• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Did anyone else think that the Nintendo Wii was going to be the best selling console ever back then?

The Nintendo Wii was a phenomenon once it kicked into gear. It became a must have item that sold well and became an impulse by at such a level that the consoles success was on cruise control. Nintendo seemed to have left it on cruise control a bit too long and ended up crashing into a tree but the Wii was really something to behold, and for a time I didn't think it was going to end for another few years.

https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/nintendo-crushes-it-in-2008-console-sales/
Total U.S. hardware sales for 2008

  1. Wii - 10,224,400
  2. Nintendo DS - 9,951,500
  3. Xbox 360 - 4,735,200
  4. PlayStation Portable - 3,829,300
  5. PlayStation 3 - 3,685,000
  6. PlayStation 2 - 2,106,100*
Lifetime U.S. hardware sales, as of December 2008:

  1. PlayStation 2 - 43.22 million
  2. Nintendo DS - 27.60 million
  3. Wii - 17.60 million
  4. PlayStation Portable 14.30 million
  5. Xbox 360 - 13.89 million
  6. PlayStation 3 - 6.94 million

The console came out in 2006 too mixed reception and games laughed it off but then once the Nintendo pushed on the gas pedal the Wii exploded and selling at a higher rate than what were then dubbed "the HD twins" and it was mostly with consumers that never touched video games before or maybe played a browser flash game or two at most.

I thought it was a joke but man did the Wii prove everyone wrong in its success. I still thought it was a joke but I couldn't say it was going to flop and sell less than the GameCube, which many people thought would happen.

https://www.wired.com/2010/01/decem...said Tuesday that it,in December 2008 due […]

3 million sold a new record in just one month, December 2009. It just wouldn't stop and kept going and going and going.


When Nintendo reached 30 million sales in the US (alone) they released the top selling games no one was expecting hardware sales at such a level.
https://www.wired.com/2010/08/wii-sales/
The Wii console has now sold over 30 million units in the U.S. alone since its launch in November 2006, Nintendo said on Tuesday.

Besides pointing out this milestone, Nintendo released lists of the best-selling U.S. Wii games produced by Nintendo and other software makers, which are listed below. Besides Wii Sports, which was and continues to be packed in with the console, the biggest-selling game is Wii Play (pictured above).

Top 10 Best-Selling 1st Party Wii Games (all time)
  1. Wii Play
  2. Mario Kart Wii
  3. Wii Fit (with Wii Balance Board accessory)
  4. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  5. Wii Sports Resort
  6. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  7. Super Mario Galaxy
  8. Wii Fit Plus (with Wii Balance Board accessory)
  9. Mario Party 8
  10. Link’s Crossbow Training
Top 10 Best-Selling 3rd Party Wii Games (all time)
  1. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock from Activision
  2. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games from Sega
  3. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga from LucasArts
  4. Carnival Games from Take-Two Interactive
  5. Game Party from Midway
  6. EA Sports Active from Electronic Arts
  7. Just Dance from Ubisoft
  8. Rayman Raving Rabbids from Ubisoft
  9. Deca Sports from Hudson Entertainment
  10. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games from Sega

Even the best selling games were from a different planet to those who games on 360, PS3, or PC.


Nintendo didn't have to do much to address sales slowdown to keep the momentum going but they instead bet on the wrong horses and the Wii didn't seem as invincible anymore.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2010-nov-30-la-fi-1130-ct-nintendo-20101130-story.html

just three years ago, Nintendo Co.'s video-game device was nearly impossible to find, as hard-core gamers clamored for it along with novices, including families with young children and grandparents drawn to its easy-to-use wand. From January 2007, just after it launched, until last May, the Wii was the top-selling game console nearly every month in the U.S.

But things have taken a decided turn. The Wii fell to No. 3 from No. 1 this year, with U.S. sales in the first 10 months down 24% from the same period a year earlier. Sales of Microsoft Corp.'s rival Xbox 360 are up 34%, and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 has risen 14%.

Games for the device are on a similar downward slope. Electronic Arts Inc. recently told investors that Wii game sales outside of Japan fell 34% in the recent quarter and are expected to be “down sharply” for the full year. Many who have bought a Wii appear to be letting it gather dust rather than buying new games.

“The success of the Wii has been bound in large part to people who enjoyed it as a fad and have now moved on,” said Marc Jackson, chief executive of video-game finance and consulting firm Seahorn Capital.

Manufacturers of successful consoles such as Sony, with the PlayStation 2, made their biggest profits from royalties on games made by other publishers for their device. But Nintendo isn’t seeing the same benefit. That’s one reason the Japanese company recently slashed its revenue forecast for the current fiscal year by 21%.


“The success of the Wii was amazing, but as of late the company is not profiting from that success,” said Matt Jacobs, an analyst with ITG Investment Research.

Starting with the US sales were beginning to crumble. Nintendo sold 10 million units in 2009, 7 million in 2010, and only 4.5 million in 2011.

https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/wii-u-to-turn-around-console-sales-for-nintendo-this-year/
Lost amid today's talk of strong 3DS sales was Nintendo's revelation that it sold just 4.5 million Wiis in the United States in 2011.

At first glance, that might seem rather impressive. After all, the device has been on store shelves since 2006; the fact that Nintendo continues to sell an average of nearly 400,000 console units each month so many years after launch is somewhat surprising. However, further inspection reveals that the Wii's apparent late-term success needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

For the first full year since 2007, Nintendo didn't hit 7 million unit sales in the U.S.. In 2008, Nintendo sold more than 10 million Wii units. The company followed that up with nearly 10 million units sold in 2009. But starting in 2010, the venerable game company started to lose its footing, as sales slumped 30 percent to settle at 7 million units. With 4.5 million unit sales last year, Nintendo's sales dropped 35 percent from the prior year.

But Nintendo has a plan. The company last year unveiled the Wii U, and it plans to launch the console later this year. Specs and other key details aren't available just yet, but Nintendo has said the console will produce HD graphics, and it's believed that they will match (if not trump) those found on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Most importantly, the device will come with a 6.2-inch-touch screen-equipped controller to enhance gameplay.

The Wii was crashing so fast, that Nintendo went from making big profits off the console, to losing near $1 billion due to the lag in sales, along with poor 3DS performance.

https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/nintendo-loses-nearly-1-billion-as-wii-sales-plummet/
Nintendo generated 215.7 billion yen ($2.84 billion) in revenue during the six-month period, representing a whopping 40.6 percent decline compared to the same period last year. Even more concerning, Nintendo's net loss hit $926 million, down significantly from the $26 million it lost in the six-month period ended September 30, 2010.

Judging by Nintendo's earnings report, the company was hit by two main issues: hardware and software sales were off, and it was contending with an extremely strong yen. In fact, the company was forced to take a 52.4 billion yen ($690.5 million) foreign exchange loss, due to unfavorable exchange rates between with the dollar and euro.

But Nintendo's troubles selling products is arguably most troublesome for the company. During the six-month period, Nintendo was only able to sell 3.3 million Wii units around the world, down significantly from the nearly 5 million Wiis it sold in the prior year. What's more, the company's Wii software sales, which hit 65 million units last year, were down to just 36 million this year.

But it wasn't just Nintendo shooting themselves in the foot, Kinect was also believed to have been partially responsible for the quick death of the Nintendo Wii. This belief was widespread enough to be addressed by Iwata shortly after Microsoft revealed over 10 million Kinects sold.

https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2011/05/iwata_kinect_has_made_little_impact_on_wii_salesLast year saw the release of Microsoft's button-free Kinect, and many analysts predicted the sensor would bring an end to Wii's sales dominance in the West. That's not how Nintendo president Satoru Iwata feels however, as revealed at the recent goldmine of information that is the company's end of financial year results briefing.
Last year saw the release of Microsoft's button-free Kinect, and many analysts predicted the sensor would bring an end to Wii's sales dominance in the West. That's not how Nintendo president Satoru Iwata feels however, as revealed at the recent goldmine of information that is the company's end of financial year results briefing.

When asked whether Kinect had had an impact on sales of the Wii across the world, Iwata responded:

Of course, many users in the U.S. have multiple consoles at their homes. Many Wii users also have Xbox 360 and vice versa, so I am not saying that there is completely no effect in terms of use rate. However, hit titles are not being released continually every month for Kinect software, so we don't believe Wii sales are being seriously affected.
Microsoft recently announced that Kinect has sold 10 million units worldwide since launch, whereas Nintendo sold 15 million Wii consoles over the entire past financial year, but with high profile titles like Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on the way this year those numbers will probably pick up just a little.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/dec/08/xbox-christmas-sales-wii-kinect


One outlet went as far as to go on a deep dive into how the Xbox 360 Kinect toppled the regime of the Wii with all the data and charts to go with it.
https://www.gamedeveloper.com/pc/analysis-how-xbox-360-and-kinect-nearly-toppled-wii-in-2010



It's incredible how seniors and soccer moms were playing Wii Sports, and when the attempts to bring core games tot he Wii like COD first started I thought it was over until it turned out the primary byers of Wii hardware didn't want those games unless the posted on a gaming forum. But Nintendo really failed to address complaints for years, and it took them way too long to come out with Wiimote improvements.

One of their boneheaded decisions was to release the Wii Mini, which I don't quite understand what they were thinking? It's one thing to remove Gamecube support to drop the price as those gamers weren't your target market at this point anyway, and the Family edition launched years earlier did that as well. But you made it so that it can't display 480p, had no networking connectivity, and you remove a bunch of software features from the Wii menu? I don't really know who this product was for and it was the last Wii revision released during the launch of the Wii's successor, Wii U. Nintendo wanted to prolong the Wiis life but I don't get why they though this was a solution? It can't just be because it was $99, since you could get a Wii that holiday for $99 anyway, and it would hit that price in 2012 anyway.

But at the end of it all, I and many others were surprised at how dominate the Wii seemed, and how fast it fell in the gutter. Before the Wii U they cross over 100 million sold so I take it that since then until discontinuation the Wii sold less than 1 million consoles for years since their LTD is 101 million.

I never though it would end in that way though, it really did seem like the thing wasn't going to die and would continue to dominate for years attracting new everyday people to play golf or bowling in Wii Sports, or practice yoga on Wii Fit. Most experts thought that Nintendo had a sure thing and they likely did, if they handled it better I could see higher sales but when you are constantly topping charts every month I guess it's not a surprise complacency would set in.
 

Jennings

Member
Back then I never thought in those terms. All I knew was that I wanted to play Wii Tennis like a motherfucker, and also imagined a world where I could finally play a Star Wars game with 1:1 response thanks to Wiimote lightsabers (well, one of those two things came to be).

I remember going to the store to buy a Wii and the sales guys telling me Nintendo games were for kids and I should get a PS2 instead, "because the games were better."

Even though I've been (arcade/console/PC) gaming constantly since my first Pong console, I still consider the Wii and its games to have delivered me my best gaming experiences to date, thanks to how great it was at co-op.
 
Last edited:

Shifty

Gold Member
Yes, but that was definitely on account of the hype.

As a teen, I didn't know jack about the sales potential of the casual market. As a manchild, I arguably still don't :messenger_grinning:

What mattered was that they were doing some crazy stuff with the controller, and I was all in on the potential for proper motion-controlled hack and slash.
It took a while to find its feet and realize that concept with Skyward Sword, but there was some good stuff to be had in the interim. Shoutout to Dragon Quest Swords.
 

poppabk

Member
Back then I didn't think any of these things. I just went to the shop and bought whatever I liked. Didn't go beyond that.
You couldn't do that with a Wii though.

I think the biggest problem the Wii had was that it was a local co-op machine. You didn't need to own one, just know someone who did. My Wii was practically a portable given how much it traveled to different houses.
 
Last edited:

TLZ

Member
You couldn't do that with a Wii though.
You couldn't find any? So I guess it was a situation like we have now. It still sold a ton in its early years though.

I'm not entirely sure but I think I bought mine in 2009. I think by then it was easier to find. I just heard things about it from people. One day I went to the shops, asked about it and bought it.
 

BadBurger

Gold Member
At the time no because I didn't know anything about the sales figures or comparisons between the various consoles. The question of "how many units did console X sell?" was something I simply never thought about in my life until about 2009 when I was cast into the console wars thanks to social media.

However, did I have a feeling it would be massively popular? Sure. Everyone wanted one, even people who fell far outside of the typical demo for console owners. That thing was near impossible to find in my area for months - which was a new concept for me and my friends. It used to be a new console would come out and it might sell out completely at some merchants on day one, but not all, and stock would be replenished quickly anyways. That immediately set the Wii apart from everything I'd seen before it.
 

TwiztidElf

Member
You know the thread: Betting time: Do you think the Switch will be a success?
Just read that, and in your mind sub Switch for Wii, as it was pretty much history repeating.

Me personally, I didn't know what to think. I was happy with my XB360.
I also picked up a Wii eventually, and enjoyed it a lot. A platform with such sell through had to have some amazing niche, cult classics, and it did. It's still connected to my main gaming TV.
 
Last edited:

ParaSeoul

Member
Nah but you seem to think about similar topics often since you made two threads about nintendo consoles beating the ps2 life time sales......
 

supernova8

Member
You know the thread: Betting time: Do you think the Switch will be a success?
Just read that, and in your mind sub Switch for Wii, as it was pretty much history repeating.

Me personally, I didn't know what to think. I was happy with my XB360.
I also picked up a Wii eventually, and enjoyed it a lot. A platform with such sell through had to have some amazing niche, cult classics, and it did. It's still connected to my main gaming TV.

I think when the Wii came out I wasn't thinking in terms of whether it would succeed/fail. All I knew is that it looked gimmicky and not something "real" gamers would want (and that I definitely wouldn't be buying one).
I think I was right in that sense (there were hardly any "proper" good Wii games), it's just that everyone else and their dog ended up buying one. Plus a lot of gamers ended up buying one as a sub-console (or for a select few "proper" games) because the Wii was so cheap (from the get go) relative to the competition. Sure it did great in terms of sales and was pretty innovative in terms of controls, as for the software library........ nah I'll take the Gamecube or N64 over the Wii.

I had a 360 first and then sold it toward the end of the generation and got a PS3 to catch up on all the supposedly amazing Cell-powered games - which they were amazing. Not sure I wish I got a Wii. It felt more like the whole "I'll look after you kid for the day but I'm never having my own kids" sort of thing. Nice to play at a christmas party but not something you'd play on a regular basis.
 

Woopah

Member
Wii's success depended on appealing software being released at a regular rate, and this was something that Nintendo was able to to do until 2010. In that year they were developing games for 4 different platforms (Wii, Wii U, DS and 3DS) which meant that resources were stretched and they couldn't make enough hit titles for all of them.

They've fixed that with Switch, which is why its sales trajectory is very very different.
 

cireza

Member
There were many signs of its upcoming success, just like the Switch. The product was well advertised to a very large audience and easily understood.

Worst Nintendo console as far as I am concerned, but everything doesn't have to be made for my personal tastes.
 
Last edited:

SmokedMeat

Gamer™
I underestimated it for sure. I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined it being a hit with nursing homes, and an audience that doesn’t buy videogame consoles.

The family loved it, but I rarely played it unless it was with my kids. I disliked the lack of power at the time, but looking back, it had a pretty damn good library. The motion controls were decent at times and we got Lightgun games back.
 

CeeJay

Member
I got a Wii day one because it was the latest Nintendo console and I always bought Nintendo consoles, I didn't care whether it sold well or not. The Gamecube was easily my favourite Nintendo console ever and that sold like shit.

The Wii was the last Nintendo console I owned and I had owned every single mainline one prior to that. I lost all respect for Nintendo after the Wii, the console was just way too casual and swapping tight controls for inaccurate waggle mechanics was not the evolution that I wanted to see from them. The waggle mechanics attracting all those casuals was the reason why it sold so well but from my point of view I wish it had crashed and burned.

Yeah I properly spat my dummy out because of the Wii.
 

BlackTron

Member
Wii is a case study for all kinds of market dynamics.

I remember being insanely hyped at the "Nintendo Revolution" and was even impressed when Iwata revealed the new controller. But then the name was revealed and all kinds of shit went wrong with the system.

Its success was as a fad directed at casuals. The marketing, price and Wii Sports pack-in game were like lightning in a bottle. But what Nintendo had delivered was a one-and-done gimmick. The nursing home didn't need a single piece of software after that pack-in game. This is why it was so important to have cheap hardware that turns a profit even with no attach rate.

My sister managed to get a Wii at launch, a good week before I had, and the only other game system she'd ever bought was a slim PS2 which in practice she only used as a DVD player. This should say everything. I think in all time she MAY have bought like one game for it.

There's no real reason it couldn't have had plenty of "real games" too. Back then Nintendo referred to the market as "core gamers". I remember their PR person Kaplan trying to reassure everyone that core gamers hadn't been forgotten. She really used Prime 3 as a crutch in many interviews. My take was, they can paint the console in polka dots and release 50 casual filler games for all I care, if that's what they need to stay competitive, as long as they still deliver the games I want.

Well, they didn't. What happened is that I bought the system with Twilight Princess which I thought would be the second coming of OOT but ended up just being a drab, boring Zelda that had been forced into some Frankenstein version after already being made for GC. To this day I've never gotten more than 80% through this game, I just can't beat it, it bores me to tears and depresses me to try enjoying it. It didn't deliver on the promise of the Wii controls, first because it was a GC game, and then too because the control style they advertised wasn't possible with the hardware until they released the Motion+ add-on. Fast forward FIVE YEARS, at least the controls worked in Skyward Sword even if it was just another painfully flawed Zelda for other reasons.

Mario Galaxy was a good game but its only use of the hardware was collecting the star-bits on the screen. Like they had to come up with this for there to be ANY reason you're not just playing with a normal controller.

I have a confession, I've never played Prime 3 because by the time it came out I was just tired of Nintendo. Lots of IP didn't even get a game (StarFox) and the ones that did were both running on weak hardware and had bad design choices. I used mine for Galaxy 1 and 2 and Resident Evil 4. Those are pretty much the only big games I thought were legitimately good. I used it as a Gamecube with component cables with a few extra Wii games. Wii Sports was still worth the system but unlike the 100 million casuals I wanted real games on it too and they REALLY pissed me off with Zelda, which I consider their no-holds-barred, all-out, diamond-studded franchise.

So Nintendo went all-in on chasing casuals who would buy the system and maybe 1 game, but once the market was saturated with hardware, they needed "core gamers" to buy games, you know the people they took a massive dump on with the system. I remember Miyamoto expressing regret they didn't have HDMI on Wii...the tactic was smart for selling a gimmick to 100mil suckers, but not so good when in a few years you're left with a platform to support going up against PS and 360.
 
