The launch of the Wii propelled Nintendo into financial stardom; the company was already on solid footing before the Wii hit storefronts, but not only did the console end up becoming a financial success, it introduced a whole new generation to gaming with motion control technology that was a boon rather than a burden. The Wii can be considered Nintendo’s greatest achievement, in terms of both sales and overall likability.
But going forward, Nintendo has struggled to stay relevant in a time where Virtual Reality has replaced motion controls as the next “big thing.” What was once introduced as a creative new way to play videogames has turned banal, and Nintendo doesn’t seem to be concerned with rectifying that situation. The Wii U was designed to do…something. The Wii U can effectively be considered an inferior idea that tried appealing to too many people and ending up appeasing few of them in the process. Nintendo banked the success of this console based on two trademark features: first, a player could stop playing a game on their TV screen and switch to a smaller screen on their controller, and second, Nintendo would offer much more third party titles ranging from the Batman Arkham games to Call of Duty. The big mistake here? Neither of these were good reasons to swap out your Xbox or Playstation for Nintendo’s console. A screen on your controller might be convenient, unless someone else comes along and wants to play a game on the Wii U, which defeats the purpose of playing on a “tablet” while anyone else watches TV. Second, allowing more third party titles on your console years after Xbox and Playstation welcomed them with open arms isn’t a selling point, it’s rectifying a mistake (and poorly: Nintendo hasn’t seen a Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed title since 2013).
Personally however, I think the most disappointing aspect of the Wii U is that it has some unique gems to show off when its willing. Games such as Mariokart 8, Super Mario 3D World and Super Smash Bros. Wii U all have Metacritic scores above 90, and that’s an incredible achievement. What baffled me was how Nintendo seemed more interested in promoting the console rather than the games on a consistent basis. Imagine someone’s giving you a glowing review of a restaurant, but they spend the entire time talking about the silverware, the plates, and how clean the place was overall. Now, a clean restaurant is important to be sure, but wouldn’t you be interested in whether or not the food was any good? Now most of the time you’d mark something like this down to poor promotion and move on, but what if (and follow me here before you dismiss this as a flat out conspiracy theory) Nintendo’s plan isn’t to promote their consoles, but to downright move themselves out of the console market? Now that the history lesson is over, tomorrow I’m going to explain exactly why Nintendo’s latest console is purposefully refusing to change what’s already proven to be a poor formula.