The Wii U is a great system for exclusive games, many of which are well designed and fun to play – so why did the Wii U fail? Since the Nintendo Switch is slated to release sometime in 2017 one might ask what went wrong with the Wii U, and why did it fail to achieve the same numbers as its competition? While there are many factors to blame, we’ve composed a list of the top 5 reasons the Wii U failed. Hopefully Nintendo is planning to address these issues with the Switch.
#5 – Poor Wii U Marketing at Launch
Nintendo’s Wii U launch was laughable at best. Taking for granted the success of the original Wii, Nintendo did almost next to nothing on explaining what the Wii U was, and what new / interesting features the system supported. The infamous commercial (see below) was not the most effective way to demonstrate the benefits of the Wii U. The abstract panning of the camera around the little color rooms seemed confusing, leaving many consumers with little idea on what the Wii U was about.
#4 – Bad Wii U E3 Reveal
Back in 2011 Nintendo revealed the Wii U at E3. The unveiling of the Wii U (which before the reveal was called project Cafe) was met with confusion and criticism. Many in the industry we’re disappointed by the lack of any must-play games. Nintendo also hurt itself during the E3 showing by not showing the actual console, but instead focusing almost exclusively on the Wii U Gamepad. This left many who saw the 2011 E3 Wii U reveal with the impression that the system was a gaming tablet, not an actual new console.
#3 – Poor 3rd Party Support
Maybe one of the biggest reasons why the Wii U failed, is also one of Nintendo’s oldest problems. Before the launch of the Wii U EA’s president / CEO John Riccitiello stated during 2011’s E3 conference that EA and Nintendo had entered into an “unprecedented relationship”. The fact that EA would be bringing franchises never before seen on a Nintendo system to the Wii U seemed like a good sign in terms of 3rd party support. It would be less than a year before EA would state that they had no games in development for Nintendo’s struggling console. Eventually Nintendo would lose more and more 3rd party support. For instance, Ubisoft would reclassify Rayman (once a Wii U exclusive) as a mulit-console port, delaying the Wii U’s version and stealing one of it’s limited 3rd party exclusives. This would become the trend for the Wii U. Even Activision stopped most support for the Wii U, having not released any Call of Duty games for the system since the release of Ghosts. If Nintendo wants to capture a big part of the hardcore console market it needs to cater better to 3rd party companies. At the same time Nintendo limited it’s own 1st party games the first year, giving 3rd party companies little Nintendo competition – which has been one of the biggest complaints by developers over the years.
#2 – Not Enough Nintendo 1st Party
People buy Nintendo consoles for great Nintendo games, simple as that! While the Wii U has plenty of good games it took awhile to build up a library of high caliber games. It wasn’t until the release of Mario Kart 8 that Wii U sales started to really pick up, adding a much needed boost to hardware numbers. While games like Splatoon and Super Mario 3D World would strengthen the Wii U’s lineup it seemed to late for many consumers, who’d eventually choose the PS4 and Xbox One over Nintendo. If the Nintendo Switch is going to separate itself from the competition it needs to have the great Nintendo games that make players choose Nintendo over its rivals.
#1 – Graphics Matter Nintendo!
The Wii U was Nintendo’s first attempt at a HD console. The release of the console came at the end of the PS3 / Xbox 360 generation. While exciting for Nintendo fans, the graphics on the Wii U failed to impress many gamers who enjoyed HD graphics since the launch of the Xbox 360. The Wii U’s graphics were marred by critics, who couldn’t look past the systems graphics, thus removing the console from the consciousness of everyday gamers.
Why do you think the Wii U failed? Let us know using the comments below.