Published on August 17th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Editorial: Three Reasons Nintendo Could Hurt Wii U Sales by Launching on Black Friday
With E3 2012 behind us, gamescom underway and PAX Prime emerging on the horizon, the rumor mill has been churning on high.
We’ve had our fair share of hands-on with the next-gen Nintendo console. We’ve played a good amount of launch titles and stand impressed with the current offering of games. It is the rule of thumb in the console world that: software moves hardware. Look at what we saw with slumping PlayStation 3 sales. Well that and the fact that it took two months’ salary and the promise of your first-born to obtain the expensive console at launch. Case and point: the PlayStation Vita.
While the Nintendo Wii U is playing in a totally different league than that of Microsoft or Sony, it is looking to content with the other two big-ballers. So, how does a company that blew sales out of the water with its “gimmicky” motion controlled console strike gold again?
Be the first to break ground.
The rumors have been flying that the dual-screened gaming console will launch on Nov. 23, 2012 — Black Friday. This is both awesome and worrisome for anyone wanting to simply buy one. So, what could go wrong for Nintendo if it goes ahead with the post-Thanksgiving launch?
1. Wii Don’t Know What to do with U
I don’t think Nintendo has ever had the landscape that it currently does in a given economic situation. Sure it’s been on top of both the handheld and console gaming market at the same time. This time, it’s got online retailers, Craigslisters and regular chain stores hanging on to the idea that the Nintendo Wii is still a contender in the current console landscape. They’ve stocked up and probably house the console as they would any other. Now, they’ve got to scrap their entire quantities of current product and get ready to slam it full of Nintendo Wii U jargon so that customers aren’t confused. There is no doubt they will be.
It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a child to explain the Wii, or video games for that matter, to parents. It was quite a hurdle to explain to friends and family what a remote and nunchuk was and how they worked. Most titles won’t necessarily utilize the Wii U Gamepad and just the remote combo. I can only imagine the lengthy conversation some poor sap is going to have to blurt in an attempt inform person-after-person about this fabulous new console–which sort of the same, only better.
2. Wii Know You Want Mii
Most people might not remember a few years back when the Wii launched. I sauntered into my local gaming store and purchased the console without so much as someone breaking wind in my general direction. After taking the console home and getting my roommates hooked on bowling, there was no doubt that it was going to be a hit. Even with its underpowered hardware, I could foresee the possibilities that motion controlled games could offer.
After a successful launch, many retailers began to feel the pinch as replenishment was slow to come. The console further increased in popularity as advertisements and word-of-mouth references circulated on how great Wii Sports really was. This led to increasing demand by both consumers to retailers wanting the shelves to be filled, and kids to their parents, who probably drove them up a wall that holiday season. I’m sure little Janie and Billy will understand when you come home empty handed after camping out for seven hours straight. Kids don’t throw fits, right?
Now, rumors have been floating about the Wii U costing somewhere around US $300, but is able to use all of the old Wii hardware/software and sells itself as a having a tablet PC-like experience. Not only that, not all titles we’ve seen prance around the interwebs will be available at launch. It looks like we might have another shortage right in the midst of the busiest shopping time of the year and could happen with both hardware and/or software.
3. Wii Want U, but Wii Don’t Have Much
It’s bad enough to hear: “Well, we just got a Wii. Now, they’re coming out with another one?!” I’ve heard this comment countless times. So, what do you do when a new console debuts? Why, sell your old one of course!
This is often times the solution for those who are hard up on cash and can’t afford to drop three Benjamins on a whim. Cashing in your old console can come in many forms. As mentioned before, Craigslist is a viable option in this day and age for those wanting to turn their junk into cash with minimal effort. With a console launching as big as the Wii U, what happens to all of the older Wii consoles? They end up like the GameCube and line shelves of gaming stores across the nation in the “do not want” pile.
My gaming room is filled with both consoles and games. In my later gaming years, I found that it was hard to part with a lot of the titles that I now owned. Sure, I used to head down to my local GameStop and pawn off a couple of titles for that shiny new one. I can say that my money is more important than ever, being that it’s mine and there’s not a lot of it, but I cherish what I own. Having to trade in a console is tough–trust me I’ve done it–but it helps get the newer and prettier one.
There is no doubt that a console boasting backwards compatibility for software AND hardware is going to make some folks ditch their old Wii’s faster than shares of a Chik-fil-A stock. Now, used game stores will be filled with Wii consoles, further driving down the trade in value of your now useless console.
Whether the Wii U will destroy prior Black Friday sales is still up in the air. Nintendo might have pulled the biggest hype shuck and jive with its efforts to inflate talk about the console, but I’d fall for it every time. I purchased my Nintendo 3DS on launch, which has its own gripes from a not so potent start.