All has not been well with the Wii U of late (or even of not-so-late), but according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, the console's ailing fortunes could be turned round with just one game. It just has to be the right game.
"For Wii U, we estimated 9.00 million units of hardware in sales in the last fiscal year, but many of you must be aware of the actual results, and the Wii U market has experienced a sharp downturn," said Iwata during an investor Q&A. "In order to recreate momentum and sell 5.00 million or 10.00 million units of hardware annually, there are indeed challenges that we must overcome. And in the face of these challenges, announcing more optimistic figures before we actually release the Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. titles to consumers, would not be compatible with our original stance to provide rather conservative figures, so once again we set our estimates by considering how much we could realistically hope to achieve with our software lineup. The fate of a video game system is often influenced greatly by the introduction of a single title."
That quote came in response to the question of whether or not the Wii U was ever going to be able to meet its current sales targets, or if Nintendo would have to weather the storm until its next console launch by lowering manufacturing costs (and expectations). Iwata continued, citing the success of the first Pokémon games in spiking sales for the Game Boy.
"The Pokémon game single-handedly changed the landscape of the [Game Boy] system, which then started to show the strongest sales in the life-cycle of the system," he said.
So, the Wii U needs its own equivalent to Pokémon Red and Blue - the fifth bestselling game of all time, across all platforms. That's not impossible: the four games above Pokémon in global sales are Nintendo games, too. But Game Boy had heavy-hitters like Mario and Tetris backing it up long before Pokémon. If Nintendo is staking the Wii U on some unannounced future project, it'd better be a knockout.