In Defense of the Wii U
Nintendo’s Wii U is a fantastic console. It plays some of my favorite recent games like Mariokart 8 and Super Smash Bros, and I’m looking forward to playing the upcoming Super Mario Maker and Star Fox Zero. But compared to other home consoles, not a whole lot of people are playing these games.
So far, the Wii U has sold 9.5 million units. The PlayStation 4 sold that many units in less than nine months, and now stands at more than twice that many sold. That makes the Wii U the slowest selling console in Nintendo history, even worse than the Gamecube.
So, after massive success with the original Wii, which is one of the best selling consoles in history, Nintendo’s follow-up effort sells less than a tenth as well. There is no clear reason. The console has several great games and is less costly than the other consoles available.
Now, Nintendo’s most famous employee, Shigeru Miyamoto, who is responsible for Mario, Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda, has an idea. He believes the public doesn’t understand what Nintendo was trying to do with the Wii U’s Gamepad, and that the rising popularity of games on tablets like the iPad made spending extra money on something similar less appealing.
It seems to me as if it was a failure of marketing. Not enough people realize that the Wii U really is a separate system from the Wii they already have. Advertising was never clear on this point, and having a name like Wii U doesn’t make it sound like a successor to the original. Rather, it sounds like an accessory for the Wii.
Nintendo is already working on their next console project, code named NX, and they hope to learn from their experience with the Wii U, but the launch of NX is at least a year away. Nintendo still has a lot of support to throw behind their current lineup, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the rest of the games Nintendo releases for the console... even if not many others do.