Iwata: 'some people think Wii U is just Wii with a pad'

Nintendo boss also blames lack of first party games for missed sales targets

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has explained to investors why he believes Wii U sales have failed to meet expectations since the console launched in November.


The platform holder said yesterday that Wii U sales totalled 3.45 million as of March 31, with only 450,000 units sold in the first three months of 2013.

Explaining how Nintendo intends to increase Wii U's market penetration, Iwata told investors that the company needs to better communicate the product's value to consumers and also release first party software more frequently.

"We have not been able to solidly communicate the product value of Wii U to our consumers yet, which has been a grand challenge for us," he said.

"Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii. We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product."

Wii U software sales stood at 13.42 million units at the end of March, short of the 16 million Nintendo forecast in January, and Iwata said the absence of strong first party games has negatively impacted hardware sales.

"Wii U might still have no such captivating game title as Wii Sports for Wii, with which people immediately comprehended its product value, but it surely has a lot of factors appreciated by users," he said. "We would like to take time to work thoroughly for its penetration, by making various efforts to have many people understand its product value as well as enriching the software lineup.

"Wii U has lost momentum due to the release pace of first-party titles which has not lived up to consumers' expectations. Starting with Pikmin 3 scheduled for release in the upcoming July, however, we will intensively launch our key titles to give sales momentum to the platform.

"As a decisive factor in buying a console is that you cannot play a much-anticipated title without the hardware, we will do our best to have you feel from this summer to the end of this year that there are plenty of great games for Wii U.

"We have many titles whose release dates are yet to be announced. At E3, we will disclose more specific information about the titles for the rest of this year and early next year."

Nintendo said in January that a new 3D Mario action game and Mario Kart title are in development for Wii U and will appear in playable form at this year's E3 in June.