Tomodachi strife: Nintendo comes first for controversy and last for sales

Even a well timed blue shell can't save Nintendo from this car crash


Nintendo revealed its latest set of financial figures last week, with the Wii U once again revealing itself to be as the rocks in Nintendo's pockets that are dragging it to the bottom of the sea.

Incredibly, Nintendo managed to sell fewer Wii U consoles last quarter than in the same period of 2013, shifting just 310,000 of the bizarre tablet machines around the world, despite the hype surrounding the imminent release of traditional Nintendo hardware-resurrector Mario Kart on the format.

Elsewhere, Nintendo made a big mess of handling the modern world, after it casually swept aside a campaign to include same-sex relationships within its life-management sim Tomodachi Life.

The game's set to launch here in June, and is based around little people living in an alternative world -- one in which same-sex character flirting and marriage isn't allowed, much to the annoyance of the many gay communities who just so happen to also enjoy playing video games.

In its defence, Nintendo claimed Tomodachi Life was meant to represent a "playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation" and that it "never intended to make any form of social commentary" with the game.

Unfortunately, the people of the internet weren't prepared to let it get away with that fluffy surrender. Even Nintendo's biggest and oldest fans were baffled by its complete failure to get and respond to the opinions of the modern world.

Full steam reverse

Some swift analysis of the Nintendo Wii U sales problem was provided by readers over at The Register, with P Lee coming up with this easy one-step turnaround plan: "Wii Fit? That's nice, but those who were going to buy, already have. Another version of Mario Kart? I don't see how that will sell again.

It's a dying platform. Port the games to SteamOS and hope to sell a few more controllers and USB-to-sensor-bar gadgets, er, connectors. Valve would probably throw in some marketing funds."

Mario Kart
Will Mario Kart on the Wii U be enough to put Nintendo back on track?

Anonymous Coward came out with this explanation for the Wii U's disastrous arrival, saying: "Fool me once… That's Nintendo's problem. They sold the Wii is the best thing ever and it was shite, now it's time to sell the Wii-U consumers aren't interested, no matter how many shoddy Mario remakes they throw at it."

Over on VG247, Nintendo's forward-looking ideas weren't greeted with much enthusiasm either. Reader MisterMogul said: "They must be deluded to think that re-released DS games and a few NFC features are gonna save the Wii U. I really hope they have a lot more than that in store otherwise the ship will continue sinking."

Luigi's ivory tower

On the Guardian, where the Tomodachi outrage was strong, reader Declawed explained of the fury: "It's one of those lose/lose scenarios for Nintendo. Whichever choice is made, an equally large number of people who previously didn't know or care what you did, now hate you and want you boycotted."

Sidestepping the politics of the same-sex relationship issue, DoesNotComputer pointed out one of Nintendo's earlier, more liberal, sexual choices, with: "C'mon, Nintendo. You introduced a cross-dressing transvestite character named Birdo into a main series Super Mario game over two decades ago. Don't get all square on us now."

A more serious comment was left by Tonkatsu, who took offence with the commonly held idea that removing same-sex relationships equated to Nintendo not taking sides in the debate. "They are not on the fence -- they have actively come down on the other side of the fence," Tonk explained, adding: "How is deliberately preventing gay characters, when they exist in real life, 'remaining on the fence'?"