back to article Wii got it WRONG: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?

We dedicated gamers are a plucky bunch, happy to scream from the rafters that graphics aren’t everything and that gameplay is king. Trouble is, you need only look to Nintendo’s current plight to see that 95 per cent of our fellow games players – those who fill server upon server with online Call of Duty and Battlefield sessions …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?

    Call in the receivers.

    1. G 14

      Re: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?

      except they carry no debt and still have a mountain of cash from the wii/ds. they've survived before, they will survive again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo? @ G 14

        Didn't they once say the Titanic was unsinkable ?

  2. Matthew 17

    Wii failed

    I remember when this thing came out, was supposed to be the hottest thing in the universe, the must have Christmas present. Typically in Nintendo stylee there were none to be found, I ended up paying £100 over the odds and having to drive 100 miles to meet a bloke in a carpark to obtain one for my Son in time for Xmas. I was a good Dad, I had succeeded where others had failed.

    Come the 25th, he unwrapped it, with excitement waved it about and wanted to have a go. Success! However after plugging it in two things became apparent, 1) it looked awful, really bad, the SD analog composite-video output didn't play well with a modern digital HD TV, it looked all blurred and smudgy. 2) he looked really disappointed with it, standing up to play a game was a bit naff and the games were largely hopeless, at least he could play his Game Cube games on it. After 15 minutes it was switched off and the 360 fired up. The only game that got any mileage on the Wii was the Sports game that got bundled with it.

    The SNES was epic, it had loads of killer games on it, the N64 looked dated at launch, the GC was great providing you imported your games as none of the interesting titles ever got a UK release. The Wii, just didn't work, was little more than a gimmick and with the HD games on the PS3/360 spoiling you for eye-candy and great titles Nintendo just lost the game.

    They should go the way of the Sega and license their back catalogue so they can be played on other systems and remind people how great they once were.

    1. Piro

      Re: Wii failed

      N64 dated at launch? What? Super Mario 64 is the most influential 3D platformer of all time, and OoT was one of the most epic and playable Zelda games.

      Not to mention Goldeneye 007, which was basically the only game in town when you had 4 people around a screen, followed up by Perfect Dark. There were some key games on the N64 that made it stand out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wii failed

        The N64s visuals were remarkable compared to the PS1 and the Saturn.

        Goldeneye was a watershed moment in console gaming history.

        Super Mario 64 showed that you could take an old franchise, turn it 3D without losing the fun.

        Pilotwings 64 was a thing of beauty that still gets the occasional play.

        WaveRace was the showcase for water effects.

        What the N64 didn't have was the breadth of games that the PS1's licensing allowed.

        The cartridge format restricted the size of games, and were expensive to produce (and sell) compared to CDs.

        The PS1 struck a cord with the 90s 'lads' era, gaming was no longer Manic Miner in the bedroom, it was Fifa and Gran Turismo in the living room.

        The Gamecube similarly failed against the PS2 and Xbox, the Wii was basically Gamecube with a motion controller. Some fun games - WiiSports, Mario Kart Wii, but once the gimmick wore off it was back to the 360/PS3 for BioShock / GTA4-5 / Forza-GT / Cod-Battlefield / Fallout etc.

        1. Evoflash

          Re: Wii failed

          How can anyone forget that moment in Mario Kart 64 when you fly through 3D space for miles over a river.

          I swear that's where my Vertigo started...

      2. Matthew 17

        Re: Wii failed

        I had one and those games, they looked awful, Nintendo were hoping to release the PlayStation as a plug in to the SNES but the deal went sour and they had to cobble the N64 at the last minute, it's the Atari ST of consoles. Being a Cartridge system with the low ROM capacity that brought made it the poor cousin to the DreamCast and PS1. The N64 was another machine I wasted money on only for it to sit under the telly forgotten.

      3. goldcd

        Game-wise, fantastic

        Sit the plastic box next to a PS1.. well one of them looked 'a bit less cool'

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Wii failed

      The Wii was a massive success. It's the Wii U we're talking about.

      Randomly, I just started playing on the Wii again recently. I wanted a tennis game utilising motion sensing technology and went for EA's Grand Slam Tennis. The graphics are not good but the gameplay is excellent - it's the first game I've played where it actually feels like I'm involved rather than pressing buttons.

      1. Greg D

        Re: Wii failed

        No, I'm pretty sure he was talking about the Wii.

        While a financial success for the box shifter in Nintendo, the console itself was an epic fail. Mainly due to the reasons already given; looked AWFUL on a HD LCD telly, gutless and substance lacking games, kiddy visuals, non-gamers bought it (that should have said it all)... the list goes on.

        I bought one - I admit it. I got caught up in the hype, and wanted one purely for the gimmicky controller. I played some Wii Sports (tennis and bowling) but that was about it. After 10 minutes, it then sat and gathered dust for the rest of its warranty lifetime, whilst I played some real games on a real console (PS3 and PC).

        For a kid, who had a 360 or PS3 (or even a PC) I could very well understand the disappointment they had when seeing the awful migraine inducing graphics for the first time.

        Alas with my Wii, I really tried to make it work. I even bought a Sega game (Sega on Nintendo is a sacrilege in most gamers opinion despite the fact I was always a Sega fanboy growing up) - Madworld. Fun game, but again after about half hour, I was bored of mindlessly swiping my chainsaw to kill blurry black and white cartoons.

        All in all, Wii was a prolonged, elongated path to failure for Nintendo.

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Re: Wii failed

          Sour grapes. That's all you people trying to hate on the Wii have, Sour Grapes. It didn't pander to your personal tastes so you want to try and pretend that it was a failure when it really wasn't.

          The problem isn't that the Wii failed. The Wii succeeded and completely reshaped console gaming.

          The problem is that the followup console was not nearly as interesting by comparison.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wii failed

          > While a financial success for the box shifter in Nintendo, the console itself was an epic fail. Mainly due to the reasons already given; looked AWFUL on a HD LCD telly, gutless and substance lacking games, kiddy visuals, non-gamers bought it (that should have said it all)... the list goes on.

          Define epic fail.

          Millions of people bought them and we still use ours at home.

          Wii created a whole gaming niche all to itself, from people who wouldn't previously have thought about gaming: in a sens it brought gaming to the masses in a way that consoles had not done in the past.

          How on earth you call that an Epic fail is quite beyond me.

          The Wii U has failed because the bulky clever game pad solves no problem that anyone has. It doesn't open any significant edge in terms of gaming that anyone cares about. There is just no compelling reason to buy one. That's why it has tanked.

          The problem that Nintendo has as a company is that no-one there has any imagination. They obviously have no vision for the future.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Wii failed

            WiiU also tanked because the world had moved on.

            Now many people have phones and tablet for casual gaming and they look much better.

            The Wii has a lovely retro/cartoon feel to most of it - golf is probably where the graphics go really bad.

            I suspect this sort of thing would work best as MAME-with-updated-graphics. Take the old simple games, many of which run in 64k and re-write them for multiplayer/party use. Keep the cartoon look but it needs to look good on HD. No-one was ever going to get a Wii for CoD, but as an alternative to watching NCIS repeats, I'm there! Horace and the Spiders, DigDug, Sword of Kadesh. Ahhh, such memories. Perhaps the nice people at Valve will take note, for their Steambox.

            1. Pet Peeve

              Re: Wii failed NOT

              Calling the wii a failure is dumb. if you say that, you're bad and you should feel bad. This is a console that made more for its maker than any other in its generation, and still gets use years later. It got our parents to play games, hell our great-grandparents to play games.

              The problem with the wii U is that nobody who has a wii needs one - they're still using the wii just fine to play the games they like, the component video is plenty good enough for the cartoony graphics that work well in those games, and the hardware was pretty bombproof (if you didn't throw your wimote through your monitor). Does wii sports bowling HAVE to be in HD? I don't think so, it looks good enough on a 50 inch set with the right cable.

              Anyone who wants games in HD probably has an xbox or a playstation too, and there's no reason to upgrade both, especially with the cross-platform developers dumping the wii ports.

              I would love it for nintendo to survive, because they do understand how to make games fun for everyone. But it's going to be rough sledding for a while.

          2. Greg D

            Re: Wii failed

            Yeah I can swallow that - there was a lot of personal opinion in my post.

            However, the epic fail comes both in terms of the impact on Nintendo's image as a core gamer company, and impact on what it will be able do next. People that liked the Wii and still play it (those casual "non-gamers" I mentioned) have absolutely no reason to upgrade to a new overpriced console, which is being shunned by 3rd party devs. The only thing that will keep Ninty going will be its portables (DS, DS 3D etc).

            As for the Wii's success - sales figures are one thing, but I know that most of the Wii consoles sold over the years got used for a few days/weeks, then spent the rest of their lives in the attic gathering dust (like mine). I wouldn't dare speculate on exact figures, but at a complete random guess, I reckon it would be over the 50% mark.

            I could be wrong though. They might come up with a new gimmick that will pull them from the abyss.

            1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

              Re: Wii failed

              I guess the opposing answers comes from the fact the wii succeeded, it's long term plan failed. It was a bit of boom and bust? While presumably the Nintendo could not compete with the same type of offering that MS and Sony provide, it could have played it's strengths, instead of trying a new gimmick. While the XboxOne an PS4 have hardware the WiiU could never compete with (for a profit/costing comparison) they probably should have saved on the hand held screen, and put more into the main unit and controllers. That would have probably kept existing consumers, and gained a few new ones.

              But trying to strike "gold" with a massively popular console twice in a row was a mistake. They could not have hit the sales numbers of the original Wii with the WiiU, as the market had become saturated. They needed to just keep going until another opportunity presented it's self. Though I guess some "risk" is needed in investment, but I don't see such home runs/lucky strikes happening that often to put all the cash in that basket.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wii failed

      Standing up to play a game was a bit naff??

      I assume your son is a couch potato then.. I thought finally actually being able to get off your arse to play a game was excellent! the Kinect brought that to a new level, and nintendo went backwards with their new controller...

      My Sons love playing on the wii, but I do agree the gfx were a bit shit even for back then

      Personally I would never have an XBOX One, because it phones home to daddy I.E. M$, I am very cautious about any connected device in my home, if it NEEDS the internet to work, I get worried...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wii failed

        I agree on the Wii being a 'core gamer' failure. Everyone I know has a wii, the box sold well. Everyone I know has the following games. Monster Hunter tri, Smash Bros, Mario Kart. One or two have Mario Party and another couple have wii Fit.

        The last time any of us played the wii was... 5 years ago? And that was playing Mario Kart. Now I'm not saying me and my friends are the norm (we're far from normal), but that's about all we had. OH and a couple SNES games downloaded, forgot about those.

        It was a massive hardware shifter. But the games people bought for it tended to be few and far between, I can't count the amount of shovelware I saw being released (one of the culprits that killed off the first gaming bubble if I remember correctly).

        So in summary.

        Console wise, it outsold everyone, and it made a profit on each console. It also sold well on accessories since you normally only played with at least 2 people. Game wise, it didn't do nearly as well.

