For Whom The Bell Tolls? Wii U

Lets just go ahead and do what needs to be done.  The Wii U is done.  It’s official now. It’s been done figuratively since 2014, but now it literally is all done.  Nintendo has done everything but sing it for us that they are all done with the console.  They will finish up whatever they already had in development for it, release those titles, stop production of the hardware later this year, and then move to NX.  Some titles may wind up getting NX ports as well.  I don’t mind if they double-dip.  I’m just glad Nintendo realizes that it’s time to move on.  So it’s time to pay our final respects to the Wii U

It was early 2011 when we first started hearing about Nintendo possibly working on a next-gen console codenamed ‘Project Cafe’.  The initial design resembled that of a cable router.  

Then later on we got a glimpse of the concept of the controller.

Most of us were skeptical and some thought while the idea of a controller with a screen would be cool, it looked kinda hokey.  There were rumors that the controller would use resistive touchscreen technology as well as haptic feedback.  Hardware specifications were all over the board in terms of speculation.  Some had it less powerful than 7th gen hardware, others had it on-par with 7th gen, and some correctly deduced that it was more powerful than the previous gen consoles, but not by much.  That was a sign of trouble from the get go. 

Anyway, we got our reveal at E3 2011.  We were all eagerly anticipating something that would knock our socks off.  We knew the codename of the console was Project Cafe’, but we had heard many possible names tossed around.

Ultra NES
Ultimate NES
Nintendo Stream (my personal fave although would be a better name for NX assuming the rumors are true)
Wii 2
Wii HD

and so on.

Reggie-Fils-Aime  got on stage and told us the name of the console would be Wii U…….

That’s the face I made when I heard that name.  However I kept cool and told myself that it’s about games, not the name. 

What we initially got was a sizzle-reel of games that either looked like Wii games upgraded to HD or games that were XBOX 360 quality.  Then this happened….

And this…..

And most definitely this…..

So at that point I was pretty hyped.  Despite what had been said regarding the specs of the console, if the Wii U could pull off graphics like that I’m sold. 

It’s been 4 years.  We haven’t gotten graphics like that yet on the Wii U.  Don’t get me wrong.  The Wii U does have some graphically-impressive looking games, but IMHO nothing in the category of Japanese Garden and Zelda HD tech demos.  It was a bait-and-switch.  Nintendo had done this before a decade earlier.  Spaceworld 2000 ring a bell?

While Luigi’s Mansion and Metroid Prime came pretty close to what we saw in that demo, Windwaker was a far cry from the Link vs. Ganondorf footage we saw.  Again, Windwaker was a nice game.  It wasn’t what we were expecting.  They talked us into the building with this demo, and once we got seated we got Windwaker.  Not cool.

Part of me wonders if the Japanese Garden and Zelda HD demos were even running on Wii U hardware.  I mean, other companies LIE and show us footage of games running on high-powered PCs claiming it is real-time gameplay running on console hardware *cough Watch Dogs cough-cough*.

Suffice it to say that the Wii U has had a bumpy ride to say the least.  Despite being far less powerful than the PS4 and XB1, the console sold at a loss until 2014.  Largely due to the expense of the GamePad (which was somewhere in the neighborhood of a $125 cost.)  How bad is it when a console that is more powerful than yours (PS4) can sell at a profit day one?  Outside of a couple of 3rd party games such as Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, ZombiU, and Call Of Duty, 3rd parties never really took full advantage of the GamePad.  Probably because NINTENDO has never taken full use of the GamePad.  Whatever happened to the Wii U Zapper?  I can think of all kinds of uses for that with shooters.  I’m sure you can too.
If you as a company cannot show how your hardware is to be used or could be used, you cannot expect others to figure it out themselves.  It is a gamble for 3rd parties to put a game on the Wii U period.  That was one of the biggest issues.  Due to massive financial losses in the last generation by 3rd parties they strong-armed Sony and Microsoft into using the less expensive and more user-friendly x86 architecture.  Nintendo decided to stick with PPc which was a mistake.  They didn’t gain anything from the Wii U having backwards compatibility.  There are only a handful of games from the Wii people would even want to play and most of those people still have their Wii.  A lot of those titles wound up being upscaled and released on the Wii U anyway such as Super Mario Galaxy and Wii Sports.  Others because of the confusing name thought that the Wii U was just a controller for the Wii and didn’t feel a need to purchase it.  What little marketing Nintendo has done for the Wii U has been terrible.  It literally feels like they think that those of us who grew up with Mario are still that same age. 

