Will The Wii U Ever Be Considered A Success?

Back in 2005 Nintendo showed off the Wii for the first time, and there was this general perception that it was a bit of a joke. The name was silly (to be fair it still is a little silly), and the motion controls drew ire from many quarters.

Many just didn’t seem all that excited by Nintendo’s newest console, possibly because it had eschewed the typical route of pumping all the development funding into improving its computing power. I mean obviously the only way to succeed was to push past what Microsoft had achieved with the 360 right? The console arms race seemed to have been going so long that people had forgotten that it wasn’t the only option.

Of course then the Wii actually arrived on shelves and, pretty much, exploded. The new input methods appealed to a broader audience, with you shockingly being able to play tennis by simply mimicking a tennis swing.

[drop2]It had seemed silly before it came out; I mean people just want to sit on their sofa and play games right? It turned out that whilst that perception may have been right for a reasonable chunk of people who were playing games pre-Wii launch, it certainly didn’t fit those who picked up a Wii and were more than happy to swing their virtual rackets.

What the Wii did, as many have pointed out, was to make gaming simple and accessible. It’s true that certain elements of the Wii are horribly complicated, the online system being a frequently bemoaned failing of the console, but if you just want to stick in your copy of Wii Sports and bowl then it’s pretty much perfect.

Despite the new market that the Wii opened up, it was still seen as comical or outdated graphically by many. Whenever it was pointed out that the Wii was well and truly trouncing the PS3 or Xbox 360 in terms of sales there’d often be the claim that it wasn’t competing with the HD consoles, that it had somehow gotten pushed into its own category.

To this day I expect you can find some who would claim the Wii wasn’t a success, despite its clear influence on Sony and Microsoft in terms of Move and Kinect.

With the Wii U we seem to have lurched back around to the starting point of the Wii. Some aspects of Nintendo’s approach may seem utterly comical, such as the potential marketplace confusion from launching the new “mini Wii” so close to the Wii U launch, but it does appear that Nintendo’s successes have been forgotten by many.

This does raise the rather obvious question of whether or not the Wii U will ever be considered a success. Within the industry it’s clear that elements like sales figures and attach rates will largely decide that question, but from those not concerned with the business side of things I do wonder if they’ll be the same kind of denial that the Wii’s undoubted supremacy brought.

With Reggie Fils-Aime announcing that the Wii U shifted 400,000 units in its first week it does look like Nintendo may have another success on their hands, particularly as the console doesn’t arrive in the EU untill Friday and won’t find its way to Japan until the 8th of December. That may not be quite as much as the Wii managed, and it’s way behind the GameCube’s launch, but it still puts it ahead of both the PS3 and Xbox 360, and gives it a pretty significant base to carry on pushing forwards from.

Of course it would be foolish to declare it a success now, although it’s also far too early to bemoan it as a failure. No, the important thing with the Wii U is to try and be open to it, to look at what Nintendo are doing and considering it aside from their marketing and posturing.

Once again they’ve taken a risk and built something that actually feels different to the same old tactic of boosting hardware might, yet they’ve also tried to make strides to readdress the balance of their games by bringing titles like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty to the console. What more can you really ask of them?

All I want is the Wii U to be given a chance to stand on its own merits, to exist away from the jokes and snide remarks. Lets see what Nintendo have brought to the party before we mock it too harshly.



  1. I think it depends on what you deem “successful”.

    Sales? The Wii was a success.
    Bringing in new markets? Success.
    Has a wide range of quality games? Debatable.
    Maintained itself at a high level over a long lifespan? Perhaps.
    Managed to move gaming forward? I’d suggest not.

    • Bringing in new markets? Success.
      Managed to move gaming forward? I’d suggest not.

      At first I thought these two points were contradictory, but brining new people into gaming isn’t really moving gaming forward but with a focus on how people play games they have.

      The fact Microsoft & Sony are aping the Wii’s motion based gaming with their own interpretations which may or maynot be better than Nintendos approach but have only really had limited success thanks to them not being ‘in the box’.

      Microsoft & Sony are also aping Nintendo’s second screen approach which Nintendoland in particular shows can bring new types of multiplayer. Whilst their interpretations will no doubt be good-to-great we’ll have to wait & see whether they’re as successful as a console built around that feature with it included ‘in the box’.

      I’d also ask the question does more pixels & a better shadow on the backside of a rock you can’t see whilst the game is in motion move gaming forward either?

      • Yeah I thought about that for a bit before posting.

        It’s clearly brought in more people into gaming, but I don’t know if a) they’ll stick around, b) it’s done anything to actually push the industry forward. Most of what ended up coming out was shovelware with the hardcore stuff bought by the hardcore anyway.

        App Store on the other hand has done both.

      • Also – re: graphics. It’s an argument I hear a lot but people often overlook that more power means more processing and far more advance physics/AI/etc. I highly doubt that FIFA’s player impact engine would have been possible on the PS2 regardless of it’s visuals.

      • Also, regarding the “if a) they’ll stick around” question, the wii did bring in a more casual crowd, but i think the question is just how often they actually use it now (if they do at all). I think the majority picked it up for its quirks, as well as the fact you are ‘moving’ whilst playing games, but i know many a person that says theirs is just gathering dust now.

      • Lets be honest, everyone wanted Wii Sports… bought a Mario game or two for their kids, got into Wii Fit bought a Zelda & another Mario game and then it collected dust.

