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Nintendo's Iwata: A single title could save the Wii U

Nintendo's Iwata: A single title could save the Wii U
May 13, 2014 | By Mike Rose

May 13, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Following the admission that the Wii U is dragging the company down, Nintendo has told investors that it is not giving up on the console, as a single game release could turn the tide.

As part of an investor Q&A session, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said that, although the company has only estimated sales of 3.6 million Wii U consoles for the current fiscal year, that doesn't mean the console has already hit its peak.

"In order to recreate momentum and sell 5 million or 10 million units of hardware annually, there are indeed challenges that we must overcome," he said. "The fate of a video game system is often influenced greatly by the introduction of a single title."

For example, he says, many critics said that the original Game Boy was done for before Pokemon came along and single-handedly changed the playing field.

"We do not believe that this year's estimate of 3.6 million units of Wii U hardware will be the peak of its lifecycle," Iwata added, "and we would like to work hard to make sure that we give sufficient momentum to the system so that we can expect good results in and after the next fiscal year, too."

Part of the short-term Wii U solution comes down to the production costs. Iwata says that the loss arising from production costs was taken into account in the previous fiscal year, thus "you could assume that there will be almost no loss this fiscal year for the sales of the 3.6 million hardware units."

"Before the release of the Pokemon game, Game Boy had been showing slow growth, and many people wondered whether it was the end of Game Boy."
And Nintendo isn't giving up on new first-party software for the console either. Iwata noted that, "our internal software development teams directed by Shigeru Miyamoto are committed to developing several titles" for the Wii U.

Some of these titles are nearly complete, he added, and will be unveiled at E3 next month, while others are still in the early stages of development.

Plus, Nintendo has its upcoming figurines business to attend to. "Activision has released video game titles from the Skylanders series over the past three years and Disney Interactive released the software title Disney Infinity last year," says Iwata. "Both video game series are compatible with character figurines and have created an extremely large market for these products."

However, Iwata stresses that Nintendo's primary focus is not to develop software to go with these figurines -- rather, the plan is to take a different approach to Activision and Disney, although the Nintendo president didn't spell out exactly what this different approach entails.

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