Mario Kart 8 is Nintendo’s biggest title of the first half of 2014 and according to Roger Langford of Nintendo UK, it will be the one that helps move more Wii U units than any game before it. That’s an argument that we’ve heard before and will hear again in the future. Pikmin 3 was supposed to be a sales driver, and then Super Mario 3D World and finally Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The difference between Mario Kart 8 and those titles is that Mario Kart 8 manages to attract more than just Nintendo fans. Roger Langford seems to agree:
Mario Kart is one of our killer titles. Looking back at Super Mario Kart and then moving through the ages, you can see how integral Mario Kart is to Nintendo hardware. It always brings out the best in whatever hardware it is on.
With Mario Kart 8 on the horizon, the big question is how many new Wii U purchases will the console inspire? With an install base of around 6.27 million units, if Mario Kart 8 manages to sell to all current Wii U owners, it will still be one of the worst selling Mario Kart titles in history. That’s because of the woefully small Wii U install base, which Nintendo is hoping Mario Kart 8 will serve as the one game that gamers can’t resist adopting the Wii U into their stable of game platforms.
“I certainly feel that Mario Kart 8 can be the catalyst that will broaden Wii U’s horizons. It’s very important for us that we have a successful launch and continue the promotion throughout the year and beyond.”
For this reason, once the game is released and the Mario Kart 8 bundles are available in supermarkets across the globe, you’ll probably see Mario Kart 8 commercials on TV well into the year. Nintendo knows it needs to raise awareness of its new title that appeals to more than just hardcore gamers. People love Mario Kart, but they’ll need the Wii U in order to enjoy the latest installment. If Nintendo markets the game correctly, we could see Mario Kart 8 serve as the catalyst for Wii U adoption that Langford is talking about in this MCV interview.
What do you think? Are any of your friends or family planning on picking up a Wii U for this game?