        Very few people ventured into the amazing JRPGs or some of the other cool stuff, the core that bought into them will no doubt be buying a Wii U.

        Everytime my Dad comes around my house we play Bocce on Sports Champions, that kind of fine control which enhances gameplay and makes the experience deeper isn’t possible with the Wiimote & therefore isn’t possible on the Wii U – He loves it and says the Wii is “utter crap” in comparison.

        Nintendo’s chances rely on encouraging those people who bought a Wii & now have it gathering dust to go out & buy again, without something immediately enjoyable as WiiSports or as easy as WiiFit I think do have a fight on their hands. They’re certainly not going to sell to these people at its current pricepoint, so will no doubt be using their Mario, Zelda franchises etc… But I still don’t see a WiiSports or WiiFit type experience to sell the console as popular as Mario & Zelda are they’re not enough to bring in new (or lapsed Wii) gamers again – If they were enough then the N64 & in particular the Gamecube would have sold far better than they did.

      • … I will buy one just to have a Decent COD without changing to the XBOX.. (I’m not ready to jump to that ship yet..)

  2. As long as Nintendo has Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda & Metroid, there is always gonna be a bit of me that wishes I had a Nintendo console.

    • And Donkey Kong! It made me give in and buy a Wii.

  3. To mirror Tactical20’s comment, a console with great exclusives like Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda and Metroid is pretty much guaranteed to succeed in the long-run.

    That said I doubt the Wii-U will be *as* successful as it’s predecessor as it still feels a little below par from a “hardcore gamer” perspective and likewise doesn’t really bring enough new stuff to the table to convince casual gamers to upgrade.

    At least the price point is reasonable, to the point that my Mrs and I counted the lint in the bottom of our wallets and pre ordered the 8GB model last night with Mario and ZombiU :-) Really looking forward to getting my hands on it and I can see it being a lot of fun over the Xmas break.

    • I guess the thought of being able to play ZombiU got the better of you! And it’s a much easier sale when you can play Mario with your wife too! Particularly when mine is terrified of zombies!

      • Lol yup. Good ol Nintendo and their family focussed consoles. Makes for a much easier sell when pitching it to the Mrs ;D

  4. I’m not quite sold on it yet. The name is more than a bit silly, it’s stupid. With some of their choices in the past I find myself wondering if Nintendo is trying to fail, but keep making success. The same goes with some of the choices they’ve made with the U, like the weak CPU and the lack of a proper HDD. But it’ll sell, and it’ll sell well, because it has the games. And I want the games.

  5. I think the Wii U will be excellent for ones that will use it to watch video services, then combined with Nintendo exclusives it’ll probably attract plenty of people. However I feel burned out from buying 3DS thanks to a lackluster store and launch. Vita with its super-duper expensive memory card and lack of games seen in stores where I live at least that store seems ok with a huge libary of PSP games then PSone. So I don’t really want to risk that with the WiiU so perhaps when theres plenty of games released by next Christmas I’d consider buying one.

  6. They’ve got the advantage of being first to the market and with a ‘new way to play’. I can’t see any worries for them until the PS4/720 launches and maybe not even then as they’ll have a decent user base by that time.

  7. If it has the old classics, then it will sell. But I don’t think this console will sell anywhere near as well as the Wii did.

    When and if the next Gen console/s come out next year, I can see a lot of people going for instead of a Wii U anyway, mainly because they have what the Wii can do anyway.

    • Possibly, but they’ll come out at top of the accepted price range and the Wii U will be a position to have a hefty pricecut like the 3DS did when the Vita launched.

      It’ll also have a years worth of back-catalogue which will be much cheaper then and will pobably have any one or all of a proper Mario game, Zelda or Mario Kart released for it too.

      People will have had the chance to try the dual screen local-multiplayer gaming of the type highlighted by Nintendoland and if they like it could create the buzz Wii Sports did.

      If the price is right then all of the above, combined, could make it a very compelling Christmas ’13 present.

  8. I do think they missed a trick not calling it the Puu.

  9. It’s highly unlikely that it’ll sell to the same degree as the original Wii – but with quality family friendly titles and the breadth of character roster there is always going to be a market for it.

    I’ll definitely be posting about my findings on it following this weekend having preordered a deluxe with ZombiU, Mario U and Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed (thanks sixthaxis for helping with my final choice!) .

    Despite playing many many hours of PS3 and 360, my Wii was host to my most played console title of this generation – Monster Hunter Tri. I expect similar hours will be spent with the ultimate edition this year!

  10. I personally didnt care for the Wii, as a seasoned gamer nothing really appealed to me about the system over the PS3.

    Nintendo were very smart, effectively removing themselves from the HD console race, and now they are releasing at different times to Sony/MS, allowing them to capture their own audience, which they did very well. I dont think the Wii U will be as successful, simply due to the amount of people I know who own a Wii that hasnt used it for many years now.

    I still stand by my statement that the Wii was a last gen (PS2/Xbox) console with a new control scheme, very late to the party, and I think the Wii U is playing the same hand. Sneaky Yes, Schrewd, Yes.

    I am concerned for Sony as MS no longer see them as a competitior, as they are trying to combat Apple. Nintendo will do very well on their own, and unless the PS4 is some amazing tech, at a competitive price, then who knows how bad it could get…

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