Analysts See Nintendo Wii U as Mixed Bag

Success of Nintendo Wii U Not Cast on Stone

by Anton Shilov
06/09/2011 | 08:02 PM

Nintendo Wii U will be more technologically advanced and more expensive than the original Wii console. But will the non-gamer part of the audience buy the novelty? Many financial analysts believe that Nintendo should have brought more innovations with the new system, which is why the company's stock is down. But some others believe in success if the Wii U.


"It is unclear who Nintendo is targeting with the Wii U and where it wants to go. The new machine doesn't ease growing concerns about prospects for specialized game consoles like the Wii, when many people play games on their smartphones. The bar for a new console is a lot higher now than it was when the first Wii went on the market," said Yusuke Tsunoda, an analyst with Tokai Tokyo Research Center, in a brief interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Other market observers believe that Nintendo has created an ultimate system that will be successful almost inevitably.

“Nintendo has done it again! Staying with their core strategy of being original, Nintendo has announced a truly revolutionary product. [...] I have seen it and played it and I must say I was blown away by the Wii U's capabilities. The Wii U is truly the best of both core and casual interactive entertainment. I have absolutely no doubt the Wii U will be a commercial success," said Jesse Divnich of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, in an interview with IndustryGamers web-site.

A fruit that will keep the current users of the Wii with the U flavour is simple: all the simplistic controllers and games for the Wii will work on the new machine. Logically, there will be games released for both Wii and Wii U for the next several years. A major problem is that Nintendo's Wii game console recently ceased to be a major source of income for many publishers, which is why new games for the original Wii will only be made by Nintendo itself, which will also target Wii U as well. Therefore, it will again, compete against third-party developers on the next-gen side.

"I don't really see Nintendo's strategy yet. There are concerns that it may turn out to be expensive with the touch-screen controller," said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, a Tokyo-based market analyst and chief executive of Investrust, in a conversation with the WSJ.

The situation remains unclear with the ports. If the Wii U is more expensive than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, what is the point for a hardcore gamer to get Nintendo's next-generation machine? Fans of the platform will get both device and titles, but it is hardly something Nintendo wants.

“I have only one concern, the ports. Unfortunately, now Nintendo is offering a console that would allow the content developed for the PS3 and Xbox 360 to be ported over to the Wii U. While Nintendo announced core content such as Darksiders II and Batman, I highly doubt either will be successful on the platform. They will be profitable, no doubt, due to the minimal costs to port content between systems, but I doubt any ported content will ever break the top 5 on the Wii U," added Mr. Divnich.

To make the matters worse for Nintendo, both Microsoft Corp. and Sony Entertainment Company are not only working with game developers, but are trying to make their work much more easier and much more profitable. This has been happening for years now, in the high-definition game area, which is something Nintendo is entering just now. Besides, Nintendo's developer relations team will have to work hard to make game designers believe into a controller with touch-screen. Moreover, there are doubts that hardcore gamers will generally get Wii U.

"Even if the Wii U version offers up some unique features native to the Wii U's design, I fail to see the core gamer breaking habit," Mr. Divnich asked.