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access_time August 24, 2013 at 8:00 AM in Features by Andrew Kent

Is Nintendo’s Marketing Lacking or Are People Not Getting It?

Wii U

The Wii U has not been doing well. Sales have been dismal, the 3DS and the Wii have both been outselling the next gen console. Developers have either backed out of developing for the console or, like Bethesda, are not considering the Wii U at all. The biggest problem of all though is that consumers still can not figure out the difference between the Wii U and its predecessor. When the Wii U first came out this was somewhat understandable. However, the misunderstanding continues on. Above is a picture from JB Hi-Fi which is clearly spelling out for customers which console is which. The questions here is whether Nintendo is doing a poor job at marketing or if we are all just aren’t using as much brain power as we used to.

Personally, when a console comes out it has a few changes to the name or a new name all together. The Xbox, Xbox 360, and now Xbox One. Then there’s the Playstation, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, and Playstation 4. Nintendo has gone from the Nintendo, to Super Nintendo, the Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Wii, and now the Wii U. What happened? We’ve gone through many console changes and it does not seem like this sort of trouble has come about before. The Wii U is obviously named somewhat different than the Wii. None of the accessories have been named after the alphabet, I’m just not seeing what’s going on here. It’s possible that more of Nintendo’s target audience nowadays are casual gamers varying in age range quite a bit. Elderly people are even shown using Nintendo consoless in commercials. Some of the non-core gamers probably still think that “the gameboys” are still in, most likely mistaking the DS line for the antiquated product.

So of course parents and grandparents may not get that young Timmy wanted the Wii U, and not the Wii.

Mom: Oh it’s that You thing Timmy wanted. The Wii one. He’ll love it!

Timmy (at Christmas): MOOOOOOOOOOM. I wanted the WII U, not the Wii!

Mom (flustered): Oh honey! I thought they were the same thing! I’m sorry!

But this still doesn’t account for the youngsters that are buying the console. Are they too confused about the Wii U, or is it just the older audience buying it for their kids? Either way, it seems odd that adults have such a difficult time with the Game boys and the Nbox 380’s. They don’t have any trouble looking for a microwave or television. This is probably due to the fact that they have more interest in these practical appliances rather than some silly console. However it doesn’t take too much brain power to read a box. Geeze.

Is Nintendo just not marketing hard enough or are people just plain dumb? YOU DECIDE!


  • Ramon Aranda August 24, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    I just don’t think they did enough of a good job from the start in differentiating the Wii U from the Wii. There was so much focus on the GamePad that many folks believed it was just an add-on. I thought from the start, that it should’ve had a different name.

    • Kazin August 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Nah. Honestly, I think consumers are just stupid. I work in the service industry, and the number of people that come in that are just ignorant and assuming entitlement at best, mentally deficient and belligerent at worst (sometimes all four) is just astronomical. I have friends who work in retail at places that sell gaming consoles and their ilk, and they tell me similar stories.

      So, no, I don’t think Nintendo did a bad job marketing. They chose poorly when it came time to choose a name, yes, but it all boils down to laziness in most cases. People don’t want to do their research. If I’m going to purchase anything that costs more than dinner at a restaurant – about around $20 or so – I do my research beforehand to make sure I’m getting the right thing and it’s worth spending my money on.

      Most people have that mindset that they can be educated by someone when they get to the store because, y’know, why spend a few minutes on the internet doing some research?

      • Ramon Aranda August 24, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        LOL good call.

      • Jeff Stimson August 25, 2013 at 7:21 AM

        All that may be true, the general consumer is not a rocket scientist. Nintendo must know this (as should any maker of consumer goods) and market accordingly.

        So yes, the consumer may be an idiot, but it’s still Nintendo’s fault to not take that into account and make an obvious differentiation between the Wii and Wii U.

        Personal opinion? The Wii U could have used another year of development before release. Some bumps in the hardware specs, more work on the user interface, and with actual 1st tier games available on release would have prevented a lot of the problems they have now.

  • o0RECON0o August 24, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    I think its cause of the big price difference and that the games look pretty much the same as the wii. That and the lack of games out for it. and that most people that bought the wii are no longer “casual” gamers, they have gone “hardcore by now, meaning xbox or playstation. It could also be that their wii sat there doing nothing. could also be the speed at which games are release, and the variety, I mean how many “Nintendo” charachter games and remakes of them are there going to be??? Or remakes of old games that people already bought and played? I mean come on! talk about making your system stale right at the get go. I mean seriously, if your going to spend that kind of money on a system, why not put it towards a true next gen experience and tech?!? Nintendo needs to stop creating last gen tech and selling it as next gen, people are not stupid! Obviously!

  • Tom August 24, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    If you look at the amazing success, buzz and interest the PS4 is having (even before launch!), there is clearly a huge appetite for a cutting edge powerful next gen console from the core gamer. Also the PS4 (and Xbox1) also have an incredible line up of blockbuster launch games like Watch_Dogs, Battlefield 4, Killzone, FIFA, COD Ghosts, etc… But the Wii U is neither cutting edge or powerful or very cheap, and does not have very many ‘killer app’ games. The Wii was a massive success because it appealed to the casual gamer (little kids and casual adult gamers who have moved onto mobile), they need to try an appeal to this audience again, the millions of core gamers who bought a PS3/Xbox360 are going to buy a PS4 (and Xbox1) in their masses. Unfortunately for Nintendo, given the huge pre-orders that Sony has got with the PS4, it is almost certain the PS4 to outsell the entire Wii U user base within few weeks after launch.

  • haruhisailormars August 25, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    I am in the UK and I would say this is partly the reason. They have only ever heavily marketed Lego City. I saw some posters and an advert of Pikmin, but I would say marketing is partially the problem. It was clear from the start Wii U was a confusing name. But when the masses know Wii U is a new console I think things will look up.

    I also don’t think Microsoft or Sony are in for an easy ride either. Microsoft most notably because it remains to be seen if the backpedaling of these used game restrictions are going down well. Xbox One could also cause it’s own market confusion.

    I have always expected Wii U to have a bumpy ride and it likely won’t ever get the success Wii got but I don’t think it will be as bad as many naysayers are claiming.

  • Ryan Bates August 25, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    We live in a society where dumb is in. The stupidization of America is in.

    There has been an aggressive campaign in gaming launched by Sony and Microsoft (probably unconsciously but together) to make this a two-party campaign and it simply hasn’t happened yet. Nintendo has been stuck in a downward spiral and with the rare exception of gamer-friendly companies like Ubisoft, everyone else has been putting their foot over the hole.

  • Parko August 26, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    I think both reasons presented are part of the problem. Despite Nintendo making it clear to the avid gamer that the Wii U is a new console, the general consumer likely just doesn’t see the difference. I blame that on Nintendo heavily marketing most of their Wii software with the Wii branding such as Wii Fit, Wii Music, Wii Party, Wii Sports, etc. Now, consumers see Wii U and think: “Oh great, another expensive add-on for my Wii.”

    Of course, that’s just the way I see it and maybe it’s because people just aren’t interested in the Wii U.

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