4 Reasons The Wii U Will Fail [Opinion]

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While there is no sign yet of a PS4 or Xbox 720 (not likely to be the real names when they do finally arrive), we do have one next-generation games console on the horizon to look forward to. Or dread. Depending on your point of view. That console is the Wii U, it’s the follow-up to the Wii (as if the name hadn’t already given you a major clue), and it’s from Nintendo.

The Wii U may succeed or it may fail. There are several reasons to argue for and against Nintendo’s new hardware. And I am personally very torn on how the Wii U will fare in these tough economic times when gamers want real value from their purchases. It may be that the world ignores Nintendo on this occasion. It has certainly happened before. Hence we have two articles, one arguing the case for and one arguing the case against.

Wii U

E3 2011 saw Nintendo officially announce the Wii U to an expectant public. Actually, that’s a lie. Very few outside the industry could have cared less. The original Wii found its biggest audience in amongst the mainstream casual gamers who are unlikely to have heard of the Wii U even now. Still, those of us who spend our days watching these kinds of announcements saw a new breed of Wii with added tablet controllers unveiled.

Part of me thinks Nintendo’s latest console will be a huge failure, undoing all the good work (and hefty profits) Nintendo began with the original Wii. Below are four reasons I think the Wii U will fail…

1. Same Old, Same Old

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Nintendo has built its reputation on a particular set of characters and the worlds they inhabit. I’m thinking Mario, Zelda, Kirby, Samus Aran, etc. This leads to brand awareness and loyalty to some degree: if you want to play the latest Zelda game then you need to own the latest Nintendo console. However, that only works if the games bring something fresh and innovative to the table.

The Wii U is so similar to the original Wii – just with enhanced graphics and a new controller – that it’s hard to see these tentpole games even approaching being groundbreaking. It then becomes a case of: if you want to play the latest Zelda game, don’t bother, as it’s exactly the same as the last one. You might as well keep your Wii and pick up all the last-gen games on the cheap.

2. Tablet Control System

The selling point of the Wii U is supposedly going to be the new tablet controller. These are essentially handheld games consoles in their own right which also sync up with whatever game you’re playing on the TV. They contain many of the same elements as the Wii Remote, also offering motion control. Although I’m not sure I’d want to be swinging that hefty thing around my front room.

Something just feels a little off about the whole idea of a tablet control system. For starters it’s as though Nintendo saw how popular the iPad was and thought, “We want a piece of that action.”  There is also the obvious expense involved in buying more tablet controllers than the measly one supposedly shipping with the console. To put it bluntly, I remain unconvinced.

I should add a caveat that I didn’t think the original Wii Remote would ever take off, and look what happened in that instance.

3. Casuals Won’t Upgrade

That right there is your typical Wii gamer. Or I could have used a picture of a grandma (any grandma) instead. The point is the Wii didn’t sell to hardcore gamers who want the latest and greatest console, it sold to casual gamers who are happy to play once a month when they have a family get-together. While this mainstream appeal did a world of good for sales of the original Wii, it may spell trouble for the Wii U.

Your average family who bought a Wii after hearing such great things about it is not going to rush out and buy a Wii U. Not at launch, and probably not for a few years after launch either. If the Wii they once cherished is now sitting forgotten on a shelf getting dusty then they will likely never buy a games console again, and certainly not one that offers only an incremental improvement over its predecessor.

4. It’s Nintendo!

The Wii U will fail because it’s Nintendo. Plain and simple. The Japanese gaming giant appeals to a particular niche of gamer. The Wii has been a phenomenal success, but until that console you have to go back to the SNES or Super Famicom for a Nintendo console which truly dominated the market.

Games console manufacturers rarely have two huge successes in a row, and I’m doubtful whether Nintendo will be able to break that trend. And all eyes will be on what Sony and Microsoft are conjuring up for the next-gen while Nintendo is preparing to launch the Wii U.


Obviously this is just half the story, and there are also four reasons I think the Wii U will succeed.

After you have read both sides of the argument, please let me know what you think in the comments section below. I’d love to know what the general consensus is on what Nintendo has revealed to this point. I suspect some aspects of the Wii U will change between now and its release. But we can make a fair judgment already. And as we’re gamers, I am sure we will do just that.

