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Nintendo boss: We didn't try hard enough to educate users about Wii U

In an investor briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explains why the Wii U lost momentum in the marketplace, and how the company has struggled to explain it to consumers.

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Yesterday, Nintendo released its annual results, with a large operating loss and weak Wii U sales. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata blamed the delay of some Wii U games and loss of momentum, and the company did not do a good job of explaining the console to consumers.

In a briefing for investors, Iwata admitted the company has struggled with defining the product. "We have not been able to solidly communicate the product value of Wii U to our consumers yet, which has been a grand challenge for us," he said. "Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii. We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product."

Iwata also said that the intervals between first-party games has been "so much longer than we expected" in its January briefing. "Wii U has lost momentum due to the release pace of first-party titles which has not lived up to consumers' expectations," Iwata stated. "Starting with Pikmin 3 scheduled for release in the upcoming July, however, we will intensively launch our key titles to give sales momentum to the platform. As a decisive factor in buying a console is that you cannot play a much-anticipated title without the hardware, we will do our best to have you feel from this summer to the end of this year that there are plenty of great games for Wii U."

Just last night, Nintendo announced that it will forgo a large press conference this year at E3, instead opting for a smaller event that aims to give press quicker access to trying the newly-announced software.

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  • reply
    April 25, 2013 9:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Nintendo boss: We didn't try hard enough to educate users about Wii U.

    In an investor briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explains why the Wii U lost momentum in the marketplace, and how the company has struggled to explain it to consumers.

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      April 25, 2013 9:09 AM

      [deleted]

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        April 25, 2013 9:15 AM

        Agreed. Wii 2 would have been better from an understanding, immediate recognition point.

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          April 25, 2013 10:40 AM

          I think they should've named it Wii Too, as phonetically you understand it's a sequel and it still gets the same level of asynchronous multiplayer pushed across.

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        April 25, 2013 9:32 AM

        I don't particularly understand the U part, but I do understand what they were thinking when they kept the Wii part. The system will still use the Wii motes and Wii accessories as well as be completely compatible with prior Wii software. I think they wanted to make that part clear but the name certainly doesn't make it clear that it's a different system entirely.
        I would have gone with a portmandu of DS and Wii. The Wii S or Wii DS.

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        April 25, 2013 10:40 AM

        Yeah, pretty awful name.

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      April 25, 2013 9:11 AM

      Is it fair to say they didn't try hard to... Woo U?

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      April 25, 2013 9:12 AM

      Sounds like the GOP.

      People would have voted for us if we just communicated our values better!

      So here we have...people would have bought the Wii U if we had explained how good it is!

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      April 25, 2013 9:14 AM

      where are the first party titles IWATA!!!!! I WANTA THEM!!!

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      April 25, 2013 9:16 AM

      we understand there are no games on it that we want to play yet. we understand that just fine.

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        April 25, 2013 9:24 AM

        Exactly... I really want to want a Wii U, if that makes any sense, but right now that's a lot of money for New Super Mario U and Lego City Undercover.

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          April 25, 2013 9:31 AM

          [deleted]

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            April 25, 2013 10:41 AM

            There are a few on the horizon, they're just further out there than they need to be. The 3D Super Mario, Mario Kart, New Super Luigi, Pikmin 3, all this year but not soon enough.

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          April 25, 2013 9:32 AM

          I believe their eShop will have a number of Indie titles between now and Holiday 2013. This is only based on what they've said. I have no insider info.

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        April 25, 2013 9:36 AM

        I have 4 that I enjoy. Keeps me busy enough.

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          April 25, 2013 10:15 AM

          thats cool, but you are in the minority tho.

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            April 25, 2013 10:32 AM

            I don't know about that. In the report, there's 3.4ish M sold. IIRC, the number of software titles sold was significantly higher (can't remember the number). Something like 4 times the number of Wii Us out there. We love ours and have a few titles for it. We're looking forward to the rest of the year.

            Once more titles become available (especially those that actually utilize the Gamepad), more hardware sales will come.

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              April 25, 2013 10:34 AM

              The statistics in this case don't lie. The monthly sales point to a dearth of interest in the WiiU. It's selling under 60k a month or so. Those are terrible numbers.

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                April 25, 2013 10:37 AM

                No argument. It goes with what they said about available titles. The point I was making is that people with Wii Us appear to be buying titles that come out - even though there's not that many available and while titles that were eagerly anticipated haven't been released.

