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Opinion Business Reggie: "The Wii Was Nintendo's Response to a 'Stagnant' Market"

DunDunDunpachi

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USGamer's article is based on Reggie's recent leadership lecture at Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.


When discussing the sixth of his seven principles, courage in decision-making, Fils-Aimé brings up the launch of the Wii. He characterized the global video game market at the time as "stagnant," where only one out of every three people played games and that wasn't growing.
"Nintendo diagnosed the problem was that there wasn't innovation in the games," Fils-Aimé. "It was more and more sequels, fill in the blank version two, three, four, it was all the same. There was a lack of innovation in the play styles. The controllers had gotten overly complicated. Nintendo's solution was the Wii Remote, the integral part of the Wii proposition."

---

Obviously, the Wii wasn't every gamer's favorite console, but its business role in expanding the gaming market is undeniable. I think it was a shot in the arm of the market, forcing Sony and Microsoft (and others) to attempt their own casual devices, eventually leading to the VR devices that we have today.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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The PS2 had just become the bigest selling console of all time. How was the market "Stagnant"?

This tit gets far too much praise.
Well he explains:

"Nintendo diagnosed the problem was that there wasn't innovation in the games," Fils-Aimé. "It was more and more sequels, fill in the blank version two, three, four, it was all the same. There was a lack of innovation in the play styles. The controllers had gotten overly complicated. Nintendo's solution was the Wii Remote, the integral part of the Wii proposition."

I don't think the implication was stagnant sales in the short term, but stagnant creativity and failing to seek out new customers, which would possibly lead to stagnant sales down the road.

Iwata also warned that Nintendo needed to expand into the blue ocean or gaming would grow stagnant. Is he a tit too?


 

DunDunDunpachi

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Yes. He nearly ran the company into the ground.
With the company's highest-selling console and handheld? :pie_thinking:

You realize that 3DS and Wii U were largely the senior developers' ideas (Miyamoto, Aonuma, et al) now that Nintendo had a huge war chest of loot from the Wii/DS, right? Thankfully Iwata righted the ship with the Switch sendoff.
 

McHuj

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I think without Wii Sports the console would have flopped. That was the thing made it catch on fire with nongamers. My wife who doesn’t game saw it on TV and made us get one.

I don’t think the market was stagnant, it’s just they found another market to sell into. A fickle market that eventually disappeared.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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The director had to greelight everything. Iwata is NOT innocent.

The second half of the Wii's life was BADLY missmanaged. Leading to the public completely ignoring it's successor.
Definitely agree that the second half of the Wii was poorly managed. Nintendo didn't understand its own success, which is how you go from their highest selling console/handheld to their lowest selling console/handheld in company history.
 

mickaus

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I still play wii fit on the wii sometimes. While not the best console, it did have some fun games with the wii more as well as a decent amount of ports.
I still have a copy of LEGO lord of the rings to play on the wii, thank goodness for physical games.
 

McRazzle

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With the company's highest-selling console and handheld? :pie_thinking:

You realize that 3DS and Wii U were largely the senior developers' ideas (Miyamoto, Aonuma, et al) now that Nintendo had a huge war chest of loot from the Wii/DS, right? Thankfully Iwata righted the ship with the Switch sendoff.
The Wii and DS were not Iwata's ideas.
The motion controls were brought to Nintendo by a third party after Sony and Microsoft turned them down, and the DS was Yamauchi's idea that Iwata hated.
IIRC Iwata only wanted the Wiimote to come with the Wii , the nunchuck was only added after third parties threatened to not support the system if it didn't have an analog stick; and according to Reggie's talk Iwata was against Wii Sports being bundled with the Switch and was only included because Reggie persisted in convincing Iwata to put it in.

I don't know where the idea came from that Miyamoto and Anouma were responsible for the Wii U and the 3DS. Miyamoto said he was willing to support taking a loss on the Wii so it would be capable of HD,and he was talking about wanting to do games in 4K years ago.
Iwata was the one that insisted on the 3DS having 3D cameras which was the primary reason it cost so much, the reason being as Iwata said, "Because people like taking 3D pictures."

And as for the Switch righting the ship it was originally going to come with only 2 GB of ram and the only reason the Switch has been successful is because it sank the 3DS as the vast majority of Switch owners were also 3DS owners. Nintendo is arguably in a worst position as far as it's install base is concerned than it was in 2015.
Seriously, Iwata fucking sucked.
 

Tipton32

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To be fair, Wii wasnt THAT creative. Most games were just regular games with a motion gimmick.

