The Wii U has not been doing well. By all accounts, Nintendo’s attempt to recapture the lightning in a bottle that was the success of the Wii has fallen flat. Nintendo recently announced its third consecutive operating loss, coming in at $457 million. According to IGN, the Wii U sold 2.7 million units in the past fiscal year, after lowering its projections for the year from 9 million units to 2.8 million. The sales bring total to 6.17 million units sold since the console’s release in November of 2012. To put that into context, the PS4 has sold 7 million units since its release a year later in November of 2013. Clearly, things aren’t working out.
In my opinion, they should just abandon the thing. I sense that they were going for innovation with the screen controller thing, but the problem is that they answered a question that no one asked. Unlike the original Wiimote, the GamePad does not draw in casual consumers excited by the concept of motion control. The Wii sold so well because, even if the novelty quickly wore off, a lot of demographics could have fun with it. People who usually ignored video games had Wiis in their homes to play Just Dance or Wii Sports. A lot of parents bought Wiis because it was a much cheaper (and family-friendly) way to entertain their children, compared to the other consoles. It appears that Nintendo thought that by introducing another new controller, along with a year jump on the competition, would lead to record-breaking sales and everyone drowning in money.
I don’t really think Nintendo will leave the Wii U by the side of the road, penniless and alone. But in order to salvage the situation, they’re going to need a real blockbuster exclusive. I’m talking a real big fish. I don’t think Mario Kart 8 is that game, but it will certainly help things along. Maybe the new Super Smash Bros. can do the job. It better, because I can’t think of another game coming out for the Wii U that could possibly be a draw. And that is the most damaging evidence of all.