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Was there anything post-launch Nintendo could have done to "save" the Wii U from failing?

Jul 24, 2016
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Whether win, or just selling triple it's current lifetime sales, was there anything Nintendo could do to "save" the Wii U after launch?

I say after launch because at that point it was unclear where the Wii U was going, it actually had a good several months at the start, but later things started seesawing and it started to drop and drop until it couldn't drop anymore, forcing Nintendo to cut the price only once iirc, to make sure they didn't lose large amounts of money on consoles sold (or unsold) overtime.

But was there something Nintendo was missing? I mean it was basically the HD Wii people wanted, some nice games upfront, affordable price and one year early. Sure one could blame the commercials but that's only part of the problem as not everyone was confused if the Wii was a peripheral instead of a console, that's overexaggerated very often.

So what else was the problem? Could they find a way to fix whatever was blocking them from selling Wii U's?
 

Krappadizzle

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They could have started with much better software from the get-go. There wasn't anything at launch that had people excited. Even then, people were ready for something new and exciting and the Wii U just wasn't capable of producing that initial WOWZA excitement people usually feel when new hardware gets announced. IF they had launched with 3DWorld or MK8 or Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze it would have probably stymied the criticism a bit, but it was more or less DOA with the buzz around PS4/Xbone.

I'll say I love the Wii U. I dug mine out of the closet a few weeks ago, fixed the cracked screen of the gamepad and have turned it into a little gaming emulator monster. 1000's of NES/SNES/Genesis games, hacked it to play GC games and have a bunch of the great Wii and Wii U games on it. Played it last weekend with my friends and family and had a great time with Nintendoland after a few drinks. It's an awesome little machine, but it just was released at a terrible time with nothing to really excite anyone. By the time the library had built itself up, most people had already moved on.
 

Fbh

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Yeah, releasing it like 4 years earlier with a different name and better marketing.
Other than that I doubt there was anything they could do. It had some nice games but the console itself was pretty bad

- Ugly, fisher price looking controller with horrible battery life and laughable range
- Terribly slow OS
-Too Little power too late. When people were already getting ready for next gen, no one wanted a new system that could play slightly enhanced current gen games. It was like "it's what you've wanted, a Nintendo console with hardware to play HD third party games. Enjoy the same games you already have on your Ps3/X360 but like, slightly enhanced....until next year when Ps4 and XB1 release and it will be massively underpowered again!"
 
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Neff

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Assuming they're stuck with the name and the hardware-

- Redesign a prominent, distinctive logo to distinguish it from the Wii
- Disable the Gamepad in the firmware, make it strictly optional in the games themselves
- Sell the base unit and Gamepad as separate products
- Ensure Pro controller/Wii peripheral compatibility across the entire library
- DO NOT pursue the Wii demographic you think still exists with your marketing

Would probably be the best shot they could have taken post launch

The Wii U was literally a longform paid beta test for the Nintendo Switch concept.

Yep.
 

DGrayson

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Dec 5, 2017
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Assuming they're stuck with the name and the hardware-

- Redesign a prominent, distinctive logo to distinguish it from the Wii
- Disable the Gamepad in the firmware, make it strictly optional in the games themselves
- Sell the base unit and Gamepad as separate products
- Ensure Pro controller/Wii peripheral compatibility across the entire library
- DO NOT pursue the Wii demographic you think still exists with your marketing

Would probably be the best shot they could have taken post launch



Yep.


I think these are the best answers but if that really happened i dont think it would hve made much of a difference. WIthout the mandatory gamepad no games would ahve used it or at best a handful of games. Then you are left with basically a more powerful wii. At that point I think everyone was jsut tired of the Wii anyways.
 
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Quasicat

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- Disable the Gamepad in the firmware, make it strictly optional in the games themselves
- Sell the base unit and Gamepad as separate products
- Ensure Pro controller/Wii peripheral compatibility across the entire library
- DO NOT pursue the Wii demographic you think still exists with your marketing

This post nails it! They doubled down on the part of the system that was killing them.
 

Nester99

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Sep 17, 2016
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Assuming they're stuck with the name and the hardware-

- Redesign a prominent, distinctive logo to distinguish it from the Wii
- Disable the Gamepad in the firmware, make it strictly optional in the games themselves
- Sell the base unit and Gamepad as separate products
- Ensure Pro controller/Wii peripheral compatibility across the entire library
- DO NOT pursue the Wii demographic you think still exists with your marketing

Would probably be the best shot they could have taken post launch



Yep.

