Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance. That's something people should remember when they talk about confusion regarding the Wii U. The market had no problem in understanding what each Game Boy was, so the myth that the name "Wii U" was confusing needs to die.
The actual confusing part about the Wii U that stumped people is that Nintendo went backwards instead of forward. Nintendo ditched the motion controller after the successful Wii and instead pitched an evolution of the GameCube, because the Gamepad of the Wii U is the GC to GBA connectivity built into a single console. Nintendo tried to cover that up by naming the console Wii U, but the market didn't have problems to notice that the Wii U was nothing like the Wii. That's why the Wii U sold so bad.
People on gaming forums still like to tell the story of the Wii U selling badly because the market didn't understand what it is, but they have it upside down. The market did understand what the Wii U is and that is that it was not a proper successor to the Wii. Compare the situation to the Game Boy Advance where one can argue that it sounds like another revision of the Game Boy instead of a next generation system, but the GBA sold like mad. Why is that? Because the GBA was an evolution of the Game Boy, so a better console based on the things that people liked about the Game Boy. Conversely, the Wii U was absolutely not a better Wii, the most obvious giveaway being that the Wii U didn't have a motion controller.
In regards to "Super" specifically, the Super NES didn't suffer from confusion either. It's for the same reason why the GBA didn't suffer.
There was only one NES, back then if a system had a slightly different name it was an entirely different system. That's not the case now with multiple version of the same system being released with different names added on.
I wouldn't say Wii U was an update to Gamecube, don't think anyone thought that. It was clearly an update to the Wii, it was just poorly thought out. I do agree I don't really buy the idea that people were confused between the Wii and Wii U being different systems or not because there there was only one Wii, it's not like there were multiple branded Wii's. And the tablet controller clearly was a big difference between the Wii and the Wii U that anyone could notice immediately. I've never heard an actual person say they were confused if Wii U was a new system or a version of the Wii, I've only heard people say they think it confused people. The problem of the Wii U is it was an awkward console that moved from motion control to this weird giant tablet controller that you could only have one of and you needed old Wii remotes to play with more than one person. The whole idea was just kind of off-putting and was not offset by the novel idea of being able to play games while someone else is using the TV.
I think because Wii was really popular but then faded and motion controls had their ups and downs in both implementation and popularity, they were confused about whether to make motion controls the primary thing again or have a normal controller, so they did a weird asymmetric mix of the two, but also decided they needed a classic Nintendo-like ground breaking feature for the system so they made it a streaming tablet, and it was all just too awkward for the market. And of course the Switch was the correct way to do all of those things they tried and failed to accomplish with the Wii U. A system called the Wii U that was just a much more powerful system than the Wii with better motion controls would have sold far better than the awkward real Wii U that Nintendo made.
The Game Boy names are a good point, Game Boy had pocket and color, and people were fine with the next gen being called Advance. But I mean it was pretty easy back then to see the immediate difference between generations. GBA was wayyyy more advanced than GB, coming out 12 years later, moving from 8-bit to 32-bit. Nobody would ever be confused and think GBA was just another version of GB by looking at it. Nowadays all systems have incredible HD graphics. Like is the difference between an Xbox One, an Xbox One X, and an Xbox Series X going to be all that discernible to the casual shopper just by looking at the names and some gameplay briefly? Not likely. Hell I doubt it'll even be all that discernible to me!
These days, if there's a Switch Lite, a Switch XL, and a Super Switch (or whatever), it wouldn't be terribly clear if you don't pay attention to video games what the difference is there other than the XL and Super are in some way better than original and Lite. Especially if it looks fairly similar to the Switch since it will once again be a hybrid system (there's only so much you can do with a design that is a tablet with two detachable controllers on the ends). Obviously anyone who pays attention to video games will know its a new system no matter what they name it. But it just makes sense from a marketing perspective to do something really clear like Switch 2, not something you have to research first just to figure out what the product is and how it differs from several similarly named and similar looking products.Last edited by Slownenberg - on 22 December 2019