Speaking to Gamasutra, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said the launch of the Wii U won’t be to compete against Microsoft and its next-generation Xbox console. Instead, Nintendo says it’s competing with the tablet market
Nintendo launches the Wii U by the end of 2012, according to Iwata, but it’s not being positioned as just a console
Picture: The White Wii U Pro Controller – a copycat or cool design?
Given we’re past the halfway points of 2012, and Nintendo is launching its Wii U console by the end of 2012, we don’t know when it’s releasing or for how much. And we still don’t know the specifics, but Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata insists the console isn’t competing with Microsoft’s and Sony’s next-generation gaming consoles, even though they haven’t been announced.
Iwata said the market, now, is different to when the Wii launched in 2005: mobile devices hadn’t exploded, and certainly weren’t popular gaming devices and an alternative to gaming consoles and PCs. We’re seeing the tablet market growing rapidly, with Google and Microsoft launching the Nexus 7 and Surface respectively. Smartphones have also proven to be a great, portable, gaming device and an alternative to Nintendo’s 3DS and soon-to-be-released 3DS XL.
On the 3DS, Iwata said the losses made on the handheld will be gone soon. The company cut the prices of the device to sub-$200, because consumers weren’t buying the product, and launched titles such as Super Mario 3D Land and bundles with exclusive colors, such as the white 3D Land bundle.
Iwata admitted Nintendo sold hardware below the manufacturing cost, and 2012 will see the return to profitability. The Nintendo 3DS XL – featuring two 4-inch screens and a redesign – launches August 19 in the U.S., and this Saturday in Europe.
It’s an important lesson for Nintendo because the company has to balance profitability and value for consumers, otherwise there will be people priced out of the console. And considering there’s the knowledge of other next-generation consoles, almost certainly going to be announced at E3 next year, so from a consumer’s perspective Nintendo has to convince potential buyers.
Bundle are key for Nintendo: the Wii demonstrate launching a simple title like Wii Sports, that’s accessible, can create an image among consumers for the console. What’s the Wii U’s image? Negative press, judging by the post-E3 reactions from media.