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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%
 
Total:31
OdinHades said:

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.

Yup. I get Nintendo not wanting to cut the price too low. Look what happened with Sony and the PS3. The PS3 may have brought in more revenue than the Wii U could ever hope for, but the Wii U had a higher profit margin (pretty sure). I'm pretty sure Nintendo never sold a Wii U console at a loss, but Nintendo doesn't usually sell hardware at a loss. The PS3 cost Sony billions of dollars, and wiped out the combined profit of the PS1 and PS2.

But there has to be some room to wiggle. A cheaper Wii U would've helped somewhat, and would've gotten more people to buy it. Therefore, more software available on the platform and software revenue.

I lucked out and got my Wii U on a great sale for $250 in 2014. Nintendo never dropped the permanent price of the darn thing below $300, which is ridiculous. But the high cost was due to the GamePad.

So despite some quality software on Wii U, marketing and price still made it a flop.



Lifetime Sales Predictions 

Switch: 125 million (was 73, then 96, then 113 million)

PS5: 105 million Xbox Series S/X: 60 million

PS4: 122 mil (was 100 then 130 million) Xbox One: 50 mil (was 50 then 55 mil)

3DS: 75.5 mil (was 73, then 77 million)

"Let go your earthly tether, enter the void, empty and become wind." - Guru Laghima

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AngryLittleAlchemist said:

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. 

The key to understanding Nintendo's appeal is to know about what put Nintendo on the map in the first place and that means to examine gaming of the 1980s, so long before PlayStation showed up. I mean, for the most part you are on the right track with your post, but there are a few pieces missing.

What consumers associate Nintendo with is games that aren't wasting their time. Nintendo first made games for the arcades before they created their own console. The business model of the arcades was that game developers had to convince consumers right away that the game is worth playing, because otherwise the consumer would simply move over to the next cabinet to put their coins into. The convenience you talk about in your post could be said that a fun game doesn't need more than two or three buttons to be played; that in turn makes long tutorials redundant which translates to less time wasted.

The first time Nintendo lost in the console business was with the N64 which had a controller with a lot of buttons and the shift to 3D games made games more bloated. In other words, it took more investment to get into a game and the intensity of the games was lower. If you look at the example of Super Mario games, the SMB series had the player constantly be confronted with enemies and bottomless pits, so decisions had to be made by the player on the fly. On the other hand, you have Super Mario 64 where you can simply walk around enemies and deadly hazards are way less present. This is what I mean when I say lower intensity.

I'll insert a paragraph here to address the pressing question why more complex games succeed on Nintendo hardware as well, such as Breath of the Wild on Switch. The NES had action-adventure and RPG hits with IPs like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, so it's nothing out of the ordinary that Nintendo's consumers also seek games that require a much higher time investment than titles that you could put into an arcade and have them succeed. But it's important to recognize that "easy to learn, hard to master" games have historically always been a bigger draw for Nintendo consoles.

Back to Nintendo's consoles, the GC took small corrective steps because Nintendo had recognized that the N64 controller had taken things too far. That's why the GC controller has this arrangement of differently shaped buttons and why the A and B buttons were meant to stick out as the main buttons with their green and red colors. Of course in hindsight it's an easy call to make that that didn't help Nintendo's fortunes.

That's why Nintendo emphasized in their Wii presentation that it's important to create a new starting line. With the Wii they were fully committed to this idea; a Wii Remote held sideways resembled an NES controller while it was also capable of motion and IR tracking. The console's design conveyed that video games were quick to pick up again and that brought back former Nintendo consumers in huge amounts.

As you correctly identified, the Wii U's Gamepad does not send such a message at all. It was total regression on Nintendo's part.

Switch's Joy-Cons are able to largely fulfill the roles of Wii Remotes, because a single one Joy-Con held sideways doesn't present players with a lot of buttons, nevermind the option for motion controls. It makes multiplayer games a lot more inviting than the Wii U did and for the first time in a long time, Switch is a console that comes with two controllers right out of the box.

When you look at Nintendo's handhelds, they maintained the essence of not wasting players' time for a long time by virtue of technological limitations, i.e. a handheld could not feasibly feature 3D graphics until much later than home consoles. While the DS was capable of 3D games, the actual bread and butter on the system were still 2D games. It was only with the 3DS that Nintendo could really go wrong and that's exactly what they did.

One last thing about Switch: A big reason for its success is that Nintendo doesn't dictate how consumers are supposed to use the device. With both the Wii and the Wii U there were plenty of instances where games didn't provide controller options when they feasibly could have. Switch provides a lot of flexibility and convenience, both in controller options and the ability to play games wherever the player chooses.

You are a rare breed, Alchy. You think for yourself. I don't see that often. Just wanted to say that.



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

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

RolStoppable said:

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.

Basically this.  Software does sell hardware, but the Wii U's hardware was such a disaster that even Nintendo's amazing AAA games that came out for it were not enough to make it appealing to the average gamer.

