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During E3 this year, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé talked up Nintendo's strategy for mobile games, amusement parks and the upcoming Nintendo NX. He tried avoiding the failure that is the Wii U but did explain what it taught Nintendo in how they should approach marketing the NX.
Alistdaily managed to talk with Fils-Aimé, where he explained what they need to do better when they launch the NX, saying...
One of the things that we have to do better when we launch the NX---we have to do a better job communicating the positioning for the product. We have to do a better job helping people to understand its uniqueness and what that means for the game playing experience.
Nintendo had originally failed to properly communicate what the Wii U was. A lot of casuals were under the impression that it was just a new controller for the Wii, while others were unimpressed with its specs and tablet controller.
The biggest issue was that Nintendo simply failed to take advantage of many opportunities that arose with the Wii U where they could have surged ahead in sales with some spikes of marketing momentum. For instance, they never had a permanent price cut for the Wii U. It would have been an opportune time to knock down the price of the console from $350 to $300 during the launch of Mario Kart 8. The property was red hot for them at the time of launch and they were getting a lot of media attention, too.
Nintendo also could have benefited from temporary price-cuts centered around mid-tier exclusives like Bayonetta 2. Instead they let the opportunity go to waste. They also had the attention of the media during the launch of Super Smash Bros; still no price-cut on the Wii U, though.
Nintendo also failed to capitalize on the Wii U's Pro Controller. A lot of gamers were under the impression that they always had to use the Wii U's GamePad. Lack of advertising the Pro Controller really limited their reach toward the hardcore community who brushed off the system as another gimmick with a gimmicky tablet controller.
It's interesting, because on the opposite end of the spectrum, Microsoft used a lot of aggressive marketing and price-cuts to get themselves out of third place with the Xbox One. They put the Xbox Elite Controller front and center during some marketing campaigns, which helped drive interest from both the core community and the e-sports community. They also had lots of great bundle deals for the Xbox One, something Nintendo didn't capitalize on much with the Wii U.
Ultimately, in the interview Fils-Aimé made a good point about the Wii U having the best first-party line-up filled with unique games this gen, such as Splatoon, but Nintendo as a whole failed to capitalize on that line-up with odd marketing decisions and a lack of a competitive spirit.
Even if the Nintendo NX gets off to a slow start, Nintendo really needs to hunker down and stick with it the way they did with the Nintendo 3DS or the way Microsoft did with the Xbox One. Even if people don't understand the NX out of the gate they need to find ways to get the message across either through grassroots campaigns or communicating the system's potential through the games, something they did in a half-hearted way with the Wii U.
We'll see if Nintendo learned their lesson when the NX launches next year in the spring of 2017.