Wii U will sell out today. The console’s limited launch day stock will guarantee that.
But its long-term success is far from secure as it launches into an uncertain marketplace.And although retailers are already taking pre-orders for further shipments, Nintendo’s hard work is far from over.
The platform holder needs to raise awareness of Wii U and differentiate it from the original Wii. Retailers are confident it can achieve this.
“Nintendo has recognised that it may need to educate consumers and the wider ‘family’ audience a little more about Wii U’s wonderful qualities,” HMV games category manager Andy Pinder told MCV.
After US sales of 400,000 units in its first week, Nintendo is expected to deliver a similar level of performance in the UK and rescue the toughest year for retail on record.
“Frankly, the market needs an innovative new product to excite the wider public,” said Pinder.
“I’m sure Wii U can expect to do very well, but we must bear in mind that consumers remain cautious given the uncertain economic backdrop. We are optimistic for Wii U this Christmas and for 2013, but we must remain realistic, too.”
However, the industry has faith in Nintendo, a firm that has often pulled success out of the bag in the face of overwhelming cynicism.
“Wii U will revolutionise the way games are actually played,” said Game Retail boss Martyn Gibbs.
“As expected we’ve had a massive amount of interest in Wii U. Pre-orders are exceeding expectations, and Xmas sales look promising.”
Third party publishers are also optimistic. “Sega is delighted to be a partner for the launch of Wii U,” said European marketing boss Amanda Farr.
“Sonic always performs well on Nintendo formats, we are excited about Aliens Colonial Marines, and look forward to strong hardware attachment during the launch window.”
Namco Bandai’s Northern Europe VP John Galloway added: “We’re really looking forward to this launch. It should help bring a level of excitement to the industry at Christmas and in 2013.”