Also, even when Nintendo's amazing software started coming out for the Wii U, the games really did very little to justify the gamepad's existence.  As amazing as MK8 and Smash4 were, it felt like the Wii U's gamepad was a lead weight tied around the feet of these games.  It wasn't until Super Mario Maker came that the gamepad's existence was finally justified, but it was so late in the console's life that it did nothing to change the momentum.  I really believe that if SMM had been a launch title it could have changed the fate of the Wii U to a degree.  Nintendo should have branded the Wii U as a sandbox level creation console and heavily targetted how the Wii U could enhance games like Minecraft which were extremely popular back then.  Having the touch-screen really is amazing for level design and Nintendo could have even released it's regular titles like Mario with aspects of level design integrated with the gameplay to solve puzzles the same way that the Wii implemented motion controls everywhere.  This could have shown developers what they were supposed to do with the hardware at least as a jumping off point instead of leaving everybody scratching their heads.

Last edited by Illusion - on 15 January 2021

I know someone who only learned a year ago that his WiiU he got as a gift and never opened was an actual console, and not a Wii add on. He literally though Nintendo went from the Wii to the Switch with nothing in between...and even had a WiiU in his possession.

There are multiple reasons for the failure of the WiiU...but the stories of people not even knowing what it really was are quite true it seems.



Nintendo Switch Friend Code: SW-5643-2927-1984

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RolStoppable said:
AngryLittleAlchemist said:

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. 

The key to understanding Nintendo's appeal is to know about what put Nintendo on the map in the first place and that means to examine gaming of the 1980s, so long before PlayStation showed up. I mean, for the most part you are on the right track with your post, but there are a few pieces missing.

What consumers associate Nintendo with is games that aren't wasting their time. Nintendo first made games for the arcades before they created their own console. The business model of the arcades was that game developers had to convince consumers right away that the game is worth playing, because otherwise the consumer would simply move over to the next cabinet to put their coins into. The convenience you talk about in your post could be said that a fun game doesn't need more than two or three buttons to be played; that in turn makes long tutorials redundant which translates to less time wasted.

The first time Nintendo lost in the console business was with the N64 which had a controller with a lot of buttons and the shift to 3D games made games more bloated. In other words, it took more investment to get into a game and the intensity of the games was lower. If you look at the example of Super Mario games, the SMB series had the player constantly be confronted with enemies and bottomless pits, so decisions had to be made by the player on the fly. On the other hand, you have Super Mario 64 where you can simply walk around enemies and deadly hazards are way less present. This is what I mean when I say lower intensity.

I'll insert a paragraph here to address the pressing question why more complex games succeed on Nintendo hardware as well, such as Breath of the Wild on Switch. The NES had action-adventure and RPG hits with IPs like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, so it's nothing out of the ordinary that Nintendo's consumers also seek games that require a much higher time investment than titles that you could put into an arcade and have them succeed. But it's important to recognize that "easy to learn, hard to master" games have historically always been a bigger draw for Nintendo consoles.

Back to Nintendo's consoles, the GC took small corrective steps because Nintendo had recognized that the N64 controller had taken things too far. That's why the GC controller has this arrangement of differently shaped buttons and why the A and B buttons were meant to stick out as the main buttons with their green and red colors. Of course in hindsight it's an easy call to make that that didn't help Nintendo's fortunes.

That's why Nintendo emphasized in their Wii presentation that it's important to create a new starting line. With the Wii they were fully committed to this idea; a Wii Remote held sideways resembled an NES controller while it was also capable of motion and IR tracking. The console's design conveyed that video games were quick to pick up again and that brought back former Nintendo consumers in huge amounts.

As you correctly identified, the Wii U's Gamepad does not send such a message at all. It was total regression on Nintendo's part.

Switch's Joy-Cons are able to largely fulfill the roles of Wii Remotes, because a single one Joy-Con held sideways doesn't present players with a lot of buttons, nevermind the option for motion controls. It makes multiplayer games a lot more inviting than the Wii U did and for the first time in a long time, Switch is a console that comes with two controllers right out of the box.

When you look at Nintendo's handhelds, they maintained the essence of not wasting players' time for a long time by virtue of technological limitations, i.e. a handheld could not feasibly feature 3D graphics until much later than home consoles. While the DS was capable of 3D games, the actual bread and butter on the system were still 2D games. It was only with the 3DS that Nintendo could really go wrong and that's exactly what they did.

One last thing about Switch: A big reason for its success is that Nintendo doesn't dictate how consumers are supposed to use the device. With both the Wii and the Wii U there were plenty of instances where games didn't provide controller options when they feasibly could have. Switch provides a lot of flexibility and convenience, both in controller options and the ability to play games wherever the player chooses.

You are a rare breed, Alchy. You think for yourself. I don't see that often. Just wanted to say that.

yeah, the arcade roots are on Nintendo DNA. When Nintendo deviated from this path, go sideways and have low sales. 