Image Credits: Ryan T, Pop Culture Geek, Qfamily, Ian Muttoo

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Comments (40)
  • Kylee Kanavas

    I like reason 4, although there are like 100 reasons you left out.

  • jack

    nintendo realized that people got tired of only 1st party games
    so the wii u is comming out with several 3rd party games(like assasins creed 3 or mass effect 3)

    • bob

      nintendo will prob let us down the best bet for them would to be push graphics above ps3 level at least sort out the crap network cos that was dead slow realese with a mario or zelda game at launch then get on 3rd party games like gta and gears of war something that can show some graphic power they claim you can continue to use the tab when tv of would be kinda cool if graphics dont suffer you can have a 360 view of the game world by moveing it around so for rxample if you was playing gears of war you would be able to see a bunch of guys running up behind you it has the chance to be a gr8 console its just down to them to take a risk put a few quid into makeing it stand a fighting chance

  • Kakaido

    …It will fail because it’s Nintendo…. So Nintendo is a fail because it’s Nintendo. They are leading the market in games sales and console sales. They have crushed everyone in their path. Any game on PS3 and XBOX 360 are lucky to sell more than 4 million let alone 32 million like Mario Kart Wii. Truthfully I don’t think you have any idea about Nintendo. Why don’t you go look at the sales chart at http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/ and tell me what the top twenty is. You say that Nintendo only dominated with the Wii and SNES…If you are going to generalize Nintendo for being a failure because they are the only two they truly dominated you would be wrong again. Weather you want two or not you have to count the Gameboy, GB Advanced, DS, and NES (also the NES had a commanding lead over the SNES in sales.) Your facts are wrong and your opinion sucks. Stop trying to generate views with your poorly written sensationalist crap.

    • Dave Parrack

      The Nintendo name brings as much negativity with it as it does positivity. The Wii has been a phenomenal success, no one can argue against that, but past success does not equate to future success. In fact how well the Wii did could count against Nintendo with the Wii U for various reasons.

      You may have missed the counter-argument to this article which may better fit in with your own personal view of the situation – http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/4-reasons-wii-succeed-opinion/

  • Richard

    Hi great pair of articles. I have owned every single gaming console to date since Atari 2600, including every Nintendo console. I do not consider PS3 or 360 gaming consoles though which is what I hated about this last generation, as a gamer I considered those machines too much like 3DO, they were just multimedia machines that happened to play games. Some good games sure, but not that many I couldn’t get on my PC so between my PC and my Wii I was fairly set, those rare Xbox games that were not on PC, I had plenty of friends who had an xbox to play at their house so I never missed out.

    I am skeptical about the Wii U, I am actively excited for it but honestly if it does as well as Gamcube I will be happy with that I don’t care if they take top spot they always deliver with the games and they have a core following for a reason, they always put gameplay first over graphics. Hey not that graphics aren’t a big deal but hell since Dreamcast I haven’t been impressed with graphics anyways, sure they get better but when you started out on Atari 2600, these little upgrades from one gen to the next are not as mind blowing as they once were. I also really love the Virtual Console and the channels of the Wii that was what made it extra unique and the Mii’s were a lot of fun to make and trade too.

    • Dave Parrack

      Thanks, Richard.

      It’s interesting you have rejected the PS3 and Xbox 360 because of the multimedia aspects. I love the fact I can play Blu-rays and watch Netflix on my PS3!

      The problem for Nintendo is they need the Wii U to succeed to Wii levels rather than Gamecube levels. Or I can see them doing a Sega and getting out of the hardware side of things completely.

