|15 featured titles and only one playable. That's a problem. (image source: egmnow)|
There has been some Wii U advertising, but I mostly saw it around the console's launch and haven't seen much since. Unfortunately, advertisements can't quite capture the fun factor of something like Wii or Wii U. That fun factor of playing with friends and family in local multiplayer is what will ultimately sell the console (that, and more games). So what the advertisements need to do is raise awareness that the console exists and that it is a new machine entirely, not just a new game or controller; and also show off some of the games and what the controller can do in them. I don't imagine that commercials by themselves will sell many consoles, but once there area few more in the hands of gamers, word of mouth and hands on experience will sell more.
|Miiverse drawings shared by friends are free advertising for Nintendo, and more influential than TV ads.|
(Art by MASTERLINKX)
Drop the Price
Right now, the Wii U is in a similar place as the 3DS was in the year following its launch. It doesn't have many games and the price is a bit higher than many are willing to pay. For good reason people are waiting to make their purchase. Now, the 3DS is finding much greater success due to its expanding library of games and a price drop. I expect that Nintendo will follow the same strategy for the Wii U as they did for the 3DS. First, early adopters are being rewarded with 30 cent games on virtual console just like 3DS early adopters were rewarded with the Ambassador Program. Second, more games will be released, so that by this Christmas there should be enough games available to make buying the console worthwhile. Thirdly, I expect the price to drop by $50 or so, either before Christmas or in the beginning of 2014. I think that a price drop or more enticing bundles would get a significant number of new customers to take the plunge with Wii U. It would also cause parents who plan to buy a console for their children for Christmas to be more keen on choosing a Wii U over a Playstation 4.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I know. Nintendo would never intentionally let their console get hacked and they shouldn't. The hackability of the Wii opened up lots of helpful functionality including custom Mario Kart tracks, New Super Mario Bros. and Smash Bros. levels, and the ability to play foreign games. Unfortunately, it also makes it easy to pirate games. Nevertheless, a hackable Wii U would surely generate some interest and more sales. Admittedly, it would probably hurt software sales and the online community (due to potential for cheating), but this article isn't about software sales, now is it?
The bottom line is that Nintendo and the Wii U are not doomed to failure; at least not this generation. Like the 3DS, sales will pick up once the games arrive, so stop worrying about it and just enjoy the games you have instead of starting console wars.