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Wii U needs a fix to access the web and hit sales targets

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While Sony and Microsoft prepare to increase the realism on the next generation of sitting-room based consoles, Nintendo has always focused more on playability. As the Wii U lands in British stores, KitGuru assesses the unit shipments required for this new box to be a success.

We asked around the office earlier and no one knew exactly when the Wii U would be launching. Everyone knew when Black Ops II was due to land (announcements started back in March), but the Wii U info was not to hand.

One reason for that might be that the game companies’ pricing model managed to lead to the death throws of Game/HMV etc in many a high street – removing a valuable information delivery channel. We, as a nation, no longer seem to spend 5 minutes reading everything near the till, while queuing to pay for a game-related purchase.

With a double dip recession, low consumer confidence and established consoles already in the market under the £150 mark, how many units will Nintendo need to sell in order to be considered a ‘successful launch’?

This discussion has been raging among the retailers, all of whom seem to be hoping that the UK sales can match those seen in the USA – so what’s the magic number?

The USA has a population of 313 million people and Nintendo sold 400,000 units in week one.

With a UK population of 63 million, to achieve the same percentage (0.13%) of penetration in week one, Nintendo needs to move more than 80,000 units.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, its quality control team has failed to spot a serious issue – which means you won’t get a full set of online features ‘straight out of the box’. Whoops.

Not only is the console expensive, it will also need a software patch straight out of the box if you want to use it online. Nintendo's President, Satoru Iwata, has apologised saying "I feel very sorry for the fact that purchasers of Wii U have to experience a network update which takes such a long time, and that there are the services which were not available at the hardware's launch"

KitGuru says: Microsoft claim big sales on Windows 8, but no retailer we’ve spoken to has said that boxed copies of the OS are flying off the shelves. Which means Microsoft’s sales are based on the OS shipping with new PCs, where there is no choice. With Xmas approaching and parents everywhere keen to show their kids that the world is not so scary, Nintendo may well get a bump in sales – but nothing like the launches of the original DS and Wii. The big question is: Can Nintendo, overall, return to profitability through the Wii U or have they joined Novell, Nokia and RIM as a footnote in history?

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