Nintendo Blames Low Wii U Sales on the Great East Japan Earthquake

Mario Kart 8 - thumb

It is no secret that the Wii U is not selling as good as what Nintendo has predicted. However, the 3DS did not start off very strong either, and now it is selling like hot cakes. In fact, the Wii U has already started picking up in sales ever since Pikmin 3 was released in Japan. That being said, there is still one question left unanswered: Why were sales sluggish to start with when the Wii U launched? Everyone has their own idea as to why the Wii U started off so slow. Some say it was a lack of games and others say it was Nintendo’s marketing strategy. Maybe it was a competition of both, but what most people want to know is: What does Nintendo think?

According to Nintendo, the Great East Japan Earthquake played a big role in the rough start for both the 3DS and the Wii U. A representative from Nintendo said that the 3DS was released on Feb. 26, 2011 in Japan. This was just two weeks before the nation was hit by a huge earthquake and a tsunami that really affected sales. In order to get sales moving again, the 3DS had to get a price cut.

Alright, so that explains why the 3DS had low sales, but what does that have to do with the Wii U? The representative went on to say that they had to pull developers off Wii U launch titles in order to get things moving again on the 3DS, which had already launched. Losing so many developers really hurt the content on the Wii U and sales have suffered a bit.

Here is what the Nintendo representative told Yahoo News Japan (translations thanks to Google):

“We launched the Nintendo 3DS on February 2011 and sales were strong. Two weeks later we were hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake and that stopped the momentum. In August of the same year we lowered the price from the initial 25,000 Yen to 15,000 Yen, and enhanced software development at the same time, to enrich the game line-up. That paid off and we regained momentum in Japan, but due to that we could not spare many developers for the Wii U (released in November 2012), and that led to the slow start of the console.”

Although this might seem like it would have only affected Japanese sales, most experts in the gaming industry do not believe that to be true. This has to do with the fact that Nintendo usually focuses on the Japanese market first. From there, they start focusing on other markets such as North America and Europe. Wii U sales are starting to pick up now, but it has been a very rocky start for the system. Thankfully for Nintendo, hits like Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8 and Bayonetta 2 should really help increase the sales of the Wii U.

[via Yahoo News Japan]