5 Reasons Wii U Will Fail

5 Reasons Wii U Will Fail

Nintendo unveiled the Wii U at E3 2011, and will presumably be unleashing the final build of the system in late 2012. It’s all very exciting stuff for Nintendo fans, but there’s a lot about the system that’s still a gigantic question mark. For instance, Nintendo allowed the Wii to sputter at the end of its life instead of having the system go out with the explosion of triple-A titles that normally escort every console into obsolescence. Will Nintendo’s seeming lack of energy towards the Wii reflect badly on the launch of the Wii U? How can we be assured Nintendo will support the system up until the very end?

And that’s only one question out of dozens.

Nintendo’s recent troubles and the great Wii U mystery inspired Industry Gamers’ Chris Morris to outline five major challenges the Wii U will have to overcome before it sees success at retail. We can think of five more reasons the Wii might trip up.

Five Reasons the Wii U Will Fail

Casual gamers have moved on to free-to-play games — The Wii snared millions of men and women who hadn’t picked up a video game since Space Invaders ruled the arcades–and it snared millions more who had never picked up a game, period. These so-called casual gamers have transformed the gaming landscape: suddenly, people of all ages, regardless of gender, have learned to love video games.

Thing is, only a small percentage of these newborn casual gamers are concerned about brand loyalty, and in the time that Nintendo launched and built up the Wii, smaller developers built scores of free-to-play browser-based games. Will the Wii U succeed in convincing casual gamers to plunk down $50 for the next Mario Party game, or have they all moved on to FarmVille and CityVille?

What kind of price tag are we looking at? — One of the reasons for the Wii’s runaway success was its initial $250 price tag, which was a very attractive number once the 2008 recession hit. But the chances that the Wii U will be as affordable hover near zero. Nintendo managed to keep the price of the Wii low by foregoing high definition graphics support, and we already know the Wii U will feature HD visuals.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has already confirmed that the Wii U will very likely cost more than the Wii, but we don’t have any numbers yet. If they’re a bit too close to the stratosphere, Nintendo might lose even more of its aforementioned casual audience to the burgeoning free-to-play market.

The “DreamCast Element” — The Wii U will launch before the PlayStation 4 and the next incarnation of the Xbox, which is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it can’t hurt to be the first new offering after such a long console generation. On the other hand, whatever Sony and Microsoft has up its sleeves might blow the Wii U’s specs out of the water. The Wii U might share the same fate as the DreamCast, which Sega launched in 1999, and then gave up on when the more powerful PlayStation 2 came to life. The DreamCast had some wonderful games, but was ultimately outclassed.

Too much reliance on old franchises — We love Mario. We love Link. We also love Samus, Kirby, and even that little electric rat Pikachu. But we also love daring new ideas, and Nintendo’s been a bit skimpy on those lately, minus less traditional fare like Wii Fit. While we certainly don’t want to see an end to Mario and his crew, we don’t want them to wear out their welcome, either. Nintendo needs to resist the urge to shove familiar faces into games that start off as fresh new ideas (for instance, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which did not start life as a Kirby title).

Too much negativity in general — “Nintendo is in a slump,” the games media tells us over and over again. After hearing it fifty times, it’s easy to start believing it. As weeks pass, the Wii U looks less and less appealing because nobody wants to back an inevitable loser.

But oh, how quickly we forget that Nintendo is a battle-scarred veteran that still has a few good ideas stuffed up its sleeve. The failure of the Wii U is possible–anything is possible–but its success is far more likely.

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.

4 Comments

  1. Hasn’t Nintendo been kicking the other system’s butts for years? Sure, the Wii has fallen off lately, but winning four years of every five seems pretty good. Everyone exhibits a lot of pessimism considering it’s a company that comes out on top time and time again. Only a fool counts Nintendo out.

  2. I’m wondering if it’s going to be somewhat more like how the XBox 360 was instead of Dreamcast. Seeing that the 360 came out a year before the other two consoles and is still doing well instead of dying off like the Dreamcast. Yes it has up to par graphics but I think what really kept it strong was it’s game lineup.

  3. Well, the price point is my only serious worry, i can’t imagine wiiU less than $€400, and my MOST optimistic prediction around 350.

    The games will be there, and i wouldn’t mind hardware specs being outclassed. Wii and DS clearly showed that! But even if it is so, the difference is not goin to be so huge, simply because the technology has not really pushed that far away in the home graphics since they are all investing to improve graphics quality on mobile platforms! There are some rumours doing the rounds that steam and origin will be part of the wiiU experience! That would be really great!

    I would prefer it if nintendo had gone the extra mile and made the new controller trully portable! Like a real dedicated hardcore gaming tablet! Then people would just pay even $€500 and still be happy!

    Nintendo time and again has proven sceptics and critics wrong, and if they play their cards well, they might as well do that once more! They are shifting the fate of 3DS already! Sales are about to break yet another DS record!

    As for the too much negativity… well, you just played your part in it! 🙂

  4. Not sure why everyone seems to think Nintendo will always succeed. Yeah, the 3DS was such a smash hit. They have been making mistakes for a long time now. Even made a few for the Wii that are ultimately forcing them to abandon the best-selling console of all time. Talk about missed opportunity. The Wii U will be a spectacular failure and a testament to this string of screw-ups by Nintendo.

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