Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata just wrapped up an interview with Nikkei, and courtesy of NeoGAF user StreetsAhead, we’ve got the translations. Among the questions Iwata answered, he touched on the very hot topic of the Wii U’s apparently disappointing sales, as compared to the Wii. Hit the jump to see what Iwata had to say.
It’s no secret that the Wii U isn’t selling as fast at launch as the Wii did, but then again, what system has? The Wii’s initial success was absolutely phenomenal, and Iwata doesn’t believe a comparison is relevant.
I don’t think there’s much point comparing the weekly numbers to the Wii, or the weekly numbers themselves. Worrying and rejoicing each week is something we can’t avoid. On the subject of the reaction to the Wii U, there are still things we must do, things we must overcome. That’s what we’re waiting on. I think it will take a little time for our customers to understand the Wii U.
Lack of understanding the Wii U’s basic concept is definitely a significant issue in selling the console. I’ve found that the general gaming population either doesn’t know what the Wii U is, or doesn’t see an immediate need for it. That said, once they’ve gotten some hands-on time with the system, most people just get it. It’s a tough sale, because in order to truly make people understand the experience, they have to play it for themselves. Iwata likened this to the Nintendo DS.
[The initial reaction to the DS] was terrible. The DS began with sentiments like ‘Has Nintendo lost the plot?’ and ‘have they gotten that desperate?’. When the PSP released, no one thought that the DS would succeed. That was the narrative at the time, but when things like Brain Training and the DS Lite came out, that changed. Afterward, people thought, ‘Ah, so that’s what that was, huh?’.
The Wii was an exception. With the Wii, the DS Boom was in full force, and we were able to show off the tennis demo using the Wii Remote Controller, and it was a simple concept for everyone, one that could be understood immediately.
We were really lucky, but at that exact time, the popularity of large-screen flat panel TVs was increasing, and the living room space opened up a little bit. We had a really strong wind behind us (luck) and we didn’t have to work particularly hard to send our message.
While the Wii may have been a simple concept from the start, the DS would ultimately go on to be the most successful console of all time, selling well over 150 million units to date. It can be frustrating when a concept takes a while to really sink in, but if Nintendo can find ways to make the Wii U click with people like they did with the DS, the potential for something great is there.