The latest Wii U numbers are out, and they’re ugly. The Wii U has had trouble gaining any traction since its launch last year, and now, with the huge success of the PS4 and Xbox One launches, things are looking worse than ever. At this point, Nintendo’s best outlook appears to be simply breaking even on the system. But they’ll be able to do a bit better than that if they follow these 5 steps:
5.) Cut the price to $200
I know Nintendo just cut the Wii U by $50 only a few months ago, but that only brought the premium system down to the price point of the former Basic model. It didn’t feel like a true price cut as they were simply taking the cheaper model (Basic) and giving its price point to the more expensive one (Deluxe). I believe a real price drop of a $100 from the original $300 will have the Wii U flying off the shelf.
Earlier this year, CNN Money estimated that it cost Nintendo $228 to manufacture the now-defunct Basic 8GB Model of the Wii U. Of course, this doesn’t factor in things like packaging and shipping and whatnot, but it does ultimately add up to a loss for Nintendo with each console sold.
Keep in mind though that these numbers are almost a year old now; Nintendo has surely reduced the overall cost of manufacturing each Wii U. Pricing it at $200 wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. They’d still be eating money with each machine, but would likely make a profit on the sale of a game or two. And besides, they’re already eating money with the console just sitting there. At least this way the machine will get into more households.
4.) Change the Name
No company has ever done this, but if ever there were a time to do so in gaming history, it would be now. Nintendo has had major trouble getting people to understand the difference between the Wii and Wii U. By changing the name, Nintendo would not only be making a bold move, but also help clear the air as to what each machine is.
This would also allow Nintendo to change their marketing strategy with the machine. Instead of this, “Mom and Dad, I want Wii U” type of campaign, they could switch it up and reel in a whole new consumer base. I’m not saying they should abandon their family-friendly model, but it wouldn’t hurt to tap into other avenues of the gaming culture to broaden their appeal.
A name change would also create a beautiful distraction for the stinkjob that Wii U has performed thus far. They could start with a teaser campaign that alludes to a name change. This would cause a lot of excitement as most people in general aren’t fans of the name. Then in a big Nintendo Direct, they could unveil the name and emphasize its new goal over the course of 30 minutes to an entire hour. Whatever the name would be and its new goals, Nintendo would put themselves back in the headlines for the time being, and generate buzz around the system, all the while saving themselves millions on R&D for a new machine.
3.) Get a new Bundle Game
Nintendo, nobody wants NintendoLand, and Super Mario Bros. U doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. Obviously, they’re trying to make lightning strike twice with a bundled game that demonstrates the system’s capabilities.
Back in 2006, Wii Sports almost single-handedly won the console war for Nintendo. It was fun, basic, and showed everyone what the Wii was all about: easy-to-use motion controls that were about bringing family and friends together. NintendoLand is a series of fun mini-games, but really doesn’t show you what’s so awesome about Wii U. It demonstrates some of the GamePad’s capabilities like shooting arrows on it and having them travel to the TV screen, but it’s nothing like Wii Sports was and has failed to create that same craze we witnessed over seven years ago.
Nintendo needs to scrap NintendoLand and Super Mario Bros. U and replace it with a more appealing title; the ZombiU and Wind Waker HD bundles were met with favor. How about trying some new titles like Pikmin 3, the upcoming Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, or that little Mario Kart 8 title we’ve all been hearing about?
Or they could just go all-in and unveil a Pokemon Wii U Bundle.
2.) Release the Pokemon MMO
Who knows what the hell is going on Dragon Quest X, so why not fill that fill that void and release the Pokemon MMO? Nintendo could capitalize on the massive success that Pokemon has seen on its portable platforms and bring some much needed revenue from a massive IP with monthly subscriptions.
Imagine battling players around the world and joining other guilds with a plethora of Pokemon, more of which are added regularly over time. You could traverse a wide open world going on quests, growing and trading monsters along the way, or enter a Battle Arena and show the world who is the true Pokemon Master. I don’t even play Pokemon and I’d be in line day one for that.
With a Pokemon MMO, Nintendo could kill two birds with one stone: prove that they’re not totally clueless about online play and demonstrate the uniqueness of the MiiVerse, and prove that MMOs can be successful outside of the PC. On top of that, they’d make a killing in sales, and better yet, since they own the Pokemon IP, they wouldn’t have to share any of the money.
Come on Nintendo, release it. It’s time.
1.) Improve connectivity with 3DS
We’ve been teased with this idea for a long time now. Miyamoto has expressed interest in the idea, but it is still slow to reveal itself. We’ve seen Sonic: The Lost World implement some features by allowing you to customize vehicles on the 3Ds and transfer them to the Wii U. Then we heard how Ripstone is developing a game that will allow Wii U and 3DS users to play against mobile phone users. But we’ve yet to see anything really substantial.
How about letting players transfer their 3DS games onto their Wii U GamePad? Why not let Smash Bros. players play each other across the two systems? Wouldn’t it be cool if your eShop purchases on the Virtual Console were playable on both machines? These are great ideas that are already being explored by Sony with Vita Remote Play and PlayStation Now, and it’s been successful, and for the latter, is currently being hyped through the roof. Nintendo needs to start tapping into this market.