Kids of today don’t care about Nintendo IP like we used to.  There is so much more going on out there in the entertainment world for children to be focused on.  The kids that are interested in Nintendo mostly are because their parents are, or WERE.  So that combined with the fact that it is difficult to compile and optimize x86 code onto a PPc-based console, 3rd party games usually don’t sell well on Nintendo consoles anyway, and the fact the Nintendo barely even markets their OWN products let alone partners products made it financial suicide to port games to the Wii U.  It’s just literally throwing money away.  The only way it makes sense is to do it like Platinum Games.  

If Nintendo finances the game then all losses are on them if there are any.  They have the surplus cash to eat up loss.  Most 3rd parties and indie studios don’t. 

The Wii U had potential to be something pretty decent, but it seems like Nintendo never really had any intentions of putting all their effort into it.  Even the games this gen just didn’t have the ambition of previous installments. I mean, why are we playing Twilight Princess HD with the same graphics as the Wii version just with increased resolution and updated textures?  Twilight Princess HD should look like that demo from E3 2011. 


 That’s what we should have got.  If the Wii U is capable of that then we should have gotten that.  If it is not, that means Nintendo was lying to us AGAIN. 

I’ve said it in previous blog posts that I think the Wii U was a place-holder console.  All signs point to that.  However it seems that Nintendo is ready to put it out of it’s misery.  They took the L, called time-out to pull the Wii U out of the game, and will wish it the best of luck in it’s future endeavors once NX hits store shelves. I respect them for at least doing that.

For those people still trying to hold on to the Wii U, just let it go already. Seriously. There is no shame in admitting defeat.  There is shame is pretending there isn’t one.  You cannot learn from your mistakes until you admit them and acknowledge them.  As Bruce Lee once said……

“Like everyone else…you want to learn the way to WIN, but never to accept the way to lose.  To admit defeat….to learn to die is to be LIBERATED from it.” 

  • Dude this post was so true…. at some point you just have to accept the situation for what it is and be able to admit the truth. Nintendo is about money and generating as much as possible,but they what to spend as little as possible at the same time…. Good Article Good read!!

  • Thanks. All companies try to find that sweet spot of having the best to offer while spending the least amount of money. I don't know how much money is allocated into marketing for the gaming division for Sony, but they certainly hit the jackpot in terms of spending the least amount of money to get the most powerful console and it had paid off. 38 million sold in 2 years, 4 months. Just think. Uncharted hasn't come out yet. Ratchet And Clank hasn't come out yet. We haven't even heard of a God Of War game yet. Sony still has these monster titles in the starter blocks. This console averages 250,000 to 300,000 per WEEK. Last year in just two months the PS4 sold 7.5 million. I don't think the PS4 can out pace the PS2 in terms of longevity to reach that 154 million mark, but right now it is selling at a faster pace than the PS2. At the very least it will outsell the PS3. All Sony did was give gamers a console that had all the features we asked for. Well for the most part. There are still some functions that the PS3 and 360 had that the PS4 and XB1 don't and there is no logical reason for them not to. Same with the Wii U. It lacks some features the Wii had.

    The point is that when you at least attempt to give the consumer what they are actually asking for instead of giving them what YOU want them to have and telling them that is a better opinion, you get positive results. Hopefully NX will be a machine that focuses on the bare necessities and light on the gimmickry. For me personally at this point it would be innovation from Nintendo to just give us a hardcore gaming console with any gimmicks.

  • WITHOUT any gimmicks I meant to say.

  • As a hardcore Nintendo fan, I agree with this article. It's time to move on. I just hope Nintendo learned something from the ordeal.

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  • Well what about the 12,8 million Wii U gamers?

    This will damage Nintendo on the NX who the hell will invest in a Nintendo console after what happened with the Wii U? Ive had Nintendo consoles since the SNES and atm will NOT be buying the NX had enough of constant droughts, and since 2014 practically no third party support. Hell Nintendo havent released that much but will say all been high quality but still and NO metroid ahhhhhhhhhh

  • Well that's you. There will be plenty of people to take your place. I hope you realize that. If NX is the most powerful machine and gets 3rd party support back, Nintendo will gain far more than they have lost. Fact.

  • Thanks so much for sharing this blog and videos..pre owned games india

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