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Do people dislike the Wii U mainly because it was a commercial failure?


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Everyone likes a winner, and the Wii U was definitely not one, finishing a distant 3rd to whatever consoles it was battling. With 13 million sold, it is second only to the virtual boy as a leading red-headed step child of Nintendo. Failing to differentiate and properly market to consumers, the console was doomed nearly from the get go. The console is know among games to collect dust, and just generally suck and be made fun of.

 

And yet when you actually play the console, it seems like one of the finest Nintendo has ever made. The first party game library is rich and deep, and there are a reasonable amount of 3rd party offerings, including many AAA titles. The eshop is solid, and many apps were cool and ahead of their time (Nintendo TV comes to mind.) The console is always backwards compatible with the Wii and it's vast library of quality offerings. On paper, and when playing it, I feel like it's a great console. I do feel like the gamepad was somewhat poorly executed, but no console is perfect.

 

So why do people love to hate the Wii U so much? Have they not actually played it, or is it mostly rooted in the fact that it wasn't a commercial success?

 

Your thoughts?

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It’s fun for some people to have a loser to kick around, and Nintendo has filled that role nicely for several generations. For reasons that escape me, people can’t enjoy a game system without the assurance that tens of millions of other people also enjoy that system.

 

The Wii U was a fantastic system on its own, and had a lot of really great features. It offers an insane amount of native support for legacy games, and supports a wide variety of controllers. It’s reliable and was inexpensive compared to its competitors.

 

It made some mistakes too, can’t forget that. The game pad controller was unneeded and awkward, and the marketing material literally DIScouraged people from buying it. It was also the wrong time for a system to be downplaying multimedia features. Where this system failed, it failed spectacularly.

 

It was the right features in the wrong system.

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I don't think its so much about hate as just constant disappointment

 

i have disliked every nintendo console starting with the gamecube

 

all of the systems have had some great a list games but not many

 

I think the only game on the gamecube I can still play without getting bored fast is Mario sunshine

and maybe a Zelda game

 

the wii is just a gamecube overclocked and added motion controls

so again

small selection of great games then so much fluff crap that its hard to even think

the motion controls were the best out of all that gen systems but again not perfect

the only thing that has redeemed the wii is its ability to be a new gen og xbox with its ability to run emulators

 

wii u

ugg

its ok

has some really great games what like 2 (well ok 3) almost everything being a remake of wii / gamecube game

again a lack luster line up of games and it didn't help its called the wii u for marketing

most just thought of it as a upgraded wii (in lines with what xbox and sony were doing with the ps3 slim and xbox 360 s )

the only reason I have a wii u is I got one for 80$ on trade

and you can hack the holy crap out of it

(oh and I refuse to buy a switch for breath of the wild )

 

the switch

again under power

funny niche console

 

woo its a portable woo its a home console woooo what a great new idea

wait hmm NVidia shield!

or hmm jxd s7800 / gpd q9

 

I wanted to like the switch but

300$ for a console that has no games included

and a lack luster selection of launch titles

on top of the carts not even containing the full games so you have to have internet to download the updates

from the marketing I feel like if I bought one I would need to grow a twisty mustache and wear my hair in a man bun

ill buy one when they are under 100$

 

 

as much as I sound like a Nintendo hater

I really wanted to love all the above consoles but Nintendo has really made it hard

I own pretty much every Nintendo console us and japan (not the switch not going to happen ) ,excpt some stupid big stuff like the famibox and sharp tv

and consider myself a Nintendo fan (the consoles are good in their own way but compared to the other options at the times just such a let down )

 

if Nintendo does not want to go the way of sega

they really need to give us a real current gen competitor ,and not some funky niche console that appeals only to fanboys and manbun wearing yuppies

give us power give us new games not the same crap with a shinny new skin

 

would really like to see a Metroid prime game with good solid controls (bungie please make a Metroid game lol)

Edited by discgolfer72
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I think the Wii U's main problem was Nintendo either couldn't or wouldn't go far enough with the idea. I mean, let's face it, the Switch - which by any account is a real success - is basically just a more portable Wii U, limited relative power versus the competition and all. I think what also worked in the Switch's favor was the clean break aspect, something the Wii U couldn't benefit from. It was following on and tied to closely to a predecessor that had lost all of its steam a few years earlier, and was too closely tied to a fad market that simply wouldn't follow the company to another console.

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No. Ultimately, it's about the games. People didn't like it because it didn't have many good/great games compared to other systems (of course there were *some*, every console has some). 3rd parties did initially try to put out some quality stuff, but the games sold so poorly it got dropped like a rock. Nintendo's own software as pretty limited and weak compared to other consoles. The pack-in was awful. The price was high. The system software was atrocious. There wasn't anything that made the controller a "wow" type of thing the way the Wii's controller was. The only thing the system had going for it was the controller, but the limited range, expensive price, and lack of games that did anything cool with it made that essentially a non-factor.

