Nintendo president Satoru Iwata during an investor discussion regarding the $923 million half-year loss suggested that the Wii U wouldn't arrive until the end of 2012. He anticipated that the finished version of the console would show at E3 2012, a year after it was first unveiled. As Nintendo rarely ships at E3 itself, the timing points to a holiday release as more likely than mid-year.
The executive claimed that the wait was the result of a "bitter lesson" from the early 3DS sales period. While day one sales were strong, they quickly tapered off until the price cut because of a poor software lineup. Nintendo was taking "every possible measure" to guarantee a good launch, Iwata said, implying mostly that developers would have more time to finish top tier games.
The Wii U is an attempt by Nintendo to shake its reputation for older consoles and party games. Although it can still use Wii remotes and has unique multiplayer concepts so far, it's also being targeted more at serious gamers. It should outperform the Xbox 360 and PS3, if not by large amounts, and will have more 'serious' games like Tekken along with its usual family-friendly titles. Its unique display-equipped gamepad is expected to hike the price significantly, however, and put Nintendo back into the same pricing league as Microsoft or Sony.
Iwata added during the talk that the 3DS needed games with a longer sales lifespan that would continue to sell well through the console's life, not just for a few months. A common complaint of the original Wii is a tendency for sales success to depend entirely on whether or not there's a new Nintendo-made game on shelves.
DS hardware has usually fared better as it has a slate of games that new users regularly buy, such as its Mario Kart and Zelda games. [viaGamePro]