Another crushing blow was dealt to Nintendo this week, as the Walmart owned Asda Stores Limited, a British supermarket chain, said it would no longer be stocking the Wii U in their stores. Although the console will still be available via Asda’s online shopping services, Nintendo’s newest home console will no longer be taking up shelf space in any of the 568 stores.
Ironically, the older and original Wii console will still be available, as that is continuing to outsell the newer console. The six year old model sold over 210,000 units worldwide in the April to June quarter of 2013, whilst the Wii U struggled to meet 160,000 sales, which is a staggering 50% drop from the previous quarter, which was in itself below expectations.
Having been bought by Walmart back in 1999, Asda is now the second largest supermarket chain in Britain, holding around 16.5% of the market share. Although the console was only being stocked in 100 of the 568 stores, having it pulled altogether is a clear sign that the Wii U is failing to secure a foothold in the home entertainment market.
But despite all of the bad news, Nintendo are still optimistic that they will both recover and flourish, as their newest financial report leaves the sales forecast unaltered, as they predict that a total of 9 million units will be sold over this current financial year. There were some big announcements at this year’s E3 event, with huge Nintendo franchises like Pikmin, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, and Super Mario all wooing the fanboy/girl crowd. But with these titles not coming to the console in the near future, it is difficult to see how they will help the Wii U’s current predicament. What makes things even worse is that the big hitter in the line up, Super Mario 3D World, will be released during the coming holiday season, which means it may make a nice Christmas present, but it will also be in direct competition with both the PS4 and the XboxOne launch, both of which will certainly invest in an aggressive promotional campaign, one which may drown out the release of yet another Mario title.
Relying on tried and tested franchises is the final card Nintendo has to play for the Wii U, and if they fail to attract a paying audience, it may be curtains for the newest Nintendo console.