Nintendo released its sales forecast this morning. As expected, things aren’t looking up for the WiiU. At the beginning of the company’s last fiscal year in April of 2013, Nintendo predicted that they would sell 9 million consoles in a year.
That was an ambitious goal, especially since the Xbox One and PlayStation4 were released globally just in time for Christmas. How Nintendo really expected to move 9 million WiiUs is beyond me.
The revised number is 2.8 million. Still sounds like a lot, right?
Round that up to 3 million for easier math. Assume that the WiiU sells at that rate for eight years, which is about the life cycle of a console. Add that to what Nintendo has already sold, and you get a number somewhere south of 30 million. That would be a lot - in a four year period.
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The PS3 and 360 have each sold over 80 million consoles. And the original Wii sold 100 million. Suddenly, things look much less rosy for Nintendo.
A lack of games has been a real problem for the console, even as it’s entered year 2 of the life cycle. Aside from Mario games - which are great, as they usually are - and franchises like Zelda, the WiiU hasn’t had much to claim as its own.
Obviously, Nintendo needs to do something to remedy this. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata remains confident that the WiiU will have a resurgence. He’s probably banking on the upcoming titles to really push sales of the console, because right now, there’s not many “gotta have” titles on the WiiU.
There’s a new Donkey Kong coming, which should make good use of the WiiU’s often ignored gamepad, and there’s a new Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers on the way. Inevitably, those will drive consumers to pick up the consoles - hopefully Nintendo is smart enough to release a bundle or two with these games.
But you say, “Well, yeah, Nintendo has Mario and Zelda but they need something different!” And, well ... you’re right. Nintendo needs to diversify its lineup this time around if they want to lure customers back. If they want to be successful, Nintendo needs to aggressively market three exclusive titles.
The first is Bayonetta 2 because of its ... graphics? Let’s go with that. It’ll give the WiiU a mature action game to help shed the kiddy image the system has. Second is a game called X - the spiritual successor to one of the best Wii RPGs - Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s slated to be an adventure RPG but with robots, which is awesome. If the trailer is any indication, it’ll be a showcase for the console’s 1080p capability.
Third is a series crossover: Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem. Another RPG, I know, but single-player games will help attract the dedicated gamers. And like Bayonetta, the presence of Shin Megami Tensei will be a gritty departure from the Nintendo norm.
Combine all these with established triple A franchises and maybe a new Starfox title ... and suddenly Nintendo might be back in the game.