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Wii U had a lot of good games. Give me Super Mario 3D World over any Xbox One or Playstation 4 game for example.

 

It failed where 3rd party support was concerned, but the 1st party lineup was top notch until perhaps the very end when Nintendo cheapened out a few times and shipped incomplete games like Mario Tennis. Fans of Nintendo published content found a lot to love on the Wii U.

 

And the Wii U gamepad is very comfortable to hold. It's very lightweight and comfortable, with almost all the traditional features one has come to expect from modern gamepads included. But people saw that touch screen and just couldn't look past it.

 

But for those that did, they found a comfortable conventional controller that also offered useful off-screen play capabilities, with touch control rarely shoehorned into games that it didn't belong. And while Nintendo never was able to justify the screen as the system's main hook, having a 2nd display almost always only benefited games in the end.

 

I'd argue three things killed the Wii U.

 

  • Marketing was perhaps the top issue. The system's name confused uninformed consumers and turned off many others that felt like the Wii had underdelivered with games for the core console audience. I think a simple name change here could've easily pushed the Wii U to at least GameCube style sales numbers.

 

  • Then there's the Wii U controller that added a lot of cost and never was fully exploited. And despite Nintendo's focus on it, they never adequately explained with Nintendo's marketing why the gamer should care about the Wii U controller (Which is just as well, since Nintendo never really delivered a game in the end that took full advantage of its potential or released a 3DS Player add-on).

 

  • Nintendo's perennial 3rd party support issue came to the forefront with the Wii U. Nintendo struggled to have high-definition games ready in a timely manner while still supporting the 3DS, and didn't have anything major like Super Mario 3D World ready until months after release when the system was already doomed. And more so than ever before, major 3rd parties weren't there to help fill the many holes in the release calendar.

 

If it were me, I'd of killed off the Wii U name and killed off the Wii U controller (I'd of kept backwards compatibility, but not emphasized it). I'd of shipped a back to basics Nintendo console with the Pro Controller included as the system's primary controller, with 1st party Nintendo classics in HD at long last being the main marketing point.

 

And with how well remasters served the PS4/XB1 for months after launch despite just being regurgitated content that was already in HD on the PS3/360, I'd of poured money into skilled outside outfits like Tantalus to get big Nintendo titles from the GCN/Wii era in HD as quickly as possible to help hide the gaps between the major original 1st party releases.

 

Then, I'd of reawakened the concept that the Wii U essentially prototyped, when it was finally able to do it the right way with full portability with the Switch.

Edited by Atariboy
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I didn't think I would like it but I've had a lot of fun on the Wii U playing it with my daughter and still do. I wouldn't like that to be a system for myself though especially not if my only system, as there just isn't enough of the games that I like to play on it and that is the biggest issue for me.

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I think Atariboy makes some good points, and overall, I think the Wii U would have been better off if it had a clean break. Marketing was definitely an issue. I can't count the number of times I ran into people thinking that the Wii U was just a tablet for the Wii or didn't know that it was different from the Wii to begin with.

 

The gamepad.... bad choice at the time to put money into that. They would have been better off just ditching the pad and put the money into more horse power for the console. I sometimes wonder if they should have gone the x64 route that everyone went to. That would have made porting 3rd party games easier. It might have killed off BC, but maybe there could have been some if the console had been powerful enough. Pack in a pro controller with something like Super Mario 3D world, and I think the story would have been different. People really just wanted new 1st party titles in HD, and I think a more standard console would have done the job just fine.

 

I used to play the Wii U more, but honestly, it gathers dust unless I am in the mood for a VC title. I have just enough invested in that to keep it around.

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Not sure about other people but I dislike it because the gamepad is bloody awful. It's large, cumbersome, uncomfortable, has a rubbish screen and garbage battery life. I think it's required for navigating the system menu as well? It's been a while so I could be wrong on that. I do love the Wii U pro controller, it feels good in the hands and lasts forever on one charge.

 

Overall the Switch executes the idea much better imo.

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Marketing is rarely, if ever, the difference between any product being successful or not. Many bad products failed despite great marketing, and many good products succeeded despite bad marketing. There's very little correlation between marketing quality and sales. I actually work in marketing and have for many years now - I think most people who have been around it for a while will tell you that what matters is the product. The marketing exists to tell you what it does and why you want it. If the marketing department can't come up with a good way to do that, that's a failure of the product, not the marketing. The old "you can't polish a turd" and/or "putting lipstick on a pig".

 

Marketing's also one of those things that's really easy to judge in hindsight, but not so easy at the time. If a product fails, then it seems like it must have had bad marketing. It becomes easy to look at the messaging and nitpick every little thing that you think negatively affected sales. But if the product was better, the marketing could have been exactly the same and we'd instead be talking about how great it was.