        And bringing it back to the WiiU topic, the WiiU has the problem that casual gamers don't need to replace their wii. Why buy a new one when mariokart is just as fun for parties? And the hardcore market just dont' care. The remainder of 'inbetweeners' will be put off by the shovelware. And the remaining console sales will be 1: Parents thinking they're doing something nice for their kids. 2: The guy that has to have every console. I used to be that guy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wii failed

          > Console wise, it outsold everyone, and it made a profit on each console. It also sold well on accessories since you normally only played with at least 2 people. Game wise, it didn't do nearly as well.

          That seems to be the common perception, (a very similar claim is made in the article) but the actual tie-rate (games per console) is only slightly below the Xbox360 and PS3, while the Wii has sold more software and hardware units.

          I think a slightly more interesting problem for Nintendo was how many of those units were Nintendo's own games, which is good for them, but bad for 3rd party support of the platform.

      2. Matthew 17

        Re: Wii failed

        Possibly, he'd rather play COD or what ever with a pad than stand up waving his arms about. If you want exercise then you go outside.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wii failed

      "he SD analog composite-video output didn't play well with a modern digital HD TV, it looked all blurred and smudgy."

      And what did you expect exactly? Composite video was only ever any use as an improvement from RF. I have 30 year old games consoles and guess what, they look crap if plugged in via composite video as well!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wii failed

        There is an official Wii Component cable (and 3rd party equivalents), and if you have it, you can also actually tell the Wii to output at a slightly higher res (480p) in the settings. (Or if you play the Wii games on a Wii U with an HDMI connector, you'll get a similar improvement).

        1. Lamont Cranston

          Re: Wii Component cable

          I bought one of those, hoping for an improvement in the graphics. Granted, things got a little less blurry, but it still looks like arse on an HD Ready TV (just about passable on the kids 23" telly, unbrearable on the larger telly in the living room - and that's only 32"), and some of the games purchased through the online store refuse to work with it!

          Our Wii is due to be replaced soon (2nd hand, knocking on a bit, and not seeing the latest releases) - tempted to get a U so that we can finish off any old Wii games, but a cheap PS3 is more appealing. Think I agree with everything in the article.

      2. Dodel

        Re: Wii failed

        But isn't that the point?, 30 years ago, we only had that option. In fact my ZX48k connected by RF, but given that the Wii was apparently at the forefront of technology at that time, why not ship with HDMI ?

        I bought the Wii when it was first released, spent about a week playing with it until the novelty wore off and now it's just a soft-modded coaster.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          "While a financial success for the box shifter in Nintendo, the console itself was an epic fail"

          Being a financial success is the only thing that really matters.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trotters independent traders

      Meet a bloke in a carpark? To obtain? All very cloak and dagger. How do you know it wasn't nicked? Still, just imagine the disappointment you saved somebody from, how's that for a warm glowy Christmas feeling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Re: Trotters independent traders

        That's it, I'm buying a Wii U right away.

        If all you trolls and commentards hate it, then it must be the best console ever.

  3. JeeBee

    I don't think the motion controller was the worst idea in the world, and certainly it made the Wii a good party console.

    But the Wii U's expensive-to-include gamepad certainly is a bad idea, and it's making the Wii U too expensive compared to other options, with little room to reduce the price in the future. Some of that money could have been spent on the lacklustre CPU in the Wii U.

    The PS4 is simply so much better, but not vastly more expensive. The Wii U is this generation's Dreamcast ... but will it even sell 10 million in the end?

    Maybe it's not too late for Nintendo to release a Wii U sans Gamepad but with a classic controller, drop the price, and ensure popular games can run without the Gamepad present.

    1. Piro

      I hear this "Dreamcast" comparison, but I'm never sure where it comes from.

      The Dreamcast was the first practical online console (first with a built in modem), it was the first with analogue triggers, it was the first with a screen on the controller, it was notably more powerful than other consoles at launch (launched before PS2, and even compared to PS2, all output was progressive so it holds up better today, supported hardware AA), and is fondly remembered with a quirky line up. It also has a far better name than "Wii U".

      The Dreamcast and Wii U have completely different mindsets behind their design. The Dreamcast was from a powerful arcade manufacturer who wanted to cleanse the palette of the misguided 32X and Saturn, and get back to a solid gaming experience with a powerful machine (the arcade version, NAOMI, lived on for a very, very long time). Games were varied, and often as good looking as it was possible to make them (Shenmue for example).

      The Wii U on the other hand is everything a cookie-cutter Wii sequel should be - gimmicky and underpowered. Thing is, it's not that interesting second time round (or arguably, the first time round).

      The Wii U is innovative in what way, exactly? PlayStation has had remote play with the PSP and PS3 before the Wii U, and still has it now with PS4 and Vita. Motion controls were popularised with the Wii, but were around before that (Dreamcast fishing controller can be used like a crude Wiimote).

      The only shame is that Nintendo won't develop or port their games for other platforms.

      1. tranzophobia

        I thought you could connect a GBA to the Gamecube or is my memory failing me?

        Agree with the articles sentiments about the Wii and the controller. I bought Twilight Princess for the GC as i couldn't be bothered with the whole waving my arms about in the air malarkey on the Wii.

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          You can with a link cable, yes. It is most excellent in Pacman Vs. Also there's Zelda : Four Swords where you can team up with three other GBA players!

      2. Greg D

        With you on the Dreamcast thing.

        I am still, to this day, baffled as to how this did not save Sega from oblivion. The console was so far ahead of its time, clearly, even gamers didn't realise what they were missing out on.

        The graphics were amazing. The online capability worked so well for a lot of games. It had a keyboard and frikkin' mouse you could use to play Quake 3 online with for christ's sake! Powerstone obliterated the playing field for 4-player on-screen fighting action, followed closely by 4 player DOA, and Soul Calibur blew my mind. Metropolis Street Racer bought racing to the streets of London in all its graphical glory (still not sure the PS2 was that much better, if at all!). Crazy Taxi, such an epic game, showed how you were supposed to do arcade ports (for all intents and purposes, it was EXACTLY the same game minus the coin-op).

        I could go on. I owned 4 Dreamcasts and played them into oblivion (they slowly died over the years). I still have all my games. I miss Sega :(

        Maybe Nintendo were shit scared after seeing what happened to Sega, and decided to release the shitty consoles they do these days. IMO, Nintendo were not worth a rub since the N64. Nothing after that came close to any of their predecessors, or any of the competition.

        1. Piro

          How did they die? Do they start shutting down randomly? Open the case up, unscrew the PSU, and pull the PSU up from the contacts, give those contacts a bit of a clean and reseat the PSU. Often this simple trick helps.

          1. Greg D

            Oh believe me, I know this trick! One of them I killed myself while attempting to use a PS/2 optical mouse to replace my broken Dreamcast mouse - alas PS/2 into a custom USB bus kinda blew the USB controller in the Dreamcast up.

            The next one was a terminal PSU failure.

            The next a GD-ROM drive failure (yes, I forgot Sega even bought out their own disc format! Gigabyte Disc)

            The last another PSU failure. I think. I may have thrown it out not realising it was still working. If I did I will kick myself.

            They all lasted well over a year though with a LOT of use.

            Oh yeah and I forgot Ready 2 Rumble boxing. Frikkin awesome game.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Drive failure can usually be fixed. There's a pot on the board that you you adjust to give it a little more juice. Eventually it won't take anymore but good results have been had from this method.

              If I threw away every old computer that had a PSU failure I wouldn't have much left! Usually a few caps and half hour with a soldering iron (the caps in BBC micro PSU blow in a most entertaining manner).

              Caps don't last forever so its always a case of "when" not "if" they blow.

        2. Chika

          "I am still, to this day, baffled as to how this did not save Sega from oblivion. The console was so far ahead of its time, clearly, even gamers didn't realise what they were missing out on."

          The trouble was that by the time the Dreamcast was released, the damaged was already done by a string of releases that, at best, were fair and, at worst, were total garbage. Having been assaulted in short order by the 32X and Sega CD extensions for what the Merkans refer to as the Genesis followed quickly (by which I mean only a matter of months) by the Saturn, people were going off Sega.

          I totally agree that the Dreamcast was a good machine but Sega had already stuffed themselves. A real shame too. And yes, I can see Nintendo going the exact same way.

          1. Greg D

            I hear what you're saying there. I owned a Saturn (didnt bother with 32X - what a waste of effort that was) and I have to say as much as I wanted it to be awesome, it was a very lackluster console. I think Sega's main issue with that was lack of decent titles, and Sony releasing the PS1 to a huge marketing campaign. Sega didnt seem to spend a penny on their marketing - or more likely couldnt afford to from what I hear.

            Very unfortunate, since the Dreamcast should have turned their fortunes around. I guess we have the fickle gamer mentality to thank for that. And Sony's budget.

            1. Paul Webb

              The Dreamcast was an awesome machine launched by a company so crippled by the failure of the Saturn (an overpriced 2D machine released at a time the world was going 3D) that it no longer had the financial or marketing clout to fully support the console. There wasn't much optimism even while the SDK was still being developed and the 'Dreamcast is Coming' teasers just baffled everyone.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Didn't Sega nerf a metric f-tonne of finances in football sponsorship, also? I remember reading an article about this shortly after it's European demise (as I recall it still had a loooooong life in JP, well into the late 2000's) which stated the budget on in-house releases and other marketing was washed up on this. Memory could be faulty on this one though.

                Was (IMHO) a way ahead of its time console - still got mine with some tape covering the fan duct as that got a bit whiny with age. Not smart but worked!

                Worth noting that the XBox was the spiritual successor in lots of respects (that controller just felt right, y'know?!) so it still lives on in the gaming bloodline, albeit somewhat diluted by grey/brown FPS's and not enough Space Channel 5's, Rez's or StarLancers....and Sonic should just die already, getting embarrassing for everyone involved.

                But, like I said, Dreamcast always seemed like a well thought-out (in terms of tech, if not marketings - always the way) gambit for Sega. And begs the question - is it better to burn out or to fade away? As Ninty is really looking like the latter of these options, which is a shame. But, as we know, stale IP eventually turns rotten.

                1. ThomH Silver badge

                  If I dare challenge the received image: Sega makes most of its money from manufacture and distribution of coin operated entertainments — not just video games but a bunch of things. It's always had a very profitable business in that. It had a successful foray into home entertainment but was losing money every year by the time the Dreamcast was on sale. It was therefore smart and pragmatic severely to scale down the home entertainment side while continuing to enjoy the coin op profits. It's impressive that such a company went for broke with the Dreamcast rather than hedging on the escape strategy but the latter was always a safe option.

                  No oblivion, none coming. Just a gamble that didn't pay off.

              2. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Sega spent a huge proportion of their UK Dreamcast marketing budget sponsoring Arsenal instead of the massive amount of TV advertising Sony did for the Playstation.

      3. Blitterbug
        Thumb Up

        @Piro

        Have a thumbs-up for excellent prose. 'Cleanse the palette...' indeed! However, I sooo want to DV you for the WiiU comments! I love the little black box full of Mario & Luigi goodness. I loved Mass Effect 3 on it, and Arkham City Armored Edition rocks (in unstrained full HD). I still play the console regularly and buy new games for it, it's hooked into my 1080p monitor with an HDMI switch box along with my main PC and PS4 and I flip between all three video sources every day. Just recently got the new Mario 3D land. Oh, and I run Wii mode quite a lot too. Love Mario Galaxy, NSMB, Mario Kart Wii & Wii Tennis, plus some lovely JRPGs like Pandora's Tower.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Dreamcast was wonderful. Its failure was a tragedy as it has a superb catalogue of games that are just plain fun in the good old seafront arcade style.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          What failed the Dreamcast was a combination of bad timing and strong competition. By the time the Dreamcast came out, Sega was already perceived as on its last legs. They were desperate enough to try to jump the gun AND not use the new DVD format for its games. Both were gambles and in this case they didn't pay off.

