Nintendo President Satoru Iwata: I Am Not Satisfied With Wii U’s Performance
Nintendo acknowledges Wii U’s failure.
The Wii U is a wonderful console- it has some great, amazing ideas, it has a community like nothing else, it has so much charm and character, it’s sturdy and reliable, it produces some gorgeous looking games, and it may just have the best library of any dedicated games machine on the market right now.
That said, it is also a resounding failure: in 2 years, it has sold 9.2 million units worldwide. To put that in perspective, it is tracking worse than the PS3, worse than the Gamecube, and it currently has not even surpassed the Dreamcast or Saturn’s lifetime sales. The system has failed to appeal to the market, which first was confused by Nintendo’s muddled messaging around the product, and then didn’t care about the product once it became clear what it was.
This situation is not lost on Satoru Iwata, the current president of Nintendo. Speaking to TIME in an exclusive interview, he said, “Certainly I’m not satisfied with the current situation.” However, he did add that while the Wii U may have failed to become the go to primary console this generation- something that every single Nintendo system previously had accomplished to some degree- it still held appeal as a secondary console. “It may not be [people’s] first console of choice, but they recognize it as perhaps the best second console.”
For Nintendo to come out and outright acknowledge the Wii U’s failure is a big deal. The company has a proud, stubborn corporate culture, where it has never in the past even once admitted that it had gone wrong – its one true failure before the Wii U, Virtual Boy, was quickly buried and relegated to footnotes entirely – so this heralds a change of some sort at Nintendo. Certainly, it seems to indicate that Nintendo is not as insular as one might have thought, and that they are aware of the Wii U’s failure, and doing their best to avoid it.
Whether or not Nintendo’s mysterious new machine – codenamed the NX, due for a full reveal next year – turns around the company’s recent momentum in the console market remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, however. All eyes are now, yet again, on Nintendo.