GameStop calls Wii U sales 'disappointing'

At its 2012 earnings call, GameStop called sales of the Wii U "disappointing" and said the year was "challenging" for consoles, but expects its fortunes to turn around late in the year with the launch of Sony and Microsoft's systems.

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When a console fails to gain momentum, it tends to impact connected businesses as well: retailers, developers, and so on. So it should come as no surprise that the Wii U's sales shortfall has also had an impact on retail, and brick-and-mortar chain GameStop said as much directly at an earnings call today.

GameSpot reports that the store's executives called sales "disappointing," and chalked it up to two major reasons. First, the system has not properly explained the system's features to consumers, necessitating an "education process." The second is that the system lacks blockbuster titles to fuel adoption. "We're seeing the ramifications of that today," the company said. Regardless, it expressed confidence that the system sales will pick up when more of Nintendo's top-tier franchises start to arrive.

In general, GameStop called the last year "challenging" for consoles, and it expects the first half of the year to be as well. It does feel the launch of Grand Theft Auto 5 and new consoles will boost its profits late this year, though, saying it is "ready to lead the industry and its customers into the next phase of gaming."

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  • reply
    March 28, 2013 1:55 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, GameStop calls Wii U sales 'disappointing'.

    At its 2012 earnings call, GameStop called sales of the Wii U "disappointing" and said the year was "challenging" for consoles, but expects its fortunes to turn around late in the year with the launch of Sony and Microsoft's systems.

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      March 28, 2013 2:47 PM

      Well aware of the "features". I don't want to shell out the cash for a controller/Ipad that is very uncomfortable to play for any length of time.

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        March 28, 2013 2:52 PM

        It's not at all. Not for me anyways.

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          March 28, 2013 3:02 PM

          I find both the wiimote and the tab uncomfortable.

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            March 28, 2013 3:24 PM

            Some people find the 360 controller too big. Some people find the ps3 controller too small. Some people hate playing games on phones, some don't. People differ on which size of 3DS is best. Not every controller or system will work for everyone.

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              March 29, 2013 10:36 AM

              Brilliant point there NastyJack, but what matters is the NUMBER of people who find the 360 controller too big (not many), or the PS3 controller too small (again, not very many), vs. the NUMBER of people who find the Wii U controller big and awkward (lots).

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            March 28, 2013 11:49 PM

            Maybe i should buy used?

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        March 28, 2013 2:53 PM

        The controller itself is not bad. It's surprisingly light and ergonomic.

        It's the lack of games that's the problem. If there is a hardware problem, I think it's within the system itself. Slow loading and apparently a system architecture that is rumored to be difficult to develop for.

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          March 29, 2013 7:47 AM

          The GPU is probably going to take some getting used to, especially offloading things that most developers have gotten used to putting on the CPU (given it's apparently slow speed, really wish they'd bumped it up by 50% or so) where applicable. This unfortunately ends up with what we've seen from the larger 3rd parties, very little support.

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        March 28, 2013 3:44 PM

        I'm at about 40hrs in MH3U and the controller is awesome.

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          March 29, 2013 7:40 PM

          What is it like playing games on the small screen?

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      March 28, 2013 2:50 PM

      This is because nintendo made the mistake of releasing a new console with no first party killer app in sight. Even now there is nothing in sight that truly demonstrates the system's potential.

      Rather than remake an old zelda, there should have been a new one long in production with some proof of concepts ready on system launch.

      What I've always thought would have been marvelous would be to make a 3d mario game that has 2 player simultaneous co-op using the screen controller. Depending on the limitations of the console or concept, it could have been something as direct as Mario and Luigi tossing each other around boosting each other's jumps. If we are more limited, it could have been asymmetrical concepts such as one being Yoshi and the other Mario or one is Mario and the other is a supporting Lakitu up on the clouds.

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        March 28, 2013 3:44 PM

        Well, Skyward Sword came back just over a year ago iirc. The last Zelda before that came out at the beginning of the Wii launch cycle. So it'll be some time before we see another one, perhaps even well into the Wii Us lifespan.

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          March 28, 2013 3:50 PM

          N64 came out with a crude proof of concept for Z64. It was years afterwards when the game was finally released but there was at least a proof of concept going for the game to keep fans excited.

          Soemthing as simple as re-using stock Zelda art to show off what they think they can do with the new controller would be sufficient.