          Meanwhile, Sony went the other way and decided to wait. By using DVD media, they could paradigm shift gaming expectations away from whatever Sega could produce (and though Sega could produce superior graphics, the TVs of the time—HDTV wasn't even out yet—meant it wasn't easy for the average gamer to see it). Not to mention it also meant it could double as a DVD player at a time when the format was novel and in demand, fueling a synergy between the two. Furthermore, they chose to include PS1 backward compatibility, which meany anyone who missed out on the PS1 generation and its large number of great games could buy in with one purchase. Plus, in gaming terms Sony really is the gorilla in the room because it's not just a gaming company. It's a media company as well; they could perform media tie-ins none of the other companies can achieve. Only Nintendo with iconic decades-old franchises could come close to that level of media power. The deathblow probably came when EA (THE most-demanded sports gaming company) pretty much snubbed Sega. EA is considered the third party to watch when it comes to support. When EA snubs a platform, pretty much everyone else realizes it's a lost cause. Like it or not, when it came to sports gaming then and probably now, EA blazes the trail.

      5. Lost in Cyberspace

        Re:

        Nintendo could go the same way as Sega. Just hope that Zelda, Mario, Kirby etc have enough value to be made for any remaining consoles. There are some great games there...

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    You want to loose weight?

    Read the label - if it says 'Fructose' on it and it ain't fruit put it back. Damn stuff makes you HUNGRY!

    1. handle

      Re: You want to loose weight?

      If you're prone to "loosing" weight you'd be advised to wrap yourself in a protective silicone sleeve like a Wii Remote.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: You want to loose weight?

      Wouldn't that just be one step towards no longer gaining weight? My understanding is that the most recommended way to lose weight is to eat a healthy mix of food in a minimum safe quantity and exercise to create a moderate daily energy deficit.

  5. Ian 56

    "95 per cent of our fellow games players – those who fill server upon server with online Call of Duty and Battlefield sessions – tend to disagree"

    Citation please.

    CoD and Battlefield players are no fellows of mine.

    Heck, online multiplayers are no fellows of mine.

    Why would anyone give the first shit about what is, in a very crowded field, the most notoriously abusive online gaming community?

    1. Thomas 4

      Besides

      Everyone knows the foulest community out there is the MOBA community - Dota 2, LoL and especially Heroes of Newerth. Christ.

  6. Graham Triggs

    Gameplay is more important than graphics. But as with most things, it's all relative. It was OK for the Wii to introduce a fairly radical motion control, coupled with not top of the line hardware. But the Wii U doesn't really do anything interesting, and the hardware is far behind the PS4 and Xbox One.

    That doesn't just matter for graphics, but gameplay as well. If it was just slightly more basic graphics, coupled with an original, interesting input mechanism, it would be fine. But lacking in processing power affects also the kind of simulations / AI that it can run - limiting the possibilities for gameplay.

    Tablets and phones are getting advanced enough now that it completely undermines Wii U's position in the market.

    If you're going to do a dedicated console now, you need to give it enough power to make it worth being a console, otherwise it's impossible to sell.

    1. Greg D

      "Gameplay is more important than graphics."

      True, but when you release a unit that outputs display at SD resolutions, when I'd dare say EVERY single household that bought one had a HD display... very short sighted decision there.

      We all know how awful SD looks on a HD display (particularly the earlier generation and cheaper HD displays that don't have sophisticated software to smooth it out).

  7. TheFinn
    Childcatcher

    All downhill from Wolfenstein

    Nintendo always tried to keep the violence out of their games. They didn't believe their core-users were titillated by guns, gore and Nazis, and set their fantasy worlds accordingly.

    Unfortunately, the world moved on. Our fantasy worlds have become grittier - look at our movies, books, comics, (Batman Begins vs Batman, The Faraway Tree vs Harry Potter, Superman vs Watchmen). Nintendo's worlds didn't keep up. It wasn't a race to the bottom, really, but it was a race to give the most visceral experience. The Wii succeeded, here, initially. One didn't have to believe in their fantasy world, because one could physically interact with it. When the initial buzz wore off, however, you realised you were interacting with every one of their fantasy worlds in exactly the same way. All the FPSes on their competitors systems might've all looked and played alike, but that just drove the need for compelling storytelling. That's where Nintendo fell down - they stopped telling stories people wanted to hear.

    Of course, it all fell apart, really, when a decent swordfighting game didn't materialise. What the buggery is the point in a controller you can swing if you can't swing a big, fuckoff sword?

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: All downhill from Wolfenstein

      "Our fantasy worlds have become grittier - look at our movies, books, comics, (Batman Begins vs Batman, The Faraway Tree vs Harry Potter, Superman vs Watchmen)."

      There were many, many violent films from the 80s and 90s. Predator, Terminator 1 and 2. Even The Princess Bride has a speech amounting to a threat to cut a man to bits ("Your ears you keep and I'll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish."). Terminator 3 was very tame by comparison to the first two.

      1. TheFinn

        Re: All downhill from Wolfenstein

        There were, you're right. Aside from what you've mentioned, there were the video-nasties from before VHS censorship. But even before the censorship, it'd be a callous director that aimed the likes of Cannibal Holocaust at kids. But look at Robocop, Terminator, Predator - all repackaged for the modern era with a 15 certificate. That which was aimed at adults is now aimed at children. It stands to reason that computer games, for which children were the trailblazers for adoption, would mature in the same way.

        But Nintendo's games didn't. They wanted to target the younger generation, but their rose-tinted version of that generation may never exist again. Maybe they should market themselves to the Amish. They shouldn't mind last-gen tech, anyway. They were on the ball with Pokemon, but that adhered to the trend. Raising a Tamagotchi was diverting. Raising a Tamagotchi that can kill other Tamagotchis, and die from more than suffocating in its own droppings, is infinitely more interesting.

        Personally, I find the most morally dubious scene in The Princess Bride to be the poisoning challenge against the Sicilian.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All downhill from Wolfenstein

          "But Nintendo's games didn't. They wanted to target the younger generation, but their rose-tinted version of that generation may never exist again"

          I'm not sure. I wonder if it's a Japanese thing, what with all that anime art stuff, and in Japan adults actually enjoy that graphic style?

          Having said that, I got a Wii for the kids, and was gobsmacked by the awfulness of the graphics, the poor gameplay, the mind numbing sound tracks, the limited range of games, and the lack of breadth of those games. Then there's minor irritations like the lack of good control or input options, the poor menu and setup logic, the lack of easy on-line gameplay. The Wii may have sold well, but it was so deficient in so many important ways that I'm still staggered. Having paid good money for a device so mediocre, I can't see many former customers forming a queue to buy another Ninendo product. If the ghost of Christmas future visits the board of Nintendo, then he will show them the company formerly known as RIM, unfortunately it's clearly too late, and Nintendo will be following RIM down the technology sewer.

  8. DrXym Silver badge

    It's not surprising it failed

    The Wii U was very expensive at launch, underpowered (even compared to 6 year old PS3 and 360), and has failed to attract 3rd party support. It simply doesn't have the hardware sales to justify 3rd party game development (or even ports). Probably Nintendo is the only one making money from games and even that's questionable. The platform is in a downward spiral.

    They should probably give up the West as a lost cause and target emerging markets like India, China and Brazil. Maybe with a price adjustment they can make more headway there.

    Another option of course is to do a SEGA and dump the hardware business altogether. Think of all the opportunities brands like Mario, Pokemon etc. are missing out on by not supporting Android or the other consoles.

    Or maybe they should get themselves bought out by someone like Disney who'd probably do the SEGA for them but could also diversify the brands out into theme parks, merchandising, TV shows etc.

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: It's not surprising it failed

      Android and iOS games are not an answer to Nintendo's problem...

      Imagine a Pokemon game released for one of the phone OS's. You would either need to spend hours searching for Pokeballs or spend your hard cash to buy some.

      Alternatively they would sell it at the normal retail price and everybody would moan that it was too expensive for a phone game.

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: It's not surprising it failed

        "Alternatively they would sell it at $1 and everybody would moan that it was too expensive for a phone game."

        FTFY.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: It's not surprising it failed

        "Android and iOS games are not an answer to Nintendo's problem..."

        I said Android and other consoles. In other words go cross platform.

        And of course it's one answer since other companies like King, Rovio etc. make hundreds of millions dollars from their IP.

        Nintendo could make a huge amount of money from supporting handhelds and more from consoles, PCs etc. Just make good games and people will buy them in droves. They'd make more money than they'd ever make from the Wii U, assuming they ever make money from it at all.

      3. Lost in Cyberspace

        Re: It's not surprising it failed

        Agree.

        There's also the minor problem that Android / iOS devices generally don't have standard physical controllers.

        Games that play well on 3DS or big consoles don't yet translate well to tablets and smartphones.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Opened up the casual gaming market

    The Wii- to be fair- *did* tap in to the underexploited "casual" gaming market, even if the very nature of that market meant it wasn't as lucrative over the long-term as it first appeared.

    It seems to me that Nintendo's problem with the Wii U is that they want lightning to strike twice. That controller struck me as a contrived and gimmicky (*) attempt to replicate the innovation of the original Wiimote. The other problem is that the casual market has moved on since the Wii launched seven years ago, having significantly transferred to tablets, smartphones et al that didn't even exist back when the Wii launched in 2006 (**)

    The marketing has also been awful- many people don't even know the Wii U is a brand new, "next generation" console. Well, "next generation" compared to the original Wii- like that, it's still a generation behind its contemporaries (PS4 and XBone). That's the other problem- the Wii got away with being behind technically because it wasn't trying to appeal to the polygons-per-second obsessed, teenage-bedroom-hardcore-gamer types, but opened the whole new "casual" market... so Nintendo think they can get away with that again. But that would only apply if the Wii U offered anything new, and it doesn't- it's trying to replicate the Wii's playbook when that's already been done, and in a more competitive environment for casual gaming.

    BTW, from the article:-

    "..the company would have emphasised production of Zelda, Mario Kart, Star Fox, Smash Bros. Metroid and Mario [..] re-imagined in next-gen visuals and with robust multiplayer. [..] The resulting success of a Wii U alternative would have meant less dependence on classic NES, SNES, N64 and GBA games as system sellers."

    Makes it sound like this is meant to be something new and interesting, when it still appears to be suggesting Nintendo's same old exploitation of the same old franchises (especially Mario and Zelda) that they've been milking on every new console for god knows how many generations now.

    How far can they push this alleged endless fondness for their tedious franchises that is probably more reliant on people who grew up with them in the 80s and are now *parents* with happy memories than it is on today's kids? (***)

    Seriously, Zelda is *old* now:-

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4922/1159/400/zelda.jpg

    (*) And expensive to produce and purchase, which in turn reduces the multiplayer appeal that the original Wii relied upon- who wants to have to buy a screen controller for every one of your friends you might want to play?

