Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Nintendo pandered too much to their fans in the Wii U era

I almost didn't want to make this post, because I don't want to feel like I'm just beating up on the Wii U all the time. But I do feel it needs to be said, now that there's a good number of first party games on the Switch at the moment. Simply put, Nintendo's problem in the Wii U era was that they pandered too much to their core audience. I know that sounds like a backwards thing to complain about but let me explain. I compared the style of Nintendo's Switch era first party games to the style of their Wii U era games before, and how Nintendo's Wii U games for the most part, felt overly sterile and safe compared to their more lively and contemporary Switch counterparts. But another big difference between their Switch era games vs the Wii U era ones is that their Switch era titles have a lot more broad appeal vs. their Wii U era games.

First, let's provide some context. Wii was a phenomenon, but it unfairly or not had the stigma of being a casual console for casual gamers, not a hardcore system for true Nintendo fans. With the Wii U, Nintendo wanted to get away from this stigma, which is good. The problem is that they over-corrected it. Wiimotes were swapped out for a giant tablet with screen aside was basically a "traditional controller". Nintendo tried making their games more complex and "core focused" and tried to get western third parties on board. Aside from the name, Wii U was a complete 180 from the Wii in terms of philosophy and design ethos. It was complex, intimidating, and niche.

But the niche-ness really shined through in Nintendo's own software. To be clear, Niche games aren't a bad thing, and can spice up a library with some variety every now and again, but they can't be the majority of your output on the console. NintendoLand, which was supposed to be the Wii Sports casual hit for the system that could also appeal to Nintendo fans with the use of classic franchises, was instead a confused, over-designed mess that appealed to neither. Now don't get me wrong, I think Nintendo Land is a great game, and one of Nintendo's better original titles for the Wii U, but it was a clear sign something was wrong with this system.

  • New Super Mario Bros. U was a tired retread of the NSMB formula, not helped by the fact that it was released 3 months after New Super Mario Bros. 2. It only existed because Nintendo felt their core fans loved side-scrollers so much they wanted one for a new console launch.

  • The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 appealed to fans of Platinum's work and little else,

  • Tropical Freeze and Wooly World were great, but derivative side-scrollers on a console that was already over dominated with them.

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X only appealed to fans of the first game.

  • Hyrule Warriors was just a pure fan-service title with little appeal to those who aren't Zelda fans.

  • Pikmin 3 is the third entry in a relatively niche series, that was hyped up to the Wii U's biggest title by Miyamoto.

  • Star Fox Zero was yet another retread of the original because that's what the fans are familiar with.

  • And Super Mario 3D World was derived from the 3DS title that focused more on arcade style level challenges over exploration and thematically cohesive set-pieces like the previous titles, only appealing to those who like the more classical Mario gameplay style, which is mostly hardcore Nintendo fans.

  • All the while Wii Sports, Fit and Party get low effort token releases as to not divert too many resources to those filthy casual games /s

You see where I'm getting at here. Notice how Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, Smash, and Mario Maker were the only Wii U titles that made any cultural impact on the mainstream market, and they arrived far too late in the system's life to do anything long term. And then there's Miiverse. The great idea, poorly implemented social network almost exclusively for Nintendo fans to draw and comment on their favorite games, and was mostly ignored by everyone else in favor of actual social media platforms.

Wii U is the basically the connoisseur's Nintendo console. A platform that appeals almost entirely to the hardcore fans of the brand. And if that's your thing, it's a great system in that context. The problem was that the Wii U just wasn't a good mainstream Nintendo console. It catered far too much to Nintendo loyalists, that it ignored everyone that actually mattered in the mainstream. What about The casual gamers? The past Wii owners? The PS4 and Xbox One gamers? The mobile gamers? There was nothing, no third party support, no compelling first party support, and no compelling hardware hook. I know people weren't a fan of the direction Nintendo took their later Wii games and believe me there is criticism to be had there, but Wii U was very much the other extreme in this sense.

The Switch is a far better Nintendo console for the mainstream gamer than its predecessor. One key thing Nintendo has learned from the Wii U and later Wii days was that different games work for different people. In other words, don't try and hope one game will appeal to Nintendo fans and non-fans alike, because that doesn't work. Switch has far more variety in content, genre, and gameplay than the Wii U did.

TL;DR - Wii U was too focused on trying to please Nintendo fans dissatisfied with the Wii that it ended up excluding audiences that actually matter long-term.



