Nintendo France Interview on Wii Mini, MH3U sales & Wii U marketing/sales

#1
Philippe Lavoué, from Nintendo France gave an interview to the french website gamekult recently for the launch of the Wii Mini. Here's what he had to say about the console, The Wii/Wii U confusion and Nintendo's overall strategy.

http://www.gamekult.com/actu/itw-nintendo-la-confusion-wii-wii-u-cest-termine-A108195.html

Can you tell us more about the Wii Mini, what’s the logic behind this console that will be sharing shelve space with the Wii U?

It’s a light version of the Wii. It weighs 500 grammes less which makes it more portable. As of today, we sold 6,2 million Wii consoles and we were (positively) surprised by its sales during last year’s Christmas period. It was the third console on the market in terms of volume last year, behind the 3DS. In conclusion, there’s still demand for this market segment and the objective is to make the Wii experience as accessible as possible.
What audience are you going for with this console, the mainstream market or the gamers that have ignored the Wii so far?

I’ve been reading the comments on your website in the articles related to the Wii Mini and I think that there are different market targets for it. Of course, we have in mind the consumers that are yet to buy a video game console. 6,2 million Wii sold is definitely important, but it is also encouraging if we’re looking at Christmas 2012 sales. The Wii has the biggest games catalogue right now which could very well be a factor in “seducing” the latecomers. It could also interest gamers that have not bought a Wii yet. Video game collectors are also a target. We know that they exist; I’ve already seen a few gamers that have shown interest in getting the Wii Mini just because they wanted every Nintendo console. There are also people that are nostalgic of older consoles which may be attracted to its old school design. The console isn’t targeted at one very specific group.
The Wii is the bestselling video game console in France. How far do you think it can go sales wise?

We don’t know. (…) Our priority right now is the Wii U and we have focused all of our resources on it. We will not advertise the Wii Mini, and all of our future releases will only be available on the Wii U. For example, there's Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate that got released last week. Its sales have been very good and we are pleasantly surprised. The 3DS version in particular has sold 10.000 units. It's number 2 on the market (charts?) which is pretty good for a franchise that is still expanding in our territory.
You just told us that you won’t be advertising the Wii Mini. How is Nintendo going to avoid consumer confusion between the Wii, Wii Mini and Wii U then?

We think that the Wii Mini’s different design will help facilitate the choice for consumers and establish a clear difference with the Wii U. We think that the games will help accelerate the Wii U’s sales, for example its sales have tripled compared to last week thanks to the release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. We will continue upping the rhythm of game releases, such as Lego City Undercover, so that we can attract every gaming community out there. It’s on this year’s game catalogue that consumers will be able to tell the difference between the Wii Mini and the Wii U.
On Wii vs Wii U sales:

Is the Wii U selling better than the Wii?
Last week, we sold more Wii U units.

What about the previous weeks? How about this financial quarter for example?
The Wii U has overtaken the Wii recently.
If the Wii Mini’s design is what will differentiate the Wii from the Wii U, Why didn’t you rather change the Wii U’s design directly?

We will see how sales will be in the next coming weeks. You know, we don’t really have our word to say concerning design (laughs). One thing is sure, if you put a Wii Mini next to a Wii U, there’s a huge difference between the two. Now, could we have done it differently? Probably, but this isn’t the strategy that has been chosen by Nintendo.
Let’s talk about the price of the Wii U…

Our belief is that sales react to the games lineup. Lowering the price, without any compelling software will produce nothing. Moreover, promotional policy for now is at the discretion of distributors. Our responsibility is to provide a solid games catalogue. We had the 3DS experience before, where we sold 750.000 units the first year, and then 960.000 units the following one. This year, we are looking at more than a million units sold. This was mainly thanks to the 3DS XL, not a price drop. When we lowered the 3DS model price, it didn’t have the effect we wished for. We only had a good improvement during half a month and then sales went back to the levels they were at before. What helped the 3DS at the end of its first year was titles like Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Tennis Open and Super Mario 3D Land. NSMB2 sales have been phenomenal. In conclusion, price isn’t the only lever that we can use to drive sales. Today, we’re at 1,85 million 3DS sold in France compared to 11 million in Japan.
Are distributors excited about the Wii Mini or is it the case only for supermarkets?

(…) We don’t have a predefined strategy in this domain because we’re not in a very strong sales period. This is a trial run for now. Although in general, we have a pretty homogeneous allotment between the different distribution channels.

On discontinuing the classic wii model:


Let us go back to the Wii Mini. Does its release mark the end of the classic model?

There's not much left of the classic Wii Model. The Wii Mini will soon be the only option on the market for this segment, we're almost there. The old model should stay on the market for 4 to 5 weeks at max.

The translation is mine but I tried being as accurate as possible.
 
#3
Is the Wii U selling better than the Wii?
Last week, we sold more Wii U units.
That's some impressive spin.
What about the previous weeks? How about this financial quarter for example?
The Wii U has overtaken the Wii recently.
Even more impressive. Presumably, as recently as last week.
-----
Number 2 in their territory for the 3DS version.

So, for France is that good or is their market on a decline like the UK?
They give an actual number of units sold: 10K.
 
#4
Are distributors excited about the Wii Mini or is it the case only for supermarkets?

(…) We don’t have a predefined strategy in this domain because we’re not in a very strong sales period. This is a trial run for now. Although in general, we have a pretty homogeneous allotment between the different distribution channels.
Translation: No
 
#7
What's the logic behind the Wii Mini?



Who was asking for that? Who was bugging Nintendo for less functionality and more portability? Who? What is going on at Nintendo?
Selective quoting lol. What about the rest of his answer?

It was the third console on the market in terms of volume last year, behind the 3DS. In conclusion, there’s still demand for this market segment and the objective is to make the Wii experience as accessible as possible.
 
#10
Its sales have been very good and we are pleasantly surprised. The 3DS version in particular has sold 10.000 units.
10k is very well now? Lol. Second game in France chart sold 10k and people still say the UK market is shrinking, so bad etc.... What does that make the French market then? A zombie, almost alive market.

French market is way smaller than the UK market.
 
#11
That's some impressive spin.Even more impressive. Presumably, as recently as last week.
-----
They give an actual number of units sold: 10K.
I mean, is 10k a good number for France?

What if the previous week the sales were 50x higher, but this week it's number 2 at 50x less units? I haven't really checked the threads with French sales so I have no idea if 10k is good or not.
 
#12
The "weighs 500 grams less so its more portable" made me lol, but seems like theres at least some forward momentum happening at Nintendo France. I'm a tad surprised that they were happy with the Wii's sales last year when it was down 50% YoY.
10k is very well now? Lol.
Ehh, I don't think debuting at second place in any marketplace can be considered disappointing for a title like MH, especially in a week where there was a major title released that presumably took #1 (Gears).


It definitely means the French market is smaller than I thought it was though.
 
#16
Glad to see MH3U doing reasonably well, the franchise is long overdue getting a foothold in Europe. Online is very busy already.

The sale spin of the WiiU is ridiculous... it overtook the Wii... lol, what in current sales or relative to launch?

Not even NOE seems to be happy with NCLs decisions and designs. Can't say I blame them. Being more or less a lackey to some out of touch business from half a world away, sure must put a lot of grey hair on their heads lately.
 
#19
Selective quoting lol. What about the rest of his answer?
It's not selective quoting at all. I used his primary answer. He led off with "It's lighter. It's more portable". Who gives a damn about the portability of a home console when the portability comes at the cost of major functionality being removed from the device? That's just insane. How is removing functionality and removing weight making it "more accessible"? To whom? People living in closets? Spin that for me, please. Somebody.
 
#20
The Wii Mini will replace any other wii model available and since there's still a bit of demand for the console, it will probably sell. It's basically a way for Nintendo to cut on the cost of the console while offering it at a lower princepoint. The goal is definitely not to drive sales for the Wii.

Wii U sales are bad but the mass market perception of the console isn't set up in stone yet imo. Focus on Wii U is good from Nintendo, they simply have no other choice.

Monster Hunter did very well in my opinion.

Glad to see MH3U doing reasonably well, the franchise is long overdue getting a foothold in Europe. Online is very busy already.

The sale spin of the WiiU is ridiculous... it overtook the Wii... lol, what in current sales or relative to launch?

Not even NOE seems to be happy with NCLs decisions and designs. Can't say I blame them. Being more or less a lackey to some out of touch business from half a world away, sure must put a lot of grey hair on their heads lately.
weekly sales, I'm pretty sure.
 
#22
For an over hyped port that´s coming to both 3DS and WiiU it´s abysmal, especially when France is Nintedo land.
Not sure about overhyped. Did it had a lot of marketing in France? Or do you mean on GAF? We still need numbers of niche portable games though for better comparison, whether it's "abysmal" or not. How much did the PSP versions do?
 
#23
10k is only for the 3DS version which I guess is decent for a niche game. It probably could've done better but I wouldn't call it abysmal.
France loves Nintendo. Especially the 3DS. But I have no idea how that translates sales-wise. Does anyone know the sales for one of the more recent bigger 3DS titles in France? Maybe 10k is great for them. It certainly seems higher than what's been going on in the UK.
 

Mpl90

Two copies sold? That's not a bomb guys, stop trolling!!!
#26
Just checked. MH3 ( that had the biggest debut for the franchise in Europe) didn't enter French top 5 back in 2010. Still, it must be considered that French charts count special editions as separate SKUs. MH3 had three different SKUs, while MH3U had two SKUs.
 
#27
Uhm, not bad debut for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, a pity he didn't provide Wii U version sales too.

Just with France and UK sales the game may well be around 30.000 units sold.
 
#32
Yeah, tell my what my opinion is. Second on the chart and having sold only 10k is horrible. But of course you spin everything Nintendo related.


Because I'm sure MonHun is a serie used to sell a shitload of copies in West. Especially when it's a port. Also I'm sure you understand the French market better than someone like me who lives in France.
Also, am I spining something ? Lol no. But still, the game is doing fine, especially in ONE country.