    (**) At least, not in their present form, nor as remotely mass-market devices

    (***) I say "alleged" because it always grates that Nintendo nostalgia is pushed in the UK as if *we* grew up with the NES in the 80s. The NES was outsold by the Sega Master System in the UK, and neither were as culturally dominant as the NES was in the US and Japan- our market remained far more home-computer driven. It wasn't until the early-90s 16-bit SNES era that Nintendo became really popular here- I was an 80s kid, and Nintendo never meant much to me.

    1. Gio Ciampa

      Re: Opened up the casual gaming market

      "same old exploitation of the same old franchises"

      Sounds like most of the other consoles too - at least as far as hype is concerned

    2. Don Dumb
      Unhappy

      Re: Opened up the casual gaming market

      How far can they push this alleged endless fondness for their tedious franchises that is probably more reliant on people who grew up with them in the 80s and are now *parents* with happy memories than it is on today's kids? (***)

      Seriously, Zelda is *old* now:-

      But that's just the problem, bring out a good HD console with Mario Kart and I'm interested. Bring out a (properly) new Zelda with good reviews and I'm interested. Hell, remake Ocarina of Time in HD (like they did with Windwaker), I'd buy the console today.

      But Nintendo neither have good games out for the Wii U to hook people like me in, nor do they have anything tangible to get people who were already happy with their Wiis and see no reason to upgrade.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opened up the casual gaming market

      " but opened the whole new "casual" market... "

      and promptly shut it. Just because the customers didn't know about frames per second, GPU pipelines, or any other anorak stuff, they do know rubbish when they see it. And the graphics were rubbish, the games were few, and the appeal short term.

      Arguably Nintendo did a dis-service to the whole gaming industry by persuading casual gamers that gaming was uninvolving, graphically unconvincing, repetitive, and accompanied by soundtracks so bad that they can reduce your IQ simply through exposure.

  10. ratfox Silver badge

    Memories

    I remember seeing a presentation from an expert explaining how the Wii was the on the "next gaming curve" while the Xbox and Playstation were on the "previous gaming curve".

    And now it seems like the Wii was just a one-off niche product… Goes to show that only hindsight is 20/20.

  11. regadpellagru
    Meh

    Not in agreement with the core of the article

    I'll concede one point: yes, "WII" and "WII U" are ridicule names, sure. But let's get over it.

    The reason for WII U struggling (I don't think it is dead yet) is the complete lack of games long after launch time. Heck, we're 1.5 years after launch and we only had some compelling game launch dates (Mario Kart 8 and some more to come), mere days ago !

    It seems this was due to Nintendo being unable to work efficiently with third party devs, which is essential to any successful console launch.

    I don't buy a single second it struggles because of the lack of any bang-bang-fire-fire type of games, or any top-notch GPU/CPU combo. Otherwise, the original WII would have sunk 2 months after release. The market is already chock full of such high-end console, with PC/MAC being on the same game market but for those IT capable. And this is before any steam box comes to shake the market some more.

    People that have bought the WII and/or WII U are after different kind of games, that include family friendly games, which are totally ignored by other consoles/PC/MAC.

    So, yes, WII U survives with the various emulators of past consoles which is everything but sexy, and also it does survive with the largely overlooked full WII compatibility, which no other console has, but it is only to let more time for games release. No-one would seriously think a console emulation console would be successful.

    Only thing I'm wondering is why Ninty did let relationship with devs go so severely bad, while Iwata himself had long repeated third party devs were an essential part of Ninty's strategy ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not in agreement with the core of the article

      More interesting insight that seems to back up your comment about Nintendo's problem with third-party devs (or rather, third-party devs' problems with Nintendo):-

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-secret-developers-wii-u-the-inside-story

      1. regadpellagru

        Re: Not in agreement with the core of the article

        > More interesting insight that seems to back up your comment about Nintendo's problem with third-party devs (or rather, third-party devs' problems with Nintendo):-

        > http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-secret-developers-wii-u-the-inside-story

        Eh, nice one AC, thanks !

        I seem to have read a similar story, but not the same and with a lot less details ...

        The part about translating questions from 3rd party devs into Japanese and reverse for the answers is quite baffling. How is it some guys in 21st century are pro devs but can't write/read english ?

        Back to my dev time (90s), I was not able to fluently talk about politics, the cycles of the moon, or history, in english, sure, but writing/reading about programing, surely yes. Wouldn't have learnt a single dev language otherwise !

    2. Piro

      Re: Not in agreement with the core of the article

      "I'll concede one point: yes, "WII" and "WII U" are ridicule names, sure. But let's get over it."

      Nah, I think it's actually very important - a lot of consumers think Wii U is some kind of tablet accessory for the Wii, a console they're already a bit tired of.

      Whether the name is ugly or bad is personal opinion, but it's pretty clear it's a confusing name.

  12. Hasham

    They still have an amazing back catalogue

    I think if Nintendo focussed a significant proportion of their energy and resources in getting their digital store laden with games of olde, which could be played on the Wii U gamepad, the Wii U could claw back a lot of what it's lost.

    As a Wii owner, I would want my digital purchases on that platform to be freely available on the Wii U platform too, maybe even my 3DS ones too like I can crossplay some of my PS3 stuff on the Vita. After all, it is MY account, not my console's account.

    1. John 172

      Re: They still have an amazing back catalogue

      Looks like Nintendo have heard the call about it being your account and not the consoles. Was setting up ours yesterday and the guide explicitly said if you have a 3DS use the same account details and link them to the WiiU rather than have two different ones. Don't know about cross play but that certain goes for the virtual console purchases.

  13. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Don't know what you're talking about, Nintendo have a great current gen console

    It's visually impressive, fast enough, innovative, uses social features well and has a great back catalogue.

    What, Wii U? Hell no, I'm talking about the 3DS XL! Fantastic handheld and the 3D is used well on many occasions. Also loving indie games in the marketplace.

  14. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    There was nothing wrong with the Wii

    There was nothing wrong with the Wii when it came out. It introduced the world to a more natural way of playing games that expanded the game playing market from spotty teenagers to families. Sony and Microsoft were eventually forced to follow their lead.

    However there were a number of problems.

    1. The controllers themselves were obviously not ready, meaning a separate add on was sold later to add extra axis and sensitivity. This in turn meant you had a segmentation in the games market meaning that buying games became confusing. The better controllers should have come out with the original console.

    2. The console was not discounted enough. It took ages for the price to come down, way past the time the original development costs were covered. The PS2 and the XBox discounted heavily after the initial subscribers had been catered for. This meant the Wii started looking remarkable expensive. Both MS and Sony realised what Nintendo didn't. There is more money to be made from software licencing than hardware.

    3. The Nintendo title conveyor belt was very slow. As a family we loved Mario Karts, but they never came with a follow up or even extra tracks, so after 3 months it got boring. Even now there are really no games to play for the wii. The Important point. It's about the software stupid.

    The Wii U just doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. What people want is a better Wii, HD graphics, better controllers etc and aggressively priced. Instead Nintendo tried to pull the same trick as with the original wii and introduce a new way of playing games. This time however it just doesn't work

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Even now there are really no games to play for the wii.

      It's wierd, the wii is villified for all the shovelware, yet peole still say there's no games available for it. There are loads of games to play for the wii. Ones I've enjoyed include: Animal crossing, Endless Ocean 1 & 2, House of the Dead: Overkill, Kirby's Epic Yarn, No More Heroes 1 & 2, The Last Story, Another code, de Blob, Deadly Creatures, Disaster: Day of Crisis, Excite Truck, Ghost Squad, Let's Tap, Little King's Story, Mushroom Men, Okami, Opoona, Pandora's Tower, Pikmnin, Ravin' Rabbids, Sakura Wars, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Sin & Punishment, Trauma Centre, Wario Ware and Xenoblade Chronicles. Download games I've liked include the Art Style games, the bit trip games, bonsai barber and Lost Winds.

      Lots of the boxed games can be picked up for a pittance these days...

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: Even now there are really no games to play for the wii.

        @sabroni I think maybe the point is that the Wii was marketed as a game console for families. Many of the titles you mentioned are fine games, but they don't play to the wii's strengths. I have played one of the Fifa franchises and a racing game. While both are adequate the graphics and controls means the experience was not as good as playing it on something like the PS3 or Xbox

        I bought the latest Dance Party this Christmas (for the kids you realize). I while it was fun, you quickly find the limitations, especially it is virtually impossible to free enough space to update with new tracks(for some reason you cannot put them on the SD card). The Wii is fun, but it is a dead end

      2. breakfast

        Re: Even now there are really no games to play for the wii.

        Xenoblade Chronicles is an outstanding game. I certainly feel that I got the most benefit from the Wii by getting one late on so there were more games around for it.

    2. John Deeb

      Re: There was nothing wrong with the Wii

      Completely agreed, hammarbtyp! My interest died down because just having Kart, Sports, Fit, Super Mario and Kirby's adventure was not enough. As you said, Kart should have had some follow-up, the WiFit should have way more engaging content and the controllers were indeed not finished it seemed. It almost seemed they overextended themselves and lost valuable time to ride out the whole wave. The other consoles gained the momentum and with their power could also cater the more serious player, who drive the real market. The casual player (me) is not a very interesting target really, unless you can hook me.

  15. Jim84

    Losing the magic

    Totally agree with the author that the Wii was an aberration. I think it succeeded because the TV ads promised one to one control of an onscreen avatar with the wii-mote. Once anyone used the thing for more than 5 minutes they realized this wasn't the case. But this bait and switch combined with a knock down price was decisive. Microsoft repeated the trick with Kinect, but most consumers are warier now.

    The other reason was that Nintendo had built up a lot of goodwill with great games on the N64 and Gamecube (even if the gamecube came 3rd equal with the Xbox). But contrast Mario Cart 64 with Mario Cart Wii. Nintendo horribly compromised the controls just to shoehorn the wii-mote into it.

    Also, you can't keep churning out the same games forever, no matter how fun they are. People got sick of guitar hero. They'll eventually get sick of COD multiplayer. The next big thing will be something slightly evolved and different. The more processing power you give developers, the more chance they have of improving things.

    I think Nintendo's days as a hardware manufacturer are now numbered and it will go the way of Sega sooner or later.

  16. John 172
    Stop

    Nintendo got the marketing wrong, not the console.

    I really wonder how many of the people posting comments here have actually ever played a game on the WiiU or are judging a book by the cover? I keep hearing that the WiiU is underpowered, compared to what? The WiiU is a more powerful console than either the PS3 or the XBox360 and the numerous graphics comparisons now floating around on the web confirm this. The WiiU premium package is now half the price of the PS4 and XBoxOne and frankly, the WiiU has better games available than either of those machines. The gamepad is marvellous, mostly as an alternate screen for the console, the screen on the gamepad is very large, high resolution and pin sharp and there's no lag between it and the TV at all; plus you can switch the TV off and keep playing if you so desire, very useful if someone else wants to use the TV. Making it a universal remote was also genius.

