Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How will the Wii U fare in the market?

E3 is this week and Nintendo is unveiling the new Wii U.  I have a feeling the Wii U is going to fare pretty poorly in the market.  Here's my reasoning with an analogy.

Some people wonder why first person shooter (FPS) games never sold well on the original Wii.  Despite having more systems out there than Xbox 360 or PS3 (~95M to 66M to 64M as of this writing), many of the best FPS games on the Wii just don't sell well.  As an example, the top two highly rated FPS games on the Wii are Metroid Prime 3 and GoldenEye 007 (90.16% and 83.77% on Gamerankings.com).  Vgchartz shows Metroid Prime 3 sold about 1.62 million units while GoldenEye sold about 1.65 million units.  Several of the Call of Duty games have sold over 1 million units on the Wii, with Call of Duty 3 topping out at 2.15 million units.  I couldn't find any other FPS games on the Wii that sold over 1 million units.

In comparison, the sales numbers for FPS games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 blow these numbers out of the water.  I count ten FPS titles that have sold more than 5 million units on the Xbox 360 and five FPS titles on PS3 that have surpassed 5 million units.  There are tons of FPS games on both that have surpassed 1 million units.

Why the huge difference in sales?  I think the answer is simple.  If you are a fan of FPS games, you probably already possess a system (Xbox 360, PS3, or PC) that already has a ton of FPS titles that you would enjoy.  With so many great FPS titles on those systems, you have little incentive to buy a Wii to play them.  The Wii owners aren't FPS gamers.

If by chance you own a FPS popular system and a Wii, why would you want to play an FPS title on the Wii?  The second highest rated FPS on the Wii is Golden Eye at 83.77%.  The Xbox 360 and PS3 both have dozens of FPS titles rated above that.  So the sales of FPS games on the Wii are for those few customers interested in FPS games but do not possess one of the other FPS gaming devices.

I believe the low sales of FPS games on the Wii will be an foreshadowing of how the Wii U will fare in the market.  From all reports, it appears that the Wii U's hardware is only comparable to the Xbox 360 and PS3.  It is not superior.  While the tablet controller is a nice feature, it doesn't appear to have the same appeal that the original Wii had.

If you are a consumer who enjoys non-Nintendo video games (i.e. not Mario, Zelda, etc.), enjoys HD video streaming (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), you probably already possess the Xbox 360 or PS3.  This is especially true given the fact those systems were released in 2005 and 2006 respectively.  I'm not sure what the incentive will be to own a Wii U for most consumers.  Add in the unknown price for the Wii U, a likely price drop for Xbox 360/PS3, a set of launch titles (Mass Effect 3, Assassins Creed 3, Ninja Gaiden, etc.) that will also be on Xbox 360/PS3 (or already are), I don't have confidence in the Wii U's wide adoption.

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