Marketing – Wii U First US Commercial (2012)
Well Nintendo finally kicked off its marketing blitz with their first Wii U full length commercial today titled, “How U Will Play Next.” Video game launches can be special events especially if they are big franchises such as next week’s Halo 4 or Call of Duty Black Ops 2 due the week after but I have to admit the only thing more exciting is new hardware. The Wii has been by far the most bought system this console cycle but if one looks at sales charts it was massively front loaded selling like hot cakes in the first few years and then basically falling off a cliff the past two years allowing Microsoft’s Xbox 360 to surge ahead in North America (although it still lags behind the Wii in total units sold). Globally there is still no contest as the Wii will end the current console cycle number one worldwide.
Still, with the Wii U, Nintendo officially begins the next generation cycle, one which is sure to intensify once Microsoft and Sony probably release their new hardware next year or early 2014. Nintendo is not exactly in a great position right now as it has been bleeding money the past few quarters due to slower than expected uptake of the 3DS and a total tanking of Wii hardware and software sales.
Although the NPD group releases press releases detailing system sales it doesn’t give raw numbers anymore but judging from press from the various console manufacturers and third party sources which usually leak information the Wii’s current problems in North America have it lagging far behind. While this is to be expected as consumers ignore the old hardware and await the Wii U it also places Nintendo in a bind as current sales collapse in anticipation of the new unit. Numbers from September 2012 for North America have the Xbox 360 selling around 270,000 units to 200,000 for the PS3 and a mere 80K for the Wii.
Looking at total software sales the numbers are just as bleak with the 360 pulling in over 36 million units sold which is about 7% above 2011 totals while the Wii has sold 19.8 million which is about 17% less than 2011.
However, while there is no doubt the Wii U will sell out this holiday season the proof of its success won’t come until analysts can see if the high volume of sales will continue into the first few quarters of next year. At the same time it doesn’t mean sales of the Xbox 360 or the PS3 will suddenly crater either although they have been slowing down at a rather alarming rate. You can bet many retailers are going to have some nice Black Friday/Boxing Day sales for both these consoles as well.
The Wii U is certainly a big gamble with its new tablet controller that initially had some journalists confused into thinking it was nothing more than an add-on for the Wii. Nintendo better get its marketing right by showcasing the Wii U as a new console and hope that the majority of consumers do not get the wrong idea that it is a peripheral. While that might sound like it is obvious to most video game diehards the very fact that big media outlets like CNN got the information incorrect on its reveal is proof enough that Nintendo cannot afford to lose control of its message.
© 2012 The Galactic Pillow
Wii U First US Commercial: