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Business Hardware Reggie Calls Wii U A "Failure Forward" Because It Led To Switch.

IbizaPocholo

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Dec 1, 2014
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ibiza

Reggie Fils-Aimé may no longer be the president of Nintendo, but he's forever in our hearts – and, if he keeps giving lectures on his time with the Japanese company like the one he did yesterday at Cornell University, that's going to be the case for a long time.

During the lecture, Reggie – who is now the university’s inaugural Leader in Residence – spoke about a wide range of topics, including the ill-fated Wii U. The successor to the insanely popular Wii, this system aimed to introduce the concept of asymmetrical gameplay to a whole new generation of players, but consumers didn't respond and it has gone down as one of Nintendo's most costly hardware flops – despite playing host to some stunning games.


The lecture isn't available online at the moment (it's coming, though), but user Theorymon has posted up some brief impressions and notes. During one section, Reggie admitted that the Wii U was a bust, but called it a "failure forward", since it led directly to the creation of the Switch. As we all know, Switch is anything but a failure, and has put Nintendo back at the forefront of the games industry.
 

phil_t98

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The wii U was a great idea with just underpowered hardware. I mean you able to play on the tablet controller when the tv wasn’t available or use a real controller on the tv. Great idea just the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were more powerful and the type of games that people were playing back then massively different from the wii U library. People will always play Mario and Zelda for sure but games like call of duty was king last gen and they played better on other consoles
 
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GreyHorace

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Real winners learn from their mistakes and do things better moving forward.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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No, it was just a failure.

I like Nintendo's plucky spirit but they won't even acknowledge the failure of the Virtual Boy. It's always a matter of the idea being "good" but the technology wasn't there, or the marketing wasn't quite right, or something similar. The geniuses like Miyamoto and Aonuma are never blamed for missteps and always praised when their pet projects succeed.

A company that operates like that is bound to blunder into more N64s/Gamecube/3DS/Wii U situations in the future.
 

VertigoOA

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The “switch” was taking the concept and not doing it backwards.

The Wii U was a dumb idea. The second screen experience is useful in lots of games but their usefulness is supplementary.

the switch and Wii U are effectively in the same generation of software development for Nintendo... but they managed to migrate all their teams over to one platform finally. I still don’t see the results of that to be to great but it was still the right idea
 

Breakage

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I don't get the Switch comparison. I see the Wii U as Nintendo's attempt to bring the Nintendo DS experience to a home console. The Wii U is a two screen system – both the TV and GamePad screens can be used simultaneously. The Switch doesn't this.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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I don't get the Switch comparison. I see the Wii U as Nintendo's attempt to bring the Nintendo DS experience to a home console. The Wii U is a two screen system – both the TV and GamePad screens can be used simultaneously. The Switch doesn't this.
Their Wii U reveal conference showcased how it was flexible. Dad wants to watch the baseball game? No problem, just stream the game to the tablet and play there instead. You can still go check your weight while mom is watching her cooking show, too!

 

Stilton Disco

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The WiiU was a fundamentally stupid, flawed product, but I fully agree that it was worth it for the Switch, which takes most of the same fundamental ideas, and goes in completely the opposite direction, creating something that is just wonderful in the process.

Also it's nice to hear from Reggie again. Guy was practically a living meme, but head and shoulders better than most of the big names in the industry.
 

Spukc

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No, it was just a failure.

I like Nintendo's plucky spirit but they won't even acknowledge the failure of the Virtual Boy. It's always a matter of the idea being "good" but the technology wasn't there, or the marketing wasn't quite right, or something similar. The geniuses like Miyamoto and Aonuma are never blamed for missteps and always praised when their pet projects succeed.

A company that operates like that is bound to blunder into more N64s/Gamecube/3DS/Wii U situations in the future.
agreed i still bought one 1 month ago tho after selling my old one 3 years ago
 

Windom Earle

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If anything, Switch being so similar to Wii U at first glance put me off the console when I first saw it.
 

Breakage

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Their Wii U reveal conference showcased how it was flexible. Dad wants to watch the baseball game? No problem, just stream the game to the tablet and play there instead. You can still go check your weight while mom is watching her cooking show, too!

But how flexible was it really? Ok you could free up the TV, but you still had to stay within range (I've heard that the range isn't particularly good – I never owned one myself).
 

DunDunDunpachi

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agreed i still bought one 1 month ago tho after selling my old one 3 years ago
I like mine and the 10 games I have for it. Sales-wise and brand-wise, it is probably their worst console.

There should be more curiosity among our game journalists why Nintendo's best-selling console and handheld were followed by their worst-selling console and handheld. I think "the casuals" is far too simplistic of an answer. :pie_thinking:

But how flexible was it really? Ok you could free up the TV, but you still had to stay within range (I've heard that the range isn't particularly good – I never owned one myself).
It's not that flexible. First and foremost, the screen on the tablet is mediocre (even from the time it was released). Yet it is much thicker than a real tablet, so it feels like it should have more power under the hood. So you aren't going to want to play it on the tablet.

The best thing Nintendo could've done is pull an Xbox One Kinect: update the firmware to enable all functions without the tablet and release a no-tablet version a.s.a.p when they saw sales weren't great. It might've salvaged the console and the brand (not claiming huge sales but probably more than 10 million). An HD Wii isn' t a bad idea but they abandoned the philosophy that made Wii interesting.

