The Big Question: Can The Wii U Recover?

The Wii U is in a bit of a bad spot, but can it recover and become a successful piece of hardware?

I seem to remember people declaring that the 3DS was dooooooooomed at one point in its lifespan, but it managed to turn things around and is now the best selling console on the market.

Is the same thing possible with the Wii U? The circumstances (not to mention the product and the market) are markedly different. The challenge seems greater.

What do you think?


    There's a lot of interesting WiiU indie games coming out, if anything, I think that'd be a key to the WiiU's success.

    CAN the WiiU recover? Hell yes.

    WILL it? That's up to Nintendo to decide, no one else.

    If they change the name, drop the price by $100-$150, and release a bunch of games that gamers are hanging out for, like Smash Bros., Mario Kart, a new Zelda, a new F-Zero etc. Otherwise no.

      It's funny that Nintendo is doing just that throughout this coming year (except maybe for F-Zero). And yet the "Wii U is a failure!!!11!!1!!" articles are becoming more and more common.
      Even if they don't do a price cut, it's still the cheapest next-gen console on the market.

        That price-cut would do wonders for the system.
        I voted ‘no’ above but I’d buy one at that price.

        The bottom line is that a lot of people (myself included) don’t consider it to be a ‘next gen’ console.
        It’s not just the 360/PS3 equivalent hardware either, the online systems and OS feel like a cross between first release Xbox Live and early last gen too.

        It’s not just the cost of the console you have to consider either. The machine will get almost no 3rd party support over the next year and Nintendo are absolutely terrible at dropping the prices of their 1st party games. While a good Xbone/PS4 game will halve in price after a year you’ll still be paying full retail for a WiiU launch title at Christmas this year.
        Further to that their two biggest titles of this year (Mario Kart and Smash Bros) both REALLY need 4 controllers to appreciate, especially given that I don’t know anyone at all who already owns a WiiU. If you’re looking to sell new consoles with those titles (especially to families who want to play on the lounge) then it gets to be a very expensive proposition.

          Further to that their two biggest titles of this year (Mario Kart and Smash Bros) both REALLY need 4 controllers to appreciate, especially given that I don’t know anyone at all who already owns a WiiU.Except the controllers you need are just Wii controllers, and everyone has a million of those already.

            Except those controllers suck ass, which was just fine for the Wii because it supported the mighty Wavebird/ GC controller.

            I’ve got very little interest in playing Smash Bros, Mario Kart or any other game that wasn’t designed for ‘waggle’ on the Wiimote/ nunchuck combination.

              Wii Remote and Nunchuk were fine for Mario Kart and was my preferred control method. Accelerate/Brake/powerslide/weapon were all covered by standard buttons.

                You’d prefer to play with a wii-mote and a nunchuck than with a single, properly designed controller?

                If you want to play something with ‘standard buttons’ and a control stick then surely you’d rather a Gamecube controller or even one of those terrible virtual console controllers than a split controller?!?

                  Why? Like already mentioned, the controller has all your controls covered and easily within reach. In fact, the split controller is even better than a "standard" one. I can just flop on the lounge with my hands by my side and still play the game or be tied up in any other kind of contortion (which I do frequently do while gaming), I don't have to have them both together on my lap.

                  It offers an additional benefit while taking nothing away from the experience at all. How is that not a better option?

                  For something like Mario Kart with basic controls the Remote and Nunchuk were fine, and like @mrtaco mentions you can comfortable play with your hands at your side. I could have used the Gamecube controller or a classic controller but lazing back with the remote+nunchuk was just as easy so it wasn't a deterrant to use them. Plus being the primary controllers for the Wii they were always on the coffee table while I would have had to dig the other controllers out and possibly take the Wii out of the TV unit because of the short Gamecube cord.

                  I doubt I will switch to remote+nunchuk for Mario Kart 8 because the Gamepad is pretty nice to use, but they will be handy for any multiplayer setups.

          I don't buy nintendo consoles for third party though. That's what my PC is for.

            Pretty much my attitude too. Both the PS4 and WiiU will be for exclusives, and anything multiplatform I will buy on PC (provided it's not a gimped port)

      Exactly that!
      The price is too high for what it offers and is in my case, the only reason why I am not upgrading my Wii to a WiiU. I really would love to play Pikmin3...

    Of course it will. Anyone that has played the console love it. So it's just a matter of releasing some quality games to get people to try it... DK, MK and SB will help with this.

      Anyone that has played the console love it.