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              April 25, 2013 1:10 PM

              In December analysts were claiming a 1.2 attach rate in the US (where 1.0 is guaranteed by the Nintendoland pack in). In February Ubisoft said they've been affected by low tie ratios for the Wii U. Nintendo claims a 3.8 attach rate worldwide but that's in terms of pieces of software sold, not $60 games sold. So that's really 2.8 excluding the Nintendoland pack in and then if that's partly coming from eShop type content it's not really the kind of attached games you want driving your attach rate.

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                April 25, 2013 1:22 PM

                The Wii U has sold 3.45 million units and has shifted 13.42 million software. Best selling games for the console are Nintendoland and New Super Mario Bros. U which have both sold around 2 million copies each.

                13.42M - 3.5M (This is assuming all were Wii U Deluxe systems - which isn't the case) is greater than a 1.2 attach rate.

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                  April 25, 2013 1:31 PM

                  well since that 1.2 number came from 3 months ago and you're using the most recent software sales... uh yeah duh. But I already covered the best case scenario anyway.

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      April 25, 2013 9:21 AM

      Wii U is just a massive DS. They have already communicated that quite clearly.

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      April 25, 2013 9:31 AM

      The Wii had a very marketable gimmick. Non-gamers could instantly see how the bowling and baseball games worked and it hide wide-spread appeal (even if it didn't work well in practice).

      The Wii U has a controller with a screen in it. Non-gamers don't care and core gamers lost interest after Nintendo abandoned them.

      Everyone knows what the Wii U is, it's just that most people don't care.

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        April 25, 2013 9:31 AM

        [deleted]

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          April 25, 2013 11:19 AM

          yeah i knew this would happen. They should have just made the screen an addon to the Wii, ie, put all the hardware on the screen/controller, instead of trying to sell yet another $300 console. That way they could have sold it for $150 and concentrated on their next next gen console.

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            April 25, 2013 11:34 AM

            they should have either called it the Super Wii, or something completely separate from Wii. WIIU means absolutely nothing to anyone anywhere. slapping a U to the end of the title just makes it sound like just another pointless inane Wii product, which it is, but its gives no impression that its an actual new console. IMO they should re-launch the thing with a nice mario bundle and call it the Super WIIU bundle or something. make that the baseline model.

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              April 25, 2013 11:37 AM

              You are right. They stuck with their wii(something) naming convention (WiiFit, WiiSports, WiiU), which probably did more damage than good.

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            April 25, 2013 11:37 AM

            Nah, then they'd be even further behind. This way we get the next Nintendo console in 4-5 years and it'll be pretty great 1/2 way through the Durango/PS4 gen. (Unless they bow out of the console market entirely/Wii U somehow sells butt loads/they mess it all up).

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      April 25, 2013 9:32 AM

      I like my Wii U. The only thing truly holding it back is the drought of games. If they had had some more of a pipeline to go it would have been doing better. Now they have to change the narrative of stinky failure.

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        April 25, 2013 9:33 AM

        [deleted]

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        April 25, 2013 9:35 AM

        They had a good launch lineup, if the thing was released in 2011. Tons of different titles appealing to almost every demographic, except that the bulk of the games were already out 2 years ago for other platforms.

        Like others have said, I want one because it's new and shiny, but I cannot justify $400 for yet another NSMB game.

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          April 25, 2013 10:44 AM

          It really should've been released in 2011, I was gearing up for the announcement back in '09 :/

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      April 25, 2013 10:37 AM

      Kids don't even want it. My girlfriend's daughters play a ton of Wii and when I mentioned the Wii U they said "We don't need that, we already have a Wii!"

      Meanwhile when I was their age and the Super Nintendo was coming ZOMFG.

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        April 25, 2013 10:45 AM

        Have they ever been through a console transition before? They may not understand it.

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          April 25, 2013 12:17 PM

          The marketing must not have effectively instilled the OMFG MUST HAVE reaction that it's supposed to during a transition.

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      April 25, 2013 11:31 AM

      I've seen the WiiU at Best Buy and Target and I still don't 'get it'. Is it supposed to be a hand held? A ridiculously large controller? WTF is it?

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        April 25, 2013 11:34 AM

        no, it's not portable. It's a new system, not an add on to the Wii. Like someone said above, it's basically a console version of the DS.

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        April 25, 2013 11:35 AM

        its an overclocked wii with an even more useless control scheme. its awesome for changing channels on your TV though, i hear. it may be the best TV remote ever made.

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          April 25, 2013 11:51 AM

          No, no, yes, possibly but I haven't tried a lot of remotes.

