So far, only 3.5 million people have purchased a Nintendo Wii U video game console. The problem, according to industry insiders: the device hasn’t been marketed properly, and it may be underpowered. After all, the Wii U is roughly as powerful as the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, consoles that are on the verge of being phased out by the Xbox 720 and PS4.
But Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iwata, thinks claims that the Wii U is underpowered are ridiculous. In a recent presentation, Iwata sought to blow apart the “misconception,” as he called it, that the Wii U isn’t powerful enough to woo gamers.
The problem, Iwata suggests, is that people just don’t understand the Wii U.
“It is a fact that some software development companies assume that Wii U is not powerful enough,” Iwata said. “On the contrary, some developers say in interviews that Wii U has a different architecture from other consoles and that, when utilized in the right way, it can perform well. At the moment, there is a great deal of contradictory information.”
Iwata says he recognizes this problem falls entirely on Nintendo.
“Nintendo is required to make more efforts to dispel such a misconception,” he said. “In fact, some software companies are actively supporting Wii U and others are not. It is important to have supportive companies enjoy successful sales of a game and feel that their decision to develop something for Wii U was correct.”
Iwata says his company is determined to show both developers and consumers that the Wii U is a great system. “We would like to work to revitalize the Wii U market and show you favorable results for third-party software from this summer,” he said.
Is that possible? Probably not. Given all the hype currently being generated by the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 (some good, some bad), it’s hard to imagine focusing on a system that just looks and feels so dated. Then there’s the problem with games: there just aren’t enough of them for the Wii U. Once again Nintendo is relying on its first-party software to get by, but so far there hasn’t been enough of that material.
Had the Wii U been released a few years ago, it might have worked. But launching a last-gen system as a new generation dawns is never a good idea. Sorry, Satoru.