Wii U fails to impress investors

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Nintendo's prototype Wii U console - along with its tablet-like controller - was undoubtedly one of the biggest stars and successes of E3 2011 this past week in Los Angeles.

Nevertheless, investors remain somewhat wary about the new system, questioning if Nintendo is truly prepared to contend with the paradigm shift posed by the rapid increase in mobile gaming.

"It's [really] unclear who Nintendo is targeting with the Wii U and where it wants to go," Tokai Tokyo Research Center analyst Yusuke Tsunoda told the Wall Street Journal.

According to Tsunoda, the Wii U "doesn't ease" growing concerns about prospects for specialized game consoles, when quite a number of consumers are perfectly content with playing (casual) games on their smartphones.

"The bar for a new console is [clearly] a lot higher now," than it was when the first Wii went on the market, said Tsunoda.

Hiroyuki Fukunaga, a Tokyo-based market analyst and chief executive of Investrust Inc, expressed similar sentiments.

"I don't really see Nintendo's strategy yet... There are [real] concerns [the Wii U] may turn out to be expensive with the touch-screen controller."

Aside from potential sticker shock, analysts also appeared to be worried about the lack of Wii U games showcased at E3.

But Nintendo President Satoru Iwata insisted third-parties devs were interested in creating games for the nascent platform - despite the infamous GameCube debacle.

"This time, there are more outside [third-party] software makers who are saying, 'we want to get involved with the new console,'" Iwata claimed.