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            April 25, 2013 1:42 PM

            the CPU is based on the same architecture as the gamecube and wii. its basically a 3 core Broadway with a higher clock speed. so yes, it is literally an overclocked Wii.

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              April 25, 2013 2:03 PM

              One part does not make the whole system. The GPU is vastly different although I do wish they'd beefed up the CPU a lot more than they had.

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          April 25, 2013 11:55 AM

          Wow. I didn't realize the Wii had a DX11 video card.

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            April 25, 2013 11:58 AM

            The Wii U doesn't have one either...

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              April 25, 2013 12:31 PM

              it's at least reasonably close to DX11, though

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                April 25, 2013 12:41 PM

                It's DX10.1+ for sure

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                  April 25, 2013 12:44 PM

                  I tried looking it up, but the amount of misinformation was too overwhelming. You're probably right on both accounts. Either way, the Wii U is not an overclocked Wii.

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                    April 25, 2013 12:57 PM

                    The GPU is based on a 4770/4850, which was a 10.1 GPU and has a butt load of custom stuff in there from Nintendo.

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                      April 25, 2013 1:22 PM

                      the GPU may have started at a 4000 series GPU but it now has more in common with the 6000 series.

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                        April 25, 2013 1:24 PM

                        That being said, I'm still pretty sure from what I read that it kept the separate tesselation unit and a few other things that would keep it from being a full on DX11 compatible device.

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                  April 25, 2013 2:07 PM

                  Yes, it is DX10.1+ but not DX11.

                  Source: worked with it.

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          April 25, 2013 12:23 PM

          the google fiber tv remote might be better (Nexus 7)

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          April 25, 2013 1:07 PM

          Wii U "Latte" Thread - GPU Die Photo - GPU Feature Set And Power Analysis
          http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=511628&highlight=latte

    • reply
      April 25, 2013 11:50 AM

      [deleted]

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      April 25, 2013 11:51 AM

      Wasn't there supposed to be a system update this week?

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      April 25, 2013 12:37 PM

      They fucked up naming it the Wii U because people think it's just a fancy Wii. Also not enough games Nintendo. Who wants to buy a system for three games?

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        April 25, 2013 12:45 PM

        To be fair, it really is just a fancy Wii.

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          April 25, 2013 1:03 PM

          except not

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            April 25, 2013 1:13 PM

            Fantastic counter-argument. You sure showed me.

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              April 25, 2013 1:19 PM

              A Harley motorcycle is just a fancy red wagon bicycle.

              http://platinumgalleria.com/radio-flyer-classic-red-bicycle-10.jpg

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                April 25, 2013 1:25 PM

                To be fair, the Wii U has all the same function of the original. It basically has a Wii inside of it with damn near complete backwards compatibility with Wii games and hardware. The only thing it doesn't have is GameCube compatibility. Most of the games currently are or are slated to be used with the Wiimotes in some form.

                While I agree that the system is much more than this, in its current state I have been playing the Wii component more than the Wii U component. So far to me it's been a Wii with a better Netflix and Hulu app.

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                  April 25, 2013 1:29 PM

                  Any non-Motion Plus remotes aren't compatible. I understand why they had to do this, but I know of Wii owners who were put off by this after buying Wii Remotes for their Wii back when Motion Plus wasn't even known about.

                  I use the Gamepad quite a bit. ::shrug::

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                    April 25, 2013 1:32 PM

                    Non-montion plus remotes are compatible with the wii-u, you just can't play all the games in say Nintentdoland. Most of them work, but there are 2-3 that require motion plus.

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                    April 25, 2013 1:33 PM

                    That's just not true, I've used mine a bunch with it.

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                    April 25, 2013 2:08 PM

                    No only some games wouldn't work without a wii motion plus. I imagine games like the Nintendo Land Zelda mini game would demand it.

                    While this is a valid point, this is no different than say trying to run Skyward Sword on the wii without the motion plus. There are still plenty of games that utilize the regular wiimote's pointing abilities.

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                    April 25, 2013 3:20 PM

                    My apologies. I was going off what I was told. Is it possible that the stipulation is in regards to only Wii U titles that use the Wii Remote?

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                      April 25, 2013 3:23 PM

                      After reading the responses above, don't feel obligated to reply to this. Thanks to all for their corrections and input.

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              April 25, 2013 1:30 PM

              Well, your original statement was equally thought provoking.

              You could state that just about any item is "just a fancier X" because it doesn't mean anything at all. Fancy? What?

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              April 25, 2013 1:56 PM

              just as much substance as your original argument.