Back then a lot of hardcore gamers were actually tired of Microsoft and Sony damaging video games with their shitty games and philosophies. You had a lot of people that were rooting and giving support to the notion of the Wii. The Wii, and the PC really saved this medium in my opinion from the thinking and also execution on multiple levels like craftsmanship, business and overall knowledge about the medium that still ripples today in 2022.
 

BlackTron

Member
Back then a lot of hardcore gamers were actually tired of Microsoft and Sony damaging video games with their shitty games and philosophies. You had a lot of people that were rooting and giving support to the notion of the Wii. The Wii, and the PC really saved this medium in my opinion from the thinking and also execution on multiple levels like craftsmanship, business and overall knowledge about the medium that still ripples today in 2022.

Yeah, back in those days I doubled down on PC gaming while consoles found specialized roles. I pretty much got a 360 just for Rock Band 3. All my "real gaming" was spent playing games like Starcraft and Halo CE online. I went back to console just for the occasional exclusive game.
 

STARSBarry

Gold Member
I went for a Wii first that generation because the Gamecube was my fav the generation prior and my N64 the generation before that.

I expected more of the same... and after awhile I sort of got that, although the burst of JRPG's on Wii especially after operation rainfall was a pleasant suprise after the handful on Cube like Tales of Symphonia.

However you knew it was huge when none gamers where all buying the console, however the issue is that Nintendo then changed focus to these none gamers, not really a good way to get software sales.
 
Last edited:

Robb

Gold Member
I definitely thought it’d sell more than it ended up doing. Always found it a bit strange how it just fell off a cliff by the end.
 
Yes, I actually remember the exact conversation with my younger brother about how Wii hardware was going to blow up. This was the day after the Wii video reveal and we were in my car on the way to one of our local malls to go to GameStop (coincidentally), Barnes & Noble, and then lunch. We were both in our early 20s and we both said this is going to blow up with casual audiences, because it could lower the barrier to entry into gaming.

The thing many people who don't game say about getting into gaming is "there's too many buttons and it's too confusing." I hear this all the time from my wife, non-gaming friends, and friends who gave up gaming with the SNES and Genesis. Well, guess what? Motion controls would minimize the amount of buttons required to do things on screen. We're an enthusiast forum, so for many of us, we've grown up with gaming starting with Atari or NES where there were few buttons and we've been able to slowly adapt over time to more buttons on our controllers. Imagine 2006 and having no gaming background and being given a PS3 or Xbox 360 controller. Four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, and two sticks. That requires a lot of learning for the uninitiated. The Wiimote by comparison had relatively fewer buttons and the many of the games translated (or attempted to translate) the movement of your hand in real life into movement in the games. Want to swing a tennis racket? You swing your arm left and right. Want to throw a bowling ball? You swing your arm back and forth. There was no need for casual audiences to learn the names of each button and their placement on the controller and then associate those buttons with particular on-screen actions.

So the day after the Wii reveal, my brother and I both lamented that we were young, still in college, and had no extra money to buy Nintendo stock. That being said, what we failed to consider was whether software would sell well or not. Of course, as Nintendo and third party software companies learned, the casual audience bought the Wii, with Wii sports, and maybe a few simple party games and didn't really stick around for more traditional gaming experiences. Instead, the causal audience moved to their mobile phones for gaming where, again, games are simpler with fewer buttons.

So in short, yes, we correctly predicted the short-term hardware sales, but we never even considered if it would translate into software sales.
 

Mitsurux

Member
Pre-Launch, nope had no idea. It wasn't until after launch when i took my Wii to a family gathering and witnessed people who you would consider "Non-Gamers" not only showing interest, but getting excited over it, then i began to see that there was something really special going on with the system.

The Wii gets alot of flack, but it allowed me to share my hobby with family/friends who didn't understand "Gaming" but for those few years they understood how fun playing video games could be. (Great Memories)
 
The Wii was gimmicky as fuck, so I thought it won't be very successful. What I failed to realize was that casuals/non-gamers would eat that shit up.
 
I think most people here recognized that it was a fad based on the crowd who were buying the Wii just for Wii Sports or Wii Fit.

As a lifelong Nintendo fan, the Wii is the only Nintendo console I never owned or had a very strong interest in.
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
Nintendo Wii was praised many years ago.
wii GIF
wii GIF
 
You know the thread: Betting time: Do you think the Switch will be a success?
Just read that, and in your mind sub Switch for Wii, as it was pretty much history repeating.

it's not the same, the Wii didn't become a phenomenon out the gate, industry was doubling down on it being some weird desperate attempt for Nintendo to save its consoles, they saw it as them trying to salvage the GameCube speculating that Nintendo wanted to recover costs and would eventually go portable only when it died off.

