"We Were Unable To Sustain Momentum"
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told investors that the company's situation "was not looking good" at the start of the year, due in part to slow Wii U sales, but that they'll pick up "momentum" throughout 2013 with a diverse software lineup.
"In the US and in Europe we were unable to create sufficient momentum of the Nintendo 3DS system during the holiday season, and so the situation was not looking good at the beginning of the year,” Iwata informed informed shareholders following yesterday's muted financial report [via MCV]. "However, Fire Emblem Awakening was launched in February in the US and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was launched in March in the US and in Europe, both of which were well received by our consumers. An overseas edition of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was also launched in March. Recently, with the launch of titles like these, we are seeing that the Nintendo 3DS sales are gradually gaining momentum.”
While the 3DS' future is bright, Iwata was willing to admit that the Wii U faces a much different challenge. Suggesting that the new console was "unable to maintain momentum this year" due to "the lack of new software titles," he pointed to the slow trickle of first-party titles, poor advertising and lack of a Wii Sports-esque killer app as key mistakes that will be addressed over 2013.
“Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii. We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product,” he continued.
“Wii U might still have no such captivating game title as Wii Sports for Wii, with which people immediately comprehended its product value, but it surely has a lot of factors appreciated by users. We would like to take time to work thoroughly for its penetration, by making various efforts to have many people understand its product value as well as enriching the software lineup."
“Wii U has lost momentum due to the release pace of first-party titles which has not lived up to consumers’ expectations. Starting with Pikmin 3 scheduled for release in the upcoming July, however, we will intensively launch our key titles to give sales momentum to the platform."
Nintendo will likely focus on small targeted events at this year's E3, in order to put games into our hands without relying on the pomp and circumstance of the increasingly sensationalist trade show. It's good, at least, to know that Nintendo recognises that releasing games might help their console to sell.