      Not necessarily, it depends on the games you're playing on it. I had a premium WiiU, the only games I had for it were Nintendoland, Funky Barn, and ZombiU. Nintendoland was ok, Funky Barn was crap, and I didn't get to play ZombiU as I wanted to wait until we got a Full HD telly before I got stuck into it. Ended up trading it all in towards an Xbone, because PS4 pre-orders were sold out.

      I might buy another one if there's a significant price drop, and they release some more quality games such as the ones you mentioned, but for now, the next game console I'll be purchasing will be a PS4, and maybe a Vita.

        Funky Barn was crapWait you actually owned and played this?

        I didn't think anyone did that :P

          Only bought it because it was 9 bucks, put it down pretty quick though.

        So u bought a console and didn't even bother to play all the games u purchased for it, only to trade it all in for a different console that you only got because u didn't want to wait for the console u really wanted? Sorry sir but that's a fail for me.

          I bought it for like $220 when Dick Smith had that sale, when I traded it in I used my 50% extra trade credit birthday voucher, so I basically didn't lose out financially. I did keep the Pro controller I bought though, in case I ever decide to buy another one.

          Sorry sir but that's a fail for me.

          Story of my life, I'm notorious for buying things on the spur of the moment without even thinking about it. I bought one of these a few weeks ago.

          Plugged it in, played Metal Slug for about an hour, and haven't touched it since. And about once a year for the last couple of years I've been trading in about three quarters of my games because I need money for something, which I only end up regretting and spend the rest of the year trying to buy them all back. I'm a sad case I know.

          Last edited 12/02/14 11:56 am

      " Anyone that has played the console love it"
      Lies... I have one, and it is my last choice for gaming. I only buy a game for it if its an exclusive.
      The biggest problem I've found is the danmed controller... want to make it better... patch games so we can just use the pro controller, the games I've played realy don't gain anything from the monstrosity anyway, it's like it's in use purely because nintendo said you have to use it. I'm sure there are games that make good use of it out their, I just haven't played one, so I'd be a lot happier with it if I could use the pro controller.

      So no I don't "love it", it's more of nintendo pulling gimmicky crap instead of just building a good console... The Wii actually had better controlls than the Wii U does. The Wii U was/is a major dissapointment, hopefully it has taught nintendo a valuable lesson and their next console is actually good. (The Wii had some gimmick issues too, like games where you could have just used a button, but instead were forced to waggle the wii-mote... needless to say they were bought on a less annoying system)

    It can in theory, but given Nintendo's history of struggling to correct image problems and the direction they've been taking the Wii U in since day one (ie, insisting that it's a direct sequel to the Wii) I really doubt the Wii U is going to reach anything higher than GameCube status. A healthy library of AAA titles that every gamer should play on a console that's largely ignorable.

    The 3DS appeared to be doing badly in it's early life, but that was because people failed to factor in it was an optional upgrade during it's early life. It wasn't designed to convert every DS owner on day one. Instead people just upgraded when they got the chance or felt they had a game worth playing on the 3DS. It appears they tried the same for the Wii U but failed to take into account most people who buy consoles regularly abandoned the Wii after the first year or two. There wasn't that contingent of every day gamers still playing the Wii that the DS had.

    I'm sure plenty of people think it's presumptuous to call it a flop even though Nintendo are basically admitting it, and I think it's still an ok console, but doesn't appeal to the bulk of the market and that makes it non-viable in the long term.

    Nintendo would be better off getting a new console out to better compete with the Xbone/PS4. Maybe you can argue that's not innovative or fun, but the market has spoken here. Nintendo can sell a novelty - the Wii did gangbusters but had a low attach rate because we all wanted one until the novelty wore off. The Wii U came around and we were a lot more cautious. People who bought one claim to love it, but I'm not convinced. Then again, three months into owning an Xbone I've been playing more on my PC and 360 until there's more games out, so maybe it's still too soon to call it?

    I think it will improve and find its niche like the Gamecube, but they won't reach the blistering success they did with the Wii because the new market they reached with the Wii (Mums and Grannies etc) aren't the type to upgrade their technology each generation.

    I think the best thing they can do it try to transfer some of their 3DS market to the WiiU, so release those games that bring in the sales such as a bigass Pokemon game.

    Unfortunately I lost faith the day they revealed that it shares no common architecture with the 3DS. I don't think they can handle the heavy lifting for both at the same time. I voted no :(

    I really like mine, but no. Things like delayed Watch_dogs show that it is in a death spiral. Under-featured/delayed games from the start; consumers buy said game on another platform in preference; publishers gimp/delay/cancel Wii U versions because they don't sell; consumers buy said games on another platform...