And dont misunderstand me, i love Wii.
Agreed. Until Wii motion plus was a thing I personally think Nintendo (whether it was intentional or not) pretty much tricked people into thinking the motion controls were more than what they were. Before the Wii’s release I thought it would be so tight to play Zelda with 1 to 1 motion in real space and we didn’t even get that until the end of the systems life with skyward sword and motion plus.
 
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Azelover

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The PS2 had just become the bigest selling console of all time. How was the market "Stagnant"?

This tit gets far too much praise.
I could be wrong, but I don't think he means just money.

Videogaming was going the same path as Comic Books. Now we have a more diverse market. In Japan, a lot of people had PS2s, but most of them were being used to watch DVD movies. The market had been in a real slump ever since the PS2 launched over there.

The DS was the real liberator, but the mission was carried on by the Wii as well.
 
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The PS2 had just become the bigest selling console of all time. How was the market "Stagnant"?

This tit gets far too much praise.

I was about to post this but you explained it better than I could!

Nintendo couldn't compete in a Traditional Sense, so it tried something different which worked. (I love my Wii, but I understand why people don't like it).

It's funny due to your Username but Reggie annoys me sometimes like you have said.
 
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brap

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Well he explains:

"Nintendo diagnosed the problem was that there wasn't innovation in the games," Fils-Aimé. "It was more and more sequels, fill in the blank version two, three, four, it was all the same. There was a lack of innovation in the play styles. The controllers had gotten overly complicated. Nintendo's solution was the Wii Remote, the integral part of the Wii proposition."

I don't think the implication was stagnant sales in the short term, but stagnant creativity and failing to seek out new customers, which would possibly lead to stagnant sales down the road.

Iwata also warned that Nintendo needed to expand into the blue ocean or gaming would grow stagnant. Is he a tit too?


So their solution was shovelware? Ok. Not like anything they released was innovative either. Wow you can now roll with the controller in DK. Amazing.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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So their solution was shovelware? Ok. Not like anything they released was innovative either. Wow you can now roll with the controller in DK. Amazing.
Meanwhile, I can't name a better rail shooter than Sin & Punishment Star Successor. 🤷‍♀️

I agree Wii had bad games and bad implementations. The gems of the library are legit, though.
 
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brap

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Meanwhile, I can't name a better rail shooter than Sin & Punishment Star Successor. 🤷‍♀️
They had good games but none of them were innovative. Reggie is just talking out of his ass as usual. S&P SS was just a sequel too. Not innovative at all. Think I also beat it in a few hours which was disappointing.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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They had good games but none of them were innovative. Reggie is just talking out of his ass as usual. S&P SS was just a sequel too. Not innovative at all. Think I also beat it in a few hours which was disappointing.
Who cares if they were innovative, you privileged millennial?

I don't stop in the middle of playing a good game and go "ah shit! For a moment there I was having fun, but then I realized it wasn't innovative enough".
 

brap

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Who cares if they were innovative, you privileged millennial?

I don't stop in the middle of playing a good game and go "ah shit! For a moment there I was having fun, but then I realized it wasn't innovative enough".
"Nintendo diagnosed the problem was that there wasn't innovation in the games," Fils-Aimé. "It was more and more sequels, fill in the blank version two, three, four, it was all the same. There was a lack of innovation in the play styles. The controllers had gotten overly complicated. Nintendo's solution was the Wii Remote, the integral part of the Wii proposition."
Great job reggie. They didn't innovate and you didn't innovate either. Just more sequels. Congrats.
 
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-Arcadia-

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For what it’s worth, within that generation, I really enjoyed interacting with games in a new way.

Tilting to play racing games, the all-too-famous Wii Sports and the realistic motions there (provided you didn’t cheat them, which wasn’t fun), fishing with motion controls, the immersion of working levers and panels in Metroid Prime 3, as well as some sublime shooter controls, being a doctor in Trauma Center, etc.

Granted, not all of those examples still have their magic, and have become rather commonplace, I guess as all new ideas do, but at the time, they felt special and rejuvenating.

Likewise, there was also a shift in the direction of some games, to be something a little more out of the ordinary, and take advantage of the tech to do new things, and that was really fun too.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Great job reggie. They didn't innovate and you didn't innovate either. Just more sequels. Congrats.
Sequel to a Japan-only game with a completely new control scheme can't be innovative because it's a sequel. Got it.

Or was Super Mario 64 not innovative because it was also a Mario game?
 

TLZ

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The PS2 had just become the bigest selling console of all time. How was the market "Stagnant"?

This tit gets far too much praise.
I agree.

We all know they simply went after other audiences, and it worked. It doesn't work every time though. That other audience left them in the dirt with the Wii U (I love it btw), and ran after smart phone games.