    I think Nintendo are right to be focussing on releasing quality software for their machine, after all, we don't buy these things for the spec sheets, we buy them to run software on! Maybe Sony and Microsoft should be focussing on quality and enjoyable game play rather than their current focus on processing power and rendering ever more detailed murder and killing scenes in games.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nintendo got the marketing wrong, not the console.

      I got a Wii U this Xmas, before that I had said no, because of a complete lack of games.

      They still don't have much going for it yet, may as well be a Neo Geo.

      1. Rob

        Re: Nintendo got the marketing wrong, not the console.

        The only reason I would buy a Wii U would be so that I can play Lego City Undercover and that's because it isn't available on any other console. If I could find somewhere I could rent a Wii U I would just for this purpose.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tbh

    I, much like old Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation, am rather divided over Nintendo.

    They;re the only people that still put out a proper games console, remember why we used to enjoy consoles? You could get all your mates around the machine and play fun games (at all stages of life) when you're young drinking cola and eating sweets, when you're a teen smoking gear, drinking coke and munching on mac donalds, into the twenties smoking less gear but drinking more booze, so on and so forth. Always providing games that a stimulant/depressent addled mind can understand for a good time. This is what Nintendo still gets and Sony and Microsoft don't, Sony and Microsoft sell obsolete PC technology in a compact package, Nintendo sells a games console.

    At the same time, Nintendo's game range is pretty crap. Which is a shame. But at the end of the day it's far better drunk fun then any of the alternatives.

    But "Hardcore" (can't be real hardcore if you use a console) gamers will stick to their xbones and playstation 4s. They really should just move on to using PCs though if they aren't getting a bunch of mates around to play local co-op.

  18. mark1978

    We bought a Wii in the Christmas of 2009 - pretty late to it, but we still enjoyed it when we got it, played Wii Sports for a good while and had the fitness bundle too. But that only lasted about a month or two before we'd played Wii Sports to death and then discovered there wasn't really anything more to it. So it's been sat under the TV, switched off, for years now.

    The Wii U didn't offer anything new, a controller with an iPhone in it? Great...

    The main issue is that people who bought a Wii remember why they stopped playing it, so why would we want to buy another one?

    1. Obitim

      Me too

      Yeah, we did exactly the same, but went one step further and bought Guitar Hero...We've had the Wii for about 4 years now...it's still a lovely ornament under the TV gathering dust...not been played since 2010 I think

  19. tsdadam

    Mode 7 Starwing?

    I think you're mixing up your Super FX with your Mode 7. Mode 7 was the background scaling and rotating Effect Du Jour that was used in a ton of games from the likes of F-Zero onwards. Super FX was the Argonaut-developed chip that was popped in Starwing and others.

    1. Fading Silver badge

      Re: Mode 7 Starwing?

      Mode 7 was the videotex compatible text mode implemented using the SAA5050 chip.......

      My mistake - wrong nostalgia thread.

      1. tony
        Happy

        Re: Mode 7 Starwing?

        :)

        (The post is required, and must contain letters.)

  20. nz2014a

    As a "non gamer" former Wii user, I would have happily forked out for it's replacement. I kicked the tires on it when it was released, but it did not take the original motion control concept to any new heights. It appeared to be a gaming console like all the others. They thought their market was gamers, but it was really the rest of us.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On the contrary, I think they already knew that they were targetting the non-"gamer" (by which I mean non-*hardcore*, casual gamer). The DS and DS Lite had *already* been a success despite being technically inferior to their rival PSP, because unlike the PSP they weren't just offering the same home console games shoved into a smaller machine, but something different and more suited to the casual style of gaming that most people would want on the go.

      I bought a DS Lite for that reason, despite not being much into gaming- whereas I wouldn't have considered a PSP for the same reason.

      Let's be honest, if the Wii *had* been intended to go directly against the PS3 and XBox 360 on the same terms (i.e. "serious" gamer console with "traditional" controller games), anyone can see that it would have flopped horribly, since at a purely technical level it wasn't much better than the previous-generation PS2 (that was already cheap and with a massive library of games).

  21. Humpty McNumpty

    I quite like it

    I think the WiiU is a little underrated. Like many others we had a Wii and it did quickly fall out of favour for any kind of actual gaming. However unlike many of the other people who had one we also have a PS3, 360 and a well specified PC. Many of the titles we did pick up for the Wii were really quite quirky while others seem to struggle to make full use what the controls offered. There was little incentive to buy non-exclusives as Wii versions.

    If you play with the WiiU, you will find the new controller does in fact offer a wealth of new possibilities, conceivably it may have been cheaper to offer some kind of dock that adds physical controls to your existing phone or tablet, but that would almost certainly introduce problems with crappy underpowered hardware, poor chipsets and crappy sensors.

    There is surely a place for Nintendo and its consoles in the market, steering clear of the violent, stressful or intense gaming that typify what is offered by the other platforms is surely a good idea. Why not focus on the fun, playful, family friendly stuff that befits a device located in the family living room (where the Xbox wants to be) rather than being consigned to the bedroom of a spotty teenager.

    The online stuff could do with some work, and so could game pricing. Nintendoland is great fun but it feels like a tech demo and so could really be much cheaper.

    1. Piro

      Re: I quite like it

      There are fun and innocent games on other platforms, but I do agree with one thing - the family living room - the key thing that I'm glad Nintendo is still doing is local multiplayer.

      Other platforms cynically are going to online multiplayer, and Nintendo still provides good opportunities for split screen and so on. This is good. But that's Nintendo the game developer, not Nintendo the hardware producer.

      There's no reason they couldn't make the same games with the same great local multiplayer for PS4, for example. Wii U infact makes the situation worse than the Wii - because not all players can have a touchscreen controller!

      1. BigBadWolf

        Re: I quite like it

        Asymmetric local multiplayer actually has great promise in these kind of in-room multiplayer situations.

        1. Piro

          Re: I quite like it

          Zombie Master. That was a great mod.

  22. Timfy67

    More than just a doorstop...

    I have hacked (bit of a grand word... installed some software would cover it!) my Wii to run the Homebrew Channel.

    It now has a second lease of life as a media server under my telly, a reasonable juke box and handles netflix, youtube etc reasonably well, albeit in SD. It will stream movies as well as playing them direct from a USB stick.

    I think that if this functionality (yes, I know Netflix and YouTube are on there now) was baked in and available from the start, there would be a lot less dusty Wiis switched off and sat on top of the sky box under the TV.

  23. Irongut

    the créme de la créme of gaming aristocracy

    "Mario, Luigi, Link, Samus Aran, Donkey Kong, Fox McCloud, Kirby, et al"

    OK so I know who the first two are, and Donkey Kong obviously, but Fox McCloud of the clan McCloud? Does he have a Spanish friend and mentor who sounds suspiciously like an Edinburgh milk man? And, who the hell are Link and Samus Aran? I've been plying computer games since Pong and I've never heard of them.

    When I think of Nintendo, I think of that annoying plumber and his crappy platform games, stupid cart racing games with children's characters and crappy under powered hardware like the NES, SNES, N64, Wii or Wii U.

    I will not shed a tear for Nintendo, the sooner they die the better.

    1. handle

      Re: the créme de la créme of gaming aristocracy

      If the article's author wants to show off by using accents, he should not embarrass himself by using the wrong ones...

    2. Don Dumb
      Stop

      Re: the créme de la créme of gaming aristocracy

      @irongut - And, who the hell are Link and Samus Aran? I've been plying computer games since Pong and I've never heard of them.

      Oh dear god. You mean you've been playing games for many decades and yet you've never heard of Zelda?

      Stop whatever you're doing. Go out. Get yourself a Wii or a Gamecube or even a Wii U. Get a copy of Ocarina of Time and enjoy the best experience a game can give. It might be low def, but it's still perfect.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excuse me?

    Yet that would mark the end of Nintendo as an innovator and originator of hardware. We all saw how well that went for Sega.

    Every time I see an article on ninty going software only, I see this tidbit, and every time it's wrong. It isn't leaving the console game that killed of Sega, it was the early transfer from 2d to 3d gaming that killed them off.

    Lets look at their main franchise shall we?

    Sonic: How well did that phase into 3d? We had sonic adventure 1 and 2 on dreamcast and these I'll admit were fun, but the more they pushed into 3d the less the sonic games became... sonic. Sonic is the fastest thing alive, the levels he covered were many many miles completed in just a few minutes. They couldn't do this in 3d. They had to adapt the gameplay, 3d sonic was not the sonic sega fans grew up with and that's what cost them on that franchise.

    As we know there were other games out there too, streets of rage and golden axe were staples of my childhood, and yet think about the first generation of 3d graphics. Or rather think of side scrolling beat'm'ups in general since the move to 3d. There aren't many (dragon crown is all that comes to mind)

    Their racing games, I was never a fan of anyway, but with first party competition from each of the vendors (PGR / GT etc) those didn't stand too much of a chance either.

    Effectively most of their franchises either didn't translate to 3d very well (or at all) or they had stiff first party competition. They were doomed whether they went third party or not.

    Nintendo don't have this problem. Zelda, Donkey Kong, Smash bros, Mario. They've all translated into 3d incredibly well. And more to the point, they don't have much in the way of direct competition from the other first party systems. (Well Smash bro's vs that sony rip off I guess. But I don't see that as much competition personally)

  25. jason 7

    Always felt...

    ...the Wii was a stop-gap panic product that Nintendo didn't really expect to be a hit. Maybe hold out for a couple of years as a novelty product till they could bring out a proper console to rival the 360/PS3.

    But it got a craze behind it and it sold by the truck load. Then I think the relief at Nintendo was so great they sat back, got lazy and never regained focus.

  26. Zmodem

    they just need to add openGL as a sub system renderer, so the console wont just sell to people who like crap games with crap graphics

    the N64 selling to both worlds is what made it good

  27. codejunky Silver badge

    The wii

    I think the Wii was a fantastic success by scoring non-gamers for fitness. Running in parallel with a gamers machine for gamers would have been awesome and the gamers machine being the only one that needs to keep up with the market.

    I did try playing some games on the Wii but sport/fitness was the only thing it seemed good at. I do still have my SNES and it is in working order. I preferred the addiction of the games over the graphics. This is what nintendo did so well, addictive games.

    Even now I reckon the original mario kart is the best version but the one for the Wii was reasonable as a party game.

  28. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    The first kana of Nintendo is

    Esteemed Author» The Big N – or should that be the petite N these days?

    Hiragana Ni perhaps or, better still, the relevant kanji Nin (whichever one that happens to be. There are a lot of kanji with the reading Nin).

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fool me 8 times...

    Hoe many Mario rehashes can you release to try and keep your console alive??

    Wii/Wii-U has been on extended life support for years. It only took a casual look to see that outside the Nintendo games, the Wii was a barren wasteland of decent games (shovelware city). The Wii-U suffers the same fate. In addition, they lost the consumers that became disillusioned with unresponsive wii-more gimmick games like Wii-Sports, and they lost their gamer audience by killing their handful of game franchises (Mario/Zelda) with yearly "haven't I already played this before" games.

    All the while, Sony consoles were seeing things like Uncharted and Last Of Us...

    Nintendo good riddance, the moment they nicked the Wii-mote idea from Sony and peddled it as their own, years before the tech was actually usable, was the moment they lost me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fool me 8 times...