    As StickMan said - can it recover? Easily.
    Will it recover? Not as long as Nintendo are deciding how to progress with it.

    I went on this rant for a million words last week.

    Bottom line is that nobody has EVER had a start this bad and recovered, let alone with hardware which is basically a generation behind.
    The handheld market is completely different to the console market- far less competition, faster easier to produce games and much better 3rd party support (eventually).

    It will be a bigger flop than the Dreamcast. It’s actually in a MUCH worse position sales wise than the Dreamcast was at this point, with a much bigger power gap between it and it’s competition (but also a prohibitively expensive controller preventing a price cut) and with seemingly WORSE 3rd party support (if that’s actually possible!). It also has fewer new games coming than the DC did at this point and the games that ARE coming out are far less interesting than what the DC was putting out (games like Shenmue, Jet Set Radio and Powerstone were revolutionary, cutting edge titles at the time – not repainted Mario Kart, Smash Bros and Donkey Kong).

    I love Nintendo, I love my 3DS but there’s absolutely nothing on the WiiU that would justify forking out for the cost of one and nothing on the horizon. I had my money all ready to go for one at launch (I even cleared my Wii pile of shame in anticipation) but when it came there was nothing to convince me to buy one. It’s now looking like worse value than ever, if they can’t sell me one then I think the machine is done.

      Unfortunately comparing the WiiU to the Dreamcast is not a simple comparison of oranges to oranges. The Dreamcast came at the end of an extended period of problems for Sega and while the core console itself was excellent and the support it was receiving was great, it simply was a small blip on Sega's gradual decline.

      The WiiU came after a successful sales-wise but a low attach rate as others have mentioned. Even the Gamecube despite looking like the distinct loser of that generation ended up selling almost as many units as the original Xbox. The WiiU could be the start of an eventual demise for Nintendo but there is still time to turn things around.

        Interesting point is that the Saturn was so crap, it left a bad taste in people's mouths.
        I feel the Vita is having a similar problem even though PSP was great.

        There's always the name of the console. It took me a while to get hard facts on what exactly was different between a Nintendo and a Super Nintendo was as a kid and I'm sure there's a lot of people who just won't go to the effort of finding out the difference between Wii and Wii U.

        We tend to think as gamers that it's easy, but most people just don't care enough.

          True that. As gamers we are inherently biased when it comes to these things and the layperson just doesn't care enough to understand the intricacy. Like the whole deal with some of Microsoft's investors calling for the Xbox division to be shut down. To them they just see the dollars that are being lost (I have no idea what the statistics are like for the XBone but the 360 and the original did lose money per unit) and they have no conception of the value that might be added to the rest of Microsoft.

          It's interesting now that I think about it. Nintendo has two functionally separate software and hardware divisions for the 3DS and Wii U as does Microsoft for the Xbox, PC, and phone stuff. Can you imagine what it would be like it Microsoft established that they had one uniform OS that worked across all of their PCs, phones, tablets, and the Xbox? Sure it would likely save money so it would be loved by the investors but it probably would not work in a general sense.

          Man that was a sidetrack. Anyway, yeah it is likely that Wii U will bounce back as will the Vita but Nintendo and Sony will need to put some serious work in to recover from a downward spiral for these systems.

        They’re obviously not the same but I still think there’s a lot of comparison between the two consoles.

        Both jumped first by about a year, both had 3rd party support initially which quickly dwindled and both consoles (as far as I’m concerned) had the writing on the wall shortly after the release of the other next-gen consoles.

        The thing is, at the same time in the Dreamcasts life it was a LOT more competitive from a power standpoint, had better titles out by now, had built a much bigger install base and had a forward catalogue of promised games which looked new, ambitious and also better (graphically) than what the PS2 was doing at launch (the games I listed above).
        You can say people didn’t give the Dreamcast a chance because of the Saturn (and that would make sense) but sales figures at this point show that the Dreamcast had WAY more first year adopters than the WiiU has now.

        I don’t think it’s the beginning of the end for Nintendo, but I don’t think that the WiiU will recover to be anywhere near Gamecube, or even Dreamcast level of success.

      First paragraph, you make an absolute statement, then immediately make exceptions to it. :)

    I own a Wii U, however am leaning more towards 'No' at this point in time. Hope that things change for the better though.

    Well its never going to be the ps4 or even the wii in terms of sales. They can make it a great system all about the games like the GameCube was. The GameCube might not have sold crazy numbers but I think the majority of people who owned one actually love it.