 

The Wii U was just a clunky game console. The Switch is basically the Wii U 2 and it's doing great, because it took the concept the Wii U introduced and refined it to the point where now it works right. But the Wii U had this giant gamepad that's bigger than the console itself, you had to be in range of the console in order to use it despite the fact that it was bigger than any self-contained tablet, and the whole system was still underpowered compared to the competition. The Switch has shown that if you're going to put out a console that's underpowered, it has to make up for it by giving people a totally new way to play games. The Wii U didn't really do that; you're still sitting at home playing on a TV set with a controller; the best you could do was play (some) games in another room. But you could do that just as easily with a PS4 and PS Vita (which sold about as well as the Wii U), and you wouldn't be giving up any horsepower or have to go without a lot of popular games.

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So why do people love to hate the Wii U so much? Have they not actually played it, or is it mostly rooted in the fact that it wasn't a commercial success?

 

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference."

 

I've never observed anyone hating the Wii U, just ignoring it. It wasn't much more powerful than the PS3 or Xbox 360, and it had a weird mandatory screen controller that wasn't used for most games in a compelling way. Third party support dried up after the first season, so it was pretty much a console for playing Nintendo games.

 

Given the choice between playing Yet Another Mario Game, or Slightly Enhanced Ports of Gamecube and Wii Zelda Games, most people played other stuff on Sony and Microsoft consoles.

 

It's pretty cool that the Switch managed to do as well as it has.

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I didn't start out hating the Wii U, but Nintendo's mismanagement of the system and its design quirks led me down that road. It's too dependent on the game pad, which is unreasonably large and demands to be charged almost constantly. You get an underpowered system that should have been as cheap as the Wii was in 2006, but you're forced to pay an extra $150 for an anchor.

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Nintendo no longer competes with Sony and Microsoft, they really never did. If you are comparing them, then that is dumb because it is a different product for a different market.

 

Nintendo makes machines that run Nintendo software. If you like Nintendo games, you buy one, and that's how you play them. It is completely unrelated to owning a Playstation or XBOX.

Edited by R.Cade
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What was the expression at the time before the PS3 took off... Wii360 or something like that? While smaller in number than the casual audience, those were gamers that still wanted to play Nintendo software but also got a 360 for everything else (and some probably eventually PS3...).

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Marketing is rarely, if ever, the difference between any product being successful or not. Many bad products failed despite great marketing, and many good products succeeded despite bad marketing. There's very little correlation between marketing quality and sales. I actually work in marketing and have for many years now - I think most people who have been around it for a while will tell you that what matters is the product. The marketing exists to tell you what it does and why you want it. If the marketing department can't come up with a good way to do that, that's a failure of the product, not the marketing. The old "you can't polish a turd" and/or "putting lipstick on a pig".

But what about when an inferior product succeeds and a superior product fails, which isn't all that uncommon.. It seems like marketing makes the difference there?

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But what about when an inferior product succeeds and a superior product fails, which isn't all that uncommon.. It seems like marketing makes the difference there?

 

I think it's less of a case of "inferior" and more a case of "just good enough" often winning out. While that seems like a minimal distinction, I think it's an important one. I'm not sure "inferior" can win out under most circumstances, while "just good enough" often does. If something has the minimum feature-set to succeed and all other things being equal (in the case of consoles, good depth and breadth of software, for instance), there's no reason why something can't succeed (and often does).

 

I don't think the Wii U quite met the "just good enough" criteria. It was basically on par with what the Xbox 360 and PS3 could do - sometimes a little better and sometimes a little worse - and was designed around the concept, at least partially, of easy ports from those systems. Unfortunately, new game development for those systems was starting to slow down in lieu of stuff for the PS4 and Xbox One, and there was little incentive for Xbox 360 and PS3 users to upgrade to a Wii U, which would have been a lateral move (although some of course always made/make the argument that if you're a PC gamer, your best option is to get a Nintendo system since you can't get those games anywhere else). The issue is the Wii U was competing against Xbox 360 and PS3 systems at the peak of their technical powers (being so well understood) and past the apex of new game releases, including massive existing libraries. The Wii U was playing catch up.

 

Now again, the Switch is substantially similar to the Wii U in many ways, but makes some key improvements that I think make all the difference. First, even though it's by far the weakest of the three platforms (even versus the base PS4 and Xbox One systems), it can still handle competent ports from the current generation of systems, rather than being limited to the previous generation of systems like its predecessor. The second is that it's portable in a way that the Wii U never was, justifying the form factor. Third, it does a much better job of natively supporting various controller configurations than the Wii U, which, with its fixed gamepad, never could. It's genuinely unique among game consoles/portables and has a compelling reason to be and be appealing. In retrospect, it makes the Wii U seem like even more of a half step than it already was.