          My overall point is that I don't think Nintendo knows what to do with this new controller. So far, outside of Nintendoland, there hasn't been much implementation or exciting ideas.

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            March 28, 2013 3:53 PM

            Like the Wii U Zelda - HD Gameplay Demo (E3 2011) ?
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arHNcSMXaBk

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              March 28, 2013 4:20 PM

              Yea I haven't forgotten about that, but what I am talking about is something like that but more. This was only a good example with what the system can do with graphical capabilities. Do they have any unique gameplay ideas to implement the controller or is it going to be more of the same thing?

              Using the controller for only an alternate display is hardly imaginative. If they were going to settle for just that, they might as well have left the graphics toned down and released it for the Wii.

              What Nintendo has failed to do is show how the controller will change the way we will be playing their games. Bear in mind, since the tablet controller is standard controller, we will be taking a step back from Skyward. Motion controls will be gone. You need to compensate and create a new idea. If the Wiimote is going to be the main controller for the next game, then fine. You still need to distinguish the game to justify the system.

              Nintendo's approach is to justify the timing of the system's release (compared to the underwhelming specs) with its controller. If they aren't going to use the controller in a meaningful fashion, they might as well have waited and released a true next gen powerhouse.

              So far there has been no indication of the sort.

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                March 29, 2013 7:55 AM

                I actually think that we'll see the next Nintendo system a little earlier than the gap between the Wii and the Wii U, about half way to two-thirds through the PS4/NeXtbox lifetime and if they give it at least as much increased horsepower as the GPU side of the Wii U compared to its counterparts across the board it should be a great piece of kit. I think the issues people have been talking about (competition from phones/tablets) will be rather real on the AAA side of development though at that point as I expect WiDi to take off, enough horsepower to run at least 1080p AAA games in these things, and non-proprietary controllers to be cheap and easily accessible. I think Sony and MS have at least one more console each out of them after this coming generation because I don't think the Internet will have changed enough to make cloud gaming services viable to the same masses that bought the 360/PS3 to get their fix that way yet (given resistance by US ISP's and the regulations unwillingness to work on it).

                Anyways, I didn't mean to turn this into some "In the year 2000..." response but here it is anyways.

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                  March 29, 2013 9:13 AM

                  Yea, that's very likely. But I wouldn't pay a dime for it if I don't get my $300's worth of games on this system. So far all I have bought is a new Wii with a better Netflix and Hulu player.

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                    March 29, 2013 10:52 AM

                    I've really enjoyed NSMB:U, NintendoLand, MH3U and The Cave on this thing (I know it's available elsewhere but that's where I bought that one). Will definitely be getting Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3, as soon as possible too, I'll hit $300 no problem I think.

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                      March 30, 2013 12:19 PM

                      NSMBU was good. I just still think it's nothing that couldn't have been made on the Wii or hell even the Gamecube with graphics toned down of course. If your centerpiece game on your "revolutionary" and "innovative" system is a gameplay model that has been done before (and to death) then it leaves me worried.

                      Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed booster mode but face it, it's the quintessential "tacked on" feature. The game would not lose anything if it never existed.

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                        April 1, 2013 7:02 AM

                        Agreed on that, in fact it started out as a Wii game (and the only reason NSMB games didn't show up on the gamecube was apparently the lack of horsepower necessary to do 4 people at the same time). The issue at the moment is that they don't have a centerpiece title.

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            March 28, 2013 4:47 PM

            IMO there are enough exciting ideas on display within Nintendoland to propel them for years. The way it was used in Zombi U and Lego Undercover showed just how great single player games can be. If you can't see the potential it's on you at this point.

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              March 28, 2013 4:54 PM

              ZombiU had some great ideas. I haven't seen Lego Undercover yet, but I hear it's great.

              Nintendoland was... oooookay. Nothing special.

              Other than that, these are 3rd party games. Nintendo's strengths come from its strong 1st party lineup. So far among it, nothing is all that exciting.

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        March 29, 2013 7:46 AM

        Also a touch pad is a terrible novelty compared to a motion sensing remote. The Wii was just perfect as an accessible games machine.

        Also, Wii Sports.

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      March 28, 2013 2:54 PM

      I already have two last gen consoles, I don't see the need to add a third 9 years later.