The console is a canvas for the games when the canvas brings limitation for the games, the console normally tends to go bad. 

Nes have a multitude of types of controller options: gamepad, NesAdvantage, PowerGlove, ROB, etc.

Switch go back for this mode. 

Last edited by Agente42 - on 15 January 2021

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Confusing name and price, given half the price of the system was for a controller that was uncomfortable as fuck.

I would suspect had Nintendo launched the Wii HD at $200 with a standard controller, it would have done quite nicely.  



Shiken said:

I know someone who only learned a year ago that his WiiU he got as a gift and never opened was an actual console, and not a Wii add on. He literally though Nintendo went from the Wii to the Switch with nothing in between...and even had a WiiU in his possession.

There are multiple reasons for the failure of the WiiU...but the stories of people not even knowing what it really was are quite true it seems.

For the record, I only learned about Wii U when I went to internet months before Switch announcement

By that time Nintendo has already left Brazil 2 years before, so unless you were actively looking for gaming news by yourself you had nothing to be advertised over

And even Wii was such a non event here and Xbox 360 was the actual console used to play games such as Just Dance. Nintendo presence on console market outside North America and East Asia was extremely damaged during Wii U era, people here only take notice on their portables, no wonder how it sold less than 1 million outside USA, Europe and Japan 



Well the Wii U was the perfect storm how not to make or sell a console.

Bad hardware. Using a Gamecube CPU just 3 cores of it is shit. A GPU from 2007 in 2012. 1GB of usable RAM in 2012 a year before PS4/XBO used 8GB. 176 Gigaflops vs nearly 2 Tflops machines one year later. Nintendo's own API which was bleh. This was the console they wanted to bridge casual and core gamers. It tried to be a jack of all trades and master of none. It was a half step idea in what the Switch would be in gaming on the go.

The Wii name was over by 2011/12. The audience Wii attracted moved on to mobile phones. A second screen experience has been tried on DC, Gamecube before. It never took. Smartglass did not take off. PSP to PS3 and Vita to PS4 did not take off so I guess they thought 5th time is the charm!

HORRIBLE reveal. Nintendo kept talking about "NEW CONTROLLER" without showing the new console. So it was thought to be an add on to the Wii. in 2012 they re-revealed the Wii U because 2011 reveal SUCKED.

Wii U was difficult to work on thanks to its 13-year-old CPU mainly. This si why despite being a more powerful machine overall than 360,360 games often ran worse on it. A system from 2005.

Wii got away with it's lesser hardware for the fact it offered something truly different and targeted a specific audience where Wii U did not. Wii benefitted from many devs still offering PS2 games so Wii games were ported to PS2 or PS2 games ported to Wii. Wii had great marketing as well.

Wii U had terrible marketing.  With Wii Nintendo knew the audience they wanted. Wii U they said we want the core crowd to here is a bad Mass Effect and Batman port! We also want that Wii Crowd so here is Nintendo land and Wii Fit U! Then proceeded to make commercials that appeal to neither!

WHAT IS THIS SHIT?

Lastly. You mean to tell me if you wanted the best version of the console you want people to pay $350 when a PS3 Super Slim or 360 Slim is $100 cheaper and had better versions of Batman and Mass Effect? Including the Trilogy of ME. 1 year after Wii U released. A PS4 is $400, just $50 more and I get a much more powerful system, no clunky Gamepad, and the hardcore AAA games"? Sign me up! Pee U can stick it, brother!

Sure Wii U had some good games but everything else around the Wii U from name to reveal to the very hardware it was on to price was shit.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

The name was the last of its problems.
The WiiU was console fated to fail because it was a badly designed product. Too complicate ad expensive to attract new players and the Wii expanded audience at the same time it didn't offer any of the advantages experienced players were expecting. Totally mistaken launch titles. It was a sinking ship form the beginning, nothing could have saved it.
As a testament to the fact software sells hardware, it doesn't help that more or less during time window the WiiU was relesead two of the most successfull games of all times came out for PS3 and X360: Minecraft and GTAV.



1. Because there are other factors. Software is the primary but not only factor.

2. Wii U didn't have a particularly great software lineup. You can point to Smash, Splatoon, or MK8 as examples of titles that were on Switch (or had a switch equivalent), but there are plenty of series that are on the Switch but not the Wii U. I.e. Pokemon mainline and Let's Go, Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem.

Also, a lot of these games were available sooner on Wii U. By the end of its first year, Switch had Mario Kart 8, Breath of the Wild, and Splatoon. By the time Spla2oon and BOTW came to Wii U it was too late.

And, the Wii U tended to get the lesser entries in popular series. It got Wii Fit U which was worse than either Wii Fit or Ring Fit. It got Wii Sports which was a rental based remake of Wii Sports that added multiplayer, but had significantly less content than Sports resort. Mario 3D World was not as well received as Galaxy or Odyssey. Wii U's Mario Party was not as good as Super, and came out when Wii U was already pretty dead.