SAN FRANCISCO—The Wii U, the successor to Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s hugely popular motion-based gaming console, is expected to get off to a faster start than its predecessor, but may have trouble matching the original Wii's long-term success, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
IHS (El Segundo, Calif.) forecasts that Will U will sell more briskly in following its launch Nov. 18 than the original did, largely due to pent-up demand from Wii fans. But over the longer term, Will U will need to overcome a fragmented market for gaming and the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other platforms that support gaming, according to the firm.
Wii was a runaway hit when it was introduced in 2006, providing a less costly alternative to higher priced consoles with more intensive graphics and processing power like Sony's PlayStation 3. The original Wii was also the first gaming system to make major use of MEMS sensor technology to enable motion-based gaming.
Wii sold 3.1 million units in its first month-and-a-half of existence in 2006, according to IHS. The market research firm expects Nintendo to move 3.5 million units of Wii U over a similar timeframe by the end of December. The firm predicts that supply will be unable to keep up with demand.
"As a result of the tight inventory control Nintendo employs to manage its supply chain and strong consumer demand in these opening weeks of launch, we believe it's highly likely that retailers will experience some Wii U shortages in the run-up to Christmas," said Piers Harding-Rolls, senior principal analyst for gaming at IHS, in a staement. "Stock will be replenished in ongoing fashion, but some unlucky shoppers may well miss out."