Technology‎ > ‎

Black Friday debut for Wii U launches next-gen gaming war

posted 22 Nov 2012, 02:15 by Mpelembe   [ updated 22 Nov 2012, 02:17 ]

Reuters Business Video Report - It's Black Friday in the U.S. again, and that means two things.

Ridiculously marked-down tech goodies, and maxed out credit cards.

One big ticket item competing for space under the Christmas tree?

Nintendo's just-released Wii U video game system.

The Japanese firm is again betting on gameplay over graphics, forgoing cutting-edge hardware in favour of this unique tablet-like controller.


"Critics say the new Wii is underpowered, overpriced... but you know what, that's exactly what they said about the original Wii.. and it went on to break sales records, selling over a 100 million units globally."

The $300 dollar console is off to a good start, with demand in the U.S. outstripping Nintendo's production capacity.

Research firm IHS Suppli though warns that while the new Wii U may match its predecessor's holiday sales debut, it will fail to keep pace in the year ahead.

And Nintendo won't only be challenged at the higher-end by its traditional console competitors like Sony and Microsoft.

But also by smartphones and tablets, which have a far wider user base than consoles, and tons of cheap, casual games just a click away.

So how can Nintendo pull ahead?

Well, it's got to cater to the hardcore player with high-end games, while also using in-house brands like Mario to up-sell the casual crowd, according to IDC analyst Lewis Ward.


"It starts with games. the Wii u platform really has to have some games that you can't get anywhere else. That's always been Nintendo's strength, they have their 1st party development, all the Mario stuff, of course Zelda, and go on down the line. So, the first thing to do will be to nail their successfull franchises. That will create some differentiation, that will engage, and be different enough that casual gamers, many of them, will move back toward the Wii platform."

Data from research firm NPD shows U.S. video game console sales fell 37% in October, with many buyers awaiting the next generation hardware.

The fate of the wider industry will hinge on how successful these console makers are at luring gamers back to the living room in the years ahead.