back to article Wii U sales plunge: Nintendo hopes Mario and Zelda will shift some kit

Nintendo's Wii U console continues to drag the company's fortunes down, as UK supermarket Asda pulls the machine off its shelves. The Japanese firm said that sales of the Wii U were down 51 per cent in the last three months, as it offloaded just 160,000 units to take the total sold so far to 3.61 million consoles. Blighty's …


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  1. Charles 9

    Goes to show even Nintendo can have a bad day. Reminds me of their N64 days when they tried going out on a limb and got left hanging as a result. Similarly, Nintendo thought their tablet controller would get some traction, but this looks like another rare misfire. It'll be curious to see what happens going forward as Nintendo starts to wind the original Wii down.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Crap Games

      A rare misfire?

      Nintendo has been mis-firing on the games front for years.

      The Wii has sold 100m units, everyone has got one but do you actually know anyone that still uses theirs??

      There are only a handful of games people are interested in, and to be honest it always just 'another mario' or 'another zelda' game.

      They may be big characters but they're also 30 years old now, people want some variety and Nintendo just can't provide it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Crap Games

        > The Wii has sold 100m units, everyone has got one but do you actually know anyone that still uses theirs??

        We do, and on a fairly regular basis.

        I would add that a lot of that used to be watching Netflix for which it is rather convenient, but we also still play the games that use the WiiMote which is still a compelling interface for a lot of the "fun" family games.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windwaker - seriously, they're pinning their hopes on people buying the console to play Windwaker? After, what, it's roaring success shifting Gamecubes? Nintendo market researchers - you had ONE job...

    1. JeevesMkII

      To be fair, Windwaker was the best Zelda game they've ever made. It's really not it's fault that the console didn't have enough other great titles to make it a must buy. Still I maintain it was worth it to own a gamecube to play the Crazy Taxi in near arcade glory.

      1. Teiwaz

        Crazy Taxi on Gamecube

        played it, Not as good as on the Sega Dreamcast... Much harder to get 'crazy slides' for some reason... Even better with the Dreamcast Arcade stick (which was only really good for Soul Calibre and Crazy Taxi).

        I completely agree with you on windwaker, the sense of adventure the first time playing was wonderful, I felt a little sad when I'd explored the whole area, nothing left to discover... aww.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: "To be fair, Windwaker was the best Zelda game they've ever made."

        By all accounts you should probably consider yourself the proud owner of a minority viewpoint there - Ocarina of Time always tops the lists. Though personally, I think that's only because not enough people played Link's Awakening on the original GameBoy... ;-)

    2. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

      I think Wind Waker can help sales. Yes, it wasn't very well received because of it cartoon looks, and wasn't a killer app for the Cube.

      But now Nintendo is betting for the nostalgia factor, which admittedly has a lot of potential to stir sales... I can't say if it's a good or bad thing, but it's a fact that nostalgia is all the rage these days

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re; "I think Wind Waker can help sales"

        Clearly the presence of any game on the platform at the moment would help sales, but something new and original in the franchise would help a lot more. What Windwaker does is demonstrate that Nintendo can't actually think of anything novel to include that they hadn't already done with the Gamecube / GBA link system of old.

  3. tmcd35

    They can still turn this around...

    The problem with the Wii-U is two fold, a console that's barely more powerful than PS3/360 and a total lack of content.

    Right now the world is screaming (ok, if we were out of recession we might be) for a viable second console. PS4 and XBox One are practically the same console being sold by two different companies, there's nothing to really differentiate between them any more.

    What Nintendo need to do is - Release the most powerful console they can aiming for a £199 price point (3.2Ghz CPU and 4Gb Ram would be nice); Get even closer ties with Sega (Shenmue III would be great); sort out the Virtual Console so all Sega and Nintendo games from all Sega and Nintendo consoles are there and available at a reasonable price; Actually release some new 1st party games!

    1. Tachikoma

      Re: They can still turn this around...

      [i]Shenmue III would be great[/i]

      The scars... they still have not healed... damn the world for not appreciating Yu Suzuki's masterpiece!

      1. Charles 9

        Re: They can still turn this around...

        "The scars... they still have not healed... damn the world for not appreciating Yu Suzuki's masterpiece!"

        I think Shenmue was mainly the victim of bad timing. It was so ambitious it fell victim to the decline of the Dreamcast and once that was done, Sega was through with the console business. Not only that, they become very leery about questionable projects like Shenmue, which while critically acclaimed just wasn't pushing out the right numbers.

    2. DrXym

      Re: They can still turn this around...

