Wii U: Has Its Hype Killed the Wii?

Wii U: Has Its Hype Killed the Wii?

Nintendo put a lot of energy into its presentation of the Wii U, and it’s paid off: The hype surrounding the new video game system is strong. At the very least, even the skeptical want to know more.

But the Wii U’s unveiling commanded a hefty price: It may have administered a lethal injection for the original Wii.

Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews took a thorough look at the Wii’s recent slide in sales numbers and determined that, even with the system’s recent price cut (down to $150 and packed-in with Super Mario Kart Wii), the Wii’s “days are numbered.”

It seems likely, for a few reasons. First, the Wii U will arrive in a year and some change. Somewhere between September and November 2012 is our best guess: Just in time for the 2012 holiday season. In the meantime, we’ll be hearing and seeing plenty more of the Wii U, including its game lineup. In fact, we’ll probably hear and see a great deal more come the Tokyo Game Show this fall. Anyone who’s savvy about games and is still on the fence about buying a Wii will likely discard any plans to buy the system, even if it’s $150. After all, the Wii U will feature backwards compatibility with Wii games.

Second, Nintendo’s plans for the Wii at E3 seemed mighty thin: All the company’s efforts are going into the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS, and the Wii has unsurprisingly ceased to be top priority. At the start of this year, it would have been realistic to say that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword would have been a huge booster shot for the Wii’s dragging sales. But with a year to go before the Wii U, and with backwards compatibility, not even Zelda will be enough to pick up the Wii’s face from the ground. Some Zelda diehards will no doubt still grab the system along with Skyward Sword, but chances are excellent that said die-hards already have a Wii. Players who are more choosy about their Zelda games will simply wait for the Wii U, and might even buy a copy of Skyward Sword alongside the console (we’re not entirely convinced that Nintendo is going to opt out of retooling a version of the game for the Wii U).

Finally, the name Nintendo chose for its new console–the “Wii U”–might work against sales of the original Wii. That little “U” indicates an improvement, an upgrade–and in today’s smartphone-crazy society, insinuations of upgrades count for a lot. Why buy the iPad when you can buy the iPad 2? Why get a Wii when the Wii U is better, faster, stronger? This particular mentality is what might turn a family away from the Wii in favor of waiting for the Wii U (which will be all over television and in newspapers soon enough).

Still, a price cut and a busy holiday season can do wonders for a lethargic system. The Wii can pull off one more Christmas miracle, but it won’t be anything as dynamic as the 180 Scrooge pulled on Yule morning. It’s all right, though. The Wii has had an incredible run, and over the next year, it’ll see itself quietly out the door.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.


  1. The Wii has been on its way out for a while now, really. Also, Nintendo has a pretty strong history of ignoring their current gen consoles as soon as the next gen starts.

  2. More recently, anyway. In the days of the NES, Super NES, and maybe even the Nintendo 64, they still supported the things for a while after, and with some pretty good games, at that.

    Can’t recall for the Game Boy/Color or GBA so much, though. I think the latter lost Nintendo’s support when the DS picked up steam, GB Micro aside.

  3. If the GBA hadn’t been brushed off to the side quickly, we’d have Rhythm Tengoku and Mother 3. 😛

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