December 2, 2013
Nintendo Announces Southwest Partnership With Free Wii U
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Passengers aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from New Orleans to Dallas last week received a happy surprise when the iconic Nintendo mascot Mario showed up to give everyone on the plane a free Wii U gaming system.
The surprise signaled the start of a partnership between the two companies that will include gaming lounges in some of the nation’s busiest airports between now and Dec. 22. If passengers are traveling through Dallas Love Field, Chicago (Midway), Denver, Atlanta, Tampa Bay or St. Louis airports they will have the opportunity to play Super Mario 3D World and other games for Nintendo’s year-old, high-definition gaming system.
"Southwest Airlines continues to look for ways to have fun with our customers and partnering with Nintendo will do just that," said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer. "Much like Southwest, Nintendo delivers enjoyment and passion and we look forward to bringing the fun to our customers nationwide."
"No one is better than Nintendo and Southwest Airlines at bringing friends, families and fun together," said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. "As Southwest’s video game partner, our aim is to bring smiles to travelers and Southwest Employees through the fun of Nintendo video games."
Even people not traveling this month can get in on the promotion as Southwest’s website has information on how to win roundtrip tickets and a Wii U.
Released on Nov. 18, 2012, the Wii U system has received mixed reviews so far. The system’s most unique feature, a touchscreen-enhanced controller called Game Pad, has been praised for its functionality, but criticized for its low battery life. With some hits and misses, the Nintendo system has also been criticized for the sporadic release of decent games.
“You’ll be lucky if a major franchise like Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty bothers to release a sloppy port to the Wii U, let alone create anything original and/or worthwhile for the console,” wrote Hollander Cooper and Henry Gilbert in their review of the system last month for Games Radar. “That leaves the responsibility to Nintendo to publish good content, which it’s (at best) been doing about once every month or so. The time in between can feel pretty empty.”
The new Nintendo-Southwest promotional campaign comes as the battle among gaming console is starting to heat up. Both Microsoft and Sony have released new systems for the holiday season, selling 1 million units each on their release weekends.
According to a recent report released on Saturday by gaming industry tracker InfoScout, Xbox One and Xbox 360 sales dominated PlayStation sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. The tracking company said limited supplies of the newly released PS4 and discounts at Walmart on Xbox may have played a role.
The promotional campaign is the latest step by Southwest toward embracing electronics devices, as the company announced in November that it would start to allow passengers to use their personal devices during all stages of flight, albeit in ‘airplane mode.’