By now you’ve probably heard the news. Thanks to some steep price cuts and a timely RPG release, the lowly Xbox 360 surpassed Wii weekly sales numbers in Japan. It’s by no means a doomsday scenario for Nintendo in the territory, given the fact that the Wii has sold 6.7 million to the Xbox’s count it on one hand 720,000, but it is noteworthy.
Now, don’t take that to mean we should expect new hardware or some crazy, dramatic reaction from the Kyoto HQ. This isn’t so much a victory for the Xbox (720k vs. 6.9 mil, remember) as it is a reminder to Nintendo that Japanese Wii sales have slipped in recent months, to the point where the whipping boy of Japanese gaming managed to eek out a weekly “win.”
I’m guessing this is why there’s an air of mystery surrounding the Nintendo Autumn press event. All we know so far is that “new products” will make an appearance, and guesses to that effect have ranged from Disaster: Day of Crisis to new first party IP featuring veteran Nintendo mascots.
Nintendo surely had an idea of what the numbers would be this week in Japan, as all three hardware companies do, and you can bet the confirmation yesterday had a hand in planning what’s coming in October. The announcement served to politically soften the blow of “losing” a week to Microsoft in Japan, and the autumn press event, pre-TGS (Nintendo is not attending), will serve as an attempt to reinvigorate the product line. Easiest way to do that? Stupid as it sounds, new colors–but no price cuts. And before you jump all over that as the dumbest idea ever, remember that a similar strategy has basically kept the software-free PSP alive and well in Japan for quite some time.
It will be that, or a hard drive*
* A hard drive reference is now required for all Wii predictions.