The Wii U has failed to sell as much as its predecessor, but Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime insists that it has nothing to do with the name of the console.
“The challenges we’re facing with Wii U are not issues of the name,” Fils-Aime toldKotaku earlier this week. He said that the console has only sold 1.5 million units in the United States since its November 18, 2012 release, about half of what the Wii sold in the same amount of time.
“The issue is the lack of a steady rate of software launches to motivate the consumer to drive buzz and engagement and to highlight the wide variety of uses of the GamePad,” he said. “That’s the issue.”
Fils-Aime isn’t alone in this thinking. Two weeks ago, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata also blamed the lack of software for the Wii U’s struggling sales.
“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,” Iwata said. “I understand that the real issue is the lack of software, and the only solution is to provide the mass-market with a number of quality software titles.”
Before the recent price cut, the deluxe version of the Wii U sold for $349.99, versus $299.99 for the basic. The deluxe version will sell for $299.99 starting September 20.
IDC gaming analyst Lewis Ward said the price drop could help boost sales, but that the console would also need a stronger lineup to perform well this holiday season. He cited the 3DS as an example.
“We saw with the 3DS that the combination of a price cut and more compelling first-party software really led to a turnaround,” he said.
As far as the Wii U goes, Reggie Fils-Aime said consumers are aware the console is a new system and not a peripheral, but that they don’t know what’s unique about the experience.
“And that’s why experiences like Pikmin 3, like Wonderful 101, like Zelda Wind Waker HD, with the off-TV play, experiences like Super Mario 3D World—that’s why it’s critical that we launch those, have consumers experience them in malls across the country, which we’ll be doing,” he said. “It’s critical that the consumer see for themselves the range and breadth of compelling software for the system.”