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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - What people dislike about Wii U hardware?

Hardware wise it was relatively expensive whilst being  very dated and the gamepad was simply not a compelling gimmick. Just as the 360/PS3 era was ending Nintendo was playing catch up with a Wii branded HD console but without any of things that made those systems a success like next gen technology, or the promise of a new generation of third party games.

Nor did they have what makes a Nintendo system great; compelling first party titles. Sure its end of life library was pretty solid but getting there took a while and it had the biggest game droughts we've seen in modern console history. Meanwhile the Wii brand was itself dead in the water and considered fad-like.

The Switch took 4 years of Wii U software efforts and repackaged them into portable, sleeker, more technologically exciting package. Targeted Nintendo's core core audience and delivered a really great piece of tech with software support released in quick succession to show it off. If the Wii U launched with Breadth of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 I'm sure it would have sold at least double what it actually did. I can't stress enough that the Switch was also boasting pretty amazing hardware, they could of gone for a more powerful chip but what is in it was still impressive for something so small in 2017. Even on more powerful mobile devices you were simply not going to get something that BOTW running on it because they lacked the dedicated software.

Last edited by Otter - on 05 July 2021

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The tablet controller was okay (within its small wireless range), but I disliked its abysmal battery life... and the whole system depended on that battery life: When the tablet controller shuts down, the main console also shuts down.

Fixed it with the "high capacity battery" periphal... but Nintendo should have put that battery in all WiiU tablet controllers.



For me, it was simply underpowered. Apart from that, nothing major really. I wish the screen was larger, considering how big the gamepad was and I'm still salty about the Nintendo's decision to ditch analog triggers (why Ninty, why!), but that was more of the Wii thing than anything else.



The game library was pretty bad too which didn't help (Wii U games are selling well on the Switch, but the Swtich has those games AND the Switch exclusive ones, and probably wouldn't be selling well with just the Wii U library), but the Gamepad simply didn't offer anything worthwhile. Most games used it only for off TV play, and maybe displayed a map on it. Turns out people weren't all that interested in a PS360 level console that you can play without a TV, but only if you're within 20 feet of the base.



I do not agree that the Wii U had a poor first party software library, however, it took far too long for the Wii U to build a decent library and by the time it was built the console was already a long lost cause. There was a massive drought for the first year on the market where the Wii U had almost nothing except for New Super Mario Bros U. Nintendo dev's were openly admitting that they were having a lot of trouble developing games at 720p and so the reason for this drought was something that was quite embarrassing for the company and probably a big cause of concern for its shareholders. Furthermore, the 3rd party library was almost non-existent, which was another significant problem for the console.

It is no doubt though that the hardware was a factor in the Wii U's failure, but it is not the #1 reason in my opinion. Nintendo confused a lot of people by re-using the Wii name and showing people holding Wii-motes in the commercials where people were thinking that the Wii U was an add-on for the Wii. Also, the Wii U did not have a killer app at launch to show people how to make use of the game pad which is a big part of what made the hardware such a turn-off. If the Wii U had launched with a game like Super Mario Maker that clearly showed developers what could be done with the gamepad as well as clear marketing, I think that the console could have sold twice as well as it did even with the clunky gamepad.

That said, the gamepad could have easily been slimmed down, but the Wii U launch was such a catastrophe for the reasons mentioned above that Nintendo did not even see it worthwhile to try to revise the hardware or give a significant price-cut. By late 2014, Miyamoto was already teasing about new hardware which means that Nintendo probably made the decision to kill the Wii U well under 2 years into its life. The games that came after this point were just to satisfy the base that bought the console, Nintendo had no expectation that they would change the Wii U's fate. In fact, I believe that Nintendo released games like Smash, Splatoon, Mario Maker and maybe even Mario Kart with the expectation that they would get re-released on the Switch in order to make the investment in the game's development profitable for the company because the Wii U's paltry base was not enough to accomplish this by itself.



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JWeinCom said:

The game library was pretty bad too which didn't help (Wii U games are selling well on the Switch, but the Swtich has those games AND the Switch exclusive ones, and probably wouldn't be selling well with just the Wii U library), but the Gamepad simply didn't offer anything worthwhile. Most games used it only for off TV play, and maybe displayed a map on it. Turns out people weren't all that interested in a PS360 level console that you can play without a TV, but only if you're within 20 feet of the base.

Wii U exclusives were pretty great overall with some exceptions like Amiibo Festival or Starfox Zero.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

A big part of what made it fail was this:

snyps said:

Marketing was the biggest problem. Do you think PlayStation would still rule the market if it was called the Pee U?

to this day people are more confortable with things getting named 1,2,3,4,5 and the memes with and ambuiance doing a Wii-u, Wii-u sound were common as the name sounded ridiculous to lots of people already into gaming.

mZuzek said:

All down to naming and marketing. I mean, not all, of course... it still wouldn't have sold well if it had a better name and better marketing, but probably twice as many as it sold, at least.

