As the dawn of the Nintendo Switch comes ever closer, I find myself thinking about the curtain call for the Wii U. A system I own and a system I barely play, yet cherish for some odd reason. Maybe it is because I can download and play all of my old favourite Nintendo games on its store, except for Gamecube. It could be all of the fantastic games that released on the system over its just over the 4-year lifespan. It’s ~13.6 million owners as of January 2017 have a lot to think about with Nintendo’s new console.
I can’t help but cherish some of its treasures. Games like Pikmin 3, Super Smash Bros U, Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Maker, and Yoshi’s Woolly World keep me thinking how the system failed. Its crown jewel, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is fittingly the last game coming out for the system on March 3rd. Surely with so many great titles, Nintendo would have been able to keep on developing the system for another 2-3 years. But unfortunately, the Wii U had too many things going against it to succeed.
The Wii U was doomed from the start. It’s unfortunate naming confused the general public, many of whom bought in on the gimmick of the Nintendo Wii, in that there was no separation. Was the Wii U just an add-on for the Wii? Was it that much more powerful? Is it just a tablet? The actual base system looks nearly identical from the front as well.
Also infuriating was Nintendo’s insistence on releasing a traditional 2D scroller-style Mario game on launch day for the system. New Super Mario Bros U is a fantastic game (as is the Luigi U add-on), but comparing it to New Super Mario Bros (on the Wii), what is the difference? Again, the general public couldn’t even tell the difference. Sure, hardcore Nintendo fans knew, and to this day still know about all of the great games on the Wii U. But only 13.6 million units sold seems to indicate that only catering to the hardcore Nintendo audience isn’t enough anymore. You can’t just build a slick 2D Mario game and expect the public to know the difference just by looking. Seriously, look at the game cases below.
How on earth was this a good idea?
Even though the Wii U had a ton of great games, they were unfortunately spread too thin. What’s more, third-party support all but completely vanished after the initial launch titles, where we saw Batman, Assassins Creed, Mass Effect, and even Call of Duty make an appearance, never to return. Lets look at the release schedule for the major games.
All on Launch Day
- New Super Mario Bros U
- Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (March)
- Pikmin 3 (August)
- New Super Luigi U (August)
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (October)
- Super Mario 3D World (November)
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (February)
- Mario Kart 8 (May)
- Hyrule Warriors (September)
- Bayonetta 2 (October)
- Super Smash Bros. For Wii U (November)
- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (December)
- Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (February)
- Mario Part 10 (March)
- Splatoon (May)
- Super Mario Maker (September)
- Yoshi’s Woolly World (October)
- Xenoblade Chronicles X (December)
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (March)
- Star Fox Zero (April)
- Paper Mario: Color Splash (October)
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (March)
When you look at it all at once, there are actually a good amount of really fun games here. They are unfortunately spread thin, and with barely any third-party support. That kept Wii U owners salivating until the next game release that could be months away. Wii U owners could look forward to 2-3 games a year, while Xbox One, PS4, and PC owners could look forward to a similar amount of exclusives, but supplemented with major third-party games being released each and every month.
The Wii U was Nintendo’s first real attempt at online multiplayer as well. While the servers worked fine, the services around them were atrocious. Even just adding friends and trying to play a game with them, yet alone talk to them, was nearly impossible for beginners to understand. Full tutorials were required.
Bottom line is that the Wii U was a glorious failure in every sense of the word. The system was ambitious and its games were fantastic, but its marketing was terrible and third party support wasn’t there. The Nintendo Switch already is doing better by separating itself from the Wii name and changing the look and architecture of the console, but now it needs to dig its claws into the consumer. Give people a reason to buy Nintendo consoles again. One thing’s for sure, if the Nintendo Switch allows E-Shop purchases and Wii U game downloads to transfer over, I’ll be selling my Wii U. If not, I will keep it and cherish the games that I can now enjoy after 5 years of exclusive Nintendo IP being released. Wii U, we hardly knew thee.
Thank you for reading! Look out for our videos on YouTube, as well as more stuff being posted here. I’m genuinely excited for the Switch, but won’t be picking one up until Mario comes out in the fall. How do you feel about the Wii U? Excited for the Switch? Let us know!
Tony (XBL: Mk Anthony)
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