Nintendo (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY ) made a number of game announcements for its Wii U console at E3, including titles featuring some of its most beloved characters.
Whether that plus the recent launch of Mario Kart 8 will be enough to revive interest in the ailing platform was the topic on the latest edition of Business Take, the show that gives you the Foolish perspective on the most important business stories of the week.
Wii U has been on the market for about a year longer than the market-leading Sony (NYSE: SNE ) PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) Xbox One. Despite the 12-month head start it has only sold around 6.5 million units -- about a million more than Xbox One and a million less than PS4. While the overall number is comparable to its rivals, buzz around Wii U has faded -- Nintendo sold only a little over 100,000 of its console in the last quarter.
"In the last generation Nintendo sold about 100 million Wii units," panelist Daniel Kline said. "The interesting thing about the Wii was that it was low-priced so buying one didn't mean you weren't going to buy a PlayStation 3 or an Xbox 360. It was kind of an additional family sale."
Host Jason Helllmann, who does not own a Wii U, said he is a Nintendo fan and he believes that some of the new games announced at E3 should help get people excited about Wii U. He specifically mentioned the company's Amibo toys/game, which features NFC-enabled figurines that interact with the game. This type of product line has been very successful for Activision's (NASDAQ: ATVI ) Skylanders series and the Disney (NYSE: DIS ) Infinity line. For the Nintendo game, like Infinity and Skylanders, the characters' virtual histories will be stored on the plastic figures and transmitted through the Wii U GamePad.
"They look like Mario and Link and your favorite Nintendo characters," Hellmann said. "Skylanders was a huge success with over half a billion dollars in sales and people love Nintendo with their cute little characters."
Panelist Jake Mann said he believes that Nintendo has a strong enough lineup of first-part games coming between now and 2015 that WiiU could still be revived.
Nintendo has announced a new Legends of Zelda as well as a Super Smash Bros. title for release in coming months.
"I think it's the same story for Nintendo that it has always been," Hellmann said. "They will live or die by their first-party titles. They have games that can sell systems."
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