After losing its key holiday game to a delay (Star Fox Zero), it seems as if Nintendo may have spent the bulk of its marketing budget on the 3DS. Wii U had three releases over the past two months: Super Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Woolly World, and Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. It has three more coming up: Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Yet, when we take a look at the holiday advertising thus far, the vast majority is aimed squarely at the 3DS and its games.
Nintendo has not one, but two 3DS commercials showcasing a variety of games for the holiday season. Wii U has none. One could argue that Yo-Kai Watch, Tri Force Heroes, and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer are higher tier games and deserve the marketing dollars. I don’t think that’s the case. I believe that without a huge mass-market AAA game on the Wii U to market this holiday (sadly Xenoblade isn’t mass market), Nintendo has chosen to push the heck out of the 3DS as it’s a cheaper sell ($99 for a 2DS with Yo-Kai Watch bundled in) and thus has greater appeal as a potential gift when compared to a $299 Wii U system.
If Nintendo was serious about trying to maximize sales of the Wii U, they’d have initiated a price drop by now and created commercials that show off its vast library of excellent games. A 30 second spot featuring Super Mario Maker, Splatoon, Mario Kart 8, and Yoshi’s Woolly World would definitely help send the message that this console still exists. Perhaps a commercial that shows off how amiibo interact with the GamePad in various games like Smash Bros. and amiibo Festival would seal the deal.
I think the writing has been on the wall since this past summer’s E3. Not much new was shown for the Wii U at the show, and nothing new has been announced since then. No price drops have occurred this year, and the bundles have been sparse. If Nintendo really wanted to send consoles out the door the pack-in would be Super Mario Maker nationwide, not just at select Wal-Marts. The price should be $249.99 with an extra Wii Remote thrown in for two-player games. Any serious gamer will pony up an extra $50 to buy a PS4 or an Xbox one for $349, especially with the amazing bundles that can be found.
No holiday advertising seals the deal that Nintendo has given up on the Wii U. Luckily, owners of the system have some fun games to play. It’s too bad many others out there will never know how many great titles exist for the platform. That’s Nintendo’s job to sell systems. So far, they’ve done a poor job. But, hey, at least the Wii U outsold the Dreamcast.