2013 has been a mixed year for Nintendo. On the one hand, 3DS has sold well and the platform holder has published some of the finest games in its history.
Then there has been Wii U. After a lacklustre launch, Nintendo’s home platform has struggled for momentum. A lack of games throughout the first half of the year meant the machine failed to gather any momentum and after six months had sold just 3.61m units worldwide.
And the biggest blow to Wii U happened in July, when Asda announced it will no-longer sell Nintendo’s platform. It wasn’t the first retailer to pull stock, Morrisons have also not supported the console since 2012, but it was the most high profile.
Nintendo blames the poor performance on a lack of software, with the firm suggesting the move to HD game development has not been smooth. There has been a severe lack of titles for Nintendo’s console this year, with only the excellent Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3 and Super Mario 3D World to entice fans.
But there’s more to it than that. For starters, none of the above titles really make use of Wii U’s dual-screen functionality.
The marketing was also wrong, as consumers initially assumed Wii U was just a controller for the pre-existing Wii, and not an entirely new console.
And the price is still high. Wii U had the chance this Christmas to position itself as the family alternative to PS4 and Xbox One, which it has tried to do with the help of Mario and Sonic. And, as you’d expect, sales have increased slightly. But at over 200, Wii U remains a little too expensive for the cash-strapped family.
Next year should see improvement. Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros are big releases, price is expected to fall so the publisher can at least hope to win over the fans that have picked up 3DS in such a big way this year. But to compete with Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo might have to go back to the drawing board.