Critical Hit | Where is Nintendo in the UK - What is Wii U?

By Jorge Ba-oh 03.12.2013 15

Critical Hit | Where is Nintendo in the UK - What is Wii U? on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
Nintendo have been pushing the Wii U in the UK this year, but has the initiatives been enough? Critical Hit investigates.

Looking at where Nintendo are at with the Wii U in the current space of time makes for grim, unsettling reading. If one is a hardcore, ultra-dedicated fan or even a casual observer of the Mushroom Kingdom's escapades, the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in the last fortnight has truly eclipsed the performance of the Wii U in the UK so far.

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As per usual for a pre-Christmas launch, stores have sold out, there's a ferocious outcry from desperate parents wanting the latest gaming gadget, and Nintendo are practically no-where to be seen in the country.
The latest figures from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launches show how shambolic the performance of the system has been. Of course, owners and long-time Nintendo buffs are naturally rallying behind the system and supporting the key releases like Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 and Super Mario 3D World. It's certainly not so much about the games any more given the much talked about selection released this year and pitched for 2014. Our Wii U Buyer's Guide for the holiday season highlights the wide array of games to pick up on the system, but to the general public, is anyone truly aware about the Nintendo Wii U?
The festive season, in particular the marketing drives "Black Friday", "Cyber Monday" and "Bugger it, Just Buy it Already Thursday" are touted and proven to be the most critical moments for brands and retailers to pitch their key items. The Xbox One and PS4 were there, selling out fast, and Nintendo could have used this opportunity to leap in and fill the gaps. With both systems increasingly difficult to find, why not arrange deals with key retailers and take a slight hit; really driving the system home as an alternative to these two big powerhouses?

Image for Critical Hit | Where is Nintendo in the UK - What is Wii U?

Nintendo 3DS is still soaring on a global scale, and doing fairly well in the UK - perhaps not as strong as in the United States, Japan or other key demographics - but it's still a solid and much sought after system for both young and old. There's enough advertising and word-of-mouth to keep the handheld well sustained into 2014 and beyond.

There have been adverts for the Nintendo Wii U in the UK online, particularly on gaming and entertainment websites; it's easy pickings from readers who'd perhaps already be in the know, but what about the mass population? The sense that this is a completely new device still comes across in a wishy-washy, unconvincing way. During the Channel 4 evening on video games, which included the much talked about  Charlie Brook's How Videogames Changed the World and a compelling film on the development of three indie releases, Indie Game: The Movie, there was little to no promotion on Nintendo Wii U games during the ad breaks; a sole Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds spot, but this is a 3DS title.

Sony have lapped up the rights to highlighting the PS4 continually on mainstream TV, rather subtly but still in an effective way, by merging in-game footage with the now traditional Channel 4 indents. It's a softer approach than standard approaches, but continues to get the message across in a unique way.

Image for Critical Hit | Where is Nintendo in the UK - What is Wii U?

It's not all doom mongering as Nintendo has done a stellar job at promoting the Wii U physically, at hands-on sessions at key events, shopping centres and expos. In addition, there's a campaign with a major supermarket in progress. However, despite the turnout figures for these locations, it's still not as widespread as it could be, there's still the element of consumers attending because of an interest in electronics and games. How about those who are more casual: parents or younger children perhaps, who may not be as clued up into the newer releases?

The Wii was a success because of the advertising, because of the mass media focus in newspapers, on TV, word of mouth.

The initiative is there, and the latest adverts are starting to cement the message, but it's still weak, almost squeezed out in drips and drabs. Nintendo still need to pump Wii U ads here, there and everywhere. Super Mario 3D World is out and received rave reviews across the board from specialist and mainstream critics. Alas, no-body knows. The adverts are too far and few between - the TV is constantly on here at Cubed3 Towers.

Image for Critical Hit | Where is Nintendo in the UK - What is Wii U?

Nintendo have had successes with driving in interest in the Wii U this year, both online and offline, there's certainly no disputing that, but the scattered approach to advertising certainly needs moulding into a stronger push into 2014 and beyond in order for the system to stand a chance.


What are your thoughts on Nintendo's focus in the UK so far?

Box art for Super Mario 3D World





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I don't have a TV subscription, so I wouldn't know... I do know that I'm quite happy with my U and have more grat games than I can play at the moment. Such a shame that it's not picking up sales yet. Maybe around christmas?

I saw one for Super Mario 3D World in an X Factor break.

Aw, no "No, I don't watch TV." option? Smilie

I saw one on ITV this morning, it's the only one I've seen in a month. They have posters and stuff up in Westfield Stratford, but nothing most seem to take note of since most of the shops have been promoting the PS4 and XBOne from their releases. They really have made a poor attempt since OfCom took their launch ad off the air last year.

