Given the continued weak sales performance of the Wii U, it's clear that Nintendo is a company in need of strong new direction. Speaking at a financial results meeting yesterday, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has detailed the company's strategy for the coming months, outlining how the console maker will renew its efforts to communicate the benefits of the GamePad, while bringing classic software to the system's Virtual Console.
Though Iwata admitted that the GamePad is currently the system's biggest problem, he made it clear that there are no plans to abandon the costly controller. Instead, the company will increase its efforts to produce software that highlights the unique controller's appeal. Iwata also ruled out a price cut for the system.
Sticking with the GamePad
While the majority of games released on the system thus far have made use of the GamePad's touchscreen (largely for inventory management and/or map display), the titles that make the controller feel like an essential part of the system are few and far between.
Nintendo has promised that we'll see games that make use of the controller's NFC feature at this year's E3, and that Mario Kart 8, coming in May, will feature extensive GamePad integration. Additionally, the company is working on a fast start-up feature for when the system is being used with just the GamePad.
The news that Nintendo will continue to push the GamePad as the system's key selling point goes somewhat against the grain of industry opinion, where the overriding feeling is that the company should downplay the controller.
Some analysts have even suggested that the company make the GamePad an optional accessory, allowing them to release a low-cost version of the system that does not come with the costly controller. That said, consumer confusion regarding the difference between the Wii U and older Wii system would potentially become more pronounced if the newer console was sold without the GamePad.
DS Virtual Console and character licensing
The second piece of news to come out of the financial report meetings is the company's intention to bring DS games to the system's Virtual Console service. At the time of writing, only a selection of NES and SNES games are available to download through the service. The addition of popular DS games such as Brain Training may help push the console to more casual gamers.
Lastly, Iwata stated that while the company will definitely not release games on competing hardware, it will begin licensing Nintendo game characters to new partners. The recently unveiled Hyrule Warriors title, a cross-over between The Legend of Zelda franchise and Namco Koei's Warriors series, appears to be the first of said collaborations.