When the 3DS launched, its sales numbers were absolutely horrendous until Nintendo cut the price of the handheld, and released a few more worthwhile titles for it. While sales of the system have picked up, it still isn’t as popular as Nintendo would like it to be. Likewise, the Wii U has also been struggling in the market, suffering from a lack of compelling software, and being more or less a piece of hardware that people purchased on faith and future potential.
Newly appointed CEO of Nintendo of America Satoru Iwata has admitted that the fault is entirely Nintendo’s, for failing to create the kind of momentum necessary to drive the sales of their hardware:
““In the US and in Europe we were unable to create sufficient momentum of the Nintendo 3DS system during the holiday season, and so the situation was not looking good at the beginning of the year… As for Wii U, it took off smoothly in the holiday season, but due to the lack of new software titles, we were unable to maintain the momentum this year. We initially hoped that Wii U would be showing more of a presence in the market by now, but the current situation shows that we need to spend more time on and put much effort into recreating the momentum.”
However, Iwata believes that Nintendo has what it takes to make both of these systems successful. Citing recent releases like Fire Emblem: Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Iwata believes that the software for the 3DS is sufficient enough that the hardware should start seeing renewed sales life, and hopes that this will become evident by the time summer rolls around.
On the Wii U side of things, Iwata stated that he feels Nintendo failed to really communicate what the Wii U is all about, as many believe it to be either exactly the same as the Wii, but controlled with a Gamepad, or that the Gamepad itself is just a Wii accessory. Nintendo, he said, feels “deeply responsible” that people still don’t understand the product.
He also mentioned a failure on the software level, as the development times of the big first-party titles have been much longer than the company suspected they would be. This lack of software, Iwata said, is another failure of Nintendo’s to truly convey the value of the hardware. He suggested that, starting with the release of Pikmin 3 in July, Nintendo will be intensifying its launch of key titles for the system, and added that there will be many more software titles announced for this year and early next year at E3.
While it’s nice to see that Iwata seems to understand the problems that Nintendo’s hardware is having, this isn’t the first time Nintendo has admitted that the failed to properly ‘communicate the value’ of their products. So far, we haven’t seen anything that would suggest that they are really trying to rectify this. On the other hand, Iwata is the first to give us a time-frame for when we might start seeing Nintendo pick things up, so hopefully, the company will have all their ducks in a row come this fall, when Sony and (presumably) Microsoft muscle their into the new console generation.