It is no secret that the Wii U underperformed for Nintendo. Now, GameStop CEO Paul Raines has come out to say the system, which made use of a tablet-like controller called the GamePad, was "disappointing to everyone."
At the same time, however, Raines said it would be unwise to bet against Nintendo, considering the creative talent the company employs and its deep roster of big-name franchises.
"Wii U was disappointing to everybody, including them," Raines told [a]listdaily (via VideoGamer.com). "They made some bold bets, and maybe some of them didn't work out. But they have a lot of creativity there. They're a very innovative group of people, so we never count out Nintendo.
"Even now it's incredible how strong some of their IP is -- Pokemon, for example," he added. "Super Mario, Zelda, all those IPs have a huge, loyal fan base."
Nintendo's next system is code-named NX, and is rumored to be a console/mobile hybrid that is powered by "industry-leading" technology. Raines said the NX "sounds exciting," and mentioned that GameStop expects to be a top seller for the system when it arrives in March 2017.
"There is some excitement around NX," he said. "Lately here, we've been hearing a lot more buzz than we have in the past. Nintendo is interesting in that they really are able to keep things as quiet as they can for a while. And then they just lost their leader, so they've gone through a mourning period and so forth.
"NX sounds exciting. We're looking forward to it. They're very innovative in everything that they do. I hope that they come out with something exciting and innovative. I think we'll be dominant distributor of that platform."
The Wii U, which was released in November 2012, has sold only 12.8 million systems. Looking ahead, Nintendo recently said it only plans to ship around 800,000 units over the next 12 months.
Raines also commented that he believes GameStop's push into the smartphone gaming space may end up leading to hardware sales, something the retailer would of course benefit from.
"There are a lot of people who have never played a Super Mario game on a DS. A lot of the kids today have grown up only playing small games on their phones," he said. "As you introduce that exciting Nintendo IP and those characters, they're going to want more of that. We think that will push them into our stores to see the big games. They'll go, 'Wow, there's actually a game I can play for months and months instead of a few days.' That will be good for us. It will be very good for Nintendo, and we're very positive on it."
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