      So Nintendo's IPs are "rehashes" while Uncharted isn't? (Uncharted 4 will be the 6th Uncharted game in 7 years.)

  30. silent_count

    The phone killed the big N

    The casual gamers and kiddies - who represent the demographic which Nintendo targets - are playing Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja or 'hanging out' on facebook. None of which involve buying a dedicated 'games' machine, or being stuck in front of a TV, or paying $100 per 'app'.

    I think the reign of the consoles is coming to a close and Nintendo will be the first, but certainly not the last, to abdicate.

  31. PeterC

    wii - works for me

    Ok not for me, but my 6yr old son. A few months back headed to game exchange and picked up a 2nd hand wii for £40 with controllers etc. Not connected to the internet and cheap 2nd hand games readily available mean he can save up from his pocket money in a few weeks for new games. I admit I happened to have an HDMI upscaler to hand so the picture quality is actually rather good but the games are really fun for him and his mates. I wont buy a 360/one PS3/4 for him for a while - not with the types of games and intensity of game play which are now common place. Sooo many kids his age really enjoy playing these wii games and parents feel way more comfortable letting their kids play them. I admit older kids and adults will want the big box games etc but the rate that 2nd hand wii consoles sell at and their really cheap price tells me there's still a market there and will be for quite some time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wii - works for me

      This is pretty much my story too, except I'm quite happy playing Mario, Pikmin, Rhythm Heaven and various other wacky Japanese "family friendly" games, even after the kids are in bed rather than fork out for and find room for a PS3/Xbox to play "gritty" games.

      It is however, telling to play it with my 3 year old, as all the little touches (like having a Mii that looks like his Nan milling around in the background while he's playing table tennis) absolutely delight him. Nintendo are unmatched at that kind of stuff.

      Also, talking of second hand bargains, you can get Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat for Gamecube, complete with a set of plastic bongos for 15 quid second hand via Amazon and play it on a Wii via backwards compatibility.

      Made by the same team as Mario Galaxy, it's a stone cold classic, and although they re-released it for the Wii with "waggle" controls, it deserves to be played as it was intended to be, on a set of little plastic bongos.

    2. Tank boy

      Re: wii - works for me

      Precisely. We have a young nephew who comes by time to time (more now that we have a newborn) and after 5 minutes of meet and greet, he wants to fire up the Wii. We have no problem with that, we have a bunch of family-ish games (I have to hide the Mortal Kombat) that I picked up second-hand on the cheap. The wife likes the fit games (also picked up second hand, to include that thingy you stand on), and likes the idea that our young son (he's only 7 months) can inherit this system when he's old enough to play, and will be nice for a starter. I'm a non-gamer so this is good enough. I don't like that it looks like dog-ass on my HD tv, but for what it does, it was and is a good investment.

  32. Daz555

    Mod it.

    As with the Sony PSP the Wii only really comes to life when you mod it. A hacked Wii with homebrew channel etc and a load of emulators installed is really a nice bit of kit to have under the TV.

    I have to say my kids do love the Wii. The console is poweful enough for most kids games - Lego et al. So it will be more than enough for my living room until the PS4 price drops significantly.

    As for the WiiU. No thanks - that PDA screen controller thing is a monstrosity. Is there a modding scene yet for the WiiU?

    1. John 48

      Re: Mod it.

      Yup, stick on a HD loader and a 2.5" external drive and you have a decent enough media player as well as iPlayer, DVD player etc plus near instant access to all your games with no disc swapping.

      Sure for the hardcore first person shooter player, its not going to cut the mustard, but keep in mind that they are in the (vocal) minority. It created a whole new concept in family gaming, and appealed to a much wider audience that any previous games system. The control system was revolutionary enough that MS and Sony had to find a way to include similar functionality. To describe it as a fail is nonsensical on pretty much any level.

      However I agree with the argument that it was a unique product at an appropriate time, and following it with a warmed over "more of the same" was not going to maintain that sales momentum.

      What should Ninty have done? IMHO, created a new next gen console to match the current competing lineup in hardware terms. Slap in backwards compatibility to let you bring your old games and controllers with you, and you might convert some of the keener family gamers as well as enabling the hard core gamers with a platform capable of running current HD titles.

      Also maintain the Wii as a parallel line to cater for the new market that it created. refresh it with fully featured media playing capabilities and an HD output built in wired and wireless networking, DLNA streaming etc. Above all, allow the price to fall to the casual purchase level. It then becomes the goto box for a media player to upgrade all those second TVs etc,

  33. Robert Harrison

    Wii was only ever 'ok'

    Poor Nintendo. We've got a Wii at home which still gets used regularly. But, as the kids grow up we won't be upgrading to a Wii-U. Instead it will be either an Xbox or PS3 / 4 / 5. The games are 'ok'. It's easy to use and I happen to like the controllers. (The Lego series of games have kept the Wii going for us [buying them second hand mostly]).

    So why not buy a Wii-U?

    Sadly for the Wii it never had anything going for it to keep hold of the user in the Nintendo ecosystem:

    - Limited graphics

    - Dull built-in apps (The Mii plaza became boring after creating the first Mii)

    - Crappy email app (who wants to send/remember email to <crazy-long-id>@nintendo.com?)

    - Nintendo discontinued the Weather channel which was the only built-in app the kids actually ever bothered looking at.

    - Limited web browsing via the Opera channel (free, then paid for, then free again.)

    - Ability to play DVDs? No.

    - Ability to play music collections? No.

    - Ability to integrate? Beyond the Youtube channel - No.

    - Live chat with fellow Wii players? No.

    - So many people I know still have Wii consoles, did they ever link them together after all these years? No - because there was *nothing* to do once linked.

    The Wii *should* have at least been a home entertainment system with better than average games and a better multiplayer environment. A throwaway console.

    1. DaddyHoggy

      Re: Wii was only ever 'ok'

      We used the BBC iPlayer on the Wii for quite a while - it was OK when we had an SD TV, but looked pretty bad on the HD TV.

      Now we just connect the Hudl via a micro-HDMI and sadly, it does a much better job of the iPlayer...

      And you're right - actually connecting Wiis together was pointless (we did actually do it once - with a friends) and not being able to play DVDs was VERY annoying.

      Although for me - the main gripe was I did use the Wii as a music player and after one firmware upgrade (to support SD cards larger than 2GB I think) - they also changed the format of the music that could be played on the console. From mp3 to aac. They didn't support mp3 as well - they just threw it away - leaving me with well over 1GB of unplayable mp3s - I was VERY cross about that.

  34. Alex Walsh

    I had one of those old fashioned jaw drop moments playing super mario 3d world recently. I had to blow on the gamepads microphone to make a propeller driven platform rise up. I was so impressed I called the wife and kids in to show them :)

  35. RainbowTrout

    My wife and kids love the Wii although I doubt a Wii U will ever arrive as both children chose 3DS handhelds instead to spend their Amazon vouchers on....

  36. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Don't piss on your customers

    So I get a lot of my gaming info from the net, with lets-plays, podcasts, and reviews. Most of the manufacturers are glad to have the free advertising.

    Not Nintendo. You show 5 seconds of playing one of their games and they have an absolute shit-fit. They hit you with DMCA takedowns, cease&desist letters, and demand all of the monetization from the video.

    This means the most I've seen of Wii games are the pictures in this article. I can't name a single Wii game except to guess and say "Mario Kart??" OTOH, I can pretty instantly name a dozen Xbox & PS4 games despite not owning either console. I honestly don't even know what a Wii looks like.

    If they treat people like this, then I sit here and wonder what my "customer experience" would be like, and decide I don't want any part of it.

    To out dickhead both Sony & Microsoft is quite the accomplishment!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't piss on your customers

      If only Nintendo had their own Youtube channel... Oh, wait. http://www.youtube.com/nintendo

  37. MJI Silver badge

    A few mistakes and some history

    The Wiii was a fluke, yes it was underpowered (about twice a PS2 I have heard mentioned) but a novel control system and a few excellent games (eg SMG) helped it. But online was horrid, not a patch on the same generation PSN. (We have a Wiii and a PS3)

    They tried similar with the Wiii U, but they should have thought a bit harder.

    Not much more power than a PS3, but not near an XBOne, let alone a PS4, the online is still nowhere near as good as the main competitors, and the lack of a Trophy/Award/Acheivemnt system will push players to play their multi platforms on other platforms.

    To be honest Mario as a character is rather stale, but is used as a figure head, but that as we all know is Donkey Kong.

    We thought about it but for 2 games (at the time), not much more power than the PS3, a price not that far from what we thought a PS4 would be and poor online sealed it.

    I feel that Sega games are just wrong on a Nintendo console, luckily the MD still works but I need to check over the Dreamcast as I suspect the GD-ROM has failed.

    But I would get a Wiii-U over a XBOne simply due to the Lego game and the Zombie game looks quite good.

    But what about Nintendo?

    Do they cut short the U? Do they go third or second party? Do they buy the MS XBox division?

    I am afraid I do not know.

  38. Mike Brown

    the wii was a happy accident

    Nintendo was in huge trouble before the wii came along and filled their coffers. No surprise that when the wii stopped selling ninty went back to being in trouble.

  39. fung0
    FAIL

    You're not helping

    "Yet that would mark the end of Nintendo as an innovator and originator of hardware. We all saw how well that went for Sega."

    Sega is doing just fine. It could be doing much better, if it hadn't gutted itself financially by fielding two totally unwanted hardware platforms (Dreamcast, Saturn).

    Mike - you blame Nintendo for being deceived by the success of the Wii, yet you unquestioningly accept the more fundamental error, dating back to the NES and SNES, of thinking that Nintendo ever was or ever will be a hardware company. Nintendo brings only negative value to hardware. They've never made money on hardware. They've created hardware, as needed, to sell their great GAMES. That's a risky proposition, but workable. Making hardware when it's NOT needed is madness. Attempting to "innovate" in hardware -- when you're fundamentally a software company -- is suicide.

    Hardware is expensive, risky and only marginally profitable. It's a business for experts like Samsung... maybe even Sony, on a good day. (Walkman, yes; PS4, no.) These companies can be efficient enough and expert enough to survive on thin margins. They're big enough to gamble billions on risky product choices. (And even then, they can fail spectacularly.) Nintendo is beyond stupid to get into that meat grinder. (As is Microsoft, for another example.)

    If instead of building the Game Cube (never mind the Wii), Nintendo had aimed its next wave of franchise titles at readily available hardware -- Xbox, PS, PC and mobile -- they'd be rolling in profits now. Instead, they're stretched too thin to even produce more great games. They're going to go down in flames... by attempting to innovate in hardware.

    Great software will ALWAYS be more important -- and more profitable -- than the hardware it runs on.

  40. IamRyan

    My Thoughts

    I think you all seem to forget that the Wii had a ton of great content besides all the "Wii" series. There was Metroid, there was Mario Kart, there were 2 of the most well received 3D Mario games of all time + a 2D Mario game that was generally good, 2 great Zelda's,a TON of innovative new software, and plenty more that I am easily forgetting. But the Wii was a great console with great games that a lot of people enjoyed for more than just "Wii Sports/Fit/Music/Play". If you think about the Wii, the only main series that Nintendo neglected to put on the console were F-Zero and Star Fox (Starwing for you Europeans). The Wii U also has potential to become a great Nintendo console like the GameCube. You all seem to be forgetting that Nintendo does not have to wildly successful to actually be successful. They've had small profits before and they chugged along before, don't worry about them going away. They will continue to do what they do, and that mindset is what has made them so brilliant and loved; not simply "going with the flow and having more graphics". The aforementioned strategy has NEVER worked for Nintendo.

