The Wii U is a home video game console developed by Nintendo, and the successor to the Wii. Released in November 2012 and discontinuted in January 2017, it was the first eighth-generation video game console and competed with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Why It Flopped
- Poor marketing; when the system was first announced, Nintendo touted the system's GamePad much more than the console itself, and along with its name, people were confused as to whether it was a new system or just an add-on for the Wii. Advertisements on television were also uncommon.
- It lacked major support from third-party developers due to its complex design and underpowered hardware. When the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were released, developers fled the Wii U en masse to work on games for the latter consoles. Over 300 relevant Xbox 360/PS3 third-party games weren't ported to the Wii U since the console's launch on 11/18/2012, leading to bad third party support.
- The PowerPC-based CPU, also known as the "Espresso", was especially poor, as it was essentially just three Wii "Broadway" CPUs (which was itself basically just an overclocked version of the GameCube's "Gecko" CPU) overclocked and thrown together onto the same chip. The developers of the Metro series derided it as "horrible" and "slow," while the Project CARS team said that the abysmal CPU performance made the originally-promised Wii U port impossible. According to some developers, the CPU has less than half the power of those found in the Xbox 360 and PS3, to say nothing of their successors.
- Most of the third-party games the Wii U got were ports of seventh-generation console games, and it often received the weakest version of them, due to missing features such as multiplayer despite the console being more powerful than the main trio of seventh generation consoles. And games that aren't third-party developed were just first party games published by Nintendo. Ports also had to figure out how to use the Wii U Gamepad which only made them more complicated to develop.
- Many of the Wii U GamePad's touted features such as Off-TV play, a touchscreen, and a microphone were underutilized, even in the system's own first-party titles.
- The GamePad had a short battery life unless one purchased an optional (and tricky to install) "High Capacity" battery with better battery life.
- Internal storage space is very small on standard models with only 8 GB, but better on deluxe models with 32 GB. The only way to expand storage was via an external USB drive, though the Xbox One also shares this problem.
- Some games (like Wii Sports Club) require the Wii Remote (which the Wii U didn't come bundled with because Nintendo assumed most people already had a Wii Remote handy) instead of the Wii U Gamepad.
- Nintendo could have had a price drop for this system, similar to what happened to its other consoles, but just kept the price at $300 for its entire lifespan.
Unlike the Virtual Boy, the console itself isn't bad at all. In fact, it was well received with positive reviews. The only thing that was wrong was that due to the reasons listed above, it sold poorly. And it now has an article on the Awesome Games Wikia. For the page, click here
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As stated in the Redeeming Qualities section, the console was well received with positive reviews. While it did so, only 13.56 million units were sold as of March 31, 2017, lower than Nintendo's previously lowest selling system, the GameCube.
The Wii U's failure caused many to become skeptical about Nintendo as well as their next console the Switch. Despite being a commercial failure, the Wii U was considered a good console by its install base and many were saddened by its discontinuation.
The Nintendo Switch's initial success seems to be repairing the damage done by the Wii U for now though, with many saying "Nintendo learned their lesson from the Wii U". Several of the Wii U's ideas have been implemented for the Switch and done better.
Some of the Wii U's games have even been ported to the Switch, including Mario Kart 8 and Pokkén Tournament.