 

While personally I wouldn't be happy with the Switch as a primary console since I want an optimal big screen experience, it can definitely serve that role. And the Switch makes an even better secondary console - perhaps the best ever secondary console - augmenting traditional PC/PS4/Xbox One usage nicely. It was easy for me to let the Wii U go (one of my two went to my oldest daughter). I have no intention of letting the Switch go.

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I think it's less of a case of "inferior" and more a case of "just good enough" often winning out. While that seems like a minimal distinction, I think it's an important one. I'm not sure "inferior" can win out under most circumstances, while "just good enough" often does. If something has the minimum feature-set to succeed and all other things being equal (in the case of consoles, good depth and breadth of software, for instance), there's no reason why something can't succeed (and often does).

 

I don't think the Wii U quite met the "just good enough" criteria.

I wasn't talking about Wii U specifically with my question. But I'm sure we can all give examples of some great piece of tech that got clobbered in the market by something less capable, and perhaps not even much cheaper. People want what everybody else has, and that creates a critical mass around the winning product. But what makes Product A more desirable than Product B if it isn't due to capabilities or price? Seems like marketing is the difference there.

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But what about when an inferior product succeeds and a superior product fails, which isn't all that uncommon.. It seems like marketing makes the difference there?

 

No, it's still the product. What might seem inferior to you might not be to someone else.

 

Look at Beta vs. VHS. Lots of people say "oh, Beta was better because it had higher resolution, but still VHS won because the world is unfair!" Well, first, Beta *didn't* have higher resolution in most cases; it only did in its shortest play mode, which was useless for most people and actually wasn't even available on most players as a result. (It was more of a broadcast format.) Second, Beta had much lower capacity than VHS, and initially you couldn't even fit a full movie on one tape. And third, Sony didn't license Beta to other manufacturers, which meant there were very few choices in Beta players, and prices were higher.

 

Now, someone could still look at all of that and say "But Beta had the *capability* for higher resolution and better color, so it's still superior!" And fine, if that's what's important to that person, then it's superior to them. But obviously, it's not to most people, because most people bought something else, and they probably did so for pretty valid reasons that have nothing to do with marketing.

 

Same is true of the Wii U.

 

If you have two or more roughly equal or at least equivalent competitors, then yeah, marketing can make the difference. And sometimes we see that in video gaming. I wouldn't argue that the Saturn lost vs. the PlayStation because of some horrendous marketing choices on the part of Sega. But they made obvious mistakes like releasing the console 4 months early with no preparation on the part of anybody. If they hadn't made such glaring mistakes and still lost, I'd have a harder time saying it wasn't just that the PlayStation was a product with more mass market appeal. But I do think the race would have been a lot closer if Sega hadn't made some of those early blunders.

 

As for the Wii U, I think it's obvious that it was not an equal or even equivalent product to the PS4 and Xbox One. Nintendo's not even trying to do the same thing. They're doing something different by design, with the thinking always being that *their* ideas are the mass market ideas, whereas Sony and MS are catering to a smaller audience of hardcore gamers. But we saw with the Wii U that sometimes Nintendo just gets it wrong. It's not that people didn't know about the Wii U, it's just that they weren't interested in it. And that's because the system itself just wasn't what people wanted; it's not because the messaging about it was bad.

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Nintendo makes machines that run Nintendo software. If you like Nintendo games, you buy one, and that's how you play them. It is completely unrelated to owning a Playstation or XBOX.

And I think that's the big reason for the Wii U's relative failure: Nintendo's 1st party output didn't match what it typically does - not at launch, and not throughout the life of the system. There just weren't system seller-caliber games. Not that there weren't good games, almost every console has at least some good games. They didn't make anything that showed why the special controller was worth buying the system for. The mini-game pack in was pretty bad right out of the gate, which didn't set a great tone. Pretty much every other Nintendo system had a killer game in the launch window, if not right at launch day.

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I came close to buying one a few times but honestly without 3rd party it was a hard swallow.

By 3rd party I really mean 3rd party exclusives,and mature ones like N64 had with Doom64, Turok,World Driver, and Rare's games.

I missed that type of content with WiiU so I decided to pass.

 

Oops,Rare was a bad example as they were 1st party,sorry. But you get my point. :P

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i still think the Wi U game pad is the Sh#t. The fact that it kept compatibility with the entire Wii library and didn't have the mandatory online charges was also why I got it. I think the reasons it died on the vine were third parties never really committing to it, bad branding from Nintendo, no must have games out of the gate, and the usual slow trickle of nintendo titles. Nintendo could have made it a success if they just had their software division line up some prime titles for launch. i don't think they knew who their market was and blew a good opportunity. The few games that genuinely employed the gamepad well are exceptional and show what the dreamcast should have evolved into.

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