When the Nintendo Wii was launched back in 2006, it was a massive hit worldwide, so why seven years later is its successor, the Wii U, proving to be such a slow starter?
The Box of Delights
It can be difficult to remember the revolutionary ripples the original Wii caused when it was first released. Its innovative wireless control system and Internet capabilities transformed gaming. This little white box of delights fast became a priority item for many people, and there were plenty of disappointed customers that Christmas in the US and UK, where stores experienced a widespread shortage due to the unexpected and massive demand for Nintendo’s latest offering.
The Wii wasn’t just at the top of the game; it owned the game, and continued sales entailed it stayed there for a long, long time. Fast forward seven years, and the Wii U appears to be the little brother struggling in the shadow of its big brother’s heavyweight achievements.
A Slow Starter
Two months after its launch in the US, the original Wii had sold 435,000 units, whereas the Wii U had only sold 57,000. The statistics speak for themselves. But how has this happened? For a start, Nintendo has a history of big hits and spectacular misses: for every GameBoy, there’s been a GameCube. Yet with supermarket chains already refusing to stock Nintendo’s new console and big players in the gaming world, such as Electronic Arts, admitting they are scaling back support for the console, it appears to have gone wrong in a big way for Nintendo.
The Nintendo Wii U is not mindblowing, but is it that bad? Its main failing is that it has really nothing new to offer the modern gamer. In addition to standard controls, the handheld console has a touch screen, but we’ve been rocking quality games on the iPhone and the iPad in a big way now, and both offer a superior experience.
The new Nintendo may offer graphics on par with the PS3 and Xbox 360, but they are by no means superior in a way you know the new Xbox’s will be. A big criticism of the original Wii was that its games catalog fell short of the range offered by other consoles. Once again Nintendo only seems to be offering family-friendly titles and appears to struggle to convince third-party publishers to use the Wii U for their top-core games.
Not Such a Simple Device
The Wii’s original selling point was simplicity, but with its successor Nintendo has appeared to overcook and over-complicate their initial recipe for success. The Wii was inspiring in that its intuitive controls and user-friendly accessibility converted an army of non-gamers into gamers. The new device, on the other hand, muddies the waters with its complicated control system, seemingly tailored to make your casual gamer run a mile. But core gamers have always tended to opt for Sony and Microsoft over the Wii, so one wonders which market group Nintendo is aiming for.
Doesn’t Offer Enough
In the final analysis, Nintendo’s latest device is failing because it offers nothing new. Additionally, it doesn’t play DVDs, Blu-ray, or MP3s, all of which the modern gamer has come to expect in any new console. Once again Nintendo also seems to struggle with the concept of online gaming; although the Wii U incorporates that function, it falls short compared with the capabilities offered by Sony and Microsoft.
Likewise, for a console which is no more powerful than its aging competition, the price, at $299, is pretty extravagant, especially when you consider the device only offers a maximum of 32GB storage space. Nintendo may have ruled the roost once upon a time, but is the sun is finally setting on their gaming empire? “Wii” hope to not be disappointed by this console’s future.