The Wii U: The Second Console Debate
Ah Nintendo. We love you so much. For the last fourish years you have given us something to talk about. First it was the apparent drop in support for the Wii and now it is the Wii U and its sales. Now, no-one is expecting you to sell at the dizzying heights of the Wii, to ask that would be a tall order, but can Nintendo learn from the direction of the Wii and apply it to the Wii U
The big problem, with the Wii U sales, has been put down to lack of consumer interest. I feel the reason the consumers do not want to buy a Wii U is because they do not want to pay for a system that has trouble getting third party games. To explain I will use the cake analogy. We have these two cakes called Sony and Microsoft. The third party makes up the body of the cake. The sponge if you will. They are identical except for the icing. The icing is the first party and exclusive features. The icing always gives the sponge cake a different taste and that is what the difference between Microsoft and Sony. Now Nintendo, with its lack of third party, is just a cake just without the sponge. The icing taste nice but it just doesn't have the important filler bit. There is nothing wrong with that except are consumers going to just buy icing when they can get a cake for a similar price.
They are not and this is where the second console debate comes in. Let’s look at the Wii and how it sold. It shipped 99.84 million consoles by the end of March this year and that is an impressive number. This number was helped by the fact Nintendo sold the system cheaply which then turned the Wii into this console you get as well as a PS3/360. A lot of people had two systems and a lot of people had a Wii as that second system
This can be applied to the Wii U. Both the Wii and Wii U had/have very little standout third party games. Hell, the Wii mainly had shovelware. So if you buy a Nintendo system you are really relying on Nintendo's first party games/exclusives. It’s the price that is really putting off consumers. No matter how good Nintendo's first party are, it's hard to sell a system without the filler of the third party games (especially at the price point it is). All Nintendo needs to do is lower the price of the Wii U by so much that it becomes a system you get with a PS4 or the One and not a system you get instead of the PS4 or the One. The problem is the price of the Wii U, at the moment, puts it in direct competition with the PS4 and The One but it’s already at a disadvantage because it doesn't have the third party games those systems have.
Nintendo only exclusives can sell a system when it is cheap enough. The Wii U should have be priced competitively a year ago to acknowledge the fact this system is the second console (the one you play just for Nintendo games). People are finding it hard to justify putting down the money for a Wii U when a PS4 is not that much more expensive. I say this to Nintendo; if you want to just sell the delicious icing. You can but make it drastically cheaper so we have a reason to get you along with the filling sponge cakes.