The Wii attracted an audience the Switch never got for the most part, if the Switch even had a 4th of that audience it would have already been the best selling console ever and we'd be wondering if it would hit 200 million.

The Wii became a record breaking force out of nowhere and quickly. It's message was made fun of, the commercials were cheesy, but eventually they hit the right note and people ran out to buy it. It wasn't just in the US, or the UK, it was almost everywhere it was sold, suddenly all at the same time people were running on top of each other to get one and there were shortages making it hard to get. The thought that the 360 and PS3 would pass the Wii in any of the countries they did wasn't even on anyones radar, such a statement was regulated to bullshit and was impossible, 100% impossible.

PlayStation Move helped PS3 sells a little bit and grabbed some of that audience but Sony ended up mostly pushing Move as an option for "core" games as the casual audience dried up.

Kinect on the other hand, repeated the Wii phenomenon by offering that audience something new. The fact the Kinect was selling truckloads even after Nintendo had a massive promotional campaign for Wii Sports resort and Wii Motion Plus let you know that the Wiis days were numbered. The one or two game casual buyers who weren't into games saw something new, controller free motion gaming and sprinted to Kinect. Kinect for a time was the best selling complimenting hardware with its own library for any system, and was breaking records that the Wii used to break. But double the sales speed and double the results meant that the fad died much faster, and that 25 million Kinect audience didn't come back for Kinect 2.0 just like they didn't come back for Wii Motion +.

The Switches success is easier to explain and it's easier to follow it within reason, where the Wii caught everyone off guard, even the best experts were wrong and had to revise their outlooks and had research done trying to find out what the hell happened.

The Wii was gimmicky as fuck, so I thought it won't be very successful. What I failed to realize was that casuals/non-gamers would eat that shit up.

Even the pros failed to realize that, and even Nintendo. People knew that Casuals would buy it but no one saw 10s of millions of casuals around the same time across many different countries suddenly hospitalizing people on sales days to get one. Or your cooking show on TV giving out 300 to people in the audience. It's not surprise that Nintendo abandoned everyone else for this audience. They released a revision of the Wii without GameCube support pretty early, "family fun" version I think it was called.

The thing many people who don't game say about getting into gaming is "there's too many buttons and it's too confusing." I hear this all the time from my wife, non-gaming friends, and friends who gave up gaming with the SNES and Genesis. Well, guess what? Motion controls would minimize the amount of buttons required to do things on screen. We're an enthusiast forum, so for many of us, we've grown up with gaming starting with Atari or NES where there were few buttons and we've been able to slowly adapt over time to more buttons on our controllers. Imagine 2006 and having no gaming background and being given a PS3 or Xbox 360 controller. Four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, and two sticks. That requires a lot of learning for the uninitiated.

Colecovision and Intellivision aside, when more buttons was seen as cool, you are correct. Sega was grilled for having 6 face buttons, Jaguar was grilled for the Keypad, Sony was grilled for 4 shoulder buttons, the SNES was seen as a complex controller needed for complex games yet most of the best selling titles didn't require the whole controller. Since the Xbox we've had the same controller layout for every console for years and years outside special controllers that would add 5-8 more buttons. Look at the Elite controller as an example of a pad designed only for hardcore players and would make most people dumbfounded.

Many "core gamers" were annoyed that many Wii games barely used motion because it was inaccurate, and instead used motion as a substitute for a button press, but for the the lady who overpays at Core Power Yoga and is behind on her payments, substituting waggle for button presses was a dream come true. She can get some Wii Fit done, maybe play Mario Kart with the kids, play some Golf were her would be husband if the government wouldn't remove benefits if they got married, and all that without putting any effort into memorizing button placement. Even better with Kinect, you didn't even ahve to hold anything you'd just have a seizure and things would move on screen.

I definitely thought it’d sell more than it ended up doing. Always found it a bit strange how it just fell off a cliff by the end.
If you remember there were a lot of complaints about the motion, and Nintendo not doing more with the expansion port on the controllers. You also had the rumors of an HD Wii for years that never came out, along with a bunch of reported controllers that never released, so in hindsight it made sense why sales fell off a cliff because Nintendo wasn't really doing anything to maintain the Wiis sales outside doing the bare minimum for the soccer moms but eventually they'll stop using Wii Fit and Wii Sports, so what you have left are core and casual gamers, which Nintendo has no interest in appealing to, so the few they did get ran to the PC, PS3, 360 and/or Kinect, and Mobile. So in 2011 who was still buying the Wii outside people who were buying the new Wii Balance Board game or Just Dance 2077? No one.

But at the time, I was just as confused as you were, I knew of some of the above but I also knew that Nintendo abandoned any form of "gamer" long ago and it worked so I just assumed it would keep working.
 

