Topic: Theory: Wii U was a throw-away console until Switch was ready

Posts 41 to 55 of 55


videogame conspiracy theories

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waiting for a pricedrop on switch


I've been referring to the Wii U as a 'filler' console since before the Switch was even announced... I wouldn't say it was a 'throw-away' console... more like something they needed to do first.

Both stem from the idea of hybrid gaming, but take different approaches to it... the Wii U is about streaming from a home console to a portable handset, whereas the Switch is about taking the console itself with you.
The streaming approach has the potential to create a more powerful system, but is restricted by the internet services around the world, and that is unlikely to change for quite some time.
The portable approach is the easier to achieve, but at the time of the Wii U would have been too expensive to be viable.
Nintendo likely knew it wouldn't be long before they could achieve the latter, but they needed to release something, so they made a start with the streaming approach in the meantime, using bluetooth instead of an internet connection, which resulted in the Wii U.
It may not have been their most successful console, but the experienced they have gained from doing it will probably make a big difference... both in the Switch and in future consoles.

Nintendo do have a habit of trying ideas before the technology can support them, which many people consider to be failures, only for them to return to those ideas several years later with huge success.
Just look at the Power Glove (motion controls) and the Virtual Boy (3D)... both were considered failures, but years later we got the Wii and 3DS.



Power Glove wasn't a Nintendo device. It was Mattel.

And the Activator gave us Kinect.
Maybe. I haven't played it. Because now Activator is too expensive to buy it for the LULs.



Throw this thread away already. Bait!

Edited on by Samus7Killer



What makes far more sense is a series of Nintendo mistakes created the Wii U sales disaster, the upside of which is they seem to have learnt from it.

First, they didn't prepare for HD development. Even in 2007 they must have known their next home Console would be HD but instead of preparing they sat watching the money pile up. This led to them admitting they weren't ready for HD, which for a company of their reputation and resource was highly embarrassing.

Second, they dug way too deep into the philosophy of differentiation with the result they were trying to be different for the sake of it. That's why we have glasses free 3D and the 'throw the kitchen sink at it' mess that is the Wii U gamepad. IMHO they would have been better launching a straight Wii HD in 2009 or 2010 that matched 360/PS3, came with a Pro Controller in the box and played Wii games (maybe with some rudimentary upscaling).

Third, they arrogantly launched the 3DS without proper software support and at too high a price seemingly thinking it would sell itself. They then had to divert lots of resource into rescuing it in late 2011.

All these things left Wii U struggling even before it's launch.

They then compounded the mistakes by giving the machine a stupid name, bad visual design too close to the Wii and a poor first-party launch that completely failed to sell the concept in the same way Wii sports did. Even worse, the months after launch were a barren wasteland of software.

The good news is they turned Wii U onto something resembling a noble failure. They realised very early that Wii U would tank and that's why the clamours for better marketing and price drops never happened. They decided early on they would manage Wii U by doing the bare minimum required to turn a profit.

They kept inventory very low, did little more than keep things ticking over on the software side and busied themselves preparing for Switch. Take 2014 for example. Instead of the Wii U really pushing on into the mass market it got DKCTF (delayed from 2013), MK8, Wii Sports (remake assisted by third-party), Smash (assisted by third-party), Hyrule Warriors (third-party collaboration), Bayo 2 (third-party collaboration), Captain Toad (spin off), Pullblox World (eshop puzzle sequel), Dr Luigi (eshop puzzle sequel) and NES Remix 2 (eshop retro compilation). That's not the software line up of a Nintendo at full throttle.

Thankfully they learned the biggest, most valuable lesson they could have done from it. They can't support two machines especially in the HD era. They found a sweet spot in hardware terms with a system that is simultaneously the most powerful handheld ever and the most powerful Nintendo home console ever. It seems to be easy to develop for and easy to port souped-up versions of Wii U games to it. It allows for future variants and improvements in tech with minimal effort. It allows them time to out all their efforts into one ecosystem after 3DS fades away. They were ready in terms of having a clear selling point for the machine, the marketing and most importantly, the software.

No they didn't plan Wii U as a failure but by realising very quickly that it would be they turned it into a noble failure.

Edited on by electrolite77

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No, I still put 100 hours into the Wii U each month.

Edgey, Gumshoe, Godot, Sissel, Larry, then Mia, Franziska, Maggie, Kay and Lynne.

I'm throwing my money at the screen but nothing happens!


I don't see this being likely at all. If it would've been a throwaway console, they probably would've just included a standard controller to keep the price down. Why make such an expensive console with a tablet gimmick if it's just a placeholder? I view the Wii U as incompetence from Nintendo, and their failure to evolve to gaming tastes and make use of the gimmick they packaged in with the system.

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A highly plausible and almost definitely correct theory.


