Nintendo’s Wii U has been struggling to get off the block since it’s release last year. Various factors come into play as to why the innovative console hasn’t been doing as well as it should be. Let’s look at what caused this.
While gamers will know the difference between a Wii and a Wii U—and some won’t care—the casual gamer and parents who buy consoles for their children might have a hard time telling the Wii U from the Wii. Sure they look different, but the naming approach doesn’t help it much at all. A different name should’ve been used or even a prefix/superlative such as Super Wii.
One could say that the PlayStation and Xbox family of consoles stuck with similar names. This is true. The Nintendo did as well with the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64, but you could tell they are different—especially when some games for a console weren’t being sold anymore. The thing with PlayStation and Xbox is that their consoles are numbered. It’s a fact that two is more than one and three is more than one and two—although not one and two together. The thing is the consoles were named in sequential order of their appearance, just like movie sequels.
The Wii U honestly could’ve been just another version of the Wii from name alone. Customer confusion has gone so far that Nintendo actually put out a poster to tell customers the difference.
The poster could be seen as insulting in the way. Even though your casual customer might not notice the difference between the Wii and Wii U, it could be looked at kind of like saying “We’re putting this here because you’re obviously too stupid to tell the difference between a console released in 2005 and one released in 2012. There’s colors and everything to help you along, Horton.”
Lack of Games
This year will see plenty of games flooding in, but at launch that wasn’t so much the case. It was almost like the Nintendo 3DS’ release except the Wii U was priced perfectly. It is totally affordable and comes in two sizes for whatever you might need. The Nintendo 3DS suffered out the gates because there weren’t many good titles worth buying the handheld for on launch—even though I got it anyway—and it was priced beyond what it should’ve been at launch considering what was available.
The advertising is pretty much lax. Mostly hardcore Nintendo fans, loyalist, and curious gamers who follow developments would keep track of the Wii U and what’s going on with it. The Wii was pushed heavily and with that price—compared to the Xbox 360 and the PS3 which squandered its lead for the most part by pricing itself too highly—and sold like hotcakes. Nintendo really need to take that same approach or even the approach that moved Gameboys, Nintendo DSes, the Nintendo, and Super Nintendo off shelves.
The Cold Shoulder
While there is plenty of support for the Wii U, there is still this thing of the Wii U being a next generation console, but not being included with the PS4 and Xbox 720. It’s like the Wii U is in the role of Dreamcast where it’s a generation ahead, but definitely part of that generation it debuted in. The Wii U is a next generation console, but is being nestled in the generation with PS3, Xbox 360, and yes the Wii.
It’s not too late for the Wii U to improve ad actually sell some consoles. It just needs big titles to be released. It recently saw a sales spike in the UK and should improve in the coming months with more games being released and announcements at E3. Also expect a bit of a spike if it’s confirmed for sure that the PS4 or Xbox 720 will be blocking used games. Sure people will buy the PS4 and Xbox 720, but no one wants to be stuck with a game when they’re finished or if it’s lousy unless they’re a collector.