    • Richard

      While I respect that opinion I do reject it based on a couple of factors your not taking into consideration. First Sega was 4 Billion Dollars in debt when they bowed out, due to in part having split their market so much in the mid to late 90’s, so far Nintendo is still healthy financially and they have yet to split their market. They remain a two tiered company, which is why I think they will not need to go higher than GC levels to stay in the business. First the Gamecube sold almost the same number of units the Xbox sold and Xbox was still profitable for Microsoft. Also you forgot to take into consideration Nintendo’s golden goose, their handheld market which has yet to take a hit sizable enough to cause them concern. As long as they continue to dominate in the portable area and remain profitable on their hardware and software sales they have no reason to settle for going software only. Remember Nintendo has some of the worlds best engineers in their employ, they do not design games around someone’s hardware they design their own hardware that will give their gamer developers the tools they need to meet their standards. Sega did not do that, what Sega did was splinter their market to the point it was too small to make any profit and blew billions on R&R on projects that never happened, remember Sega VR they dumped millions into that and walked away without making a dime. Nintendo has had one commercial failure in their existince the Virtual Boy, and even that they cut their losses right away and moved on. I am not talking peripherals here because everyone knows those are add ons not the primary money maker.

      Last I think we have different definitions of success, does Nintendo need to win over ALL console gamers and Dominated to be a success? Or do they just need to make a profit, and keep their core gamers satisfied? Will they eventually be relagted to a niche, doubful. because although their primary gamer is a pre teen and their core gamers are people who grew up with them, each generation those pre teens who grew up with Nintendo evolve into the next round of core gamers, repeating the cycle enough that Nintendo has built a strong loyal following. Sega never did that not in their entire existence the alienated Master System users with the release of Genesis and then alienated Genesis owners with Sega CD and then repeated that with 32X, and then Saturn, and then Dreamcast. I *was* a Sega fan I owned all of their machines except Saturn, got one after market years latter still not impressed, and that is the core difference, Sega does not have a core loyal following of devoted fans that grew up with them one generation to the next, Nintendo has. Now it is true Sony also has that, now, but they came along after Nintendo had already established their core audience. Still do you consider PS3 a success because last week Sony reported it still has yet to make a profit for them and they are laying off 10,000 employees so if you call that success and disregard the profit and customer base the Gamecube had, that sir shows favoritism and delusion.

      Now one final comment because this is getting way to long for a comment post, I will address the PS3/360 media part of my point of view and be on my way. First I have a Roku, a GoogleTV. a Laptop, three multimedia gaming PC’s and a WDTV and two Blu Ray players, I do not need to watch tv on my game console. Here is why, for me feel free to be different, for me I want my gaming machine dedicated to gamine for one reason, longevity. See when my game machine is NOT in use playing games I want it powered down, saving itself the trouble of having to waste power and cpu cycles running non games at the expense of being capable of staying durable to play my games when I need it to. How many people have you known that had a PS3 or a 360 break down because of over use, one of the reasons is they, like all electronics devices, are not designed to be used all the time. The problem then is when you watch a movie your still running the core CPU and running heat through the system board. Also um if I wanted to I could still watch Netflix on the Wii anyways but I don’t I have other devices for that which are better suited anyways because of compatibility and superior interface. I do not dismiss the PS3 or reject it I just do not consider it a gaming device and for me that is a big deal. Mind you I am talking PS3 here, I had and still loved my PS2 because at it’s core it was a game machine, and yes even then I had stand alone DVD players and refused to wear out my game console playing movies on it when I could preserve it and use a movie player for movies and a game machine for games. Anyways I think that should be enough to make my view known. I am not trying to debate or argue I am just explaining my reasoning so don’t take it personal because that is just how *I* feel about the whole think.

      As far as will Wii U be as successful as Game Cube, that is to be seen but I do not think it needs to do better than that because even Nintendo considered Gamecube a success for them.

    • Dave Parrack

      You’ve actually convinced me. Nintendo isn’t anywhere near doing a Sega. They’re similar companies in the way that their games speak for themselves, so there is an argument for Nintendo to willingly get out of the hardware market and focus solely on software. But that clearly isn’t going to happen for a while to come, especially as they are the one company which seems to be able to turn a profit on hardware pretty quickly into a new generation.

      You make a good point. My PS3 is on its last legs and probably because I have used it for more than just gaming over the last 4 years. Every DVD I have watched since then has been played on the PS3. But I still don’t see this move to making consoles multimedia boxes for your living room a bad one. I would rather have one device capable of doing it all than 5 capable of just doing one thing each.