      I believe the Wii U was made roughly the same power as a PS3 or 360 to give their console platform parity. That would mean that 3rd parties could spread the development costs over all 3 console platforms (and PC) since they would share a substantial amount of the game code, assets, testing and marketing. Sadly it doesn't seem to have worked out that way - 3rd parties have been very lukewarm about the console. Perhaps they're pissed off with the way the Wii went down where sales were horrible despite the number of sold units. Or perhaps poor Wii U sales wouldn't even cover the costs of a port even when shared with other platforms.

      Anyway I don't think Nintendo can do much to make it more attractive aside from reduce the price, release some decent games and tinker with the specs a little. They can't just throw out a faster console with more RAM or faster CPU because the whole point of a console is it's a well defined quantity, but they might be able to ship a model with a larger SSD, or a free Wii+ remote, or a free month of Netflix or whatever to make it look more attractive.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They can still turn this around...

      512MiB RAM? That doesn't sound very competitive..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They can still turn this around...

      The *real* elephant in the room is that the Wii U just doesn't have a compelling use case that is not catered for by the Wii.

      The WiiMote is what sold the Wii coupled with a set of fun games that engaged families and friends in a leisure setting.

      I looked at the Wii U when it came out and I couldn't think of a single reason why I would want to buy it.

  4. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    Blimey - dunno if Zelda is going to buck the trend though - despite my name I still have two Wii Zelda games I don't have time to play that just sit on the shelf collecting dust - by my estimation I won't be getting a WiiU until 2025!

    And I already have the Gamecube version of Windwaker - I got fed up with the bloody sailing so I'm only half way through that!

  5. Lamont Cranston

    I'd quite like a WiiU, for the kids,

    but I can't really see it offering anything more than the Wii does. That, I think, is Nintendo's problem: the Wii is perfect for casual/early years gaming, and still is. If I wanted to get back in to "serious" gaming, Ī'd upgrade my PC, or buy one of Sony/Microsoft's offerings.

    That said, there's a good few months before the PS4/XBox1 become available, so there's still the chance that some killer title for the WiiU will appear. Don't think I'll be holding my breath, though.

    1. Tim Jenkins

      Re: I'd quite like a WiiU, for the kids,

      "...for the kids..."

      And there's the problem; "kids", plural. The great thing about multiplayer on the original Wii was that each kid could have access to an identical (and not ruinously expensive) controller. With the U, Nintendo lost that selling point and left parents like us imagining the fights which would ensue over who gets their hands on the 'real' Gamepad, and who just gets 'the stupid sticks'. Add in the fear that the (very expensive) pad would get broken in one of said fights, and you end up with a 'family' console which only looks suitable for adults...

  6. 1Rafayal

    Whatever happened to the plan of adding Android support to the Wii U?

    As an avid gamer, I have been less than impressed with the Wii U. The tablet controller is like something from the 90's display wise and it is resistive.

    With the PS4 and XBox1 on the way, does the WIi U have a place in video gaming environment for the next 8 years or so? Or are Nintendo going to give us something rehashed again?

    Personally, I think Ninty would have been better off just giving us a Wii HD and then spending time on creating a new console...

  7. DarkWalker

    For my part, I believe I will stop purchasing Nintendo consoles (or any kind of console) this generation, despite having purchased almost every single Nintendo console, and many of it's games, in the past. I'm fed up with closed gardens; I would rather have a second PC on my living room than have some device where I can only use manufacturer-approved (and grossly overpriced) software.

    Now, if Nintendo ever gets to release it's games for the PC, I'm likely to purchase most of them...

    1. Sporkinum


      I have an HTPC I paid half the price of a WiiU for. It has steam on it, in addition to media center and XBMC. With steam, I have tons of great games I can play, What does the WiiU have , maybe 30 games?

      1. DrXym

        Re: htpc

        An HTPC for £100? More details please

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A great Wii U sports offering is potentially what's needed.

    Mates and I still meet each week to (among other things) play Wii Sports Resort (on the original Wii). Golf, table tennis and 10-pin bowling are great several years on when you're with buddies.

    If they could build on that - and perhaps have a Wii golf course designer programme too to expand on the initial limited courses, that would go a long way to help.

    Sort out a great set of sports titles on Wii U and I might consider it.

    I don't think the platform's been well advertised either, it's like they're trying to keep it a secret, and it's worked!

    1. Tachikoma

      Re: Wii

      it's like they're trying to keep it a secret

      One thing I have noticed since the DS was first announced, and subsequently with the Wii and WiiU is that Nintendo are great at coming up with something innovative (well, maybe not with the WiiU) and tech demos to show them off, but are too slow to release actual games to show them off. It's like they themselves don't quite know what to do with the new features they invented, and instead rely on 3rd party games until they figure out what use it really has.

