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
June 22, 2015 at 08:18
No where near as affordable seeing as it was sporting the same hardware as previous gen consoles. Nintendo also underestimated the importance of 3rd party software. With the Wii it was fine, as the console was aimed at a much wider demographic and appealed to gamers and non-gamers of all ages. The WiiU however was a different case as Ninty wanted to try and get back that core gamer audience but they failed to realize how consoles and gaming evolved since the Wii’s launch. Online gaming was much more prevelant and decent MP was now a norm. Imo, it boils down to Ninty not keeping up with the times and riding on their name and franchises too much. Bless them, but they stuffed up though as the WiiU could’ve been something special, it is something special, but now it’s becoming nothing more than a sweet memory.
June 22, 2015 at 08:47
So? The price to build it must have fallen drastically. Make the price around R1500 and many of us will gladly buy it for the exclusives.
Or you could release the New 3DSi and your sheep will follow.
June 22, 2015 at 08:50
The biggest issue is the games. Yes there are a few cool ones. But it’s the risk of buying a Wii-U over something such as a PS4 or Bone. With a PS4 or Bone you are sure to get a good stream of AAA titles coming over the next 5 years. With things like the Wii-U, you can’t be sure. You get a few gems like Splatoon here and there but they are few and far between.
Nintendo need more AAA titles from other publishers before it will start making a mark unfortunately.