During a financial briefing with investors, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained the company’s strategy for how the Wii U will be marketed upon its launch.
Asked about the Wii and 3DS’ launches, Iwata referenced both systems and compared them with what the Wii U is currently doing:
“I think the difference between Wii and Nintendo 3DS was that while Wii resonated well with such consumers too, Nintendo 3DS did not. For a product to achieve a high level of market penetration, this is a hurdle that it must overcome, and in Japan we are already past that stage, and in a sense, more and more people are saying that Nintendo 3DS is the platform to play games. If you look at how pre-orders are doing at the moment, it is not an exaggeration to say that Wii U is sure to sell well in this holiday season, as many of you are probably thinking. But we realize the biggest challenge is to make sure that Wii U sells well even in the next year after the holiday season, and we are working on that too. Nintendo tends to release too many titles at the launch of a hardware system and as a result suffers a drop in new games for quite some time after launch, and for the Wii U launch, we are being very careful not to let it happen. Fortunately, third-party publishers overseas are launching many titles for us this time, and we were able to push back the release of some of the titles that we had originally intended to release as launch titles until next year. We are also looking to have many people experience “Nintendo Land,” which comes bundled with the Wii U DELUXE SET in the overseas markets, as this is a title that the actual players will appreciate more than the spectators. While we have no way of telling whether “Nintendo Land” will do what “Wii Sports” did, we are hoping to promote word-of-mouth communication among consumers, and at the same time, we will continue to supply software to provide new content that consumers will talk about even after January. The combination of these two things is what we think will keep our momentum going after January next year.”
Iwata added that while gamers were able to not only see how you could play Wii Sports, but also easily pick it up and play it, it was not the case with the 3DS, where they were unable to see a game in 3D unless they had it in their hands.
With only a few weeks away from the launch of the Wii U, it’ll be interesting to see if that word of mouth spreads as quickly and efficiently as it did for the Wii.