This.
 

Azelover

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The Gamepad anchored the console IMO. It was too bulky and it added very little to the gaming experience. They needed to instead just use a Pro controller as standard. Which would be very difficult to do mid-gen.

Another thing that'd be difficult to do and was necessary, is to change the name. Wii U is like "Fuck you", it leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. I would've called it either the Wii HD, which is very simple and explains the "newness" of the console right away.

Or...and this is a little weird but I still think it would work. The Wiii, in other words, the We Eye. Which would innevitably be called the new Wii. That would have worked fine imo.

And most importantly. They needed to ditch the marketing firm they were using for their advertising. They changed firms at the very end, just before the Switch, back to the company that was doing the Wii and DS marketing. They could have done that much sooner.
 

Banjo64

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The console and game pad just looked like it had come straight out of my nanna’s house. Fucking terrible, blob like design. No amount of anything could have tarted up that console, it had fantastic software but it couldn’t elevate the machine.

The Switch is sexy, and that’s why it sells.
 

GametimeUK

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No.

I think it was doomed from the very start with the confusing reveal. They chose the wrong gimmick to run with, but perfected it with the Nintendo Switch.
 
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The console was poorly designed.


Loop Trump GIF
 

kyliethicc

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Rebrand and relaunch the Wii U as a portable hybrid console for $300, and relaunch it alongside a new Zelda game. Don't include any backwards compatibility. Make up a new controller. Re-release Mario Kart again for full price.

Put out the rest of the in development Wii U games but call them "next gen" games for the rebranded new system. Leverage these games as marketing ammo for why the rebranded Wii U needs to be had. If that's successful, then just milk the next few years with old Wii and Wii U ports.

It would have needed to be marketed as a switch from the Wii U name.
 

Alan Wake

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They could've dropped the price and the Gamepad, funded some third party exclusives, sold a few more units and lost more money.

But no. It was the system itself that was the problem, not the markering, the name etc.
 

KingT731

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Rebrand and relaunch the Wii U as a portable hybrid console for $300, and relaunch it alongside a new Zelda game. Don't include any backwards compatibility. Make up a new controller. Re-release Mario Kart again for full price.

Put out the rest of the in development Wii U games but call them "next gen" games for the rebranded new system. Leverage these games as marketing ammo for why the rebranded Wii U needs to be had. If that's successful, then just milk the next few years with old Wii and Wii U ports.

It would have needed to be marketed as a switch from the Wii U name.
🤣🤣 exactly what they did and folks went rabid for it.

But on topic:
They needed to have their development issues sorted out. As it stood they couldn't support handheld and console at the same time so they had massive droughts. It was so confusing that the Wii had pretty much died years ago and they didn't haven much of note for the Wii U that didn't seem like upressed 3DS games.
 
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Nov 13, 2016
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I don't think they could've done anything to save the Wii U. It was designed to compete with PS3 and 360, but those systems had a huge library of games, were more affordable and soon replaced by next-gen machines. The Wii U simply couldn't compete with that. The only thing that set it apart from the competition was its gamepad, which is a gimmick at best. I had a Wii U. I loved playing on it, but not because of the hardware, but rather in spite of it.
 

Varteras

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Not really. Nintendo put themselves in a very bad position from the start and it was compounded by all the noise surrounding PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The marketing was terrible. It was almost as if Nintendo thought, "People will buy it simply because it says Wii in the name". They grossly overestimated the ability/desire of the casual consumer to do any amount of research into the product they were selling. I knew of many people who thought it was just an expensive gamepad peripheral for the Wii and were not interested.

This was made worse by people just generally falling away from the Wii. That console sold on the back of quite a few people who were not typically "core gamers". The ones who then flocked to mobile devices once the fad of motion controls died down. A crowd that Nintendo tried to recapture with a bulky touch screen controller. It had very little of the convenience people were enjoying with tablets, smart phones, and the 3DS.

