Nintendo may not be able to release its Wii U console in time for the holiday season. Sources connected to the matter have exclusively told CVG that manufacturing issues may stop the gaming company for launching its Wii successor overseas.
The release date for the Wii U is likely to be pushed back to early December across Europe, the website has learned. The console was initially intended for a November launch window, and one of the primary issues Nintendo is facing involves manufacturing the GamePad controller. This device features a 6.2 inch touchscreen, a front-facing camera, motion sensing capabilities and Near Field Communication (NFC). The GamePad is also said to contain its own power supply and will be completely wireless.
The source has said that Nintendo wants to release the Wii U before the Thanksgiving season in the United States, and the company has declined to comment. Last month, an executive at a major publishing company had also told CVG that the European Wii U release could fall back to 2013, although Nintendo has insisted that the 2012 deadline would be met.
The manufacturing issues have not been specified beyond the fact that the GamePad controller is involved. However, the time at which Nintendo launches its next-generation Wii U could be crucial, as an expert has previously said.
Lead games analyst for IHS Screen Digest Piers-Harding Rolls said to CVG that it is possible for Nintendo to achieve 4 million sales of the Wii U by the end of the current financial year in March 2013. He added that this depends on "launch price and timing."
"The big question is the extent of cannibalism of Wii sales by the Wii U," he said, according to CVG. "In general, my outlook is that Wii U console sales will not replicate the success of the Wii. Aside from more intense competition from various other connected devices, the Wii U second-screen dynamic is a more complex consumer proposition compared to the Wii and is much harder to market."
In the next-generation console arms race, one advantage that the Wii U has is its earlier release date than Microsoft's Xbox 720 and Sony's PlayStation 4. The Xbox 720, codenamed Durango, is expected to be released sometime in 2014, although recent hints from Microsoft indicate that it may be sooner.
But the long-time video game company does seem to be working hard to meet its 2012 deadline, as it was just reported that box art for the Wii U has been finalized. The platform holder told Nintendo World Report that they have "finalized" the design for the covers of Wii U games.
"Nintendo has finalized the design of the Wii U game box art, and many of our publishing partners have already incorporated it into their own game packaging," Nintendo said. "We are seeing those game packages online as retailers are starting to showcase their games."
The Wii gaming system was met with widespread success upon its launch in 2006, becoming the fastest selling video game console across the UK, Europe, Australia and Japan. Nintendo has yet to officially announce the release date and price for its Wii U.