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UK retailers call for Nintendo support as Wii U falters

UK retailers concerned about Wii U sales have called on Nintendo to act now in order to avoid a repeat of the GameCube, which ended up playing third fiddle to PS2 and the original Xbox.

Wii U has made an underwhelming start at retail and the competition is only going to get stronger when Sony and Microsoft launch their new consoles, both of which are expected to arrive this year.

Amazon, Walmart-owned supermarket chain Asda, and specialist retailers ShopTo and GameStop have all cut the Wii U price in the UK in a bid to drive sales, but the move doesn’t appear to have had the desired effect, at least in some quarters.

A source described as a top buyer at one of the UK’s biggest games retailers told MCV their company is planning to cut shelf space dedicated to Wii U. “Their mix of sales is down. We are looking to reduce slightly but must admit their silence on strategy is deafening at the moment. They’ve got to do something otherwise it is GameCube all over again.”

Meanwhile, ShopTo purchasing director James Rowson said the retailer’s decision to cut the Wii U price “has resulted in a smaller than desired increase in sales at this stage”.

For its part, a Nintendo UK representative said the company will meet directly with retail partners “over the next few weeks to take them through our plans for building Wii U momentum over the course of 2013”, adding: “We have a strong and broad line-up of software launching this year and we look forward to updating – and exciting – our retail partners over the coming weeks.”

In January, Nintendo cut its Wii U sales forecast for the business year ending March 31, 2013 from 5.5 million units to four million, but president Satoru Iwata expressly ruled out the possibility of the company itself introducing a Wii U price cut to boost momentum, noting: "With Wii U, we have taken a rather resolute stance in pricing it below its manufacturing cost, so we are not planning to perform a markdown. I would like to make this point absolutely clear.”

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13 comments

  • talleyXIV - March 24, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    I love mine but I have to say that their advertising is horrible. Most of my friends think the Wii U is an add-on for the Wii because they simply added U and the console itself looks almost exactly like the Wii. I'm really saddened by this because the console truly is amazing and I can see it standing up next to PS4 and Xbox-. It actually has a really good network system this time around, great graphics, and easily the best first-party development company in the business by far (Zelda, Mario, Kirby, Metroid are amazing exclusives). They need to get some games rolling, show the new Zelda/Mario/Yoshi/Kirby/SUPER SMASH BROS. quick and release whatever you have ready Pikmin 3... because there is not a lot of incentive for people to find out what this console really is.
  • sxh967 - March 23, 2013 7:01 p.m.

    Yeh one of my mates the other day actually asked me what the Wii U is the other day. He was under the impression that it was an add-on to the original Wii. I know he's not super into gaming but he does represent a sizeable portion of the UK market - people who might buy into it but don't really know what it is. Nintendo have been good with names up until now. They have made the name either similar but easily distinguishable, or completely different. They either make it similar but clearly show that it is better: Nintendo Entertainment System? --> SUPPPPEERRR Nintendo Entertainment System. Gameboy ? ---> Gameboy Colour! ... ----> Gameboy Advance! Or they just completely change the name so you don't get confused: Nintendo 64... ? ---> Nintendo Gamecube! ... Nintendo Wii! And then.. Nintendo Wii! ... U? What? If you look at it like this, and consider together with it the very confusing advertising, you can imagine a lot of people not knowing exactly what the Wii U is. However, if we are to give people more credit (they can't be that slow to catch on) then they do know what the Wii U is. That means that they just aren't interested! It's OK if the consumers aren't buying it because they don't know what it is. This can be remedied via a great ad campaign and promotions in busy shopping areas (like the one in Bullring in Bham, UK). If the consumers just don't give a shit... then we're stuck with a pretty big problem. I don't want any of the consoles to fail (because that just means Sony and Microsoft wouldn't need to try as hard) but if it isn't going to sell... it isn't going to sell..
  • JnRx - March 22, 2013 11:45 a.m.

    Nintendo is king of handhelds, but comes up short when it comes to consoles.
  • heznave1 - March 22, 2013 4:29 a.m.

    Nintendo is dying a slow and painful death which will only be exacerbated when the new sony and Msoft consoles launch. Zelda is the only thing that keeps me hanging on by a thread of hope
  • MeanwhileGuy - March 22, 2013 1:50 a.m.

    Can't say I'm surprised. In my opinion Nintendo made a huge mistake by making what is basically an updated Wii with current-gen specs and a tablet controller that no one seems to know how to use. All the family and casuals already have a Wii, so maybe they're just not seeing the point of getting something that's A) currently more expensive, and B) doesn't have as many games. I'm pretty confident in saying that once the PS4 and Nextbox roll around (assuming Microsoft doesn't go down the "always online" route), the Wii U will be absolutely curb-stomped.
  • Rub3z - March 21, 2013 11:14 p.m.

    *Reads article* *Reads comments* *Sheepishly adds comment to the thread, saying:* Me, over here in the corner, saying I'm glad I got a Wii U... h-hello? Anybody?
  • punkjames - March 21, 2013 9:14 p.m.

    past the launch I have heard and seen pretty much nothing at all about it other then all the two year old ports that keep getting announced. once they start making brand new games that show off what it can do then maybe it will start selling
  • Talvari - March 21, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    Naming the console anything else would have helped with a lot of confusion that happened earlier on. I suspect with monster hunter coming out sales would have picked up a reasonable amount with the bundle and such. I know a lot of people were waiting for it before they bought their wii u. Just wait for a big name title to arrive and the sales will rise etc etc. Shame people are too hung over on the Wii U "not being next-gen" and only having as much power as X360 and PS3. Oh well, Monster Hunter is a game that'll keep me occupied for this year if nothing good comes out xD
  • Redeater - March 21, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    Are you seriously trying to tell me they are having trouble selling a console that still only has the same 5-6 launch games almost half a year after launch?
  • Unoriginal - March 21, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    I really want to want this system.
  • JarkayColt - March 21, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    I really don't think it helps that I have pretty much seen ZERO WiiU advertisement effort here in the UK. That's not to say it's nonexistent...but Nintendo really ought to come out with something like the 3DS's "This is not DS" campaign to increase exposure. Because, surprise surprise, some people still don't know the difference.
  • BladedFalcon - March 21, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Who's surprised??? *doesn't raise hand*
  • Tjwoods18 - March 21, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    Hand over more games for emulation and I'll think about it.

Showing 1-13 of 13 comments

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