GameStop president Tony Bartel spoke with Forbes about the next generation console race. He has said that sales of the Wii U have fallen below the retailers expectations since the holiday period ended. He added that software is key in selling hardware.
“Following the holiday launch period, sales have been slower than we expected,” said Bartel. “Nintendo plans on launching some of their biggest IP over the next few months which we think will increase gamer interest.”
“Software will play a big role in each console’s success over the holidays,” Bartel answered when asked what Nintendo needs to do to compete with the PlayStation 4 and next Xbox. “We’re already seeing great developer and publisher support for PS4, so Wii U will need some great titles, especially first-party titles, to compete. There’s also a need to increase consumer awareness of the new features available on the Wii U and its tethered tablet features.”
The PlayStation 4 and next Xbox will have a huge impact for the industry which has seen sales slow down in the last couple of years. Bartel believes that gamers are more than ready for the next generation of consoles and the launch will “re-energize the entire industry.”
“Video gaming is much more mainstream now than it was at the start of the last cycle, so there are a lot more dollars to fight for this time around,” answered Bartel when asked what has changed in the industry since the Xbox 360 launched. “I also think consumers’ expectations for technology improvements are much greater now than it was seven years ago. Finally, gaming is becoming increasingly social, so continuing to expand the connection to other gamers will be key.”
Bartel also added that exclusives are key to setting the consoles apart from each other. He mentioned Halo as a franchise that sells consoles. He also added that high quality and unique new IPs is what drives console sales at launch.