Without getting into semantics, the Nintendo Wii was and still is a huge success. With all the people that the console managed to please, there's naturally a percentage of people it failed to win over. With Nintendo's next console, the company hopes to fix several issues that come as a result of being labelled "casual".
In the latest edition of Iwata Asks, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and Nintendo EAD general manager Shigeru Miyamoto spoke at length about the development and goals of the Wii U. One area that was covered was the ability to output HD visuals and what it meant for developers. Iwata posited:
... there had been times up to now where you could do things on other companies' hardware, but was difficult to do on Wii. With Wii U, I also wanted to alleviate those restrictions as much as possible. I may be exaggerating by saying that with Wii U, we are posing a challenge against all creators. I want to challenge them by saying, "Wouldn't your creation be better, while keeping all of its strong points with this new structure that we are offering?"
Another subject matter that Iwata feels the Wii U will have to address is the definition and needs of core and casual gamers:
... shortly after the Wii console was released, people in the gaming media and game enthusiasts started recognizing the Wii as a casual machine aimed toward families, and placed game consoles by Microsoft and Sony in a very similar light with each other, saying these are machines aimed towards those who passionately play games. It was a categorization between games that were aimed towards core, and casual. I've been having a sense of disagreement as I personally think the definition of a core gamer is much wider, namely, someone who has a much wider range of interests, someone who enthusiastically plays many types of games that challenges different creative directions... On the other hand, I certainly do not think that Wii was able to cater to every gamer's needs, so that's also something I wanted to resolve... Of course, with the Wii console I'm sure everyone would agree that we tried really hard to go wider, but even though we worked aggressively to go deeper in certain areas, the general public's impression that Nintendo was casual grew as time went by.
Miyamoto also admitted that perhaps Nintendo failed to capture the interest of some core gamers, mainly due to the lack of HD visuals. With the capabilities of the Wii U, maybe Nintendo can break down the barrier that exists ― psychologically or not ― between the two groups and return things to a simpler era, an era when gamers were just gamers.
But one of the key reasons that such things as the core and the casuals exist today is that we decided not to adopt HD on the Wii console. Of course, besides that there are things like issues with the controller and the challenges that it brings, network functionalities and many other things, but I think HD was the biggest factor that everyone was able to clearly understand the difference... I think [the Wii U and its new controller] is an opportunity for those games that were considered to be core up to now, to evolve into something even more interesting structure. In that sense, I do wish all kinds of games would be released, regardless of the debate over core or casual. That core vs. casual debate seems like something that can never see a resolution, but with Wii U, I have a feeling that it all may change. I even feel that the barrier that separated the two genres was only something psychological, just an impression that people had towards them. For example, The Legend of Zelda games were something geared towards the toughest audience, and it has been so from the beginning. So it's not like Nintendo doesn't have it in us. But there are quite a number of people who assume that Nintendo is the equivalent of being casual.
For more insights, be sure to check out the Q&A session in its entirety.