In an English translation of last week’s Q&A briefing, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto says the company managed to overcome the challenges of releasing enough first party games on Wii U. He does not believe that there is a lack of first party titles on Wii U, and he says Wii U’s software does not lack appeal because critics have praised them for their high quality. Miyamoto gives an example of how Metacritic gave a top score for “Super Mario 3D World”.
“With Wii U, however, we released, along with the hardware, “New Super Mario Bros. U,” as well as “Nintendo Land,” which was a very unique proposition. If you look beyond, we also released a new installment in the Pikmin series after a long interval, and we also had “Super Mario 3D World” at the end of last year. By the end of this year, we will have “Mario Kart 8,” as well as “Super Smash Bros.” Therefore, I feel that we have managed to overcome the challenge of releasing enough first-party franchises on Wii U. Also, despite their sales falling below our expectations so far, I do not think that these games were not well-received because they lacked appeal. We received a top score for “Super Mario 3D World” from Metacritic, a site which gives weighted average scores for games, at the end of last year, and our games are highly praised for their quality.”
Shigeru Miyamoto says that Nintendo failed to communicate the high quality of their products to children and parents. From now on, the theme of children and parents will become their focus with future Wii U marketing.
“Our biggest downfall last year was that we failed to communicate the true value of Wii U, failed to make children persuade their parents to buy our products for them, and failed to offer products that parents could not resist. What we can do about it from now on is our theme.”
Nintendo released plenty of first party Wii U software in 2013, but did they release the “right” software to boost hardware sales? That’s the million dollar question that we need to ask. Aside from “Super Mario 3D World”, did most of Nintendo’s first party games like “Game & Wario”,”The Wonderful 101″, and “Pikmin 3” have huge mass appeal outside of Japan?
When you read the most recent Q&A with Shigeru Miyamoto, he mentions how “Cat Mario” is becoming popular in Japan. You can see how “Cat Mario” was designed for a Japanese audience. Maybe that’s the problem right there. They keep designing everything (software and hardware) to appeal to Japanese children, and they become surprised when children in the west (North America, Europe, Australia) don’t see the same appeal. They design everything with a Japanese mentality, and they hope it will become accepted globally outside of Japan.
If the problem isn’t the quantity or quality of Wii U’s first party software, then why is Nintendo struggling to communicate Wii U’s appeal to children and parents? Is this strictly a marketing issue, or is it something else? I’d love to hear your comments.