Now they're back to their original audience with the Switch, and it's working for them again. They still try to reach the other audiences with stuff like 1-2 Switch (ugh), Labo (uugh) and this new wiifit-like game.

Never liked this guy. Imo he's given way too much credit when he's been nothing but a cringy face for the real people doing the real work; Satori Iwata etc.
 

brap

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Sequel to a Japan-only game with a completely new control scheme can't be innovative because it's a sequel. Got it.
Umm sweaty it got a NA VC release. Rail shooters aren't innovative either. Basically the same game as the first with motion controls. Whoop de doo.

Or was Super Mario 64 not innovative because it was also a Mario game?
That was on the 64 not Wii.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Umm sweaty it got a NA VC release. Rail shooters aren't innovative either. Basically the same game as the first with motion controls. Whoop de doo.

That was on the 64 not Wii.
And S&P2 was on Wii, not N64. Try to keep up. Sequels aren't somehow excluded from being innovative games. The first sequel to a dead Japan-only franchise from the 90s using a completely new control scheme is not the "more and more sequels, fill in the blank version two, three, four, it was all the same" that Reggie was referring to.
 

brap

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And S&P2 was on Wii, not N64. Try to keep up. Sequels aren't somehow excluded from being innovative games. The first sequel to a dead Japan-only franchise from the 90s using a completely new control scheme is not the "more and more sequels, fill in the blank version two, three, four, it was all the same" that Reggie was referring to.
It's a rail shooter. It's not innovative. Wow now you can waggle in the game. Epic. Wii Sports and Wii Music were more innovative.
 

-Arcadia-

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It's a rail shooter. It's not innovative. Wow now you can waggle in the game. Epic. Wii Sports and Wii Music were more innovative.

What Dun Dun is getting at, isn’t gesture controls, but the pointing controls. It basically transformed the slow, clunky stick controls of the original into a highly responsive shooter, that felt apparently fantastic. I also recall that they threw much more enemies and greater, faster challenges at you as a consequence?

I’m also trying to calm the thread down, because you are a friend, and I get direly concerned for you when you step into Nintendo threads. : P
 

TLZ

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Oh, I also forgot to mention they're also still after that other audience who left for smart phones, by releasing games on smart phones too. Please don't tell me that's innovation.
 

brap

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What Dun Dun is getting at, isn’t gesture controls, but the pointing controls. It basically transformed the slow, clunky stick controls of the original into a highly responsive shooter, that felt apparently fantastic. I also recall that they threw much more enemies and greater, faster challenges at you as a consequence?

I’m also trying to calm the thread down, because you are a friend, and I get direly concerned for you when you step into Nintendo threads. : P
I mean it's still a rail shooter. We've all played them in arcades before. I think this was the first time I stopped being hyped for Nintendo games.
 

-Arcadia-

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I mean it's still a rail shooter. We've all played them in arcades before. I think this was the first time I stopped being hyped for Nintendo games.

Yeah. There’s not too much innovative about the content itself.

I guess there’s a middle ground where you can say that doing a rail shooter in of itself isn’t innovative, but the controls, and how they impacted the game were?
 

brap

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Yeah. There’s not too much innovative about the content itself.

I guess there’s a middle ground where you can say that doing a rail shooter in of itself isn’t innovative, but the controls, and how they impacted the game were?
Honestly idk and idc. I'd say SMG is more innovative for walking around planets and shit. S&P just isn't that impressive.
 
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Kenpachii

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Motion control was just a step forwards with what ps2 was doing with eye toy. There was no stagnation at all in that time period even remotely on any level.

The reason they had to go a different route was because they couldn't compete against sony and microsoft and striked gold by having a cheep shovelware box that ended up completely killing there core segment that still holded themselves onto nintendo in the gamecube area for a inty bit. Wii-u showcased it how death that market was.
 
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Doom85

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Regarding the whole Wii U thing, something else to keep in mind was from what I've heard Nintendo's investors pushed to get the system out when it did while Nintendo wanted to wait roughly a year until more games were ready, but pissing off your investors is always a bad move. So yeah, if rich chucklefucks who don't know much about gaming and just wanted money NOW rather than later had simply kept their mouths shut, the system might have released with Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze available at launch or soon after. That would have at least helped the slow release schedule that plagued the Wii U.
 

Ikutachi

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I used Wii primarily for emulation/homebrew. DS was my go-to for physical games.
 

JordanN

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Regarding the whole Wii U thing, something else to keep in mind was from what I've heard Nintendo's investors pushed to get the system out when it did while Nintendo wanted to wait roughly a year until more games were ready, but pissing off your investors is always a bad move. So yeah, if rich chucklefucks who don't know much about gaming and just wanted money NOW rather than later had simply kept their mouths shut, the system might have released with Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze available at launch or soon after. That would have at least helped the slow release schedule that plagued the Wii U.
Meh, that still wouldn't have saved Wii U.

