It’d be fair to say that Nintendo are disappointed that it has proven such a challenge to build sales momentum behind Wii U.
As to why it’s proven so hard, Shigeru Miyamoto has already discussed how the price point “ended up getting a little higher” than Nintendo wanted. But he feels that was only part of the story, as, if it had enough appeal, consumers would have still bought it regardless of price.
Instead, he suggested that “perhaps people didn’t understand the system,” and that Nintendo hadn’t anticipated that tablets would emerge and evolve in the marketplace as rapidly as they did.
“I don’t think it’s just price, because if the system is appealing enough, people will buy it even if the price is a little bit high,” Miyamoto discussed in an interview with NPR.
“I think with Wii U, our challenge was that perhaps people didn’t understand the system. But also I think that we had a system that’s very unique – and, particularly with video game systems, typically it takes the game system a while to boot up. And we thought that with a tablet-type functionality connected to the system, you could have the rapid boot-up of tablet-type functionality, you could have the convenience of having that touch control with you there on the couch while you’re playing on a device that’s connected to the TV, and it would be a very unique system that could introduce some unique styles of play.”
He continued, “I think unfortunately what ended up happening was that tablets themselves appeared in the marketplace and evolved very, very rapidly, and unfortunately the Wii system launched at a time where the uniqueness of those features were perhaps not as strong as they were when we had first begun developing them.
But their disappointment with Wii U hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm to try “to do unique and different things,” and they’re working hard to make sure that NX, their “next home console,” has the chance to “be a very big hit.”
“So what I think is unique about Nintendo is we’re constantly trying to do unique and different things,” Miyamoto explained. “Sometimes they work, and sometimes they’re not as big of a hit as we would like to hope. After Wii U, we’re hoping that next time it will be a very big hit.
“So this with Super Mario Maker and being able to design levels on the touchscreen in your hand while watching on the big screen, and with games like Star Fox Zero where the big screen represents sort of a movie-like experience, but with the gamepad and the gamepad screen in your hands, you’re able to play a video game simultaneously with the excitement of these cinematic scenes happening on the TV.
“And I think that’s going to give people a lot of excitement, and I’m hoping that people will be looking forward to playing those games on Wii U in the fall.”