Also, calling France "Nintendo Land" proves you don't have any clue.
 
#33
Reason for Wii Mini:

1: Using up surplus Wii parts.

2: Allowing Wii sales to continue whilst differentiating it from WiiU. Design wise they've made it as different as possible to the WiiU to try and solve the Wii/WiiU confusion and allow WiiU to stand out without taking Wii off the shelves completely.

I suppose in theory that was the right thing to do, bit it doesn't really work too well when there are so many normal Wiis still on shelves.
 
#34
Nintendo France is just like most other Nintendo regional outlets that's not NCL: they don't have much, if any control over anything...just have to peddle whatever NCL has come up with. There needs to be a real change at the top.
 
#35
Nintendo France is just like most other Nintendo regional outlets that's not NCL: they don't have much, if any control over anything...just have to peddle whatever NCL has come up with. There needs to be a real change at the top.
Yup. Nintendos internal structure needs to join the 90's, let alone the 00's. I love Nintendo and love their quirkiness but we've seen too many times how having your head office in Japan doesn't always work for US/EU marketing/strategy. They need more autonomy so they can strategise to best exploit their own territories.

This, plus the whole secrecy/trickle of information bullshit when it comes to future releases are the only things I'd change about the big N.
 
#37
How do I say this, but isn't France Nintendo's bellwether in terms of Europe? If they aren't performing well in France, then they're not performing well in Europe.

UK is in the shit these days.
 
#39
Is it horrible compared to what? How much did the previous entry sell in that country? Do you think it will stop selling after the first week? Etc.
Second place selling 10k is horrible, and show how small the Franch market is.
Because I'm sure MonHun is a serie used to sell a shitload of copies in West. Especially when it's a port. Also I'm sure you understand the French market better than someone like me who lives in France.
Also, am I spining something ? Lol no. But still, the game is doing fine, especially in ONE country.

Also, calling France "Nintendo Land" proves you don't have any clue.
It´s you who does not have a clue.
 
#40
Manufacture does not work that way.
Does as far as ordering bulk amounts of processors/components goes. Remember Nintendo weren't expecting Wii sales to drop off a cliff like they did. They will have struck deals with vendors to produce 'X' amount chips in a given period. You can't then turn around a year or so later and say "actually we don't need them, sorry!" :)
 

Mpl90

Two copies sold? That's not a bomb guys, stop trolling!!!
#41
3DS 2011 YTD: 761.000
3DS 2012 YTD: 950.000

3DS LTD in 2012: 1.711.000
3DS LTD as of Week 12/13, 2013 (probably Week 12): 1.850.000

3DS 2013 YTD as of Week 12/13, 2013: 139.000

For comparison, last year it was at 236.000 units sold as of Week 25, 2012.
 
#43
3DS 2011 YTD: 761.000
3DS 2012 YTD: 950.000

3DS LTD in 2012: 1.711.000
3DS LTD as of Week 12/13, 2013 (probably Week 12): 1.850.000

3DS 2013 YTD as of Week 12/13, 2013: 139.000

For comparison, last year it was at 236.000 units sold as of Week 25, 2012.
I wonder how much HW the new Pokemon game will push since it seemingly takes place in a region based on France.
 
#44
This interview is hilarious for all the wrong reasons.
Actually it's a pretty good one for a change; I'm thinking the translation lost many things.

Lavoué don't do some random PR talk, he did say the sales pace is very slow so he can't conclude on anything based on 2013 sales, except MH3U bumped Wii U sales.

He says that at NoE/NF they don't have any way to give advice on things like Wii Mini release (or not), hardware design etc... But that we already knew that. GK journalist just asked his questions like they did, VG journalism etc...
And regular Wii stock will be over after easter, but they will continue to ship Wii Minis.
 
#45
Actually it's a pretty good one for a change; I'm thinking the translation lost many things.
Hmm did I? I'll gladly correct if you point out to me any mistakes that have been made.

The interview is okay, there's quite a bit of PR talk which you can't really help but there are direct answers to the questions asked too.
 
#46
Does as far as ordering bulk amounts of processors/components goes. Remember Nintendo weren't expecting Wii sales to drop off a cliff like they did. They will have struck deals with vendors to produce 'X' amount chips in a given period. You can't then turn around a year or so later and say "actually we don't need them, sorry!" :)
It does not work like that either.
 
#49
How do I say this, but isn't France Nintendo's bellwether in terms of Europe? If they aren't performing well in France, then they're not performing well in Europe.

UK is in the shit these days.
Nintendo in the UK is in the shit these days.

Other platforms are not tanking like the Wii or Wii U here.
 
#50
Does as far as ordering bulk amounts of processors/components goes. Remember Nintendo weren't expecting Wii sales to drop off a cliff like they did. They will have struck deals with vendors to produce 'X' amount chips in a given period. You can't then turn around a year or so later and say "actually we don't need them, sorry!" :)
Contracts aren't set in stone in business. You can always renegotiate terms and quantities altrough if one side is resigning from part of supply usually some compensation is needed.
Of course one side can enforce terms but then this will affect future relationship.