Miyamoto explains why he thinks the Wii U is struggling

3 min read


Nintendo’s Wii U looks set to become the company’s worst-selling home console, despite being home to some of its very best games. It’s a sad situation that many have pegged on the system’s ill-timed release, its shoddy name, and its confused message. Nintendo’s legendary designer, Shigeru Miyamoto has a few ideas about why the console has failed to catch on.

In a lengthy interview on his start at Nintendo all the way to its future, he told NPR that the system’s launch price and the company’s marketing messages are largely to blame.

“Unfortunately with our latest system, the Wii U, the price point was one that ended up getting a little higher than we wanted,” he told NPR – but asserted that it wasn’t just the price kept consumers from buying the system en masse.

“I don’t think it’s just price, because if the system is appealing enough, people will buy it even if the price is a little bit high. I think with Wii U, our challenge was that perhaps people didn’t understand the system.”

That’s largely Nintendo’s own fault. The confusing nomenclature led many to believe it was an add-on to the Wii as opposed to a brand new console – as if it was just a tablet add-on to an existing system.  He also says that one of the system’s biggest features – the tablet gamepad was hardly as impressive as it should, or would have been had the system been released a few years earlier.

“I think unfortunately what ended up happening was that tablets themselves appeared in the marketplace and evolved very, very rapidly, and unfortunately the Wii U system launched at a time where the uniqueness of those features were perhaps not as strong as they were when we had first begun developing them,” Miyamoto said.

Nintendo, he says, is out to do different and unique things, instead of stuffing as much high-end tech in to them, as they want their systems to be both enjoyable and affordable. Perhaps to their detriment.

“Sometimes they work, and sometimes they’re not as big of a hit as we would like to hope. After Wii U, we’re hoping that next time it will be a very big hit,” he said.

“But really what’s most important to us is, how do we create a system that is both unique and affordable so that everyone can afford it and everyone can enjoy it.”

Nintendo’s being tight-lipped about its next system, currently codenamed NX – but there’s a world of speculation suggesting that it could be a hybrid system that blends home consoles with mobile platforms.

Last Updated: June 22, 2015

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