I liked the Wii U, but it was a disappointing flop. Within a three to four year life cycle the Wii U managed to only sell 13.5 million units worldwide. By comparison, within its first year the Nintendo Switch managed to outsell the Wii, with 16.7 million units sold worldwide.
This shows how much of a colossal failure the Wii U was. But what is even more interesting is how similar the Nintendo Switch and Wii U are.
Both the Nintendo Switch and Wii U are hybrids. They both try to provide an on-the-go experience. The Wii U, however, was far more limited in providing a great intended experience. It also failed for other various reasons.
Why was the Wii U a failure?
I enjoy watching American football and I am an Indianapolis Colts fan. The Colts ended up flopping this year, yet despite these failures, I still watched the 51st Super Bowl. It was the Atlanta Falcons versus the New England Patriots, taking place in 2017. It was the year and Super Bowl that involved Atlanta blowing a 28 to 3 lead. And it was the year that the Nintendo Switch was born.
The Super Bowl is always littered with great commercials. They unfortunately occupy most of the Super Bowl and it is also extremely expensive to have certain commercials run during the advertisement period.
There were rumors swirling around that a weird change in advertisement would happen, one that involved Nintendo advertising their newest console during the Super Bowl commercials. This was surprising; I do not recall Nintendo ever partaking in the Super Bowl advertisements. These Nintendo Switch ads, however, were extremely well thought out.
The ads showed the full capabilities of the Nintendo Switch and greatly advertised the play-on-the-go experience. These features, being exposed to a large audience, created a buzz about the Nintendo Switch. The ads also showcased more footage of Breath of The Wild, which generated tons of hype for the Nintendo Switch. The buzz and execution of strong advertising led to the success of the Nintendo Switch.
So what went wrong with the Wii U?
One of the many things that went wrong was the lack of strong advertisement. The Wii U was not as showcased as the Nintendo Switch. It didn’t help that the features were showcased in some very cringeworthy ads.
The Wii U also had no clear direction in where it wanted to go. Several ads about the Wii U used the term upgrade, frequently. This term alienated people and drove them into believing that it was simply an upgrade of the Wii. As a result, people turned away from buying it.
The name of the console itself also confused people. The Wii and the Wii U have only one difference in terms of names. The lack of attempting to advertise in big public TV events hurt the Wii U too.
It almost seems like Nintendo put in very minimal effort in trying to get the Wii U to succeed.
What about the games?
The Nintendo Switch currently has 934 games. These 934 games include physical and digital games. While some games are currently are not out, they have been confirmed and should be arriving to the Nintendo Switch soon. On the other hand, the Wii U only received 751 physical games within its lifespan. This may be one of the smallest video game libraries, if not the smallest, for a console that has been out for three to four years.
The Nintendo Switch has received AAA title support. Nintendo generally does not get several AAA title games, yet the Switch has received great support from third party developers so far. Doom, Skyrim, and even Dark Souls are some AAA games that are either arriving or already on the Nintendo Switch. The AAA games that have already arrived on the Switch have shown promise.
The promise being shown on the Nintendo Switch has helped Nintendo. The great ports and success in sales has led to developers wanting to develop additional games for the Switch. Additionally, the Nintendo Switch has a strong library of indie games. Several indie developers have flooded the Nintendo eShop. The massive support from indie developers helps Nintendo and allows for games to continue to flood the eShop in a consistent manner.
The Wii U lacked the success that the Nintendo Switch is currently having because it received very little help from third party developers. Additionally, most ports of AAA title games were poorly done or limited. The limited hardware capabilities of the Wii U are partially to blame for this. The lack of sales also hurt the Wii U, leading to several developers having very minimal interest in supporting it. This led to the Wii U suffering from constant droughts of not having games for the consumers.
With all this being said, what was the purpose of the Wii U? Let us here at Culture of Gaming know!