Nintendo says U.S. Wii U launch strong, despite software troubles

The Japanese gamemaker says some stores sold out of the console on day one, and apologizes for network outages

Nintendo apologized to early buyers of the Wii U for outages on its new online gaming platform, but said sales of its new flagship game console were strong during its global launch Sunday in the U.S.

Eager buyers, some of whom lined up for hours and even days to get their hands on the new game in the U.S., were soon stuck as their consoles locked up for hours downloading a massive, and apparently mandatory, initial software update, with many taking to message boards and Twitter to voice their displeasure. Some users also said they were able to access admin screens in Japanese, and posted pictures online.

A support message on Nintendo's U.S. website asked new users to be patient.

"The system update may take an extended amount of time when performed during the initial setup (for some users it could take an hour or more to download and install). Do not power off your system during this time."

Many users who did get online have had trouble accessing Nintendo's "Miiverse," a social network built into the Wii U that allows gamers to interact using their "Mii" avatars online. A maintenance message posted late Sunday in the U.S. said there is an "Ongoing" outage to Miiverse, with no timeframe for recovery.

"Some online services are currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

Japan-based chief spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa said he had seen reports of the software problems but they will be handled by the company's U.S. subsidiary. He said that early signs are that Sunday's U.S. launch was still a strong one, despite the issues.

"I have heard a lot of stores are sold out," he said.

Nintendo's Wii U launches outside of Japan are largely being handled independently by its subsidiaries in each country. After sales began Sunday in the U.S., the next major launch will be in Europe on Nov. 30.

The company's global headquarters is in Kyoto. The Wii U will go on sale in Japan on Dec. 8.

Software bugs for game consoles and other digital devices are common at launch, with hardware makers rushing to meet launch deadlines and relying on updates to patch any issues. Sony released a software update for its handheld PlayStation Vita a week after its launch in Japan last year, before the device had even gone on sale in the U.S.

Nintendo chose to update its Wii home console ahead of expected major product updates from rivals Microsoft and Sony, counting on a strong holiday season to buoy its sagging finances. The company has struggled to make its latest handheld game, the 3DS, meet sales targets.

Nintendo aims to sell 5.5 million Wii U consoles globally by March.

The Wii U's main feature is its "GamePad" controller, which is similar to a full-fledged tablet in itself, with a touchscreen, motion detection, camera and stylus. Its small screen can be used to supplement games played on a larger TV, or serve as the main display. The main console can use NFC (near field communication) technology that is widely used in mobile payment systems, as well as expanded online services. It can also serve as a home entertainment center, allow users to stream videos from online services such as Hulu, Amazon and Netflix, though not all such streaming is available now for the U.S. launch.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Nintendopopular scienceservicesGame platformsgameswii

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?