In the last console generation, the Nintendo Wii blew the competition out of the water with its innovative control system and fun set of party games to play as a family. Where the PS3 and Xbox One had focused more on titles like Halo, God Of War III, and The Last Of Us, the Wii’s biggest sellers were games like Wii Sports, Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii, games that anybody can enjoy, regardless of age. However, towards the end of the seventh generation of video games consoles, the Wii’s motion control system had become tired and cumbersome, and with Sony and Microsoft both trying and failing with their own set of motion controls, Nintendo should have seen the edge of the cliff before pumping out their new console.
Initially, the Wii U was well received, and the game pad looked like it could be a cool addition, but overall, most people weren’t 100% sure as to whether this was an entirely new console or an add-on to the existing one. It seemed like Nintendo hadn’t put a lot of thought into their new console, even going as far to keep the same control sticks for the Wii U as they had previously used on the Wii.
Nintendo released their console a whole year before Sony and Microsoft unleashed their PS4 and Xbox One units, but despite the head start, Nintendo has fallen way behind in terms of sales. To date, the Wii U has been one of the most under-performing consoles over the world – spanning less sales than the PlayStation Vita – and in Europe, they have even sold less units than the Sega Game Gear, which at its time in 1993, was no comparison for Nintendo’s Game Boy. As it stands currently, the Wii U has sold 12.6m units, compared to Microsoft’s 20.4m for the Xbox One and Sony’s 38.8m for the PS4.
However, the fact that the Wii U is doing so badly is quite astounding. If you look at the library of exclusive games the console has, it should not be performing so badly, especially to be lagging over 25m sales behind the PS4. Exclusive titles such as Super Mario Maker, Bayonetta 2, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Pikmin 3, Splatoon, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are all games that have not only been long awaited, but have reviewed incredibly well.
In fact, if you compare the list of exclusive titles for each console that have reviewed well, the Wii U leads the charge with a plethora of fantastic games. The PS4 has a few exclusives, but overall has a library bumped up by re-masters and remakes; the only title that has reviewed consistently at a 9/10 or above is Bloodborne. The Xbox One doesn’t even feature an amazing console-only title, as their big release – Halo 5: Guardians – was released to mixed reviews.
Ultimately, the innovators of the video game console as we know it are ironically one step behind in every move, and that’s why the Wii U has failed. It wasn’t marketed well enough, and Nintendo head honcho Shigeru Miyamoto has acknowledged this himself, stating that he felt like people never really understood the concept of what they were trying to achieve with the Wii U. He went on to say that because the tablet industry was booming at the time, that it made the game pad a very novel approach; although they released it at the wrong time, as it couldn’t compete with standalone tablets, so the novelty had already worn off by release date.
On top of the lack of marketing for the newest Nintendo console, there have been two titles not seen on the Wii U as of yet – main titles for the prestigious Mario and Legend Of Zelda series. These two have been staples of the Nintendo line up since the mid-80s, but fans haven’t seen any games that would make them buy the console. Of course, Mario has had the likes of Super Mario Maker, Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, and related titles such as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, New Super Luigi U, as well as Yoshi’s Woolly World, but the last major title for Mario was back on the Wii in 2010 with Super Mario Galaxy 2. The new Legend Of Zelda title will be released at the back end of 2016, and will likely rejuvenate the franchise, but there is almost a feeling of too little, too late from the Japanese giants. It might be pertinent for them to release it on the new Nintendo NX console, which we are waiting for a solid release date on.
Going into the new generation, though, it seems like Nintendo will continue to lie behind the curve, as with the new PlayStation VR headset being released later this year, can the NX compete with this new innovative type of gaming, or will it be left behind?
There are talks that Nintendo will be releasing a VR set by 2018, but with no guarantees from any credible sources. Let’s just hope they can match the PS VR instead of creating another Virtual Boy.