      Take Mario Galaxy on the Wii, what did the Wiimote bring to the game? you can point at stars to collect them or waggle the controller to do an attack (or whatever it was)

      I'm not surprised they are being quiet about the WiiU, whoever thought up the idea of bolting a £40 Chinese Android Tablet onto a Wii is still trying to think of something to use it for other than Solitaire or using it as a map/inventory screen (which they did with the DS originally)

  9. BigAndos

    What about moving into mobile games?

    Maybe Nintendo should follow the Sega route and give up on hardware. I could see a huge market for DS quality games on iOS or Android. I would happily pay £15 for something the quality of Professor Layton, Pokemon or Advance Wars on my phone.

    I rarely play on my DS anymore as I can never be bothered to carry it around, so a 3DS never appealed to me. I enjoyed my Wii for a while, but got a bit bored of the limited types of games being promoted so a Wii U never appealed either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about moving into mobile games?

      I still kinda wish Ninty had bought Sega when they dropped from the hardware market, or at least signed them on as an exclusive developer deal or something.

      I mean they basically are anyway, what with all the sonic crossovers into mario games etc, but it would have been nice nonetheless.

    2. auburnman
      Thumb Up

      Re: What about moving into mobile games?

      I was thinking something similar except they don't even have to give up on hardware altogether - just consoles. If they would port their superstar games to Xbox or Playstation and/or selected phones they could make a mint. They could still release kooky hardware on platforms not their own, having the Wii-style games without having to pay for making a console. I'm sure Microsoft or Sony would let them release games on XB/PS with specialist peripherals like a balance board or a Wiimote or a face recognising pasta strainer or whatever mental shit they want to try this time.

      In fact that was the Achilles heel of the Wii in my opinion - it's Unique Selling Point was nothing that couldn't be easily copied by the big two simply by adding some peripherals. And lo and behold after Nintendo took the risk and proved there was a market for 'motion' games, that's exactly what happened - leaving the Wii an under powered machine that no longer did anything unique.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mario and Zelda to the rescue *again*?

    I'm not massively into gaming myself. However, from comments I've read on various sites, I'm getting the impression that the (perceived) inexhaustible and universal love of gamers towards the Mario and Zelda franchises may finally be starting to wear thin after years of sequels.

    Is it possible that Nintendo's reliance on the childhood love of the original NES-era gamers (in the US and Japan at least) might not be enough- and the question is, do today's kids love Mario and Zelda in the way their parents once did?

  11. Sooty

    no mariokart yet

    is a big mistake

    This is the fallback party game for my group of friends, and a lot of people i know. It should have been a launch title.

  12. Wang N Staines

    Screw them for region locking their product!!!

    Was going to buy it for my young kids.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got my PS4 on pre-order

    so I don't give a flying fook what Nintendo do about their 2 generation old white elephant.

    1. asdf

      Re: Got my PS4 on pre-order

      I upvoted you but not because of Sony. If Nintendo had any kind of 3rd party support where I could get almost all the same games available on PS4 and Xbox One that weren't super cut down I would buy one in an instant. I absolutely loathe both Sony and Microsoft but even many years ago as a pre teen I thought Nintendo's first party games were for babies that play with dolls. Ultimately the games are more important than the console.

  14. SamBC

    The way I see it, it's a combination of the economy (people not having as much cash to splash around) and very weak selection of launch titles - that still hasn't picked up. It feels to me like they might have done better delaying the launch until the games were ready!

  15. Rukario

    PBR was horrible

    I never bothered getting a Wii, the only game I would have wanted on it turned out to be a dud. Perhaps a decent Pokémon WiiU game would improve things. After all, it was that annoying yellow rat that saved the Game Boy from oblivion and created the best-selling console RPG franchise. But with the 6th generation of critters due out on the 3DS in October, any work on any spinoffs from the main series will be a while yet.

  16. Teiwaz

    Windwaker?? Ooh, the temptation

    I really enjoyed Windwaker... All the fun of sailing without the risk of drowning. The art style was wonderfully distinctive, the drowned Hyrule was both eerily spooky and sad, the octopi were a lethal threat then a challenge. Ah, the memories....

    I might just be tempted to fork out for a Wii U, as long as there was the promise of other ported Zelda titles to the console. I'd like to play the other titles I missed like Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. Mario and all those other 'micky mouse' franchises just don't interest me. I skipped the Wii, just not enough titles that interested me, a pity. I've never had a massive collection of games for Nintendo consoles, but the small number I did have were all quality. Ah, I still miss Eternel Darkness...

