[Note: This is the third part of a multi-part post. In the first part I looked at the ways the Wii ultimately was a failure, and in the second part I looked at the ways Nintendo failed to capitalize on the Wii, helping to create the situation they find themselves in now with the Wii U.]
With the hundred-million-selling Wii having largely faded from public consciousness, Nintendo in 2012 decided to release the Wii U. Two-and-a-half years later, the system is struggling to reach the ten million sales mark. Third parties have largely abandoned the console, and Nintendo doesn’t seem to have many bullets left in the clip, having already released entries in most of its major franchises. It’s unlikely that anything is going to turn this ship around; no matter how good Splatoon is, it’s not going to send another ten or twenty or thirty million people out to buy a Wii U. No, when all is said and done, the Wii U is going to go down as a failure. But why did it fail?
Why the Wii U Failed
The Wii U has been a failure for a lot of reasons, some of them inevitable. As we’ve seen, Nintendo gave up on trying to woo core gamers to instead pursue casual gamers, and by 2012, those gamers had moved on to smartphones and tablets. Because of Nintendo’s inability to convert Wii owners into reliable customers, any attempt to leverage the Wii’s success to sell a new console was probably bound to fail. Really, the Wii U falls perfectly in line with what’s been happening to Nintendo for basically ever. Nintendo’s sales have been in steady decline for decades, the Wii notwithstanding. Every Nintendo console, except the Wii, has been the worst-selling Nintendo console to date. A single hit isn’t going to change that if it doesn’t address the core problems behind this decline.
So before the Wii U ever launched, there was a certain amount of baked-in failure. But even if it was never going to be a Wii-sized, success, it could have been less of a failure. For one thing, the Wii U probably should have come out sooner. By the time the Wii U came out, the Wii was not only past its prime but had become something of an afterthought. Continue reading Wii Hardly Knew U, Part 3