The story surrounding Nintendo’s latest home console, the Wii U, has been anything but positive for the past two years. Third-party developers taking their leave from the system, long periods of time without AAA games being released, and simply a negative attitude towards the controversial console.
However, Nintendo’s head of UK marketing, Shelly Pearce, gave a much more positive perspective in an interview with MCV. “Wii U has had quite a good year so far,” Pearce stated in the interview. “People are starting to consider buying now, which was cemented by our E3 activity. All the software that we showed then gave people confidence that there were lots of games coming that they wanted.”
Nintendo UK general manager Simon Kemp also chimed in during the interview, noting that Nintendo saw “momentum pick up with Mario Kart 8 back in May,” which was to be expected by such a popular title. “That was when we saw a step change, not just in terms of sales but also people’s attitudes to Wii U.”
“We’ve felt a real increase in interest and momentum. Compared to 12 months ago, it does feel noticeably different.”
The general attitude towards the Wii U does seem to have changed in a more positive way, especially in the UK it seems; sales are up for the console over 60 percent. Most assuredly sales increased due to titles such as Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors, the upcoming Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Pearce adds, “We’ve felt a real increase in interest and momentum. Compared to 12 months ago, it does feel noticeably different.”.
Of course, titles like the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Zelda Wii U will continue to push the hardware for many seasoned gamers — which Nintendo has stated they are currently focused on. But, what is interesting is what Pearce had to say regarding families and the Wii U. “We have some support, but there’s still more out there. And then we will broaden the console out to families around Christmas time.” In other words, Nintendo will first focus on regular gamers, then families around the holidays.
The final stage for Nintendo this year lies with their Amiibo program. Kemp stated that “[Nintendo’s] first priority is to make sure that people who buy [Smash Bros.] really enjoy training up their Amiibo, levelling them up and giving them special capabilities. Of course there will be a wide audience beyond that.” Kemp understands that Amiibos won’t replace other NFCs, but rather, “will sit alongside” games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity.
But it doesn’t stop there. In regard to software in 2015, Pearce stated, “It is a really strong line-up. There are a lot of conversations going on about what is coming next year. Splatoon is key, Captain Toad is one I’m looking forward to, and of course Zelda. So we are expecting to see real growth from Wii U this Christmas and we will continue to build on that next year.”
As for the 3DS, Pearce said they hadn’t forgotten about the Nintendo handheld. “Pre-orders for Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are doing really well at the moment. It is pre-ordering more than X and Y, so we are quite optimistic about that one.”
It will be interesting to see how the year will finish out for Nintendo, especially with the few big upcoming titles and DLC for both Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors incoming. Perhaps the Wii U has finally turned a corner and is headed in a new direction after all; the coming months will surely tell.