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I saw ads for Wii Party U a lot (English w/ French subtitles) recently on general TV channels, and for Wind Waker HD on a channel that targets Japanese anime fans primarily. But for the console itself, highlighting its uniqueness, and the library in general, no, I haven't. And most commercials for third party games I saw don't even acknowledge that the game is coming to Wii U, I see mentions of PS3/360, and now as is the case with Fifa 14, of the XBox One, but Wii U, never!

( Edited 03.12.2013 18:58 by RudyC3 )

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I consider myself in the generation where Internet is my main source of entertainment, i dont watch tv nor do i read magazines and although alittle sad, i dont really go out alot outside of work. What im saying is if there were a way for advertisement to reach me it would be though the interenet, anything else would be an unwelcome accident. i Cannot recall seeing any internet advertisement for a long time, infact the last i can remember that ever had any inpact was the Wario Shake it page on youtube years ago, and that was only viewable by intentionally looking for it.

So no, ive not seen any nintendo advertisments where they would reach me, ive been plenty of xbox and playstation however. I cannot be the only hardcore nintendo fan in the same situation either.

Uhm...... FIFA 14 isn't coming to Wii U. It was released on 3DS but that was just an updated rerelease of FIFA 13.


There've been quite a few Mario adverts on youtube at the moment to be fair.

Cheesing it up said:
There've been quite a few Mario adverts on youtube at the moment to be fair.

You beat me too it! I don't know if my cookies/history or whatver Google uses to track me is set to Nintendo stuff but I do get a fair few 3DS and Wii U adverts at the start of my YouTube vids. 

I think marketing is generally seen as advertising, any good marketer would tell you that this is just an element of marketing. Marketing is strategy, and quite frankly as you have highlighted Nintendo have a scattered approach. I don't like how Nintendo Directs are seemingly announced 24 hours before they are aired, releases are not hyped or built up about (SM3DW being the exception here), lacking of promotions or offers that can be seen by the mainstream public.

Nintendo have banked on complacency, someone in the R&D team should be shot, calling Wii Mini is a shambolic attempt at extending the life of a console, the 2DS is a terrible and confusing name, the Wii U is even worse! They would have been better calling it Wii 2. Nintendo's online infrastructure and account management is nowhere on par with the competition which is frustrating even the hardcore fanbase. Where Nintendo innovate in one area they drastically fall far behind in other areas that we expect to be the standard norm. 

They can't even pull of the Virtual Console right! No Gamepad support at launch... hell a selected and tiny list of games to choose from?? Considering they heftily overcharge its incredible that they don't wack up all the games from the past!

The Wii U will be 3rd in this race unless they create quite literally the best game that the planet has ever seen! It doesn't mean that the games will be shit though, I loved the N64/GC era when most hated it! I even liked the 1st party Wii offering. I have no doubt that Mario Kart 8, SSB etc etc will be gleeming with quality....the shame of it all is that only a mere handful will ever know....

Aside from third party, the games are here - Mario, Pikmin, 2D Mario, Wii Sports, Rayman Legends etc etc - really solid, good games.

Problem is general consumers don't know the difference between Wii and Wii U, but PS4 makes sense. It's sequential. Still think the naming and marketing are what's really causing problems for the Wii U. At least the 3DS has a number in it - the average consumer may assume it's the third in the DS range, or something.

Funnily enough though, saw 3 Mario ads tonight in the space of 2 hours... interesting!

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I was thinking... Xbox One doesn't have a better name than Wii U. It could even be considered worse, because people might think it's the predecessor to the 360. And it's still selling like crazy.

Is that because that one is aimed at the hardcore gamers, and hardcore gamers follow the news? While the U is partly aimed at the casual market, who have no clue? I guess the good thing is that those casuals probably also won't be buying a PS4 (yet).

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Gotta say, tonight, in one hour, I saw 3 different Wii U adverts on TV! Wii Fit U (the Steffi Graff and André Agassi one), Wii Party U and Super Mario 3D World. So, right now, in the run up to the holidays, there certainly is some presence. I also saw a Link Between Worlds ad in the same time span a Mario Kart 7 one, and also a Luigi's Mansion one.

Nintendo seems to be pushing it a bit harder over here at least for the holidays, but it should be all year round really. Have barely seen any PS4 ads though (the only one I saw wasn't even showing any actual games) and very little XBox One either.

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Do they even sell XB1 in Belgium? Because they don't in Holland.

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Canyarion said:
Do they even sell XB1 in Belgium? Because they don't in Holland.

I think certain retailers imported a few units from France over here, so that they would be able to sell them, but otherwise the system isn't supposed to be available over here either, but certain games like FIFA14 are advertised using the XBox One logo already, on TV.

( Edited 08.12.2013 18:43 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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