The console came out during the awkward time of 360/PS3 having finally gotten cheap enough for anyone to buy (while also launching with Kinect/PS Move to cannibalize the Wii market) and the PS4/XBO were going to launch 1 year later and with far more power.

If anything, Wii U should have launched earlier. Like in 2010. It might have cost more money, or it might have been weaker, but at least its purposed wouldn't be overshadowed by new systems so soon.

The Wii U also had no third party games like Microsoft/Sony does. Nintendo should have just been upfront and said it's a 1st party only console. Getting peoples hope up with that pre-release e3 trailer promising more third party support was also a disaster.

 
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Doom85

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Meh, that still wouldn't have saved Wii U.

The console came out during the awkward time of 360/PS3 having finally gotten cheap enough for anyone to buy (while also launching with Kinect/PS Move to cannibalize the Wii market) and the PS4/XBO were going to launch 1 year later and with far more power.

If anything, Wii U should have launched earlier. Like in 2010. It might have cost more money, or it might have been weaker, but at least its purposed wouldn't be overshadowed by new systems so soon.

The Wii U also had no third party games like Microsoft/Sony does. Nintendo should have just been upfront and said it's a 1st party only console. Getting peoples hope up with that pre-release e3 trailer promising more third party support was also a disaster.


Well, to me the release schedule, the name leading to some confusion (although still better than Xbox One, geezus Microsoft how did you let that dumbass name get approved?) and the fact that the gamepad while not uncomfortable still never felt as natural as holding most other controllers were the only three things wrong with the system. Even with only first-party titles, I was still happy with what I got to play, and there were some third party games I enjoyed like Zombi U, Bayonetta 2, and Wonderful 101. Besides, I've generally treated Nintendo consoles as my secondary console after Sony's console ever since the PS2/GC days, I'll primarily play on Playstation and then Nintendo is what I'll jump on occasionally to play a new exclusive game I've been anticipating or just a backlog one I want to get to. I'd be more upset with Nintendo over the Wii U if it was my only console but that's not the case so as long as the library has a decent selection for me then I'm good.

And I think releasing in 2010 would have resulted in far fewer sales. You don't take the highest selling Nintendo console ever and then try to force your playerbase to update only four years later. For all of Sony's mistakes with the launch of PS3, they at least knew to time it right by having it come out six years after PS2's launch.
 
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JordanN

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And I think releasing in 2010 would have resulted in far fewer sales. You don't take the highest selling Nintendo console ever and then try to force your playerbase to update only four years later. For all of Sony's mistakes with the launch of PS3, they at least knew to time it right by having it come out six years after PS2's launch.
The Wii had underpowered hardware. As a short term idea, it was smart. They saved money skipping HD development, while everyone was kept distracted with waggle.

But it was obvious that even with the PS3/360's massive upfront costs, it was going to be the future of the industry. The Wii was running on borrowed time and Nintendo made a bet too late that they could join the HD generation and ride the success of the HD Twins.

Either that, or they should have just released the Switch back in 2012. The 3DS was another weird system where it's main gimmick (3D) was also on its way out and Nintendo even admitted as much when they released the 2DS. They should have just cut their losses early on and release a system that just plays Nintendo games on the go instead of trying to pseudo compete with Microsoft/Sony.
 
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Doom85

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The Switch probably would have looked bad in 2012 considering how rough the 3DS' graphics were. Yeah, I was forgiving of the 3DS' look but if it had also been the console of that gen I'd be a bit more frustrated. I think Nintendo timed doing a console/handheld combo perfectly with this gen.
 

PanzerAzel

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Iwata also warned that Nintendo needed to expand into the blue ocean or gaming would grow stagnant. Is he a tit too?

I've always been told the reason for the blue ocean strategy was due to Nintendo not being able to compete in the red one Sony and MS were dominating?

Glad to see that not singing Iwata's praises to the heavens doesn't equate to a ban here, that guy's been deified to the point of a cult where anything even slightly negative said about him is blasphemy. Great guy personally, but I have to agree with others here, I found him to be a shit president. He infused Nintendo with defeatism ("Nintendo's not good at competing", "We're too far behind Sony/MS's online to catch up"), eviscerated western developmental autonomy soon after his appointment turning NoA into basically a translation branch, and made Nintendo a running target of memes, mockery, and jokes for backwards-assness and incompetence ("please understand").

All due respect and credit to the man, while Nintendo still does boneheaded things, I've noticed a marked improvement since he's no longer president.
 
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