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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

Those good games had huge droughts.
The PS3 and Xbox 360 had better games and better support.
Wii U offered a worse experience in every way that mattered and still cost more (the console AND the games)
It wasn't a leap that people were expecting for an 8th gen console and often was a step back from 6th gen hardware.

I pre-ordered mine and loved it but I had the PlayStation and Xbox to pad things out during the dry spells. It just wasn't a good device despite good games.



Twitter: @d21lewis

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You're too harsh on the Gamepad. It marked my beginning in couch gaming, which would later be enhanced with the Switch, and it allowed for an good browsing experience. Of course, why on earth would you use the Wii U browser even back then, but I thought it was cool and used it a lot. Games looked nice on it too, besides a few intense colors which looked weird, like red.



I remember even i was sitting there wondering when they announced it if it was just a new controller for Wii. Messaging was horrendous. And sadly great games doesn't always translate to sales



Nothing to see here, move along

Metallox said:

You're too harsh on the Gamepad. It marked my beginning in couch gaming, which would later be enhanced with the Switch, and it allowed for an good browsing experience. Of course, why on earth would you use the Wii U browser even back then, but I thought it was cool and used it a lot. Games looked nice on it too, besides a few intense colors which looked weird, like red.

Because it was the best goddam porn browser in the history of man. Even now, I don't have a device that does the job as good as the Wii U did back then. Unfortunately, Nintendo couldn't market this feature to non-pervs.



Twitter: @d21lewis

Jumpin said:
Dulfite said:

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.

/Thread

That's clearly not true. First, where are these 80-90% of gamers that don't know the Wii U was a console? Also, if it confused 80-90% of gamers, then where are the reports of tens to hundreds of millions of Wii U games accidentally bought for the Wii? This didn't happen.

Why are you lying about this?

/Your bullshit

Actually it went even worse: a grandson of my grandpa bought it by mistake and he sent it back when he found it wasn't a sex toy, as the marketing clearly let people believe.



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d21lewis said:
Metallox said:

You're too harsh on the Gamepad. It marked my beginning in couch gaming, which would later be enhanced with the Switch, and it allowed for an good browsing experience. Of course, why on earth would you use the Wii U browser even back then, but I thought it was cool and used it a lot. Games looked nice on it too, besides a few intense colors which looked weird, like red.

Because it was the best goddam porn browser in the history of man. Even now, I don't have a device that does the job as good as the Wii U did back then. Unfortunately, Nintendo couldn't market this feature to non-pervs.

The Wii U browser actually served me pretty well one time when my laptop needed to be fixed for several days. I can't remember if I had a smartphone yet or not, but it helped seeing things on a screen that wasn't tiny. 

The Wii U Browser is better than the PS4 Browser.

The Wii U may have been better in non-gaming functions than the Switch, but that's obviously not enough. The Switch library is superior, with or without some of the Wii U ports.



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

Wman1996 said:
d21lewis said:

Because it was the best goddam porn browser in the history of man. Even now, I don't have a device that does the job as good as the Wii U did back then. Unfortunately, Nintendo couldn't market this feature to non-pervs.

The Wii U browser actually served me pretty well one time when my laptop needed to be fixed for several days. I can't remember if I had a smartphone yet or not, but it helped seeing things on a screen that wasn't tiny. 

The Wii U Browser is better than the PS4 Browser.

The Wii U may have been better in non-gaming functions than the Switch, but that's obviously not enough. The Switch library is superior, with or without some of the Wii U ports.

Ah, you could have been the same as me, I didn't have a smart phone for the vast majority of Wii U's run, so its browser served me well. Much quicker than my old computers and fairly reliable. 

Unfortunately, a console browser will never be a selling point. 



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.

Thank you for the informative analysis. It was very interesting. I can agree to a lot of it, especially the part about buying Nintendo consoles/games to not have your time wasted  



The Wii U flopped for several reasons:

1. Software: The Wii U launched with around 30 games, but almost all of them late and pretty shoddy ports, which on top of that were in general also more expensive than the same games on the PS360. In other words, there was almost nothing worth buying early on - and since Nintendo had to promise to give third party publishers free reign early on to get them back into the boat, there was also nothing from Nintendo in sight that was really worth buying. And since there was nothing new coming out for the consoles in the first couple month, sales practically stopped and the third party publishers jumped ship as soon as PS4/XBO were announced, some even earlier. Only Ubisoft stayed with Nintendo, and that loyalty is probably the reason why we have a crossover title between Mario and the Raving Rabbits on the Switch.

2. The name and shape of the console: The Wii U didn't sound all that different from the Wii, and it not being numbered meant that many confused it early on with just being a tablet add-on for the Wii - and for that it seemed way too expensive. The fact that the shape of the console very closely followed the Wii didn't help clearing up the confusion, either, and on the packaging the extended length of the Wii U compared to the Wii, which could have revealed to people that it was in fact a new console and not just an addon, got covered up with the Wii U Gamepad.

3. Reveal and marketing: Not once during the Wii U reveal was the word console uttered, and it only showed the capabilities of the new Gamepad, but nothing much about it's increased performance or anything in that direction. And the marketing of the Wii U until 2014 can best be described as moronic, and seemingly did it's best to appeal to nobody.

4. No more momentum: After Nintendo did it's best to get the confusion cleared up, bring some great games to the system and switch it's marketing around, the damage was already long done and couldn't be reversed anymore. Reveals, releases and price cut tend to have an increase in a certain percentage range and not absolute numbers. But if your baseline is absolutely shit, even an increase of 100% in sales is still shit. A bit less shitty, but still shit. It also didn't help that the publishers (for whom Nintendo created the console and for whom they stayed out early on) didn't come back to the system, expect Ubisoft who never really left.

Tl;dr: Nintendo has some real killer games on the Wii U. but they were too few and far between and all the damage to the system and it's reputation from the first year simply couldn't be undone with all those releases anymore.

Last edited by Bofferbrauer2 - on 18 January 2021

There are a lot of reasons why the Wii U didn't sell other than software, but also other than MK8 and Smash, I don't think there was a real system seller for the Wii U in those first two years. Mario was underwhelming, no Zelda title, no new ideas (until Splatoon which was too late by then), and underwhelming 3rd party support.

Obviously, this was all compounded by a weird name choice, bad marketing, and a confusing controller. But make no mistake, while there were a few gems, I consider the Wii U software lineup to be the worst out of any Nintendo mainline console game.