    Or perhaps I'm just a zelda sucker, I bought a 3Ds for Ocarina, with the hope of Majora coming out later , two years later, I'm still waiting...

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Windwaker?? Ooh, the temptation

      " bought a 3Ds for Ocarina, with the hope of Majora coming out later , two years later, I'm still waiting... "

      And there's the problem, too many burned by 'available soon' that took a year or more... or never came at all.

      Most Nintendo fans have a game series that they'd buy the system for, but have learned to wait for the game to be released before plonking down the cash for the system.

  17. rcorrect

    I hear something...

    Nintendo's competitors shouting, "Wii won!"

  18. Fill
    Thumb Up

    Time to backport!

    They have a huge established Wii market and obviously they are continuing to sell. Unfortunately new games for the Wii have stagnated in anticipation of the Wii U. It's now time to go back to their bread and butter and get more content out for the Wii! Backport Wii U games to the Wii. Release a Wii "Enhanced" console that can output at least 720p, etc.

  19. Jamie 8

    Remote screen put me off buying it...

    The stupid remote screen really put me off, and I reckon I'm not alone.

    The Wii was, and still is, a great multiplayer console. We still use ours for Mario Kart and Wii Sports Resort. The tiny remote controls give it a high wife-acceptance-factor, too.

    The remote screen was a stupid idea from the start. Hugely expensive, destroys the multiplayer appeal, and even 1 year on, there are no compelling games that *need* the second screen.

    All they needed to do was a Wii HD.

    Perhaps they should cut their losses and start selling an ultra-cheap version without the U controller?

  20. SmashGanon

    like the 6 core saturn

    The Sega Saturn was an impressive piece of tech that never saw the love of consumers. For one utilizing all 6 cores was difficult and 1 had to be used for the system. Many of the Saturns games were simple rehashes of the great racers and sports games from the Genesis/CD and third party support was simply not there. The wii u is actually a good gaming system, bring the DS to the TV screen and your controller, just the apps werent well developed, not very many launch titles and low third party support. Nintendo even admits that utilizing the gpu on the U and the U pad is really quite the barrier to overcome. The games play well but are simply too late to the market, ( like nfs 3 months after it released for the other systems.) Nintendo could(with all the money they have, its alot) make a new console hd compatible and competitive and comparitive to the ps4 with u pad functionality, wii mote, serious online(biggest downfall.for nintendo) and a comfortable controller for hardcore games. Nintendo could have it all, just really need to wade through crap and take the market seriously again.

    To this day NES is my favourite system. Nintendo, make a modern equivilent to the NES.

    1. Simon Barker

      Re: like the 6 core saturn

      Actually the Saturn had an amazing game library but many of the best never made it out of Japan, as to its technical prowess it did well at 2D but not 3D and people were being sold on that as the future which left the Saturn looking dated. It didn't matter that it would take another generation for the 3D stuff to mature.

  21. Robert E A Harvey

    Wake up, corporations!

    People have got houses full of devices that work well enough.

    And no money.

    You can't keep selling them tiny variations on what they already have. It's not like the 1980s, when new was very much better than old.

    You want people's money? Think up something they need rather than just want!

  22. Dave Stevens

    Too pricey, not fragile

    I've bought a SNES, 2 gamecubes and 1 Wii. None of it for myself.

    The cubes were durable even though the kids managed to scratch most of the disks.

    Didn't get much millage out of the Wii. Too many pieces, too many batteries. The grand kids basically tore through it. The Wii U looks like something one would keep in the main living room and constantly supervise its use. Not attractive at all.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Jim84

    Underpowered, and with a gimick that's not fooling anyone

    The Wii was underpowered, but cheap and with a gimick (control an onscreen avatar 1 to 1) that looked amazing on TV spots.

    The Wii U is underpowered, and it's gimick doesn't look interesting on TV spots (what is interesting to joe public about 2 screens?). And it is not as cheap as a Wii was due to the cost of that second screen.

    Releasing a console only as powerful as a PS3 or 360 was a huge mistake too.

    Ninty can't go ahead and release a new more powerful console (or could they?). I think Ninty have painted themselves into a corner this generation, and need to just hang on until the next hardware refresh.

    Microsoft is making the same error with Kinect 2, most of the public expect it not to work (and if it is not allowing 1 to 1 tracking with no perceptible lag, then it isn't working). Luckily Sony have learnt the lessons of 'gen 3' and look set to clean up in 'gen 4'.

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