9 Reasons Why The Nintendo Wii U Was A Commercial Flop

Lessons for the Big N to heed ahead of the NX's launch.

nintendo Wii u

Innovative hardware and a library of colourful, creative games starring some of the industry’s most recognisable figures wasn’t enough for the Wii U. The Nintendo console is destined to go down in history as a commercial misfire that flopped harder than King Hippo after a knockout blow.

It’s difficult to put a positive spin on the system’s market performance in light of the news that the Big N’s top brass were expecting it to shift around 100 million units worldwide - a figure way higher than the 12.8 million it has managed since its 2012 launch.

The picture becomes even bleaker when the machine is pitted against its predecessor, the Wii, which shifted 101.6 million units during its lifecycle and held its own against technologically superior hardware from Microsoft and Sony.

This proved to be a feat Nintendo was unable to repeat, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One trouncing the console that put tablet controllers on the map, and leaving Nintendo in a precarious position as it plots a renewed assault on the hardware market with the upcoming NX.

With the Wii U barely treading water in many key markets, here are nine reasons why the console failed to meet Nintendo’s lofty expectations.

9. Nintendo Got The Pricing Wrong

nintendo Wii u

It’s a strategy that works wonders for online retailer Amazon - selling hardware a relatively low price in an attempt to steers customers to your own apps and services.

While Nintendo undercut Sony and Microsoft by around $100 with the Wii U console itself, games and peripherals were no less costly upon release, and this was a missed opportunity given that the system’s target audience is generally younger with less disposable income.

On closer scrutiny, when you consider the Xbox One and PS4 are fully-fledged living room entertainment hubs, that extra $100 is looking like money well spent.

Furthermore, when you factor in the cost of external storage, and the fact an extra controller or two is needed to take advantage of the Wii U’s best games, the pricing gulf narrows considerably.

Following a raft of reductions, physical Wii U games are typically easier on the wallet than PS4 and Xbox One discs, but Nintendo continues to overcharge online. The digital edition of the three-year-old Super Mario 3D World was priced at full whack as recently as January. Ouch!


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