The Wii U is undoubtedly Nintendo’s biggest flop. But there are multiple reasons why this two-piece console didn’t hit right in the gaming market. While the main culprit is more than likely poor marketing, there are several other things we’re glad Nintendo moved on from when developing their next console, the Nintendo Switch.
The Wii U wasn’t all bad and had some great qualities. However, marketing can only do so much for a system, and the console definitely had its fair share of flaws. Here are five things that participated in the downfall of the Wii U that we are happy to see go.
1. The Wii U’s Design Was Bulky and Confusing
The Wii U’s Gamepad was both bulky and confusing. The lack of proper advertising left many unsure about how the system worked. The Gamepad and console were most definitely companions. Still, the Gamepad’s bulky design was almost as big as the console itself, leading customers to believe that you could use one without the other.
It’s easy to look at the Wii U’s Gamepad now and think of it as a portable console. It looks very much like an early version of the Nintendo Switch. But the Gamepad was not portable in the slightest—it required the console to operate.
Even if it were portable, the Gamepad’s design was quite heavy and awkward, especially when compared to the sleek design of the Nintendo Switch, which you can easily slip into your bag. The Gamepad was large and cumbersome on its own, and when combined with the console as well, finding a place to store them tidily together was a challenge.
2. The Wii U Gamepad Was Gimmicky
The Wii U Gamepad was not only bulky and confusing but also seemed to be ignored for the most part. Many Nintendo and third-party games didn’t utilize the full potential of the Gamepad, making it seem like more of a gimmick than an essential feature of the console.
The Wii U Gamepad had a lot of potential to create unique and interesting games that remained untapped for the most part. And while there were certainly games that did take advantage of it, such as Affordable Space Adventures, many others completely ignored the Gamepads screen in favor of a more traditional console-like experience.
While most developers ignored the innovative qualities of the Wii U’s Gamepad, many games still allowed it to shine by taking advantage of its full potential. These and many other games will be lost when the Wii U eShop closes in March 2022. Check out the best Wii U eShop games to find ones worth saving before it’s too late.
3. The Wii U Had Poor Third-Party Support
The Wii U was selling poorly. Therefore, developers decided against creating games for the Wii U, making games for the Nintendo Wii or DS family of systems instead.
When fewer people own a console, there are fewer people to sell games to. This didn’t entice developers to make games for the system. But the fewer games a console offers, the fewer people will purchase it. The Wii U found itself unable to escape this vicious cycle.
Many gamers got around the Wii U’s poor third-party support and made their Wii U useful again by installing Homebrew, allowing them to increase the system’s game library exponentially.
4. The Gamepad Had Poor Battery Life
The Wii U Gamepad’s battery lasted for about three hours on average. This is pretty poor when you consider the Nintendo Switch’s battery has the potential to last up to three times longer. For many gamers, an average gaming session can easily exceed three hours.
Taking breaks between your gaming sessions to charge the Gamepad controller is irritating, to say the least. This is especially true when you consider that games like Mario Party often require moving the Gamepad, which was significantly harder when tethered to an outlet.
5. The Wii U’s Graphics Were Sub-Par
The Wii U was released around the era of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Graphics were advancing in leaps and bounds for these consoles, and the Wii U couldn’t compete in this regard. Nintendo has always focused more on unique and quirky innovation than graphics and specs.
Graphics have never been Nintendo’s strong suit, but the Wii U’s limitations were increasingly apparent compared to what the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had to offer. The Wii U’s graphics just weren’t good enough to entice gamers away from other competing consoles at the time.
Some Risks Don’t Pay Off
Nintendo loves taking risks and coming up with something totally unique that we haven’t seen before in the gaming market. Some of these risks, like the hybrid model of the Nintendo Switch, pay off and solidify Nintendo among the ranks of the biggest video game superpowers.
But others, like the Wii U, have some quirky ideas that just don’t quite work out. And while you can say that the Wii U failed as a successor to the popular Wii, the lessons Nintendo learned from this console allowed it to make the Switch one of the best-selling consoles today.