Purely Opinion: I don’t care about the Wii U sales
It’s been a while since I wrote an article defending Nintendo and the Wii U. This isn’t one of those articles. This is purely my opinion as a video game connoisseur. As a gamer and not as a media member who relies on Nintendo for work, I don’t care about Nintendo’s sales. What?! How can I not care?! Simple, I am getting everything I want and more. Why should I care?
There hasn’t been a flood of titles for the Wii U like its predecessor at the same point of life. But that doesn’t mean we have missed out the same quality games. At this moment I have 25 Wii U titles, not counting Indie eShop. That’s about a title every 4 to 5 weeks. For me, that’s an overwhelming ratio. In my older age, I don’t have time to complete a game every few days. Most of these games sit half completed. Not because of quality for the game, but quality time on my part. These numbers are skewed with the huge drought at the start of 2013. But droughts happen for most new systems. We are past that now and everything is Pharrell Williams happy.
Looking at my 25 titles, bought and reviewed, all of them, except for one, are titles I would recommend at some level, with half of those being highly recommended – with the one exception being Transformers. There are different approaches to what is considered a “good game.” But I am sure most Wii U owners would have trouble finding more than 3-5 Wii U games that could be considered less than enjoyable or unplayable.
Why are we seeing higher quality games for the Wii U? It comes down to simple numbers.
At the same point in life the Wii was sitting around 25 million units sold, and growing quickly. This higher install base offers a stronger opportunity for sales. Selling games is all about playing the percentages of attach rates. Depending on the level of production, a fair attach rate for AAA software would be around 5-10 percent. A shovelware title, which the Wii was known for, would be happy with around 1-3 percent. Let’s keep this simple and stick to estimated percentages and nice round numbers. Lets’ take 100 million Wii’s – If you take the estimated sales of Mario Galaxy, 11 million, that’s an attach rate of about 11 percent. Mario Galaxy 2, 7 million in sales, an attach rate of 7 percent. Then we have the big title Mario Kart Wii seeing an attach rate of around 34 percent. Let us take this out of the Wii and look at the 360 which had three of its top titles seeing similar numbers; Halo 3 at 17 percent, GTA V at 31 percent and Gears 3 at 7.5 percent.
I was going to continue and talk about the similar attach rate percentage with the major Wii U titles, but I will leave that to you smart people to figure out. Hint, it’s pretty much similar. I want to move on to what all this means. Basically, almost any game with the proper marketing could see success on the Wii. I’m not a statistic expert, but to me it’s pretty simple. With 100 million potential buyers, there are good odds that even a half percent would be the right demographic for a game. That percentage equals 500 thousand in sales for a quick shovelware title from a small team. That is beyond success for a title like this.
Now that we have all those number things out of the way. What does this mean for a gamer like myself? Well its simple my friends, because of the lower install base, developers have to work a lot harder for sales. The days of tossing a game on a system and playing the numbers game is over. Developers have to work harder to impress and draw gamers to purchase their title. In turn, for the most part, Wii U owners are seeing higher quality games. I remember with the Wii waiting through 10 “shovelware” games before that one quality game that I had to own. If you take that into account, I probably was buying a quality Wii game at a similar rate as my current Wii U purchases.
That is why as a consumer of video games, I am happy with the Wii U. Besides the severe drought of early 2013, the Wii U has produced a very strong amount of quality games. I’m not the same gamer I was 15 years ago, with time to play through a game a weekend. For me, a strong quality game a month or so is plenty to keep me happy. If Nintendo sells only 5 Wii U’s a week for the next five years, as a gamer, I don’t care, as long as the Wii U keeps producing high quality games like Rayman Legends, Mario Kart 8, Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, Wind Waker, ZombiU, Monster Hunter Ultimate, The Wonderful 101, Need For Speed, New Super Mario 3D World, and a ton more, I am happy. You don’t have to agree with me, this is my purely opinion.
*All numbers are estimates