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                April 25, 2013 4:05 PM

                Aside from the part where I am factually correct. The Wii U is just an ever so slightly beefed up Wii with an added gimmick that could have easily just been another one of the dozes of equally novel but ultimately pointless Wii peripherals.

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                  April 25, 2013 4:29 PM

                  Except not

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                  April 25, 2013 4:30 PM

                  there's nothing factual about your post.

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                    April 25, 2013 4:49 PM

                    I'm taking the piss out of you, calm down. I do think that the Wii U just is a slightly beefed up Wii. It should have been beefed up far more than it was if it wanted to remain competitive but as it is, Nintendo, for whatever reason, wanted to get the Wii U out to try running with the more powerful consoles that are out.

                    Once the PS4 and Xboxwhatever comes out, it'll be even older news than it is as present. Even at Nintendo's Direct event this past week, they really seemed to downplay the games on the Wii U and instead focused more on Virtual Console releases. Games that are really nothing more than re-releases of classic titles.

                    If Nintendo wanted to be serious about the Wii U, they should have waited. They should have made it more powerful than it is, and they should not have named it the "Wii U." It's suffering from an identity crisis not just with consumers, but with developers as well given how few third party titles are making the jump to the Wii U that have been announced for the PS3/PS4/360/NeXtbox/PC/etc..

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                      April 25, 2013 4:53 PM

                      leave my urine alone

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                      April 25, 2013 4:54 PM

                      and it doesn't matter what you think. you are factually wrong.

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                        April 25, 2013 6:17 PM

                        Damn you, Korban. Damn you!

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                        April 30, 2013 2:51 AM

                        Nah, he's spot on. Well said, Zips. Poor Nintendo...doomed to end up like SEGA here pretty soon. And then we'll hear the wailing and gnashing of so many agonized Nintendroids. So sad. :(

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                  April 25, 2013 4:32 PM

                  Zips you are absolutely technically right on the money here

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              April 25, 2013 1:59 PM

              to be fair, you just herped so hard you derped

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              April 25, 2013 2:01 PM

              He actually did, tbh.

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          April 30, 2013 2:50 AM

          This...^^^

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      April 25, 2013 12:41 PM

      [deleted]

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      April 25, 2013 12:45 PM

      educate? wtf. no other console educates. RELEASE GAMES. why are they holding back on the legacy titles?

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      April 25, 2013 12:52 PM

      The only thing that can save Nintendo now is Pokémon MMO....

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        April 25, 2013 4:35 PM

        I'm absolutely shocked they haven't done either this or a Pokemon AR game for the 3DS.

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      April 25, 2013 1:01 PM

      Oh shit, I think they're on to us

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      April 25, 2013 1:08 PM

      I think the problem is SO many people bought the wii cause of the "fun controller and games" then they went on to never play the damn thing. I know so many people that have wii's that haven't been turned on past the first few months they bought it.

      And I think people learned their lessen the first time around.

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      April 25, 2013 1:43 PM

      Should have been called Super Wii

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        April 25, 2013 2:01 PM

        Turbo championship edition

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        April 25, 2013 2:08 PM

        I prefer Super Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

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          April 25, 2013 4:23 PM

          No problem! I have a Trace-Buster-Buster!

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        April 25, 2013 3:03 PM

        Shortened, "The SUPWII!!!!"

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      April 25, 2013 3:17 PM

      How do you think E3 is going to go for those poor guys

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        April 25, 2013 3:21 PM

        very quietly with no big press conference while Sony and MS go big with new console stuff I assume

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        April 25, 2013 5:17 PM

        I thought they said they were not going to have any big things at E3?

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      April 25, 2013 4:55 PM

      What they need to do is go back to their roots. More great games, less gimmicks.

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      April 25, 2013 6:25 PM

      It's just too damned expensive. The graphics are last gen and the games are missing in action.

      Why in the hell would anyone pay $350 for it?

      I realize it's expensive because of the second screen, but perhaps that was a bad decision too.

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      April 30, 2013 2:49 AM

      Sadly it wouldn't have mattered even if they HAD better explained what the WiiU is and can do (which I think they did just fine, anyway) - it's just not that exciting of a product, really.

      Coming into the higher-end market at the end of the previous cycle with what amounts to the same hardware that everyone will be (shortly) leaving behind is like finishing the marathon the day after the race is over and wondering where all the fans are and the finish line bunting. Huh?

      It's looking more and more like Nintendo will soon go the way of SEGA when it comes to console hardware (at least) - handheld-wise they still seem to know how to do things.

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