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Yeah, I agree. When the Wii U was announced I was incredibly disappointed. It felt like the anti-Wii. It felt like Nintendo wanted to get as far away from the Wii as possible. Unlucky for them they got far away from Wii sales as possible. If you were a big Wii fan (Like myself) there didn't feel like any reason to get a Wii U. The Wii U felt like a console for Nintendo fans who were embarrassed by the Wii. Jokes on them though. It flopped.

Also, I want to correct the thing about Xenoblade X. That game was NOT made for only people who loved the first game. It was very different from the 1st game to the point where it didn't even feel like it wasn't from the same franchise. Even though Xenoblade X was my first Xenoblade game I will concede after playing Xenoblade 1 & 2 that Xenoblade X sticks out like a sore thumb. It really should have been an original IP.



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Oh, man I disagree with a lot of this.

2-D Sidescrollers are the bread and butter of the casual crowd. So NSMBU, 3D World, Yoshi, and Tropical Freeze were all aimed at the casual audience. The only problem is that Nintendo didn't realize that they'd gotten burnt out on games like that from the Wii era. Not to mention, most casuals wound up not liking the Wii in the long run, because it didn't have enough games that they liked. So Nintendo wound up making games for a crowd that largely ignored their platform.

The Wii U controller was an attempt to emulate the iPad. That's about as casual oriented as you can get.

Starfox Zero was given a horrible control scheme that alienated core fans in the hopes of bringing in new audiences.

I agree with your points on Xenoblade X, Pikmin, Bayonetta, Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon.

With the Switch Nintendo targeted hardcore audiences with a massively updated and improved Zelda. Mario went back to being a proper 3D platformer, and not some sort of 2.5D abomination that was 3D World. Xenoblade 2 targeted hardcore gamers as well. Switch seems to be a system for both casuals and hardcore fans though. Mario Kart 8, Mario Tennis, Smash, and Splatoon 2 can all said to be games for casuals as well as hardcore gamers.



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Cerebralbore101 said:
Oh, man I disagree with a lot of this.

2-D Sidescrollers are the bread and butter of the casual crowd. So NSMBU, 3D World, Yoshi, and Tropical Freeze were all aimed at the casual audience. The only problem is that Nintendo didn't realize that they'd gotten burnt out on games like that from the Wii era. Not to mention, most casuals wound up not liking the Wii in the long run, because it didn't have enough games that they liked. So Nintendo wound up making games for a crowd that largely ignored their platform.

The Wii U controller was an attempt to emulate the iPad. That's about as casual oriented as you can get.

Starfox Zero was given a horrible control scheme that alienated core fans in the hopes of bringing in new audiences.

I agree with your points on Xenoblade X, Pikmin, Bayonetta, Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon.

With the Switch Nintendo targeted hardcore audiences with a massively updated and improved Zelda. Mario went back to being a proper 3D platformer, and not some sort of 2.5D abomination that was 3D World. Xenoblade 2 targeted hardcore gamers as well. Switch seems to be a system for both casuals and hardcore fans though. Mario Kart 8, Mario Tennis, Smash, and Splatoon 2 can all said to be games for casuals as well as hardcore gamers.

Side Scrollers are heavily associated with old-school Nintendo back in the 8 and 16 bit eras. New Super Mario Bros. isn't just for casuals, it's also designed for Mario fans who are more familiar with the more classical style of Mario game than the 3D ones.

Wii U Gamepad was a bloated, over-designed disaster that wanted to be a hardcore controller, that had some casual appeal. It was too big and useless for core gamers, and too daunting an clunky for casual gamers. 

Zero was made to be a rehash of Star Fox 64 again, to pander to the fans who liked Star Fox 64.

Also. "Not to mention, most casuals wound up not liking the Wii in the long run, because it didn't have enough games that they liked. So Nintendo wound up making games for a crowd that largely ignored their platform. " Not true, Wii had one of the highest attach rates of any modern console. 

Switch era Nintendo is more about balance. As in, Nintendo is addressing the complaints of both the hardcore fans and the mainstream gamers. Making games that are fun for both groups, while not trying to compromise them for one side versus the other. Mario Odyssey for example was designed to be a fun sandbox playground for casual gamers, and a big open world epic for hardcore Mario fans. Same thing with Breath of the Wild, especially since that game was bought by people who never played a Zelda game in their life. Most of Nintendo's games also serve different kinds of people, as opposed to trying to make most of their titles for absolutely everyone. 1-2 Switch is for people who want a silly party game, Nintendo Labo is for kids who like construction toys, ARMS is for people who like competitive fighting games or want a more intuitive, easier to learn take on them, and Xenoblade 2 is for fans of traditional RPGs. Nintendo's learned that different games should serve different people. 