    The reason I cant bring myself to buy a wiiU is.
    Region Locked
    No Smashbros
    No unified account system
    No cross buy

    It probably wont happen but if they could nix that tablet controller and just package the black edition with a pro controller i would buy one in heartbeat.

      The tablet is the best part! You'd be missing out big time.

        The Tablet doesn't help me play Smash Bros. Also that tablet is keeping it at premium price.

      Keep in mind the Pro controller works on pretty much everything so there's no need to take the tablet controller out of the picture. Most games have single screen play so you can play it on the game pad screen alone, and that extends to make it so that you can play it with a pro pad on the TV screen. Smash Bros with four pro controllers is going to be sweet.

      That said the game pad works really well with both two screen and single screen play. Playing Mario DS style laid back on the couch is brilliant. It's hard to explain how awesome it is, but I spent boxing day playing it with a pro controller using the game pad as a screen on the end of the couch while by brother in law watched cricket on the TV.

      The system isn't really that bad a price at all. It's the cheapest of the "next-gen" consoles and arguably has the best games announced and released. Not to mention that Smash Bros. was announced a while back and is coming out this year...

        Yes except i don't see this system having the shelf life that the 360/ps3 has. I see this as a 4-5 year console.

    Did you buy one/are you going to buy one?

    If so, yes.

    Did you not buy one yet/will you pass on it for something else?

    If so, no.

    Part Stockholm Syndrome, part 'Generation' mentality - look at the 360, it was a hunking defective piece of tech made saved by the business deals and online infrastructure that MS created. This is how we now 'rate' success and failure because they re-wrote the rules.

    During the entirety of the PS3's lifespan, it was slagged off but now all that's forgotten because they've followed suit.

    Wii U is not playing by the rules.

    The way I see it is that Nintendo is not about the games we play but the way we play those games, hence the introduction of the WiiMote and the GamePad. When someone makes a game that takes full advantage of what the GamePad offers, that's when things will start to look up for Nintendo

      They have that. It's called ZombiU.

      Pikmin does a pretty good job of it too, in a couple of ways.

        Poor Zombiu. Such a great game that hasn't gotten the recognition it deserves. Lego City Undercover used the gamepad nicely as well.

        At least Nintendo have stated that they now plan on making games that make use of the gamepad to show the difference it can make over its competitors. You would have thought that would have been a no-brainer from the start.

          Doesn’t get the recognition it deserves?

          It was just about the only decent game at the launch of the console and got tons of hype and media attention.
          Over a year later and someone asks you to name a good 3rd party exclusive on the WiiU and it’s THE game that gets mention 90% of the time, ask someone to name a game which uses the tablet to decent effect and again, it’s ZombiU almost everytime.

          All this despite the fact that while promising, it’s not actually THAT good.
          I think it gets plenty of recognition!

      That line of thinking is the biggest problem Nintendo has now.

      Up until the Wii Nintendo was ALL about the games. They made the best games on the planet, the innovated consistently though their software and they were masters of creating solid, functional and reasonably powerful machines and then making great games for them.
      During those times they created and advanced a huge catalogue of brilliant 1st party franchises.

      People let the fact that the Wii sold a billion consoles to people who wanted to play bowling hide the fact that as gamers, Nintendo delivered very little in the way of new experiences last generation outside of ‘waggle’. The Wii was about the controller, and gamers got screwed over as a result of it.

      The other myth that’s spread over the past 8 odd years is that powerful hardware isn’t important to Nintendo. That’s COMPLETE BULLSHIT.
      Nintendo launched consoles as either the most powerful or close to it for over 20 years prior to the Wii during times when they consistently produced the best games on the planet.
      People say that the DS was better than the PSP (which it was IMO) without realising that the handheld market is MUCH different to the console one. People quote the sales figures of the Wii without realising that by Nintendo’s standards, the games were pretty ordinary.

      Whatever the level of its usefulness the decision to build the WiiU around an expensive tablet controller seems to have been a terrible one for Nintendo. They would have been much better off either adding significantly to the power of the machine or releasing it at a price on par with the 360/PS3 at the time.
      I don’t want to see what Nintendo can do with a new Zelda on last generations hardware with a tablet screen, I’d much rather see what they could do with THIS generations hardware and a Gamecube controller.

        Let's just agree to disagree then. May I ask if you tried Boom Bloc, Deadly Creatures or other hidden gems?

          No I didn’t play either of those titles.

