One of the nagging problems with the Wii U isn’t anything to do with the hardware, but with Nintendo’s advertising of the console. It looks as though things will change heading into the holiday season and beyond.
Looking at the history of Nintendo, they have never been aggressive with their advertising approach. During the original “console wars” of the early and mid-1990s Sega was the aggressor with their advertising of the Genesis and beyond. The Genesis came out at a time when Nintendo were working on their next console—the Super Nintendo—and competed with the original Nintendo at the time.
Sega’s black, sleek console was the forerunner for the “badass in black” consoles that would take flight in the early-2000s with the PlayStation 2 and Xbox from advertising to appearance to image as the mature console.
That and “blast processing.”
It was during this time Nintendo didn’t actively compete with Sega in ads, but let their games do the talking. Nintendo didn’t even take the fight to Sega in commercials once the fight became the Sega Genesis vs. the Super Nintendo and its grey and purple console had the upper hand when it came to technology.
Fast forward to 2013 and Nintendo continues with its quirkily shaped consoles, unique controllers and gamepads, and fleet of tried and true first part titles honed over decades. While Mario, Luigi, Samus, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Link, and Pikachu don’t exactly screen “hardcore, brown and grey shooters” and so on, the titles still deliver great gameplay and have name value beyond gaming and across generations of gamers.
However Nintendo has still been pretty meek about their advertising of the Wii U. While they deliver on the Nintendo 3DS with advertisements, it’s the home consoles that actually matter.
That commercial even gives Nintendo the golden phrase: “Because it’s Nintendo.” It should also be noted that the Nintendo 3DS is demolishing sales, while the commercial is good to maybe maintain that momentum, more focus should be on the Wii U and the titles it has out now and coming up.
However Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime has confirmed that Nintendo is in the fight for 2014. There’s a good amount of major games hitting the console with Super Smash Bros. U, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, Bayonette 2, Watch Dogs, Mario Kart 8, Project CARS, and X in addition to a good deal of popular independent developers on board.
In an appearance on Game Trailer’s GT TV, Reggie Fils-Aime did what he does best: hype Nintendo.
In talking about the release of titles for the console-handheld combination he stated, “The way we’re going to be different is, we’re gonna certainly have a steadier pace of games—both for Wii U and for 3DS.”
In explaining the advertising approach of Nintendo, the NOA president admitted that the company dropped the ball for its first year. This time around, he guaranteed that “the marketing activity is going to be constant throughout the entire year,” and that the company wouldn’t make the same mistake it did throughout 2013.
“So the pace, the ongoing activity, touching the consumer, and messaging what we’re all about. That’s going to be a big difference next year,” he added.
If Nintendo actually follows through with its advertising plans, it could have a big turnaround. It has the library to work with, an innovative gamepad, and the best price of the three—it’s just notifying people that they have a console that isn’t the Wii and there are fresh games there.
If they can do that, the only battle would be against a gaming media focused more on the PS4 and Xbox One’s similar offerings.
Are you confident about the Wii U turning things around in 2014? If not, what do you see for the Wii U in 2014? How would you turn the console around?
Let us know in the comments below.