TheMisterManGuy said:

I almost didn't want to make this post, because I don't want to feel like I'm just beating up on the Wii U all the time. But I do feel it needs to be said, now that there's a good number of first party games on the Switch at the moment. Simply put, Nintendo's problem in the Wii U era was that they pandered too much to their core audience. I know that sounds like a backwards thing to complain about but let me explain. I compared the style of Nintendo's Switch era first party games to the style of their Wii U era games before, and how Nintendo's Wii U games for the most part, felt overly sterile and safe compared to their more lively and contemporary Switch counterparts. But another big difference between their Switch era games vs the Wii U era ones is that their Switch era titles have a lot more broad appeal vs. their Wii U era games.

First, let's provide some context. Wii was a phenomenon, but it unfairly or not had the stigma of being a casual console for casual gamers, not a hardcore system for true Nintendo fans. With the Wii U, Nintendo wanted to get away from this stigma, which is good. The problem is that they over-corrected it. Wiimotes were swapped out for a giant tablet with screen aside was basically a "traditional controller". Nintendo tried making their games more complex and "core focused" and tried to get western third parties on board. Aside from the name, Wii U was a complete 180 from the Wii in terms of philosophy and design ethos. It was complex, intimidating, and niche.

But the niche-ness really shined through in Nintendo's own software. To be clear, Niche games aren't a bad thing, and can spice up a library with some variety every now and again, but they can't be the majority of your output on the console. NintendoLand, which was supposed to be the Wii Sports casual hit for the system that could also appeal to Nintendo fans with the use of classic franchises, was instead a confused, over-designed mess that appealed to neither. Now don't get me wrong, I think Nintendo Land is a great game, and one of Nintendo's better original titles for the Wii U, but it was a clear sign something was wrong with this system.

  • New Super Mario Bros. U was a tired retread of the NSMB formula, not helped by the fact that it was released 3 months after New Super Mario Bros. 2. It only existed because Nintendo felt their core fans loved side-scrollers so much they wanted one for a new console launch.

  • The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 appealed to fans of Platinum's work and little else,

  • Tropical Freeze and Wooly World were great, but derivative side-scrollers on a console that was already over dominated with them.

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X only appealed to fans of the first game.

  • Hyrule Warriors was just a pure fan-service title with little appeal to those who aren't Zelda fans.

  • Pikmin 3 is the third entry in a relatively niche series, that was hyped up to the Wii U's biggest title by Miyamoto.

  • Star Fox Zero was yet another retread of the original because that's what the fans are familiar with.

  • And Super Mario 3D World was derived from the 3DS title that focused more on arcade style level challenges over exploration and thematically cohesive set-pieces like the previous titles, only appealing to those who like the more classical Mario gameplay style, which is mostly hardcore Nintendo fans.

  • All the while Wii Sports, Fit and Party get low effort token releases as to not divert too many resources to those filthy casual games /s

You see where I'm getting at here. Notice how Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, Smash, and Mario Maker were the only Wii U titles that made any cultural impact on the mainstream market, and they arrived far too late in the system's life to do anything long term. And then there's Miiverse. The great idea, poorly implemented social network almost exclusively for Nintendo fans to draw and comment on their favorite games, and was mostly ignored by everyone else in favor of actual social media platforms.

Wii U is the basically the connoisseur's Nintendo console. A platform that appeals almost entirely to the hardcore fans of the brand. And if that's your thing, it's a great system in that context. The problem was that the Wii U just wasn't a good mainstream Nintendo console. It catered far too much to Nintendo loyalists, that it ignored everyone that actually mattered in the mainstream. What about The casual gamers? The past Wii owners? The PS4 and Xbox One gamers? The mobile gamers? There was nothing, no third party support, no compelling first party support, and no compelling hardware hook. I know people weren't a fan of the direction Nintendo took their later Wii games and believe me there is criticism to be had there, but Wii U was very much the other extreme in this sense.

The Switch is a far better Nintendo console for the mainstream gamer than its predecessor. One key thing Nintendo has learned from the Wii U and later Wii days was that different games work for different people. In other words, don't try and hope one game will appeal to Nintendo fans and non-fans alike, because that doesn't work. Switch has far more variety in content, genre, and gameplay than the Wii U did.