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        March 28, 2013 2:58 PM

        It's the controller that makes it next-gen. Just wait a couple years. I'd bet money Microsoft and Sony both come out with their own touchscreen controllers. Play Zombi-U and you'll see why. It's an experience you can't get on any other system specifically because of the controller.

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          March 28, 2013 3:09 PM

          Its a pretty specific experience, a good one, but I don't see it defining another generation of games.

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            March 28, 2013 3:14 PM

            Well, there is potential. Multiple displays is a very good step for the home console gaming industry. Nintendo is shooting for asymmetrical multiplayer but needs to really explore this more.

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              March 28, 2013 3:21 PM

              I'm pretty positive the Wii U will follow the Wii in that it will be worth owning if you're a fan of nintendo 1st party titles (which I am). Besides those games there will be very few 3rd party titles worth paying attention to.

              I'll wait until its much cheaper and pick it up then.

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            March 28, 2013 3:23 PM

            I don't know about defining either but to me it adds a lot to the experience and I can't get the same experience anywhere else. If Zombi U came out next year on PS4 with next-gen graphics but without the added controller functionality I know which version I'd be playing.

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          March 28, 2013 3:13 PM

          The reason Sony and MS jumped on the motion gaming bandwagon was because the Wii was a runaway succes. The Wii U? Not so much...

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          March 28, 2013 3:26 PM

          No need to release a controller if they can design an app which connects your phone to the system offering most of the same features.

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            March 28, 2013 3:27 PM

            That sounds awful to me but I'm not a fan of exclusively touch screen controls. I never play games on my phone for that reason. I need analog and a D pad and buttons in addition to the screen.

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            March 28, 2013 3:55 PM

            except will have, less buttons, less precise input, input lag, output lag, lag, smaller, and unable to use most of the features.

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            March 28, 2013 4:25 PM

            They already have SmartGlass and the Vita (when Sony remembers it), and there's only indications that they're ramping up the use of both in terms of console connectivity.

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              March 28, 2013 5:04 PM

              What Smartglass honestly needs is an interface controller. Smartglass relies too much on a virtual controller to navigate and control apps.

              I'd like more apps to use Smartglass appropriately. I'd like to select my netflix movies via sub-interface on my iPad. Punching in my credit card number or gift card number on dpad is tiring. There should have been smartglass implementation for this already.

              That said, Wii U's tablet controller needs to do much the same. Their Netflix and Hulu apps are damn disappointing.

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            March 28, 2013 4:54 PM

            Smartglass exists and it lacks physical gamepad input

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          March 28, 2013 3:55 PM

          vita linking with the ps4 was a big part of their big reveal

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          March 28, 2013 10:07 PM

          They could have good graphics hardware and still have a fancy controller.

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            March 28, 2013 10:33 PM

            Nintendo employs a strategy to have a low overhead on system costs to shoot for low price tags on their system. This is the first that is sold at loss per unit.

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      March 28, 2013 3:16 PM

      I think a part of it might be the name. A lot of people I've encountered don't realize the Wii U is an entirely new system, they think is a Wii add on of some sort.

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        March 28, 2013 3:19 PM

        This is pretty much how I think of it even though I know that it's an entirely new system.

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      March 28, 2013 3:56 PM

      Lol. I went on Lego city launch day and they didn't even have it. Guy told me to come back in a couple weeks for a used copy.

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      March 28, 2013 4:37 PM

      Another week another doom and gloom article about the WiiU.

      We all read the articles about the 3DS failing too right?

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        March 28, 2013 4:59 PM

        by my standard it DID fail, too. By the standards of making money for Nintendo and being a smart business move? Yeah, 3ds did great and so will WiiU if it hasn'r already. Nintendo knows what the market wants a lot better than games journalists or fans, for better or worse.

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      March 28, 2013 10:02 PM

      I am truly shocked to hear this.

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      March 31, 2013 9:57 AM

      In it's current state, the WiiU is essentially irrelevant. Most of the gaming community knew this before it came out.

      It's not really *new stuff*. It's the Wii 2.0 that finally brings it up to speed with the rest of the current generation of systems. With the NEXT Generation of systems right around the corner, it's probably too little too late.

      If the WiiU had included all transferable purchases and what not, it might have helped, but they didn't.

      At the moment, it's hard to Justify a new console for a new Mario game, and a few tablet features.

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