Nintendo of France’s Phillippe Lavoué has been interviewed about the state of affairs with the Wii family of consoles inlcuding the Wii Mini…
The following interview comes from GameKult…
Can you tell us more about the Wii Mini, what’s the logic behind this console that will be sharing shelve space with the Wii U?
It’s a light version of the Wii. It weighs 500 grammes less which makes it more portable. As of today, we sold 6,2 million Wii consoles and we were (positively) surprised by its sales during last year’s Christmas period. It was the third console on the market in terms of volume last year, behind the 3DS. In conclusion, there’s still demand for this market segment and the objective is to make the Wii experience as accessible as possible.
What audience are you going for with this console, the mainstream market or the gamers that have ignored the Wii so far?
I’ve been reading the comments on your website in the articles related to the Wii Mini and I think that there are different market targets for it. Of course, we have in mind the consumers that are yet to buy a video game console. 6,2 million Wii sold is definitely important, but it is also encouraging if we’re looking at Christmas 2012 sales. The Wii has the biggest games catalogue right now which could very well be a factor in “seducing” the latecomers. It could also interest gamers that have not bought a Wii yet. Video game collectors are also a target. We know that they exist; I’ve already seen a few gamers that have shown interest in getting the Wii Mini just because they wanted every Nintendo console. There are also people that are nostalgic of older consoles which may be attracted to its old school design. The console isn’t targeted at one very specific group.
The Wii is the bestselling video game console in France. How far do you think it can go sales wise?
We don’t know. (…) Our priority right now is the Wii U and we have focused all of our resources on it. We will not advertise the Wii Mini, and all of our future releases will only be available on the Wii U. For example, there’s Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate that got released last week. Its sales have been very good and we are pleasantly surprised. The 3DS version in particular has sold 10.000 units. It’s number 2 on the market (charts?) which is pretty good for a franchise that is still expanding in our territory.
You just told us that you won’t be advertising the Wii Mini. How is Nintendo going to avoid consumer confusion between the Wii, Wii Mini and Wii U then?
We think that the Wii Mini’s different design will help facilitate the choice for consumers and establish a clear difference with the Wii U. We think that the games will help accelerate the Wii U’s sales, for example its sales have tripled compared to last week thanks to the release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. We will continue upping the rhythm of game releases, such as Lego City Undercover, so that we can attract every gaming community out there. It’s on this year’s game catalogue that consumers will be able to tell the difference between the Wii Mini and the Wii U.
Is the Wii U selling better than the Wii?
Last week, we sold more Wii U units.
What about the previous weeks? How about this financial quarter for example?
The Wii U has overtaken the Wii recently.
If the Wii Mini’s design is what will differentiate the Wii from the Wii U, Why didn’t you rather change the Wii U’s design directly?
We will see how sales will be in the next coming weeks. You know, we don’t really have our word to say concerning design (laughs). One thing is sure, if you put a Wii Mini next to a Wii U, there’s a huge difference between the two. Now, could we have done it differently? Probably, but this isn’t the strategy that has been chosen by Nintendo.
Let’s talk about the price of the Wii U…
Our belief is that sales react to the games lineup. Lowering the price, without any compelling software will produce nothing. Moreover, promotional policy for now is at the discretion of distributors. Our responsibility is to provide a solid games catalogue. We had the 3DS experience before, where we sold 750.000 units the first year, and then 960.000 units the following one. This year, we are looking at more than a million units sold. This was mainly thanks to the 3DS XL, not a price drop. When we lowered the 3DS model price, it didn’t have the effect we wished for. We only had a good improvement during half a month and then sales went back to the levels they were at before. What helped the 3DS at the end of its first year was titles like Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Tennis Open and Super Mario 3D Land. NSMB2 sales have been phenomenal. In conclusion, price isn’t the only lever that we can use to drive sales. Today, we’re at 1,85 million 3DS sold in France compared to 11 million in Japan.
Are distributors excited about the Wii Mini or is it the case only for supermarkets?
We don’t have a predefined strategy in this domain because we’re not in a very strong sales period. This is a trial run for now. Although in general, we have a pretty homogeneous allotment between the different distribution channels.