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Hindsight: Wii U Retrospective

Remember that article I wrote a while back about the Wii U? You know which one, 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Wii U. Well while I still believe in what I wrote, I feel that I need to share this with you all. While I personally love the Wii U in its current form, from a sales standpoint it pretty much flopped as a gaming system selling even less than Nintendo's Game Cube. Luckily it didn't do as poorly as the Virtual Boy, but it still didn't do well by any stretch of the word. Now why could that be? Nintendo usually isn't the one that does poorly when it comes to gaming tech. In fact, it is usually the exact opposite as most of the time Nintendo is the one that innovates and reinvents the gaming scene. So why did the Wii U bomb? I think it was because of these three main reasons.

#1: Competitively Weaker

When the Wii U launched back in November of 2012, it was shown to have specs that would out-perform that of the PS3. Unfortunately as impressive as those specs were, they would ultimately be outclassed by the PS4 and XBox One in the following year thus once again making Nintendo irrelevant in the competitive gaming scene, which is a shame because that is exactly what Nintendo was trying to do this time around. They were hoping that they could recapture some of the core gamers that they lost during the Wii era, but they unfortunately failed when they introduced reason number 2 on this list...

#2: The Gamepad

I'd never thought I'd say this, but if Nintendo wanted to recapture their old audience, the gamepad was definitely the wrong approach. It's bulky, it has a short battery life (compared to a traditional controller), it's expensive to replace, and only one gamepad can be linked to the console at any one time. Most core gamers don't care about hardware gimmicks when playing a game. They usually just want to play with a simple controller that has 2 analog sticks, a D-pad, 4-6 face buttons and 4 shoulder buttons. That controller design has been around long enough that tampering with that formula too much is guaranteed to cause some backlash, be it minor or (in the case of the Wii U) severe. Now I love the gamepad and it definitely has its moments, but it is best suited for more casual or party-type games.

#3: Advertising

Now those two things could've have been fine by themselves and it might even have made the Wii U sell well, if not for the fact that they were coupled with such terrible advertising. No matter where I looked, people were confused or angry on what exactly the Wii U was. They were outraged because they thought would be paying $300-350 for a fancy controller, not a console; they were displeased at the system's name exclaiming that it was idiotic and/or childish; they believed that the gimmick of the gamepad was unnecessary and a waste of space and money; and other similar complaints. Nintendo's ad department obviously made some mistakes and they tried to fix them as quickly as they could, but the damage had already been done. The Wii U would henceforth be known as Nintendo's worst selling home console due to their little screw-up.

These three problems by themselves could have been fine if it was just one of them on their own, but the fact that the Wii U had all three of these conundrums playing in conjunction with each other made it the perfect storm for failure. If you want my opinion on what Nintendo should've done; they needed to make the console's specs equal to that of at least the XBox One and have it packaged with the Wii U Pro Controller as standard. Then if it sold well enough, they can follow up with the Game Pad and compatible games as an add-on. But in retrospect, hindsight is 20/20. Hopefully Nintendo learns from these mistakes before the NX launches next year. But until then, I'll be seeing you.


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