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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - If Software sells Hardware why Wii U flopped


What's the truth

Software sells Hardware 17 54.84%
Hardware sells Software 2 6.45%
Software sells Software 3 9.68%
Hardware sells Hardware (???) 2 6.45%
Amazon sells Hardware 5 16.13%
Gamestop sells Software 2 6.45%

I mean, Wii U games sells very well on Switch 

Why they bombed so hard on Wii U? Their reviews were good and the (few) people who played seems to not only give it good scores, but are buying them again on Switch 

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I don't care what anyone says, there is one reason and one reason only that the Wii U bombed. The name was EXTREMELY confusing and people didn't know it was a new console. My hardcore gaming friend from my childhood was CONVINCED it was just a new controller for the Wii. And he's a gamer!

Now take all those parents, kids, and grandparents that were Wii owners. If a hardcore gamer found it confusing, they don't stand a chance. Humans are silly and don't do research on things (one of the reasons I am against voting for those that don't pay attention). I'm convinced if you asked literally everyone that's ever gamed before, 80-90% of them would say they have either never heard of the Wii U or that they thought it was a controller for the Wii.

If they named it something you else, ANYTHING else, I think it would have sold at least 50-60 million units.


Because software is not the only factor that matters.

You know it deserves the GOTY.

Come join The 2018 Obscure Game Monthly Review Thread.

You have a couple of right answers in that poll, but I guess VGC doesn't allow to create multi-vote polls.

As for WiiU, a lot of reasons why it didn't sell that well - it wasn't really that great in terms of software compared to other Nintendo consoles, bad hardware which was not easy to work with (interesting coincidence but this is applicable to almost every failed console), gimmicky concept and so on.


I've been on this theory for the past few years that Nintendo's audience (which includes both "fans" and "general consumers") care just as much about hardware as they do software, despite the common misconception that that isn't the case. The difference is: they care about hardware convenience, more so then necessarily "power" (although power can factor into how convenient a product is). OK, that is simplifying things way too much because every popular console has it's own brand of "convenience" to the consumer, after all at the end of the day all consoles are about convenience. But the perceived convenience of something like a Playstation is about being as powerful as possible while still being cheap and mass produced. That form of convenience doesn't land for Nintendo or their consumerbase as well, Nintendo has basically positioned themselves so that there is no way their products can be convenient to their audience without being different. There is absolutely nothing convenient about a console where the controller is a tablet with features that nobody uses, with that tablet and those features jacking up the price, with most of the marketing being geared towards an audience which has all but left the traditional gaming industry by now. There is nothing convenient about a mini cube that, no matter how good the games are on it, is playing the same game as two other competitors with much deeper marketing pockets that have more third party support or innovative features. I guess you could say the Gamecube losing to the Xbox had less to do with convenience to the consumer and more to do with Microsoft's deep marketing pockets, but in general Xbox and Gamecube being so far behind the Playstation 2 showed how little the actual hardware had to bring to the table in terms of convenience to the user. There is nothing convenient about a console that is more powerful but has a significantly smaller selection of games than the competition and also has those games at prices that are often much higher than CD games as well (and I mean MSRP for virtually all games, not just "Nintendo never does sales on their first party games!").

Nintendo's brand of convenience is about form factor, "uniqueness" (not just in product but in position in the market), and cheap prices. That's basically how you make a modern successful Nintendo system. And it's why the Wii U, Gamecube and N64 either failed or didn't live up to their standards. It's also why the 3DS needed a big ass push behind it in order to get it lifted off the ground. DS-type games and 3D effects weren't going to carry it. For all intents and purposes it wasn't actually as convenient or appealing to the consumer as it probably should have been, which is a big reason why it didn't hit the 90m+ mark I think. 

Software sells hardware. Hardware also sells software. Go figure. 

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Software sells hardware. Marketing sells software.

Wii U's marketing was dumb, that was also the reason the Dreamcast flopped even though it was a good console.

Because the caveat to the fundamental premise of "software sells hardware" is that the hardware itself cannot be offputting. The premise holds true for hardware that is either appealing or neutral, but when the hardware itself presents a problem, then software is facing an uphill battle with virtually non-existent chances for success.

If one believed that every console will sell well if only enough quantity and quality of software is present, then one would have to believe that even Nintendo's Virtual Boy could have been turned into a success. But the VB was a clunky device with the recommendation that players take a break every 10 minutes due to red-black graphics of the system that was very taxing on the eyes.

The Wii U wasn't as bad as the Virtual Boy, but it represented Nintendo doing a U-turn on what made the Wii good, so even excellent games could hardly move the needle on hardware sales when they released. The resounding success of re-releases of Wii U games on Switch proves that the Wii U had a tremendous hardware problem, so it weren't the games that sank the platform.

The 3DS also had a hardware problem which is why it sold so low. But the thing about the 3DS was that users could simply leave the 3D slider down while Nintendo ate the cost. The Wii U would have required additional things to make it appealing, so there was no quick solution to make it work somehow.

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

Like Dulfite said, the branding was a stupid idea. People couldn't differentiate the Wii U from the Wii and therefore confused it with an overly expensive add-on. Also it partly came in the same white colour as the Wii. It was even more confusing when you consider the fact that Wii nunchucks are a valid controller option in some games.

The few million people who actually bought a Wii U indeed love the damn thing, but the general audience has no idea what it does or that it even exists.

Besides the obvious (bad name, horrible marketing, unfriendly hardware),but honestly? It was lacking on the software side too. The big games are great and it have a nice But back in the day you had to wait several months between a big game and another, with barely anything being released in between from third parties. And there was sooo many Nintendo franchises missing on the console. It was the first console since the Gamecube to never get a mainline Animal Crossing, is together with the N64 as the only Nintendo console to never get a Metroid, it was the first since GBA to never get a Fire Emblem, it never got a mainlime Kirby, it only got one Mario Party and one Mario Sports game and they both sucked, the main Zelda only got released at the end of the console's life, I could go on...

Switch Friend Code: SW - 1286-0025-9138

If you ask me, it was too pricey. Even I hesitated for years to get the damn thing. It was more expensive than the PS4 at times and for some reason it never got a price cut and there were barely any deals for it.

Official member of VGC's Nintendo family, approved by the one and only RolStoppable. I feel honored.