In a research note to investors today, Pachter, who follows the gaming industry about as closely as any other analyst, said he believes Nintendo sold 55,000 Wii U units in the U.S. in March, representing a 17 percent decline compared to February. Perhaps even worse for Nintendo, its old Wii mustered 85,000 unit sales, falling 51 percent year-over-year, but still trumping a device that came out long before its latest.
Now would be a very good time to say, “I told you so.” Because I did:
Everything that Wii was — simple, intuitive — Wii U looks to be something else. Do XBOX and PS3 controllers scare you, with their size and all those buttons? Wii U controllers are bigger and more buttony. Which screen do you look at — the one in your hands or the one on the wall? Why the hell do I need a stylus?
I just don’t get it. That controller is such a huge slab of a thing, my first reaction was, “My God, it’s full of stars.”
Now, maybe I’m wrong. I didn’t “get” the Wii when Nintendo first showed it off. Then I saw how anyone could just wave the motion-controller around and start playing games, and it clicked. The Wii U seems to have none of that charm. The U looks like a desperate Hail Mary pass.
You’re officially out of ideas when your new console has a stylus and a second screen and a wand and practically zero on-board memory because you busted the budget on the stylus and the second screen and the wand. Nintendo just threw everything they could think of into a box, slapped a price tag on it and said, “Look! Mario in HD!”
Look, I’m not a tech guy. I never built my own computers, but I did just about everything else to them — but I gave all that up long ago. Megahertz and clock cycles and CPU loads and all the other crap I used to worry about, I just no longer worry about. I have kids and a job and a drinking habit to support. You know, the good stuff.
But I am a gadget guy, from way back. Still am. I’ve owned or played with almost all of them, and have been mostly disappointed through the years. (Although less so since switching to Apple products.) So it’s not that hard to figure out, oftentimes just from a press release, what’s going to sell and what’s not going to sell.
And the Wii U skinks to high heaven.