Nintendo’s Marketing Team Got SO LUCKY

Today is news that the Wii is kicking ass. I find two things interesting about this article.

First, only Nintendo-brand products saw an increase in volume in the last notch in the graph. That is probably more of a hiccup than anything, but you could also attribute the growth to the halo effect on the DS and mass shifting of consumer attention to the Wii.

The second point follows up on my earlier post about how lucky Nintendo got. In short, I wrote that Nintendo messed up their pre-launch marketing (at least in the US), causing a less-than-solid demand. Well, the proof arrives today in that graph.

Everybody is busy staring at that huge spike on the end, but my eye focuses on the line before it spikes. That’s right, the Wii was the lowest item on that graph only weeks ago! In fact, on its launch day (Nov 19), it was still the lowest ranked search item among all other consoles listed on that graph.

Yes, Nintendo got lucky that their product is kicking ass due to second-wave word of mouth. This is because unlike Sony or Microsoft, a slow start for the Wii, coupled with its irregular control scheme, would have doomed the console because nobody would want to port games to the “gimmick” console.

Most importantly, Nintendo got lucky because consumers, as they had only hoped, darted for the “novel” control scheme over the bigger and better graphics. In hindsight, most people would claim, “Of course consumers would!” But staring at this decision two years ago — well, Nintendo has very some brave managers. And without knowing how sales were going to turn out until long after launch, and looking at the early consumer interest on the Wii (especially launch day), it must have been a scary ride.

I say “lucky,” but let’s not confuse the fact that it was still an ingenious product. The marketing department, however, deserves little credit for its wild success.