Reggie Fils-Aime, the leader of Nintendo of America, says that the big firmware update that Wii U buyers need to download after buying and connecting their new console to the Internet will be integrated into the device starting with early 2013.
The executive tells Gamasutra that, “Nintendo developers want to make sure that the very best product is available to consumers. That creates a dynamic where our developers are working on elements until the very last point possible.”
“That’s why the system update was required on Day One – and this is quite similar to what’s happened with other consumer electronic products,” he says.
The problem with the initial firmware update is not that it fixes a number of issues with the Wii U and adds new functionality, but that it does so after a lengthy download process and that there’s a chance for the hardware to malfunction after it is applied.
Integrating the firmware update with the sales Wii U package is a solution in the short term, but Nintendo also needs to make sure that future updates for the hardware are easier to download and apply.
The company has worked hard to improve the network functionality for its new home console and keeping the services up to date will require a fast and robust distribution process.
The Wii U was launched on November 18 in the United States and since then, reports from inside Nintendo state that it has generated sales of 400,000 units during its first week.
The device performed somewhat worse in the United Kingdom, with retailers reporting about 40,000 units delivered to players in the first 48 hours.
Nintendo is aiming to sell 5.5 million Wii U’s before the end of its current fiscal year and makes a profit on each console after it manages to get the player to buy one additional game.