Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata said in a briefing today that Nintendo is planning to launch the Wii U, the next version of the popular Wii console, during the next fiscal year. The new fiscal year will not begin until April of 2012.
He stated that the company would like to put the final format of the Wii U on display at the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) show next year, which is in early June. That would likely mean the Wii U won’t be launched until the second half of 2012.
“As we learned a bitter lesson with the launch of the Nintendo 3DS,” said Iwata, referencing Nintendo’s March, 2011 launch of the 3DS. “We are trying to take every possible measure so that the Wii U will have a successful launch.”
The 3DS was launched into a troubled economy at a price of about $250. Within 6 months the price was dropped to $170, an in effort to generate “sales momentum.” Sales remain sluggish. The company is hoping for improved sales during the holiday season, “We expect 3DS sales will surge at a stretch toward the end of this year,” said Iwata.
Some within the company are concerned that once the Wii U is launched, consumers may put of buying the console in hopes that the Will U will have a price drop like the 3DS did.
The Will U controller and system is quite different from the Will. The controller has a 6.2 inch touchscreen and a front facing camera. Users will be able to shift content from the TV screen to the smaller touchscreen. A whole new generation of games will be introduced for the Wii U. Pricing information will not be available until next year, according to Nintendo.