      It’ll be interesting to see how the Wii U does, anyway. Thanks for your comments. We like hearing what the readers think, regardless whether they agree with us or not :)

    • Richard

      Your right the PS3 can do all the work of one machine, and to that end it does serve a purpose. However let me put this to you, how do you set your wife up to watch netflix in the bedroom and the kids in the play room while your playing God of War in the living room if you use one device?

      That is why I have the different devices, the Roku and Blu Ray for the living room, the Google TV for the bedroom (it also acts as a gateway to Facebook and Pandora not just netflix), the WDTV for the kids room, and the laptop when I am on the go. Sure I could have three roku players instead, remember just for streaming these players are cheap three hundred bucks I got three players for three tv sets in three rooms, um last time I checked PS3 still cost more than 300 just to get started and that is one room one tv. Sure it is a great all in one device, problem is if you have more than TV it falls short and that is why Roku and similar boxes meet a different need. But if your single and don’t need multiple tv sets going then yeah your right the one machine is fine.

      That is not to say I would never get a PS3 but remember when PS2 launched it was less than what PS3 is now and that is six years latter, by the same time in PS2’s life it was half of what PS3 is now, so price matters also, I can have a DVD/Blu Ray player, a Roku, and a second gaming machine, all for the same price of one PS3. I just felt that it was over priced for what it did considering how cheap alternatives were.

      As for xbox 360, I passed on that for the same reason I passed on the first one, my PC filled that need and did a much better job anyways.

  • CT

    Thank you for taking both sides of the argument. I understand if people are sceptical but its nice to see someone give reasons for its success as well. Anyway, about your points:
    the first one can be argued on any fence. I think that is why Nintendo take different approaches on hardware. They know if you keep pumping the same games people will get bored. So instead of making changes to software they make changes to hardware and that gives them good ideas to make their games feel fresh. Look at Mario Galaxy. That could only have been done on the Wii. And Mario 3D land. It takes an interesting turn thanks to the 3D on 3DS.

    But yes, you can say Xbox 720 and PS4 (or whatever they’ll call them) would have the same old Halo and Gears or God of War and Killzone. I know Sony come out with new IPs but that doesn’t mean they are more innocent of milking than the other 2.

    Point 2 can actually be turned towards DS. A lot of hardcore gamers loved DS. It had some of the best games this generation despite the fact it was a handheld. Touch screen gaming has proven itself to keep the core game intact a lot better than motion control. See countless examples of where games have been gimped down because of motion lag. But those who gave DS the benefit of the doubt and didn’t just call it a “gimmick” or “kids system” could see how many great games it had. And it was all over genres as well. It went down very well with hardcore gamers.

    3 I agree with. I cannot see this appealing to casuals for two major reasons. The first being the lineup. Some parents WILL buy their children Wii U. The children who love games have families who immediately recognise Nintendo (not just the Wii name). But the lineup this time is aimed towards Nintendo’s core fanbase. Add to the fact that the controller isn’t really anything new this time and its definitely understandable why people believe casuals won’t jump on this thing. It definitely won’t sell by the large margin Wii sold. I can’t see elderly people going down with this. A lot of gaming children and gamers of all ages would. But otherwise it wouldn’t appeal.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for looking at it from both angles. Its nice to see someone who looked at it from the good ends as well. Wii U has been bashed ever since its announcement. I agree with you some hate Nintendo. But Nintendo doesn’t really need those guys. I think the system will sell well regardless. They have a huge fanbase of people of all ages.

    • Dave Parrack

      No problem, CT. I believe in looking at things from both points of view. If I come down heavily on one side then I’ll argue that but the Wii U is one I cannot yet make my mind up about.

      1. Sony and Microsoft do also milk IPs but I guess it doesn’t feel as bad because they haven’t been doing so for as long as Nintendo has.

      2. You make a good point. Even I had a DS for a while. Maybe the Wii U is where motion control hits it big with hardcore gamers on home consoles.

      3. Nintendo thinks it has expanded its userbase enough with the original Wii that the Wii U is guaranteed to sell. But that remains to be seen.

      Thanks for commenting, CT, and in such as eloquent and intelligent manner.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.