Wii U had some great games but they were all too little, too late. The conversations about the great games of the time were being dominated by titles you couldn't get on Wii U. The obvious issues with that console also made many third parties avoid it and not even bother to attempt to put their games on it. Even if Nintendo reversed course on a lot of those issues, it still wouldn't have mattered. They may have sold a few million more devices but the timing of everything and the attention of the gaming industry overall was at a point that made it virtually impossible for Wii U to stage a comeback.

Nintendo made the right call by not trying to save the Wii U and instead shifting focus to Switch. They reset themselves mid-gen with a far more marketable device that hit just the right notes that people were wanting to hear. Backed up very early on by some of the best games Nintendo has ever produced. Basically, the best course post-launch was not to save the Wii U. It was to let it die.
 
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Dropped the price to $199 in time for Holidays 2013 while removing the Tablet and replacing it with a Gamepad.

Had Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 ready for the “relaunch” with Smash 4 promised for Spring 2015. BotW late 2015.

Change all marketing to the opposite of what it was.

It might have broken 30 million if they’d done the above.
 

Jubenhimer

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Yes-ish. If they had a game that really demonstrated the Wii U's worth early on that wasn't a minigame collection, then it still would've underperformed, but it wouldn't have been the massive bomb it ended up becoming. The Wii U's ultimate problem was fundamentally, it was a concept nobody needed. With something like the Switch. That has a practical use. A console you can carry with you and play a console like game at a coffee shop with friends. Or with something like motion controls/Wii Remote that's very simple for anyone to understand and use. But all 2 screens in console gaming added was headaches and confusion.

It's obvious Nintendo themselves never found much use for the gimmick since the majority of their own games barely used the gamepad for anything other than a map. And when they did decide to do something with it (such as with Star Fox Zero) it ultimately showed why the Wii U was simply a bad concept.

Another thing that would've helped was more games that weren't just derivatives or sequels of games on the Wii or DS/3DS. The Switch may have a lot of Wii U/3DS ports, but it's also got a lot of games that are unique to it such as Ring Fit Adventure, ARMS, or Astral Chain, which are a clean break from the Wii/DS era in many ways. Splatoon was an excellent game, and one the Wii U desperately needed more of, but sadly it came far too late in the system's life to really save it.
 
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tassletine

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Their business model has always been to experiment and they've never had a problem folding badly performing tech back into the generation that comes after, so I'm not sure it matters that much to them.
When the fish bites, that's when they double down and we get new models, but they seem fairly happy to throw something weird out into the ocean just to see what happens, knowing full well that they will learn some valuable lessons.

They seem to operate on what is the most efficient way to do business but also the most experimental. They're the only company that I can think of that consistently tells the public that they are small and don't actually have the money to compete in the same way as the others. I've come to the conclusion that they don't seem to want just mainstream success, but mainstream and cult appeal -- And also to hold on to the kids market.
 

Cravis

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The name Wii U doomed it from the start. Mass market regular folks looked at it and said “I already got a Wii” and never gave it a second thought.
 

tylrdiablos

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Nintendo stumbled repeatedly with this console. It genuinely made me cautious about buying a day 1 Switch.
Having a 32 gig model and 8 gig model was a bit dumb. Especially when the OS eats 5+ gig. Oh and a 23 gig day 1 patch... oof indeed. Have fun watching that progress bar on Xmas day.
It should have been 1 model with at least 128 gig. The Xbox 360 Elite launched 3 years prior to the Wii-U and had a choice of 120 gig or 250 gig HDD.
 

cireza

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I think the branding as Wii U was the real problem here. Removing the Gamepad, which is a central feature of everything in this console, would have made it like some random console that would have been obsolete with the release of the One and PS4. It needed the differentiating factor.

Nobody complains that the Switch is sold with those stupid joycons, but they are total shit and add no value at all. First thing I did when I bought the console was sell them to buy a Pro Controller, so I could have something ergonomic to use. The Gamepad was actually great for a lot of things and had good ergonomics from the start.
 
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Neff

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It was good at what it did. Thing is, nobody who wasn't a Nintendo fanboy such as myself wanted what it did.

Mandatory gamepad, inferior and late third party ports which cost twice as much as on rival systems, 2 power supplies required, weak launch titles with no games of note for half a year after... there were just too many turn-offs about the system. The god tier software carried its head above water, but just barely.

Switch is absolutely 100% vindication of Nintendo's software efforts, but also a double-edged sword which shows just how unappealing Wii U was to the common gamer, and how colossally inept its concept was.