OuterLimits

Member
Nintendo had just had two rather disastrous generations and I hadn't owned a Nintendo system since the SNES. When the Wii was announced I didn't even really pay it much mind and figured it would bomb. Who would want to play that with the HD twins coming out and the 360 looking like a damn good system to compete with Sony. Plus at the time I wasn't playing games much anyway as school, work, traveling and drinking alcohol too much were my focus.

Months later I'm walking into bar and seeing drunk people playing Wii Sports and other shit. I proceed to get plastered and join in and damn is this fun. I need to go buy this thing.
 

Shut0wen

Member
The Nintendo Wii was a phenomenon once it kicked into gear. It became a must have item that sold well and became an impulse by at such a level that the consoles success was on cruise control. Nintendo seemed to have left it on cruise control a bit too long and ended up crashing into a tree but the Wii was really something to behold, and for a time I didn't think it was going to end for another few years.

https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/nintendo-crushes-it-in-2008-console-sales/


The console came out in 2006 too mixed reception and games laughed it off but then once the Nintendo pushed on the gas pedal the Wii exploded and selling at a higher rate than what were then dubbed "the HD twins" and it was mostly with consumers that never touched video games before or maybe played a browser flash game or two at most.

I thought it was a joke but man did the Wii prove everyone wrong in its success. I still thought it was a joke but I couldn't say it was going to flop and sell less than the GameCube, which many people thought would happen.

https://www.wired.com/2010/01/december-wii-sales/#:~:text=Nintendo said Tuesday that it,in December 2008 due […]

3 million sold a new record in just one month, December 2009. It just wouldn't stop and kept going and going and going.


When Nintendo reached 30 million sales in the US (alone) they released the top selling games no one was expecting hardware sales at such a level.
https://www.wired.com/2010/08/wii-sales/


Even the best selling games were from a different planet to those who games on 360, PS3, or PC.


Nintendo didn't have to do much to address sales slowdown to keep the momentum going but they instead bet on the wrong horses and the Wii didn't seem as invincible anymore.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2010-nov-30-la-fi-1130-ct-nintendo-20101130-story.html



Starting with the US sales were beginning to crumble. Nintendo sold 10 million units in 2009, 7 million in 2010, and only 4.5 million in 2011.

https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/wii-u-to-turn-around-console-sales-for-nintendo-this-year/


The Wii was crashing so fast, that Nintendo went from making big profits off the console, to losing near $1 billion due to the lag in sales, along with poor 3DS performance.

https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/nintendo-loses-nearly-1-billion-as-wii-sales-plummet/


But it wasn't just Nintendo shooting themselves in the foot, Kinect was also believed to have been partially responsible for the quick death of the Nintendo Wii. This belief was widespread enough to be addressed by Iwata shortly after Microsoft revealed over 10 million Kinects sold.

https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2011/05/iwata_kinect_has_made_little_impact_on_wii_salesLast year saw the release of Microsoft's button-free Kinect, and many analysts predicted the sensor would bring an end to Wii's sales dominance in the West. That's not how Nintendo president Satoru Iwata feels however, as revealed at the recent goldmine of information that is the company's end of financial year results briefing.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/dec/08/xbox-christmas-sales-wii-kinect


One outlet went as far as to go on a deep dive into how the Xbox 360 Kinect toppled the regime of the Wii with all the data and charts to go with it.
https://www.gamedeveloper.com/pc/analysis-how-xbox-360-and-kinect-nearly-toppled-wii-in-2010



It's incredible how seniors and soccer moms were playing Wii Sports, and when the attempts to bring core games tot he Wii like COD first started I thought it was over until it turned out the primary byers of Wii hardware didn't want those games unless the posted on a gaming forum. But Nintendo really failed to address complaints for years, and it took them way too long to come out with Wiimote improvements.

One of their boneheaded decisions was to release the Wii Mini, which I don't quite understand what they were thinking? It's one thing to remove Gamecube support to drop the price as those gamers weren't your target market at this point anyway, and the Family edition launched years earlier did that as well. But you made it so that it can't display 480p, had no networking connectivity, and you remove a bunch of software features from the Wii menu? I don't really know who this product was for and it was the last Wii revision released during the launch of the Wii's successor, Wii U. Nintendo wanted to prolong the Wiis life but I don't get why they though this was a solution? It can't just be because it was $99, since you could get a Wii that holiday for $99 anyway, and it would hit that price in 2012 anyway.

But at the end of it all, I and many others were surprised at how dominate the Wii seemed, and how fast it fell in the gutter. Before the Wii U they cross over 100 million sold so I take it that since then until discontinuation the Wii sold less than 1 million consoles for years since their LTD is 101 million.

