As mentioned in the previous article, more than 101 million Nintendo Wii consoles were sold. This is in stark contrast to the Wii U, which sold just shy of 14 million units. Production of the Wii U ceased not long after it’s four year anniversary, whereas the Wii Mini, a version of the Wii lacking any internet connectivity, is currently still available in some countries.
So then, why was the Wii’s sequel a colossal failure?
The name Wii, among other things, was chosen to emphasise the multiplayer features of the Wii. Tacking the letter ‘U’ on the end of the console name was representative of the ‘personal’ gaming experience gained from single player tablet action. The problem with the name, however, is that it wasn’t clear that it was an entirely separate console to the original Wii. Because of this, many consumers believed that the Wii U was just a tablet accessory for the original Wii. This was not aided by the fact that the Wii U console looked quite similar to the original Wii console.
People already had a tablet
When Apple released the original iPad in 2010, tablets instantly became a must have device. Nintendo noticed this, and thought that their new console would a success if one of the controllers was a tablet. Unfortunately for Nintendo, by the time the Wii U launched in November 2012, the novelty of owning a tablet had already worn off, thus making their unique selling point redundant. By that point, most consumers that were interested in the idea of a tablet had already purchased one and didn’t see the need to purchase another.
Nintendo’s protective online policies from the Wii were largely transferred to the Wii U. Players could not voice chat during games, and instant messaging was basically non-existent, although you could see what games your friends were playing presently. Nintendo tried to implement their vision of online gaming through Miiverse. This was mostly unsuccessful though, mainly due to its childish nature.
Third party support
The Wii U failed to gain the attention of most third party developers, resulting in a predominately Nintendo-only game library. The reasons for this being that Sony and Microsoft’s console offerings are more powerful, and sell more third party games.
Too similar to the Wii
The Wii U utilised the same controllers as the Wii. This was quite beneficial to existing Wii owners, as they didn’t need to purchase any new controllers. However, this proved to be damaging to the Wii U’s success. The Wii’s motion controllers were increasingly viewed as gimmicky. More people were looking to play ‘proper games’, rather than ‘wagglefests’.
Although the Wii U was a HD console, it wasn’t overly powerful. This resulted in severe loading times; it took nearly one minute to close a game and return to the home screen.
What are your thoughts of the Wii U? Are there any other reasons that contributed to its failure?