“What I would say about Wii U – and what [Nintendo President] Mr. Iwata has said – is that the pace of launches has been slower than we hoped. But as we prepare for E3, the pace of launches for Wii U is going to dramatically increase," Fils-Aime said.
Wii U has been mired with poor sales since a very promising launch in late 2012. Much of this is attributed not to Nintendo’s weakness as a brand – it is perhaps the strongest singular hardware brand in the industry – but due to a lack of compelling games.
Fewer than 50 titles have launched for Wii U in North America so far, only a handful of them are exclusives, and none are killer apps or bona fide system sellers. The latter problem is likely to change once Nintendo’s heavy-hitters start to launch, however; Zelda, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. are just a few games that may change Nintendo’s console fortunes.
On the other hand, Nintendo’s handheld fortunes are through the roof. Nintendo 3DS is clobbering its rival, Sony's PlayStation Vita, and Fils-Aime confirmed in this same conversation that “life-to-date 3DS game sales [have] surpass[ed] 20 million units in the US.” Digital sales are also way up: 15 titles are available digitally on 3DS that were specifically published by Nintendo, and those digital versions represent 11 percent of total sales. Digital sales on 3DS are up 55 percent, year-over-year.