          I should have played Boom Blox though from what I’ve heard it’s very good.
          I don’t think it’s the kind of title that’s going to shift systems though, and even if it was, it's made by a company (EA) who have a grand total of zero WiiU games in development.

          Dude, motherfucking high five for some Deadly Creatures love.

    There have been other consoles with a slow start. The PSP (rescued by Monster Hunter). The 3DS (rescued, primarily, by a price drop). The PS3 (again, price drop.)

    The Wii U has one compelling advantage: NIntendo's first party games. However, the lack of evolution in many of these titles to date since the Wii makes this a less compelling advantage than is usual.

    The Gamepad is a very mixed blessing. It makes ports much harder, and so third party titles. The performance envelope of the system is closer to the PS3 & XBox than the PS4/XB1, so next gen titles will likely pass it by. The casual market, which made the Wii such a success, is just not buying the Wii U: unfamiliar controls, name confusion and "been there, done that."

    Overall, I don't think the Wii U will be a success. However, I don't think it will be an outright failure either. It will probably fall into Gamecube territory: a small, enthusiastic market with relatively low penetration of the general gamer population.

      Good post, but I think the thing to remember with those consoles that recovered is that two of them got slow starts because they were very powerful and too expensive. They had room to grow with price drops and power to last them for several years.

      The 3DS too, I’d argue, was initially a victim of the success of its predecessor and the nature of the handheld market. Lots of DS owners (myself included) were happy playing the backlog of quality titles on the DS and weren’t that keen to jump to the 3DS, especially when it was new and have very few good exclusives.

      I don’t think that’s the case with the WiiU, the Wii hasn’t had a decent release in a LONG time and it lacks the power to be an investment long term.

      I don’t think it will be as successful as the Gamecube. The tablet isn’t going to bring in the mainstream Wii crowd and the lack of power means it’s not going to deliver stunning core titles like the original Wind Waker or Metroid Prime which endeared the GC to gamers.

    it depends how you define success... If you define success as turning it into a console with a good handful of instant classics and great games, then definitely yes, but if you mean commercial success then I doubt it...

    I have one, and love it!

    It is basically our "Lounge Room" console, and we only get games that i can play with my partner.

    The problem is that after Mario and Rayman i am struggling to find anything decent to play with her so have to wait for Donkey Kong...

      You could dip into some of the great Wii games if you haven't already.

      NSMBU, or 3D World? Because there's always the other, whichever you've played. New Super Luigi is also good, though rather challenging as a single player game so I don't know how well it'd go co-op. Pikmin has a two player mode which I think is supposed to be quite good, and Wonderful 101 does up to five player co-op too.

    Nope... With the delay of Watch Dogs on only the WiiU, one of the biggest and last completely multiplatform titles, plus the cancellation and refunds to Batman owners who bought the season pass (ie: it must have been 'cheaper' to refund, rather than pay for the resources to make the content), 3rd Party publishers seem to moving onto the recently released PS4/X1.

    The WiiU will get the occasional bone, but from here on out the WiiU seems to be a 1st Party machine.

    Given that the PS4 is likely to be ahead of WiiU worldwide sales and the X1 not far behind the WiiU, in a fraction of the time, what confidence do 3rd publishers have that Nintendo can change their fortunes?

    A price drop will help a bit, but I think Nintendo need to work towards parity with the other machines and the first thing on the agenda needs to be a complete encompassing account system across Nintendo devices.

    It is in a roughh spot, but has a great line up this year. Now Nintendo nood to advertise it.

    It depends what we consider a success.
    The Wii U is great. I love mine. I think anyone who still has an interest in games should pick one up. I think a price drop will help, and retargetting and reviving the marketing. It's a great family friendly console, and off-screen play is a revolution.

    I vote no. Mine sits inside its box and I have no real interest in it until the next Zelda is released.

    I think the only way the Wii U can succeed is by winning over hardcore gamers (who don't already own the system) with the likes of Mario Kart 8, the new Smash Bros. and new Zelda titles including Hyrule Warriors. Other than that, at this rate I can't see Nintendo capturing the love of the casual market like they did with the Wii.

    Hyrule Warriors teaser trailer for anyone who is interested:

    Last edited 12/02/14 3:01 pm

    Depends what how you define success,Wii level of success, no way that ship sailed, Nintendo 64 level of success might be achievable with the right games and a price drop, Game-cube level of success is highly likely.

    They should be aiming for a cheap secondary system for Nintendo fans, especially the Japanese market, and also the new console friendly Chinese market whose kids and teens grew up with Nintendo games on the icue, that's a huge market if they can crack it.

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