Let’s face it. Nintendo horribly screwed up the Wii U‘s launch and promotion. The name caused confusion. Nintendo didn’t clarify that the Wii U wasn’t an add-on for the Wii until a year after release. The marketing was almost nonexistent and misdirected from the beginning. They’ve tried to court the core gamers. But they’ve alienated third party developers in the process. Compelling software was delayed heavily.
Things aren’t looking good. It’s reminiscent of Sega toward the end of their life as a hardware developer. Here are some changes that could get them back on track:
1. Proper marketing: It took Nintendo a year to have ads showing the console. It took Nintendo two and a half years since the announcement to explain that it’s not an add-on. There are people who didn’t buy the console because they didn’t know what it was.
2. Show off the console more. Nintendo has gotten better, but there’s room for improvement. Nintendo went from spending too little to get the Wii U into the public eye to ineffectively spending too much. With Sony and the PS4, the console-specific ads are showing what makes PlayStation “the best place to play” or the place where “greatness awaits.” It’s the same thing with Microsoft and the Xbox One, at least once Microsoft found a message describing the “all-in-one box” and why you’d want one.That’s what Nintendo’s marketing has been missing.
3. Don’t replace, just revise: The Wii U isn’t bad, but it could be so much better. Even upgrading the internal hard drive would make the Wii U better.
Sure, there are the external hard drives, which is helpful. But, what happens if something goes wrong with the ports that you plug the external hard drive in. You lose access to your progress on the external drive until you get the console either repaired or replaced. Also, consider downloaded games that require a lot of storage space, for example, Lego City Undercover. If you download games and something goes wrong with the ports, you lose access to your games. The upgrade might either slow down price drops or increase the price of the Wii U. However, with the right upgrades, it could find its space in the market.
4.Talk to third party developers and publishers: The justification for this is simple. It would help find out what is necessary to get more third party developers on board. Nintendo said it was trying to court both the casual gamers and the core gamers at the same time. To do that, you can’t alienate the third parties.
Nintendo has exclusive IPs that appeal to casual and core gamers, like the Mario, Zelda, and Metroid franchises. However, the majority of its IPs don’t appeal to the core gamers. It’s not a bad thing, but Nintendo is trying to appeal to the core gamers . The third parties are absolutely necessary for this. There is also another issue that talking to the third parties could address. Though Nintendo has improved with the software delays lately, the Wii U has struggled partially because of the delays and a fairly light library.
Talking to third parties could help Nintendo figure out how to limit the delays of its own games. After all, third parties have complained about the difficulty of developing for the Wii U. The Wii U could get a lot more quality software out to the market just by communicating better.
5. Fix the gamepad: Some gamepads have issues with wirelessly connecting to the console. It seems limited to the ones modeled after a tablet, the console’s second screen. According to one of Gamertell’s own, repairs for the GamePad are actually higher than console repairs. Personally, I’d recall the GamePads to investigate what is wrong with them and to make them better than they are. Sure, a recall would cost a lot of money. However, the long term gains in revenue and public trust should be significant enough outweigh the immediate costs. High quality customer service and product only increases the possible marketshare.
6. Throw out region locking: I can understand attempts to limit piracy, but I don’t understand attempts to limit audience. And region locking does just that. It limits the potential audience. Games, much like any art form, have a defined demographic that it’s appealing to. However, in a global economic system where the audience is potentially everywhere, it makes no sense to region lock. It makes no sense if you can’t play a Japanese game in America unless you get a Japanese console.
This console race isn’t over. Nintendo can be a force again with a few smart moves.