Converted from Sony to Nintendo during 7th gen and never looked back.


The Switch doesn't exist without the Wii U, but it wasn't because they wanted the Wii U to fail or be filler. I think Nintendo was surprised when they discovered that the Wii U's favorite feature wasn't asymmetrical play but Off-TV play. It showed them that there was a demand for a console that could easily move from the TV to a Handheld.

The Wii U suffered from a Nintendo that couldn't support two consoles. The 3DS failed to takeoff to the point they needed an ambassador program to drum up interest at the end of 2011. So resources were being poured into the 3DS effort to get it going. That pulled resources from the Wii U, and resulted in a lackluster/delayed Wii U release schedule for the first year (2012). Nintendo probably foolishly thought third parties would help fill in the library, but by the end of 2013 we saw Nintendo cut the price of the Wii U with the release of Wind Waker HD. The next year (2013-2014) there was a massive push of software: Wind Waker HD, Wii Sports Club, Mario & Sonic at the Olympics, Super Mario 3D World, NES Remix 1 & 2, Dr. Luigi, Wii Fit U, DKC: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 1 & 2, Hyrule Warriors, and Super Smash Bros for Wii U all released during that year. Despite all that software, including some big franchise releases, the needle barely moved on the console. I think that is when Switch development started, and Nintendo's main focus was on the 3DS software library.

Everything from that point forward was haphazardly released and most of it was just checking the boxes to have something on the shelves or completing already started projects. Super Mario Maker was another pleasant surprise, but most of the software wasn't intended to do nothing but give Wii U owners something. It was also about that time that the focus started being less on what Nintendo was doing and more on what Nindies were doing on the console.

Edited on by Darknyht


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I think Wii U was much like Nintendo got Drunk, done absolutely disorganized, messed up in marketing and commercials.

Nintendo Switch was a sign for Nintendo was being Serious. No more stupid gimmicks.

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2. The Sims series (9 / 10)
3. Portal Knights Switch (9 / 10)
4. Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS (9 / 10)
5. ARMS (8 / 10)

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I think this might actually be true. The thing is, if they had planned to make the wii u successful they would have had great games at launch but they didnt. They didnt really care about a steady flow, all they did was show some trailers of botw to wet peoples appetite. They knew that the wii was no longer popular and the gap between the switch and the wii would be disastrous - they basically needed something to show.

But I dont really mind. The Wii U was my first nintendo console since the n64 and has turned me into a nintendo fan. Thanks to the wii u I am able to play great wii and wii u games, and also VC.



brickofthewild wrote:

The thing is, if they had planned to make the wii u successful they would have had great games at launch but they didnt.

Controversial opinion(?): Nintendo Land is better than every Wii launch title that wasn't Twilight Princess. Easily. Several Wii U launch games were.

Also, even though there were valid reasons why it was a mistake to make the Mario launch title a NSMB Wii followup, NSMB Wii sold 30 Million copies. THIRTY MILLION COPIES. That's more than both Mario Galaxy games. Combined. Which itself, should also contradict your point about great games leading to sales, let's be honest. :V

Bioshock is 10 years old. Let's play through its horrific environment and see why its so beloved!
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@kkslider5552000 Nintendo Land is a good game, just a difficult sell. Metroid, Pikmin and Zelda were all great mini-games. I played that game way too much.



Yeah. I don't know why "Nintendo fan service, mostly focused on games that rarely sell beyond a million" was remotely a good idea for an equivalent to "basic sports game anyone can understand". For the console's features, sure, but for a Wii successor that was called a Wii U? And Nintendo mostly failed to convert casual fans to be Nintendo fans it seems, which is the only reason that would work.

But my point is, the obvious answer, don't use quality as a guarantee of success. If it was, Wii U would've outsold the competition in 2014, because that year SUUUUUUCKED for non-Nintendo AAA games.

Bioshock is 10 years old. Let's play through its horrific environment and see why its so beloved!
LeT's PlAy BIOSHOCK < Link to LP

3DS friend code: 2878 - 9709 - 50...


@kkslider5552000 The issues were that Nintendo didn't get a proper development kit into the hands of third parties fast enough, and major publishers didn't see the worth in developing for it. The Gamecube was just as capable as the other consoles, but catered to Japanese tastes in design which were very different than NA/EU tastes at the time. All you need do is look at the level of detail in Star Wars: Rouge Leader or Metroid Prime and compare it to the best that Xbox or PS2 could do at the time.

The Wii U could have survived had a large segment of it's owners not bought it as a Nintendo Exclusives Console. The limited third party support was strangled by that fact (and the third party publisher's own crippling of those ports). While they did admirable in forming relationships with indie developers, they also hurt themselves by letting a lot of poor quality games flood the eShop. For every Steamworld Heist or Axiom Verge there was 20-30 poor games to bury them.


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