TL;DR - Wii U was too focused on trying to please Nintendo fans dissatisfied with the Wii that it ended up excluding audiences that actually matter long-term.

Disagree about Xenoblade X. It is completely different. XC1 & XC2 are about story, characters and soundtrack for traditional JRPG fans. Meanwhile, XCX focus on open world, gameplay and side quests for WRPG fans more than JRPG fans. You should know a lot people who played and loved XC1 but hated XCX.



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Cerebralbore101 said:
Oh, man I disagree with a lot of this.

2-D Sidescrollers are the bread and butter of the casual crowd. So NSMBU, 3D World, Yoshi, and Tropical Freeze were all aimed at the casual audience. The only problem is that Nintendo didn't realize that they'd gotten burnt out on games like that from the Wii era. Not to mention, most casuals wound up not liking the Wii in the long run, because it didn't have enough games that they liked. So Nintendo wound up making games for a crowd that largely ignored their platform.

The Wii U controller was an attempt to emulate the iPad. That's about as casual oriented as you can get.

Starfox Zero was given a horrible control scheme that alienated core fans in the hopes of bringing in new audiences.

I agree with your points on Xenoblade X, Pikmin, Bayonetta, Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon.

With the Switch Nintendo targeted hardcore audiences with a massively updated and improved Zelda. Mario went back to being a proper 3D platformer, and not some sort of 2.5D abomination that was 3D World. Xenoblade 2 targeted hardcore gamers as well. Switch seems to be a system for both casuals and hardcore fans though. Mario Kart 8, Mario Tennis, Smash, and Splatoon 2 can all said to be games for casuals as well as hardcore gamers.

Great post. To me personally the Wii U was a misguided attempt by the Nintendo to strike twice with the same trick of selling us Underpowered Last gen tech with a gimmick controller. Except the Wii was cheaper and Galaxy was actually fantastic. Wii U because of the tablet controller was an expensive investment to make especially when a year later the XB one and especially the PS4 completely trashed the system spec wise. Also Wii Us Mario 3D world is the weakest Mario game I have ever played.



You've got it backwards.  The Wii U tried too hard to recapture the casuals that made the Wii the smash hit that it was, while giving core Nintendo fans and core gamers in general very little reason to pick up the system for the first 18 months or so of its life.  It was a hybrid console that tried to have its cake and eat it too by attempting to satisfy core and casual gamers alike and ended up doing neither.

 We got retreads of Wii-era party games like Nintendo Land and Wii Party U / Wii Fit U, and gimped ports of 3rd party titles that were missing features and ran poorer than their PS360 counterparts in some cases, which were running on 6 and 7 year old hardware at the time.  It took 18-24 months just to get heavy hitters like Mario Kart and SSB on the console, when the previous console versions had already been out for over 6 years at the time.  There was no core 3D Mario or Zelda anywhere to be seen even though both were teased at E3 prior to launch.  All we got were HD ports of Wind Waker and NSMBU / SM3D World, and Zelda BotW got pushed back so much it ended up being a Switch launch title.

Nintendo thought they could rest on their laurels with the popularity of the Wii and simply recapture the magic by making a "Wii HD" with a tablet style controller, and it backfired spectacularly.  The Switch is everything the Wii U was promised to be but wasn't.



On 2/24/13, MB1025 said:
You know I was always wondering why no one ever used the dollar sign for $ony, but then I realized they have no money so it would be pointless.

Actually point that console was called again Wii and they had launch games like NSMBU and Nintendo Land, proves they wanted to again attract casual crowd that was on Wii,
when they realised that Wii U is not popular and has too many problems, they tried to core audince, but it was already too late even for Nintendo fans to get on board.



They pandered to their fans because the casuals were not there...



The system would have sold better if it had...

Fans: Mario 64 remake or return to that style
Nintendo: SM3DW...

Fans: Metroid would melt faces in HD
Nintendo: ....
(Have we already forgotten the DKC meltdown?)

Fans: NSMB is just OK...
Nintendo: It's the flagship game for the 1st six months.

EPD had nothing to do with Platinum's titles. It was just convenient for Nintendo to publish them to bolster the library.

It failed because Nintendo had an unimpressive generation. The Switch ports are tinting people's glasses. Wii U felt like Wii games in HD instead of expanded gameplay/interactivity/immersion.

Edit: How could I forget E32012? An absolute trainwreck. And then W101 AFTER the presentation lol.