Nintendo has realized that the wider market it tapped with the Wii doesn’t understand new console generations, and they didn’t make it any easier by keeping the Wii look and just tacking a “U” onto the end of the name. It’s good that they’ve realized the problem, but that doesn’t make their current efforts to fix it less embarrassing.
In a Christmas season dominated by talk of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, Nintendo is quick to remind people that they, too, have a new system on the shelf. What’s new about it? Well… it’s in HD? Oh, right, HD isn’t exactly new. Well, it’s not quite as outdated as the Wii? It has a touch screen controller?
Therein lies the marketing problem with the Wii U: it doesn’t have the same kind of immediately recognizable gimmick as the Wii, so it basically just comes off as a technologically outdated system.
According to Polygon, Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iwata, is all too aware of the problem, saying, “Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii. We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product.”
Of course, being aware of the problem is only the first step, and it’s extremely hard to watch a commercial try to explain what the console even is when it’s been out for a full year.
We’re big Nintendo fans here, and we hope things turn around soon, but a commercial like this is not going to do anything other than make us cringe. Nintendo needs to show people a game experience they can’t live without if they want to sell this console, and they need to do it fast.
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