Nintendo Warns Wii U Buyers About Damage During Software Updates

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) — Nintendo Co. warned buyers of its
new Wii U not to turn off the console while downloading a
mandatory firmware update after some customers complained their devices were damaged during the process.

“It may take an hour or more to perform the system
update,” the company said in an e-mail yesterday. “Powering
off the console during the update may damage your system.”

The warning and the update comes as the Kyoto, Japan-based
company, in order to get the machine into U.S. stores for the holiday shopping season, didn’t include a new TV-viewing service in its first new console since 2006. Pressure is mounting on President Satoru Iwata to repeat the success of the Wii console after the 3DS handheld player failed to meet sales expectations in overseas markets, prompting Nintendo to cut its profit goal 70 percent last month.

Kristie Tomkins, an outside spokeswoman for Nintendo with
the firm Golin Harris, said customers can troubleshoot their Wii U by checking http://support.nintendo.com or calling 1-800-255- 3700. Yasuhiro Minagawa, a Kyoto-based spokesman for Nintendo, referred questions to his U.S. counterparts.

Nintendo fell 0.9 percent to 10,200 yen as of 11 a.m. in
Osaka trading, widening its year-to-date decline to 3.8 percent.

The company introduced the Wii U in the U.S. weeks before
Europe and Japan to take advantage of the holiday shopping
season that starts Friday, said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo’s North America president. The console is selling well, and
Nintendo will have enough supply for the “Black Friday”
kickoff to the shopping season.

Amazon, Hulu

Nintendo also said Amazon.com’s Instant Video and Hulu
LLC’s download services would be available later. Features such as the company’s Miiverse social network, Wii U Chat and eShop are part of the software update, according to the e-mail.

The high-definition console, offered in two versions
costing about $300 and $350 with a 6.2-inch touch screen
controller called the GamePad, is mostly sold out, Fils-Aime said. The company plans to restock store shelves before Friday, he said in an interview on CNBC.

IHS Screen Digest expects Nintendo to sell 3.5 million Wii
U consoles in the U.S. this year. The industry has been counting on a new console upgrade cycle to revive lackluster retail
video-game sales.

Mixed Reviews

The length of time it takes for the Wii U’s firmware to
download has been noted in reviews on websites including
Wired.com and CNET.com.

Wired cautioned that users must spend “a good part of
Christmas morning and some of Christmas afternoon updating the operating system first.” CNET said “some OS loading times are too long.”

In its review, Engadget reserved judgment on the product
until it spends more time with the post-update features.

Iwata, 52, told analysts and investors Oct. 25 the Wii U
may be in short supply this year because production only began “this summer,” according to Nintendo’s website. The machine
goes on sale in Europe and Australia on Nov. 30 and in Japan Dec. 8.

Nintendo and rival console makers Microsoft Corp. and Sony
Corp. all face increased competition in the gaming market as consumers turn to smartphones and tablets such as Apple Inc.’s iPad to play free games like “Hill Climb Racing.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at
cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Anthony Palazzo at
apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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