UK games retailers want Nintendo to revitalise Wii U sales with a fresh marketing push and a price drop.
Console sales have slowed since its December launch. Last week, it lost exclusive rights to Rayman Legends and Ninja Gaiden 3, and Activision boss Bobby Kotick said the publisher is “disappointed” in Wii U’s performance so far.
In January, Wii U’s second month on sale, the console only accounted 1.6 per cent of UK game sales. In the US, Wii U has sold 38 per cent less units than its predecessor at the same stage of its own launch.
But retailers, including members of MCV's Retail Advisory Board, have said they believe Nintendo can turn this around if the platform holder acts now.
“Wii U has not caught the public’s imagination yet,” Tesco games buying manager Jonathan Hayes told MCV.
"We need a killer app to drive sales, and a big marketing push to clearly communicate what Wii U is all about – it will probably be better to focus on the premium edition to do this.”
Sainsbury’s games buying manager Gurdeep Hunjan added: “A new strategy needs to be communicated and launched for Easter, the school holidays, the summer holidays and beyond.”
ShopTo buyer James Rowson said: “Nintendo needs to show there’s a wide range of games available and on the horizon so consumers see Wii U as a good long-term investment.”
Indies believe a price drop would lift the Wii U, but warn that it cannot be the only solution.
“A price drop on the console or extremely competitive bundle options to encourage consumer take-up would be ideal,” said Grainger Gamers’ commercial director Simon Peck.
Nick Whitehead, founder of Xbite, added: “Both the machine and software prices are too high to compete. The price point needs looking at but this alone will not fix the issue.”
Barkman Computers’ Nick Elliot said: “Lower prices should be led by Nintendo and publishers – not left to retail to discount down to the optimum price point.”
Publisher support is a more divisive subject among stores, with debate about which companies will produce the biggest system-sellers.
“Third-party support will be vital over the coming months, especially as triple-A Nintendo launches are so infrequent,” said Games Centre MD Robert Lindsay.
Gameseek MD Stephen Staley disagrees: “I don’t think Nintendo can rely on anyone other than themselves to get the most out of Wii U. I hope they can do it.”
A full analysis of retail demands for Wii U will be in next week’s issue of MCV, available on Thursday, February 21st.