Nintendo President Satoru Iwata says the company will rely on a strong lineup of software in the second half of 2009 rather than price cuts to help the Wii regain its slowing sales momentum.
The Wii has mercilessly trounced sales of both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, to the point that both Microsoft and Sony have declared that the Wii isn’t actually a competing product at all and therefore the fact that it’s pummeled them senseless doesn’t count. But sales of the console have dropped off precipitously in recent months and Nintendo President Iwata himself recently declared the system to be in an “unhealthy condition” in Japan.
In an interview with CNBC, however, Iwata dismissed the suggestion that a price cut might be the best way to address the slowdown. “Right now, we have no plans at all about a price cut,” he said. “We are going to start launching the stronger software in the later half of the year – and we are confident [we will] regain the momentum.”
“People often talk about the price cut as if it’s an almighty weapon. The fact of the matter is that what a price cut can do is rather limited,” he continued. “In the long history of video games, at the time of the price cut we see a momentary hike in sales, but usually that cannot sustain its momentum and it soon comes down to below the price cut level.”
He also sounded unconcerned about the new motion-sensing controllers from Microsoft and Sony that were unveiled at E3, saying the company has known “for a long time” that competing products would be introduced once Nintendo proved there was a market for them. And while the Wii Vitality Sensor, unveiled at Nintendo’s E3 press conference, may not seem like a natural fit for American audiences, Iwata was upbeat about its potential.
“The U.S. market might be challenging, but everybody was skeptical of the sales potential [of Brain Age],” he said. “Even after the Japanese sale showed results, people in the U.S. were skeptical. [They thought,] ‘It’s just a Japan thing that can’t be translated to the US market’.”