I never though it would end in that way though, it really did seem like the thing wasn't going to die and would continue to dominate for years attracting new everyday people to play golf or bowling in Wii Sports, or practice yoga on Wii Fit. Most experts thought that Nintendo had a sure thing and they likely did, if they handled it better I could see higher sales but when you are constantly topping charts every month I guess it's not a surprise complacency would set in.
Wii sold a shit ton because around about its launch it was pretty news worthy for the motion controls and also got coverage because people were breaking there tvs with it by not using the straps, then loads of family friendly games kept popping up then everyone and there nan were wanting one, also it was a pretty cheap around £50 less then the 360 while ps3 was incredibly expensive
 
When I saw the price point I knew it would do well.

Same price as the low end 360 but without the Red Rings and more family friendly games was always an advantage.

Wii sold a shit ton because around about its launch it was pretty news worthy for the motion controls and also got coverage because people were breaking there tvs with it by not using the straps, then loads of family friendly games kept popping up then everyone and there nan were wanting one, also it was a pretty cheap around £50 less then the 360 while ps3 was incredibly expensive

In America the low end Core or Arcade 360 was the same price but that was more prone to the Red Rings which was also making press so the Wii arguably got a boost from that as well. Nintendo really had everything set up, but they never managed to keep it going after the first few years.

Also the talk shows were giving them away early too, really helped the word of mouth. This became a bigger deal when the Wii FIt craze started, but even near launch there was a surprising talk show presence.
 

FStubbs

Member
The Wii was a phenomenon in a way that even the Switch and DS were not. But Nintendo didn't continue bringing software for the Wii expanded audience and it fell apart.

I don't think smartphones had anything to do with it - you can't do Wii Fit on a smartphone.
 
I worked retail and thought it would do just okay. Three Christmas seasons in a row and customers were still stalking the Nintendo vendors.

Easily one of my favorite consoles. It was what got me back into gaming after a three year long hiatus. All my family. my friends, their families, everyone was playing it together which I hadn't seen since the N64 days. It was just a lot of fun.
 
I don't think the take up among soccer moms and pensioners was anywhere near what the press and community thought it was. There was obviously some traction with these so-called non-gamers, but mostly a lot of hyperbole around it in the press. All you need is a few stories, a few pictures, and suddenly... wag the dog. In any case, this super niche segment weren't the kind of consumers that bought a second game.
 

Scotty W

Member
After the huge decline in GC sales, when I heard about the Wii I thought it was going to fail even worse.
 

Pagusas

Elden Member
I’m starting believe the OP is an annoying history bot that has malfunctioned and started harassing this forum with overly long post and a general lack of any form of personality.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
I thought it would bomb. The graphics were dated and I didnt think so many people would go ape shit for motion control waggling. I was wrong. People loved it and I remember it being plugged on talk shows like Oprah Winfrey.

But I was kind of right. Wii started out fast, but also hit a brick wall fast. As crazy as it seems, 360 and PS3 outsold Wii in those handful of final years steadily selling consoles. It got to a point the waggle crowd ran out or gamers realized how bad the Wii games were so people avoided buying it.

That waggle and Kinect and Move crowd died off fast as a whole. A one generation wonder feature.
 
Last edited:
That waggle and Kinect and Move crowd died off fast as a whole. A one generation wonder feature.

Move has at least found a place with VR and Kinectin the medical field, but the Waggle seems to have just died. Granted, they brought it back somewhat with the Switch.

I don't think the take up among soccer moms and pensioners was anywhere near what the press and community thought it was. There was obviously some traction with these so-called non-gamers, but mostly a lot of hyperbole around it in the press. All you need is a few stories, a few pictures, and suddenly... wag the dog. In any case, this super niche segment weren't the kind of consumers that bought a second game.

It attracted enough to have supply shortages for almost a year and to reach that 100 million worldwide, but yes I agree it didn't have too much mass appeal as some believed, but it was the first time a console penetrated those demographics and that shocked many people.

You make a good point about software that was always the Wiis weakness, once you got away from the best sellers that were bundled or were family/kid fads during the earlier adoption wave, it was almost as if no one was buying games for it. People like to make fun and say people just played Wii Sports or Fit and that was it, but it really was just those games for many buyers.

But I was kind of right. Wii started out fast, but also hit a brick wall fast. As crazy as it seems, 360 and PS3 outsold Wii in those handful of final years steadily selling consoles. It got to a point the waggle crowd ran out or gamers realized how bad the Wii games were so people avoided buying it.

I think as well that there weren't many gamers on the Wii and Nintendo failed to appeal to non-gamers after a certain point, so when they left the sales crashed.

The fact the 360 came back and beat the Wii in US, Canada, Mexico, and UK, and PS3 through rest of Europe was something no one though was possible, people thought the Wii was so far ahead it couldn't be touched.

Even in Japan PS3 was less than 2 million away but the PS4 wrecked the chances of it catching up but good thing that was the first long generation because if it ended in 2011 things would be a lot different right now.
 
Top Bottom