Software pipeline was abysmal because "transition to HD is haaaard". And since Nintendo wasted the DS/Wii war chest to keep the 3DS alive, Wii U took lower priority (lol) and was essentially dead after the first 18 months.
 
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Son_of_Zardoz

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Wii U was def a failure and I'm glad Nintendo learned from it. Bought one for my oldest son shortly after they launched then sold it because he wanted an X1. Bought another a few months ago now that the two younger kids are old enough to play and we've been enjoying it.

The oldest has had a Switch now for a year or so and I just wish it was more comfortable to hold. I know they have to keep the size down for portability but the Wii U tablet controller is sooooo much more comfortable to hold.

Oh god Virtual Boy, haven't thought about that turd in forever. The Wii U will never be as bad as that disaster. I briefly worked at Blockbuster at the end of high school and they still had units for rent in there. Talk about mind-blowingly awful.
 
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Caffeine

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i worked as a student in retail when the wii u came out,

everyone thought the wii u pad was a controller for the wii.
nintendo fucked up big time
Even me dude who posts on gaming forum thought it was a controller after their E3. I had to go to a kotaku article to see the console.
 
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Sub Boss

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I think of Wii U as an obvious prototype Switch, as flawed as it was, its clear now what direction Nintendo was going (low powered, low consumption game device with tablet controller made way to a portable console, if Nintendo went more powerful it would have been difficult to port their Wii U games without heavy downgrades)

But the tech of the current Switch didn't existed back then , and Nintendo got more aggressive with their partnership with Nvidia.

Plus their games lineup include lots of Wii U and sequel
 
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May 8, 2016
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The wii U was a great idea with just underpowered hardware. I mean you able to play on the tablet controller when the tv wasn’t available or use a real controller on the tv. Great idea just the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were more powerful and the type of games that people were playing back then massively different from the wii U library. People will always play Mario and Zelda for sure but games like call of duty was king last gen and they played better on other consoles

Still don't regret buying the ZombiU Wii U bundle. Savored everything that came in that package, and still love and play the Wii U to this day. My favorite Nintendo system. Single player games were great, and asymmetric multiplayer is such a blast with other people. One of my friends was shocked that people didn't like the Wii U in gaming communities and was misunderstood by the public at large because me and him and other friends always had a blast with the asymmetric multiplayer games.
 
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prag16

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I don't regret buying the Wii U at launch one bit. Black Ops 2 is the best pointer controlled FPS implementation I've ever seen, and that game was pretty active for a few years. Mario Kart 8 is the best Mario Kart, and I played the SHIT out of the online with friends. We're talking hundreds of hours (which is A LOT for me since I had kids). Bayonetta 2 is one of the best action games of all time. Nintendoland, NSMBU, and especially SM3DW are fun in multiplayer. Some 3rd party games even had cool second screen implementations. I also logged a lot of time in off-TV mode while sitting in the room with my wife while she watched some nonsense I wasn't interested in on TV.

Even now, I play it all the time with my kids. Nintendoland, MK8, SM3DW, Smash, Splatoon, Pokken. The Splatoon online is still pretty active (though it's mostly Japanese people who cause laggy matches oftentimes). Got my son Sonic Lost World recently and he's loving it. He wants a Switch basically because a bunch of his friends have one, but really the only two games he or I care about that aren't also on Wii U already are Odyssey and Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee (but I explained to him how that game isn't too much different from Pokemon Go when you come down to it). We have 25-30 games which is actually the most I've ever bought for one platform believe it or not (excluding PC of course). It's probably my most played console since N64 when I was younger. I've gotten my money's worth many times over.

All that said, it was still a commercial failure for many reasons, mostly due to some poor decisions and poor marketing by Nintendo. Switch is highly disappointing to me so far, as a Wii U owner. The library is super weak. (Though on the flipside the library is super strong IF you never played any of these games on Wii U.)
 
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I really can't understand how they could release a console with such a an insanely slow, horrible, clunky OS.

Or at that price point compared to the super low performance.. 🙄

The Gamepad was OK I guess, but totally unnecessary for me. I would gladly have replaced it with just a pro controller. I really don't know what they were thinking, hardware-wise.
 
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Ten_Fold

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The wiiU was a bad name, could’ve called it anything else and it would’ve done a bit better. When I worked retail at that time most people thought it was an ad on for the Wii and a new bundle. The wiiU was a failure probably the second biggest one next to virtual boy. Now the switch is a big success If they really are trying to make a pro at home model along with handheld only and the hybrid that’s really fucking smart.
 

synchronicity

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It was surely a failure at market, but it was, and is, a wild success in my heart. So many fantastic games, and that's my personal measuring stick.

Edit:

A company that operates like that is bound to blunder into more N64s/Gamecube/3DS/Wii U situations in the future.

Market success aside, I hope they keep blundering into those "failures". (But still stay afloat, of course. :p)
 
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It didn't fail because of asymmetrical gameplay, that was fine. It failed because it didn't meet the system spec of the generation it was released in. No one wanted the power of an Xbox 360 now that the XB1 and the PS4 were incoming. The switch is acceptable because it can be truly mobile. The Wii U could not be taken out of your house.
 
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I bought mine at launch, played Zombi U and some Party Game and then stopped using it till a year ago. Bought the Top 20 titles for the system, softmodded it, added my library of Wii and Gamecube Games and now it is the best Nintendo console I ever owned.

But of course the marketing was really bad. To this day I cannot understand how they were able to f*** this up.
 
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