Wii Fit is big in Japan (1.5 million sold in three months) and arguably will be as big if not bigger in the US when it goes live in a month or so (more people, more people who subscribe to new “weight loss” gimmicks, Wii’s existing momentum among people outside the now incorrectly described “core” or “traditional gamer”). But, just in case, Nintendo is allegedly preparing a massive marketing push to ensure the peripheral is seen and experienced by as many people as possible. I’m talking Oprah here people, Oprah.GameDaily recently spoke with gaming guru Michael Pachter about the build up, and he seemed to think it was going to be in the tens of millions. Pachter also saw a shift from Nintendo (once again, I smell a trend!) in how the marketing money would be spent:
Pachter notes that Nintendo’s marketing approach reinforces his theory that hardware sales will shift away from specialty stores like GameStop and towards mass market chains like Best Buy. “…it is unlikely that such a large marketing campaign is intended to disproportionately benefit GameStop,” he said. “Rather, we think that the Nintendo campaign is likely to feature key retail partners such as Target and Best Buy, notorious for attracting so-called ‘couch potatoes.'”
I’d add that with these mid year releases (Brawl, Mario Kart, Wii Fit, WiiWare), Nintendo is also shifting the industry away from the “Christmas sales or bust” behavior that’s had a hold on it since, well, forever. Brawl was the fastest selling NOA game ever, and it released in the typically low key month of March. Wii Fit and Mario Kart will do the same for April and May, with WiiWare being the cherry on top.