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9. With third party support currently at a low ebb for the Wii U, and with Satoru Iwata also not announcing any major software releases during Nintendo’s Corporate Management Meeting, it’s all too easy for naysayers to proclaim the console as being a dud, with missed sales targets justifying their argument.
However, the success of the 3DS and XBox One consoles have both proven that gamers are prepared to overlook hardware flaws if the software library is sufficiently appealing enough to provoke interest. It’s therefore not inconceivable to think that the Wii U can be salvaged, and that if Nintendo can release enough compelling software that captures the zeitgeist, for the console to see its fortunes turn around. Indeed, Satoru Iwata himself stated that “a single game has the power to change everything in this industry”, and hopefully the market will be able to see evidence of this at E3 when Shigeru Miyamoto’s department is able to candidly demonstrate exactly as to why Nintendo pinned its hopes on the Wii U (with its GamePad and NFC technology).
But if nothing else, Nintendo can’t jettison the Wii U now – only a mere 15 months after launch. For starters, ditching the console would just confirm to everyone that the company lacks vision, and that Satoru Iwata and his Board of Directors are unfit to preside over the company. Not only would the company’s public admission of the Wii U being a failure be cataclysmic to Nintendo’s reputation, but axing the console would also yield undesirable long-term consequences. Fans of the company (many of whom were first day Wii U buyers) would be infuriated to see their investment wither and spoil, and the wider market would also be increasingly hesitant to trust Nintendo in future. The lack of conviction adequately displayed in public would also only damage Nintendo’s brand irrevocably, as the company would come to be associated with failure. In short, if Nintendo drop the Wii U, no one is going to touch them afterwards. And everyone is going to end up dropping Nintendo.
But Nintendo also needs to look towards the future, and ask itself as to how it can go about reversing its hardware arm’s fortunes.
Regarding the Wii U, Nintendo should offer a cheaper SKU with Mario 3D World bundled in. Nintendo should also ramp up software production and foster third party relations so as to have access to more indie and big budget content.
But considering that the 3DS is nearing the end of its life, I would argue that one of the principle reasons as to why the Wii U should not be axed, is so that the Wii U can be redesigned (and relaunched) so as to become the next successor to the ailing 3D handheld. In this way, both the existing Wii U and the newly launched “Wii U Mini” can act like “brothers”, as they will both share the same hardware DNA and will be of comparable power. Indeed, and if Nintendo were to do this, their approach to hardware would very much ape that of Sony with its own Vita and Vita TV – two “consoles” that are fundamentally the same, yet aimed at widely divergent markets. Nintendo would also be able to draw upon its existing Wii U catalogue – with NNID’s providing access to Nintendo’s legacy collection of games (including handhelds).
The Wii U can still turn out to be the saving grace for Nintendo, if only the company can learn to be patient, and allocate more of its resources in order to nurture the console with much needed software.
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