because the logic of "all that matters are the games" is not true for most of the people who buy consoles, and the only people you ever see spouting that are the "hardcore" who pay attention to video game forums and video game news online. the same people who buy many games per year at full price on day one, and will buy a console just to play exclusives that they love. they don't need to be convinced to buy a system, why would they care about what it does? all they know is it will give them the games they love and that's enough for them to put up with any other bullshit that comes with it.
if all that mattered was exclusives then why has Spider-Man "only" sold 20m on the PS4, a console that sold 100m+. why has Animal Crossing: New Horizons "only" sold 26m on a console that so far has a userbase of 70m+. it's because most of the people who buy consoles don't buy them with the intention of buying every exclusive or big game in sight like the vocal minority of "hardcore" do. if anything exclusives are the exact opposite of what they'd want, they're not gonna buy a console just to play one game. instead they're gonna want something they can use to occasionally play FIfa or Call of Duty with their friends on, perhaps also use as a multimedia or entertainment hub to watch Netflix on, and if any other games come out that peak their interest such as an exclusive maybe they'll buy that as a bonus and they're perfectly fine with that.
exclusives matter of course and are a big factor in swaying interest but at the end of the day they are just one factor, and if the actual hardware itself doesn't offer anything of value or is desirable in any way outside of those then they can only go so far, and the Wii U is the epitome of that. because aside from those great games, what else did it offer? it didn't have many of the features the new consoles that came out a year after it had, it was slow as fuck, hardly had any storage, the naming and marketing was so god awful that it turned most people away and many didn't even know it was a new system, and its defining aspect which was the Wii U gamepad that could have set it apart from anything else went severely under utilized because 99% of developers, including Nintendo, didn't even know what to do with it. it offered nothing except being a lesser variant of what the other consoles were doing significantly better and offering way more. the people who bought it are the ones who would have already done so for the games, everyone else was given no reason to want to.
normally when a system is failing companies will at least try to find ways to reduce price or make them more enticing, but with the Wii U there was nothing Nintendo could do because the gamepad was an anchor that dragged down the system for its entire lifespan that they couldn't get out of. I love Nintendo to bits and think they are the best in the industry, and I felt for them during the dark Wii U times, but I legitimately believe everything about the Wii U was Nintendo at their worst decision making possible all at once, and one they only have themselves to blame for.
this is why the Switch is an incredible success because it offers an inherently incredible value from just having the system itself which is being able to be taken anywhere and used anywhere. knowing that you can get Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, etc and all these huge games is of course an influencing factor that will sway people to want it, but the system itself being desirable and what it offers is just as important as that.
Last edited by FloatingWaffles - on 15 January 2021