    For the notion that Nintendo should make smartphones games. Are you kidding? Like you can't be serious. They'd kill their handheld market, which is arguably their most successful console line.

    Also, the notion of "porting old games from the back catalog to iOS" is an idea that died out about.... 3 years ago. Capcom tried it, didn't work and there is no money to be made on smartphones games in that way because Nintendo will charge $4.99 for a smartphone game. Do you think ANYONE would buy that? No, I didn't think so. This article is just another one of the Nintendoom articles that offers no new opinions and just repeats the same useless garbage. Nintendo will keep doing Nintendo and they will be successful. If you don't like the Wii series, there are plenty of other offerings on the console that you can play and enjoy. But seriously smartphone games... Really that's gotta be the worst idea I've heard in all of this Nintendoom that's been coming out recently.

  41. Bladeforce

    Soo funny but

    When we all have photorealistic graphics that you cant argue about what will be the part that differentiates a quality game? Gameplay! Nintendo has shit loads of gameplay while the eye candy geeks cream off their HD visuals with little replayability

  42. Zot

    Ordinary people got caught up in the frenzy for the Wii...

    ...not to mention Nintendo's freakish family adverts for it - more like Haribo than Call of Duty.

    So that's where they found the market, everybody said it was easy to use.

    Not everybody is computer literate, of course, and this was advertised as Gran, Mum, and Bro could play all at once, or compete. Try that with Splinter Cell - I don't think Gran would approve.

    The Wii U was a design nightmare, and it really didn't help when rumours about an EA boss saying "Wii U is dead to us" and then saying it was a 'last gen' console.

    But I think the biggest mistake was presuming that Wii owners were going to buy a Wii U, or even if they understood what the hell it was, or even available. And lastly I think that perhaps Nintendo completely forgot that the Wii had a great price, which made it more of a toy than a computer console - and as a toy it was genius.

  43. P0l0nium

    A Hundred and Five !!!

    105 comments in a day! .... haven't you lot got anything more constructive to do?

    Oh wait, its an article on "gaming" so the answer has to be : "No!"

  44. veti Silver badge

    One slow seller, and it's all over?

    I've had a Wii since, I think, 2008, and I still use it and enjoy it. So does my 3-year-old son, although he doesn't get to play 'Resident Evil 4'.

    I've never been attracted by the WiiU. It seems like a backward step - back to sitting down and fiddling with your fingers to control the game, rather than the standing-up-and-moving-around model that was so revolutionary with the Wii.

    But I assume Nintendo will, sooner or later, come up with another console. The PS3 was also a slow seller at launch, and for some years afterwards (because it was criminally overpriced); and the XBox One, pre-launch, got a lot of bad press for its Orwellian tendencies. Everyone has slips, misjudges the market sometimes. I don't see why one failed launch should be fatal to the company.

  45. RAMChYLD

    How to solve?

    Firstly, get rid of the region coding nonsense. No one wants region coding anymore, and the Internet hates it. Even M$ has ditched region coding on the XBone. The sooner Nintendo realizes that sales would be better if they dropped region coding, the better.

    Secondly, sell globally. Limiting the eShop to only one third of the world isn't a very smart idea, even Sony has PSN coverage in over 90% of countries worldwide. Microsoft's coverage is only slightly better than Nintendo and they're still in deep. Nintendo's coverage... Only the Americas, Europe, Australia, NZ, Japan and Korea. What about the rest of Asia (which has high demand for Nintendo consoles due to the popularity of Pokemon and Monster Hunter) or Middle East? What about South Africa?

    We wanted to give Nintendo our money. Nintendo tells us that our money isn't good enough for them. They're practically begging for this outcome I'm afraid.

  46. AndyDent

    Add a bit of shine and open it up to devs

    Take a lesson from Apple.

    Release a new Wii with minor graphics improvements so it can do HDMI and open it up to developers. Get rid of all the gating that is in the way of indie devs and make it easy to port games across, starting with sponsoring a cocos2d-x kit so all the iPad games written to that can be easily ported.

    I'm pretty sure theres also a Unity version already available for the Wii for 3D games but if not, make sure it's ported over already.

    1. Piro

      Re: Add a bit of shine and open it up to devs

      "Release a new Wii with minor graphics improvements so it can do HDMI"

      You mean the Wii U?

  47. Paw Bokenfohr

    Tell you what...

    ...if Nintendo could release the "UNES" (Ultra Nintendo Entertainment System) in a year or two (so named because it's "the first console designed for the 4k future") and launches new versions of Zelda, Mario Kart, Super Mario, and Star Fox for launch, I will be desperate for them to take my money.

    As of now though, the new generation of consoles are uninspiring; I'll never be buying a WiiU for all the obvious reasons, and I'm unlikely to buy an Xbox One considering all the furore and not being a FPS fan, and the PS4, well, I'll probably end up with one, but (obviously, since it's already happened) not at launch like the PS3 - I'll get one cheap when the "PS4 Slim" (or whatever) comes out.

    But a UNES, I'd queue for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tell you what...

      Nintendo have tried to keep the cost down. So a Wii was about £179 when an XBox 360 was £299 or so.

      That's why it was more primitive.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wii is a stroke of Genius..

    I bought a Wii in 2008 fully expecting it to be collecting dust on my shelf within 6 months. Imagine my surprise when my kids and I played it non-stop almost everyday for the next 8 months.

    We then bought a Wii fit plus and have enjoyed it just as much.

    In the last 5 years I feel I have definitely gotten value for money and still look forward to playing on with my kids.

    Speaking to other friends and getting their experiences, several who got bored were the ones who didn't have the controller+ and only played on Wii Sports instead of Sports Resort Plus.

    I wanted to buy the next console - but couldn't see the reason for buying the Wii U. Using the controller pad seemed like a step I didn't want to take.

    I'd love to see Nintendo come up with a proper follow up console to the Wii. Adding games like Darts, badminton and perhaps squash would be great. Designing a New Sports resort similar to Sports resort Plus would be absolutely super.

    I also agree with the comments about lack of software - this is something they need to fix.

    1. John 172

      Re: Wii is a stroke of Genius..

      Don't like the gamepad, fine, use the wiimote, they pair and play just as with the wii. Honestly though, get a gamepad in your hands and say you don't like it, they're genius.

  49. RealitySpike

    If you are interested in the history of Nintendo read...

    "Super Mario" by Jeff Ryan. Lots of details and insights on what N did and why, how it succeeded and failed.

  50. IamRyan

    I think you all seem to forget that the Wii had a ton of great content besides all the "Wii" series. There was Metroid, there was Mario Kart, there were 2 of the most well received 3D Mario games of all time + a 2D Mario game that was generally good, 2 great Zelda's,a TON of innovative new software, and plenty more that I am easily forgetting. But the Wii was a great console with great games that a lot of people enjoyed for more than just "Wii Sports/Fit/Music/Play". If you think about the Wii, the only main series that Nintendo neglected to put on the console were F-Zero and Star Fox (Starwing for you Europeans). The Wii U also has potential to become a great Nintendo console like the GameCube. You all seem to be forgetting that Nintendo does not have to wildly successful to actually be successful. They've had small profits before and they chugged along before, don't worry about them going away. They will continue to do what they do, and that mindset is what has made them so brilliant and loved; not simply "going with the flow and having more graphics". The aforementioned strategy has NEVER worked for Nintendo.

    For the notion that Nintendo should make smartphones games. Are you kidding? Like you can't be serious. They'd kill their handheld market, which is arguably their most successful console line.

    Also, the notion of "porting old games from the back catalog to iOS" is an idea that died out about.... 3 years ago. Capcom tried it, didn't work and there is no money to be made on smartphones games in that way because Nintendo will charge $4.99 for a smartphone game. Do you think ANYONE would buy that? No, I didn't think so. This article is just another one of the Nintendoom articles that offers no new opinions and just repeats the same useless garbage. Nintendo will keep doing Nintendo and they will be successful. If you don't like the Wii series, there are plenty of other offerings on the console that you can play and enjoy. But seriously smartphone games... Really that's gotta be the worst idea I've heard in all of this Nintendoom that's been coming out recently.

  51. OhDearHimAgain

    Try "Dolphin" - its what the WiiU should have been.

    I bought a WiiU and have been disappointed for two reasons (1) No games - even now more than a year on (2) they abandoned the motion control (instead of building on it), which is what made the Wii *so* successful - you don't even get a Wiimote with the high-end version.

    They just made another me-too console with a silly tablet. The other console makers must have breathed a sign of relief (after the storming success of the Wii).

    All they need to do is release a Pokemon MMO and they won't be able to make enough WiiU.

  52. DaddyHoggy

    The year after the Wii came out we bought one as a family Christmas present. Despite its age, despite its lack of HD output (but connected to a HD TV), it's still played with most weekends, and played on as a family. Mum and Dad (i.e. me and my wife) and our girls (currently 12 and 6) play as a family.

    We're currently playing Sonic and Mario at the Winter Olympics (from Canada) to match current TV output from Sochi and the 12 yr thoroughly enjoys beating her old dad at the various "Lets Dance" games...

    If it dies we will probably buy another one - if the price is right - but, unfortunately for Nintendo, we won't be buying a Wii U.

    I'm still a bit miffed that there doesn't seem to be any new non-3D games for our collection of 3 DSi handhelds - yes - we still play on our DSi consoles - although pretty much exclusively linked Mario Kart, nowadays since there are no new games that are better (which in itself is rather telling...)

    So, for us, the Wii was the right console for us, the family unit, we had no interest in the XBox or PS equivalents and we still don't...

  53. PipV

    N64 Blast from the past

    BlastCorps anybody?

    a true one-off that had me hooked

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's the Nintendo Game and Smartwatch? they would clean up with a nice watch with games and stuff.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    n64 - conkers bad fur day

    Conkers bad fur day... best N64 game ever. Had a N64 in my house with a couple guys I lived with while at school and we played golden eye way tooooo much, until, conkers bad fur day. I really wish someone would bring this game back

  56. Vinyl-Junkie
    Thumb Up

    Not just for casual gamers....

    ...but maybe for niche ones?

    I consider myself a moderately hardcore gamer; I have, and have completed, lots of Steam titles such as the Portal, HL2, Mass Effect and Far Cry series. I also play heavily modded games such as Skyrim and Silent Hunter V, "serious" games such as FSX, TS2014 and Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy. I've also spent far too much time playing World of Tanks recently.

    However, I've also owned a Wii for years and still use it. I use Wii Fit+ to keep myself reasonably active (I'm in my fifties, do an office job, and have a damaged ankle that prevents most forms of "real" exercise as well as being far too self-conscious to go to a gym); especially in the winter when golf (my other chosen method of exercise) isn't so much of an option (and yes, the Wii does help me keep my swing in order during the winter). Also as an aging rocker I love the Guitar Hero series, and my wife and I play that and ten-pin bowling when we feel in need of some self generated entertainment.