Then you are left with basically a more powerful wii.

True, but the games were appealing and reviewed well. They were just hampered by an ass-backwards, excessively expensive system. Those games would have sold on a more attractive system, as Switch has proven.
 
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synchronicity

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Probably not, but I will always be a huge fan of the Wii U. It will be the last really unique console in gaming most likely, and I love it to bits. Library is phenomenal! Commercial success is meaningless to my enjoyment. Nintendo may have "failed" here, but they blew me away.
 

Sub Boss

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Wii U had many problems that were outside Nintendo's ability to change lack of processing power to play third party games, an expensive unnapealing controller, confusing marketing,outdated hardware, awful name etc.

However, in a way they DID save it with the Switch, the Switch is essentially Wii U 2.0 (but made right, the tech didn't existed for the Switch back in 2012)Nintendo didn't abandon the idea of playing your console games outside the TV, they evolved it, they gave many of the games that started development on Wii U a second chance, Mario 3D World, Splatoon,Hyrule Warriors, Donkey Kong Country, Platinum Games, New Super Mario and other sequels. The Wii U was a step towards the Switch and the experience Nintendo learned developing for the Wii U helped alot at paving the way to Switch.

Switch takes a lot from Wii U
 
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Jeeves

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They would have essentially needed to relaunch it in order for it to even have a fighting chance.

Aside from marketing confusion, why the fuck did they launch it with yet another NSMB game that people were already tired of, that looks exactly the same as it predecessors and doesn't take advantage of the excitement of seeing Nintendo's worlds and characters in HD for the first time? Wind Waker HD would have been much better as a low-effort launch title...and that's only if we have to pick something low-effort. First time I didn't care about a Nintendo console at launch, and I'm a lifelong fan. They have to really fuck up for me to not be interested at launch, and 'really fuck up' is precisely what they did.
 

NahaNago

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The marketing was too confusing for the consumers. The naming was a complete garbage decision. I get why they didn't call it wii 2 since it would have sounded like the word " wenie" to Americans in Japanese (ni is 2 in Japanese in sounds is pronounced knee). Pretty much naming it Wii U destroyed any chance of a comeback.

Maybe a name change for an updated model plus the release of Zelda at the time could have saved it. Honestly the thing should have been soft relaunched and just got rid of the controller and the old name.
 

Shodan09

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Maybe, maybe renaming it Wii 2 or Wii HD. But honestly I think it was dead regardless.
 
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I'm sure they could have salvaged it with a ton of money and effort to reach GC or even N64 levels, but as shown by the quality of software at the end, they decided a new system was a safer bet. Why make a proper Animal Crossing or exclusive Zelda when they could cut their losses and try on a new system.
 

Kataploom

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They should have just make it an actual Wii HD, rebrand it and re-market it... Many people kept liking the Wii concept, even Mario Odyssey keeps Wii controller style as default.
 

Pidull

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I always wonder in the back of my head what would've happened if BotW was released in 2016 for Wii U only. I think with how good it was, if they had pushed that out, moved Pokemon to console, released a real Animal Crossing, and followed up with Mario Odyssey in early 2018... The system could've taken down the GameCube's sales for sure, and maybe hit 30 million just off the back of Zelda: BotW, Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing, and Mario Kart 8.
 

ReBurn

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I stopped using mine when the tablet controller broke. It was practically impossible to get a replacement unless someone's console died. So I sold off the console to someone who didn't want to part with their controller, sold the games on eBay and just played Nintendo games on 3DS until I bought a Switch.

The WiiU seemed to be the opposite of what made Wii so much fun. It wasn't a social experience because it was so focused on the one gamepad and the one person playing.

Someone else already said it, but WiiU just seemed to be marketing research for Switch.
 

Zeroing

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Nothing could had saved the Wii U, the name was already one of the many issues... what could had saved it was making the iPad the default gamepad... for the system
 

Rat Rage

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They should've ditched the gamepad and sold the console for 199. In short: there was nothing they could have done. The Wii U was such a disaster on all fronts.
 
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OrtizTwelve

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Bad marketing handicapped the Wii U. Nintendo messed up - They wanted to capitalize on the “Wii” branding but most casual customers were confused as to what it was and it never took off.