DS.

wes bogdan
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Even co workers i've talked to thought the wii u was like vita so there's a problem if everyone either thinks it's an add on to wii or a vita.

The games industry is known for delays so i don't expect lego city ,new 101 or anything worthwile until @ least march 13-dec 13. The launch window is usuially about getting enough boxes to retail and copys of launch day games which is enough for late nov,dec and jan.

Febuary is when people would start expecting more unless wii tv is up and i still have doubts about the e-shop and nintendo network readyness.

Ujn Hunter
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I'm really only here for Bayonetta 2 to be honest. I had no intention of buying the "next" Nintendo system after the Wii. Hopefully it'll be much better than the Wii or 3DS which were both lacking for Left Handed people. :\

Merc Hoffner
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I sort of understand your perspective, but the Wii was genuinely the first game machine my left handed friends could play.

wes bogdan
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Well i'm a southpaw gamer and on wii i swapped wiimote and numchuck as the sensor bar was simply a point in 3d space while the wand was really doing the sensing.

As for 360,ps3 and wii u i had my 360 pads PERMINANTLY modded so i had southpaw sticks and swapped the functions of the face buttons and d-pad while i use the thrustmaster 3-1 dual trigger on ps3 which was DESIGNED FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE OUT OF THE BOX!!

I am concerned about wii u as the screen in the gamepad spreads the controls out litterly breaking sticks only southpaw because without flipping the functions of the d-pad and face buttons with the sticks any dual analog game remains unplayable...vita assassins creed forget it uncharted or gravity rush unplayable.

As for 3ds paper mario,nsmb 2 ,and other single analog games fine but liberation maden should allow us to play n 64 style using face buttons as the movement while targeting with the circle pad it's playable but only because l/r rotate your view while you use the circle pad to move....i'd have included a flip for the circle pad functions moving touch aiming to the circle pad and keeping l/r as is.

Check online for the thrustmaster 3-1 with dual triggers and if you can't find it there's a smaller wireless pad @ meijers that does the same thing also by thrustmaster.