    Whant Nintendo REALLY need to do is identify a new niche audience, and sell a one-off product to them :)

  57. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Wish they'd made that nice bass guitar controller for the Wii so I could make like Ox, Squire, and Peggy on Rockband.

    But is was only available for the Xbox. Doesn't feel right using a standard guitar controller to play fakebass.

    8o(

  58. Scott Pedigo

    "After a few bouts of Tennis, the machine was left to gather dust and disappointment."

    Yep. I played the heck out of Paper Mario, which I thought was great. But that wasn't thanks to the Wii. I would have liked playing it on any game console. My wife played through that and Mario Galaxy, but then lost interest part way through Galaxy 2. The Wii gets turned on for occasional bouts of bowling or kart racing when guests come to visit. Otherwise it collects dust. For awhile, I checked for new games, but I never saw any that caught my fancy. It is too underpowered to play a shooter, most of the third-party games look like cheap and simplistic games shoe-horned into the Wii style of control, and the sports games like the tennis and golf are neither good simulations nor much fun to play with friends over for a party, leaving just the bowling and kart-racing. Which got old after awhile.

    I was hoping for something better with Wii U. It didn't impress me enough for me to upgrade.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gamers age. Nintendo tried not to age and failed.

    "The demographic of gamers is changing. It was 10-year olds, now 30-year olds play games".

    Duh, we, the gamers, aged. Nintendo failed that simple concept, and refused to accept more adult or violent prone games in their roster. Take the GTA V (and the whole series), it came for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and is coming for PC also.

    Why in the freaking depths of hell won't it come out for Wii U? Can't the console handle it? Wait, what, can't you play online because it has no wi-fi or at least ethernet cable? Or is it too violent? ok, let's move on... to STREET FIGHTER AND MORTAL KOMBAT. Those were not violent at all.

    No, they kept trying to push toward kiddie games, (and repressing teen games) as it was. But for kiddie, cartoonized games, whatever hardware they released was sufficient. What about racing games, sports games (soccer, like PES and FIFA)? What about space shooters, R-Type? What about F-Zero? What about Nigel Mansell racing (and it could be named Michael Schumacher racing now, for all that I care)? Just re-hashing SNES titles at launch would wreak havoc in the competition, buying time to elaborate up-to-spec, new games. The whole of Castlevania, why did it end up in the Playstation? What happened to Street Fighter, one of the killer apps of SNES? Firefox, oh firefox. It would WORK. SO. MUCH. BETTER. on a decent hardware, taking advantage of that motion control hardware. It imploded, sucked into a vortex, nowhere to be seen after N64. And I even didn't mention Zelda series.

    What really pushed the fame and FORTUNE for Nintendo was the SNES, and they should take a looong back over their shoulder and figure out what went RIGHT with all those titles and franchises that defined my childhood, and launch them back, in full HD, director's cut et al. It all begun to crumble on Nintendo 64, when most of these franchises left the console, and Playstation showed up.

    And that opinion isn't just me. There is a couple of vloggers named Irmaos Piologo (Piologo brothers, search them in youtube, and prepare your Brazilian Portuguese dictionary) that show several new games from all consoles, from Wii to PS4, and their opinion on Nintendo is the same as mine, even owning all the consoles released ever since, and playing through most of them: Nintendo failed, and failed hard. (Disclaimer: I do not represent them in any way, shape or form.)

    Somebody else said it, they are a software company, but most of their software was 3rd-party franchises, and they BLEW IT. They blew the franchises, and spat in the face of every one of their loyal customers from them on. They suffered a Peter Pan syndrome, in a very bad way, and now are paying for it. Sure, you must cater to an audience, but you must keep the console interesting to a much older (er, broader) audience, if you want to PROFIT. Kids don't have credit cards, after all.

    Wanna know how bad is it? Rock'n'Roll Racing, a SNES game, was made by a company named Silicon & Synapse IIRC, that was soon renamed / bought out to become a company named BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT. Sure, I am sidestepping here, but their knack to gather profitable ideas totally missed this one.

    On the other hand, Sega evolved. They knew hardware couldn't help them forever, and their SOFTWARE, as Sonic, still lives well beyond any console with their logo stamped on it, no matter how badly. Their last console, Dreamcast, and the previous, the Sega Saturn, fluked. I have no idea if their Arcade hardware (division) still works, but I know for sure that their software was licensed to more than one console and straight to PC, and still sells some games. They took fire, dropped and rolled. Nintendo is still running around, on fire, waving their arms in agony.

    1. Van

      Re: Gamers age. Nintendo tried not to age and failed.

      I like most of your points. The weird thing (and problem) is that pre-teens highly desire the GTA and Call of Duty games too. Kids have become de-sensitised.

      Nintendo are stubborn as hell. They should've been developing addictive sandbox games, with perhaps a new (less cute) character and multiplayer shooters with say paint balls to loose the 18 certificate for the parents that still care. FPS games were a lot of fun on the Wii with the Nunchuck and pointing device (effectively a mouse, forget the motion control) but the kids had already been exposed to better graphics and in no time had grown a couple of years and were lost to Xbox, Playstation or the PC.

      Minecraft was a phenomenon on the Xbox 360, Nintendo needs to spot these and buy the rights, but we know they never will.

      HD remakes of SNES games is a gold mine, again Nintendo too stubborn, or too slow at best.

  60. tomsk

    Where Nintendo goes, others will follow

    “Instead, quick to take stock of its console rivals and determined to rekindle third-party support, Nintendo would have turned to processing power, online connectivity and to new entries into its iconic franchises. Having given up the Wii as a lost cause, Nintendo’s would have launched successor machine a year before Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One with true next-generation hardware.”

    Could Nintendo have done this, though? Does it still have the resources to develop a console that can compete with the latest Xbox and PS? I don’t know. My sense is that the underpowered nature of the Wii and its successor were less a strategic choice and more something forced on Nintendo, a sign of desperation.

    “The resulting success of a Wii U alternative would have meant less dependence on classic NES, SNES, N64 and GBA games as system sellers.”

    Dude, in the paragraph right before this one you say they should have focused on reanimating all the old warhorses, with ‘next-gen visuals and with robust multiplayer’. Then you immediately say this tactic would somehow have lessened their reliance on said old warhorses. What gives? Nintendo’s spent years systematically alienating third-party developers, and now it has very little beyond its own creaking, ancient IPs. I don’t see how a more powerful console would have got them out of this trap. Personally if I never see another game featuring Mario, Bowser, DK et al it will be too soon.

    Myself, I don't think there's much long-term future for dedicated consoles. As PCs get smaller and tablets get more powerful I don’t think there’s a niche – when the PC at the centre of your whole entertainment setup lets you play AAA-type games with top-notch graphics as well as browsing the web, communicating with your friends, shopping, playing and streaming media of whatever kind etc, all with far more flexibility than you’d ever get with a console; and when there are tablets, phones and whatnot all over the place for more casual jiggery-pokery - what’s the point in owning a console at all? Nintendo will abandon the effort first I expect, but Sony will follow and eventually MS will cut its losses on Xbox.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow. This entire article is based on the faulty assumption that Nintendo's Quality Of Life platform will replace traditional consoles. Iwata clearly said that it would be in addition to them.

    That's as insane as suggesting Sony's microwave ovens will mean the death of their Playstation brand.

    As for "Whatever happened to Nintendo's amazing games?", the 3DS is a thing. Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Fire Emblem: Awakening - all amazing games released in the last year.

    1. Belardi

      Nobody is buying the consoles.... there is NO reason to spend $300US for a console with NO 3rd party support, that is no better than the $200 PS3 which has a huge library.

      Without 3rd party support, each console is a LOSS. Yeah, the PS3/PS4s are sold at a loss - but the money made from 3rd party sales pays for it.

  62. Belardi

    Good article. But here is the thing, the Wii was the right console at the right time. It was about $200~225 compared to the $400~600 360/PS3. HDTV was still a very high end product and blu-ray wasn't a standard. The controller are not accurate but they did work pretty well for the games my kid plays.

    With the Wii-U, Nintendo tried to recycle the same plan.... use OLD tech, make it slick looking... but they sold it at a very high price with a stupid name. For the most part, there is NO reason to buy the Wii-U. In the USA, the PS3 sells for $200 (with 12GB card) $250 with 160GB HD or $270 with 500GB HD and a game. Meanwhile the WiiU sells for $300 with an 8 or 32GB ram card and game!?! (use to be $350+)

    The Wii-U graphics horse power is on par with the 360/PS3 (maybe a bit worse but very difficult to tell)... so its LAST GEN tech and a very high price.

    Lets compare the feature set. of a $300 PS3 vs a $300 Wii-U (And of course the PS3/12GB is a $100 cheaper and is UPGRADABLE to a regular HD)

    Huge software Library = PS3

    Plays DVD = PS3

    Plays Blu-Ray = PS3

    Storage size = PS3 (500GB vs 8 or 32GB)

    There is NO reason for 3rd party companies to support the WiiU. Now, if the Wii-U had a better name, ditched the stupid huge tablet-controller (not kid friendly) and went with a regular control and sold for $200~250 as its introductory price TWO years ago, then it would have done very well.

    But WHY pay so much for so little?!

    The ONLY thing that will save Nintendo *IS* to kill the Wii this year (There are talks of MS to sell the XboxOne to Nintendo - doubt that). Unlike SEGA, Nintendo has a lot more IP characters than SEGA. And with all the REALISTIC games, there *IS* a market for kid-friendly color-fantasy games.

    It would be great to have a Mario-World type game for the PS4... and Nintendo would support the PS4 over the xBone. Sure they lose the money from hardware licences... but they''re losing money on the Wii-U hardware... and cannot sell as many copies of their games for the WiiU as they could on the PS3 and PS4.

    Nintendo... you need to piviot while you can. There is no market for a FITNESS-only console.

    1. Van

      "What happened to the excitement of games like Starwing?"

      Nintendo doing hardware accelerated 3D before the PC. That was indeed exciting times. Most PCs back then didn't even have sound cards, yet today everyone wants to compare consoles to PCs.

      Nintendo can't really afford to build new powerful consoles with custom hardware and sell them to a market who expects something for nothing. Yet quite often the same people (you see them criticising Wii Us price) will happily splash out £150 for a PC graphics card even though there are no games on the PC market that come close to Nintendo's offerings.

  63. Mr Common Sense
    Megaphone

    Blame the other developers

    The Wii remote worked well enough and Wii sports proved it.

    The slightly flawed Wii balance board and Wii Fit showed it could be used for fitness as well as fun gameplay.

    The Wii Plus add on showed us the remote working as it should have been at the start and how it worked well in games shown in Wii Sports Resort.

    They were hardly gimmicks.

  64. TeaPartyNutz

    100 million consoles is NOT a gimmick. Anyone who suggests otherwise needs to be fired.

    Just like the execs at at Nintendo that didn't realize that it was the casual gamers that made the Wii the clear winner of the last round, and that it would be them who would make or break the Wii U.

    Well, the Wii U offers us casual gamers nothing we don't already have with our Wiis. So we keep using them (and have no reason to buy an Xbox1 or PS4, even though both of them feature the "Wii gimmick" in one form or another).

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