The Nintendo Wii U era was a time period that the gaming company would rather soon forget. It was the worst-performing console in its history and it indicated a dark time for the company as it tried to compete against its competitors. With the coming of the Nintendo Switch, the company hopes that they learned their lessons from the Wii U and that consumers will respond better to their new consoles.
As further proof that the company wants to put the Wii U behind them, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime announced that the upcoming Zelda: Breath of the Wild game will be the last game they make that will be compatible with the Nintendo Wii U, according to Polygon.
“From a first-party standpoint, there’s no new development coming after the launch of the legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” he said. “We really are at the end of life for Wii U.”
He added that Nintendo did indeed take many valuable lessons from its time with the Wii U. One of the main lessons was that they realized that they need to make products that consumers can unitedly define what that product is.
“Even today when I ask people, ‘so what was Wii U all about?’ I get a wide variety of responses. In managing the business, that’s just not good.”
With Nintendo’s financial results briefing for the 2012-13 fiscal year, the company’s late president Satoru Iwata analyzed that they were unable to “solidly communicate the product value of Wii U” to their market. “Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii.”
Additionally, by the name and the marketing of the console, the Wii U appeared to be the original Wii with added accessories rather than a brand new console. The Switch feels more like a brand new console over the Wii more than the Wii U ever did; at least that’s what Nintendo hopes their market sees.
“What third parties want [is] a large, growing install base, a development environment that’s easy for them to work in, they want the ability to monetize their content, whether on the initial sale or downloadable content,” Fils-Aime told ProJared. “That’s what they want. And we were not able to deliver that fully on the Wii U.
The Wii U having a second screen did not make things any easier for third-party game developers. It is likely that having to adjust their games to make use of the second screen on the controller turned many developers away from the Wii U, as the extra work that they needed to comply with the console’s specifications wasn’t worth it.
Even first-party Wii U games themselves are not receiving much support from the company beyond this point. Nintendo indicated that the Switch console will not be backwards compatible, meaning that it will be unable to play games from previous generations of Nintendo consoles, says Kotaku UK.
With the Wii U now behind us, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to the Nintendo Switch once it releases. DFC Intelligence, a video game industry analyst firm, predicted that the new console would sell 40 million hardware units by the end of 2020. That would be nearly triple the amount compared to the Wii U in the same amount of time, according to GamesIndustry.biz.
If the actual numbers end up being close to that prediction, chalk that up as a win for Nintendo. One thing is for sure: there is more excitement in the Switch than there ever was with the Wii U.
[Featured Image by Nintendo]