Wii U Sales Slack in January; Hardware Struggling

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The Xbox 360 sold 281,000 units in the traditionally slow month of January. By comparison, the Wii U found less than 100,000 units appearing in homes within the same period.

UbiSoft held back their edition of Rayman Legends for the Wii U, the only notable software for the console in the near future. That leaves a few months of next to nothing for the dry Wii U, but this is not out of the ordinary. Ask early 3DS adopters how they felt at this point in the console’s life. Nintendo had to put it on pricing life support out of desperation. Those tactics seem to have worked, but alongside an outstanding line-up of software. Now, the platform has matured, and is – arguably of course – one of the brightest pieces of current hardware.

So where does that leave the Wii U? Struggling sure, but so is this sector of the industry. People like to expect the same things: The Wii did well, so the Wii U should. The 3DS had a quick price drop, so the Wii U should. History does not always repeat itself, nor should it.

Should Nintendo be worried? Absolutely. When your hardware fails to take off out of the gate when hype is the highest, you need to take a step back. Maybe marketing is failing, and maybe it is the lack of software. The Wii U is a fun console, but if no one knows it, no one will care. Despite seemingly moving towards round two rather quickly, this is the point where Nintendo needs to go in guns firing. They still have a few months to E3 when the competition will reveal all, sapping further energy.

The gaming populace is disinterested. They buy the units at launch, and apparently, did not in the expected droves. That leaves your casual players, those looking for a little more out of the basic Wii. Target them hard. They do not need a beefy hardware selection, just general titles when they plunk down the cash. They don’t need software prospects either.

Gamers will come with games. More casual players will soak in the Wii U as a social platform, weird tablet, and secondary device. That is the missing market in the immediate future.

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