People weren't bothered by how good or bad the UI was, or the loading times, or the Gamepad, or even the games. The console was unappealing from the get-go due to awful marketing and naming, thus making it not sell enough for anyone to judge it on those terms. Someone who doesn't buy a console because of its negative aspects is someone who knows something about the product, and if they know about it it's because they have some experience with it. But people didn't have any experience with the Wii U, because no one had one, because it was marketed like shit.

Honestly, if you look at what the console does wrong, I'd argue the Switch has as many issues, if not more. But it has an appealing concept, a snappy name, and great marketing. Then it had a groundbreaking game as a launch title. But if the marketing was wrong, everyone would've ridiculed it for having no games - take away BotW and there was basically nothing at launch. But because of the hype they generated with good marketing and a good game, it got momentum, and then people continued to like it for its positives, rather than its many negatives. Of course, it being a hybrid console helps naturally, as it's just a good concept.

And this also, people not that into gaming thought that the console was merely and add-on for the original wii

HoloDust said:

Gamepad should've been peripheral (with much better range), so that CPU/GPU/RAM can be much beefier.

Lots of people in my university that were into gaming weren't willing to buy it for a few reasons inlcuding this, they wanted the gamepad to be able to be a portable console on it's own, they didn't have any problem with it being a tablet-like controller but to them it wasn't justified that the control had that form if it wasn't possible for you to use it as a portable console or a tablet, or at least to have more than 10 meters in your house, people wanted to use that curtain mode to play on the gamepad on their own houses while other family members used the TV, since it wasn't common here for families to have more than one TV, but it wasn't possible as the controller range was very short, also while the original wii here did cost roughly the 250 or so dollars from its launch, from the changes in our economies and other things the Wii-U here went for the equivalent of 500 or more dollars, people weren't going to invest in the Wii-U while their phones were portable, and you could game with them on the go while also being able to do a lot of other things.

And finally i should add that people acquire strange customs in gaming, the dudes from university aside from the relation of price and the poor benefits they perceived from the gamepad, while showing interest in the games, because yeah they said they wanted to play Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Xenoblade X,  Super Mario 3D world, Bayonetta 2, Wind Waker HD, Twillight Princess HD, Super Mario Maker, Yoshi, Donkey kong, Rayman and other games over the years, were always saying that they weren't going to buy the console despite liking those games because since there wasn't online chat they couldn't insult or swear with others, and that since there wasn't some kind of "achievements" they also couldn't brag or show off, then they preferred to play other games on Xbox or PS even if they weren't good games, only to accumulate points in their "gaming accounts".



Leynos said:
JWeinCom said:

The game library was pretty bad too which didn't help (Wii U games are selling well on the Switch, but the Swtich has those games AND the Switch exclusive ones, and probably wouldn't be selling well with just the Wii U library), but the Gamepad simply didn't offer anything worthwhile. Most games used it only for off TV play, and maybe displayed a map on it. Turns out people weren't all that interested in a PS360 level console that you can play without a TV, but only if you're within 20 feet of the base.

Wii U exclusives were pretty great overall with some exceptions like Amiibo Festival or Starfox Zero.

There's a difference between great games and system selling games. For instance, NSMBU, the big launch title for the Wii U. It was a fine Mario platformer, and a great overall game, but it wasn't doing anything exciting enough to entice people to want to buy a new console for it. 

The Wii U's first couple of years were very sparse, especially the first year where there wasn't anything major from launch until Pikmin 3 (which itself isn't a huge title), a 9 month gap. By the time the Switch actually started getting some more ambitious titles the system had already been labeled a failure and it was too late.



The only thing I don't like about the U's hardware is the glossy and curvy finish of the console, all in all almost looks like a Fisher Price toy, including the Gamepad. I also dislike the fact that it wasn't able to support lots of PS4/Juan games.



My bet with The_Liquid_Laser: I think the Switch won't surpass the PS2 as the best selling system of all time. If it does, I'll play a game of a list that The_Liquid_Laser will provide, I will have to play it for 50 hours or complete it, whatever comes first. 

Okay, I thought of a hardware problem no one’s mentioned (I think). This is a big BIG issue to me but I haven’t heard a lot of people talk about it so maybe it’s just me:

It only had ONE gamepad! How the heck is that fair to your friends. It would have been cool as heck if each friend could play on their own private screen. I get why they didn’t do it, but it made the local multiplayer dynamic lopsided.