How The Wii U Failed and The Switch Prospered
The Switch has skyrocketed in popularity since its release. A lot of people weren’t expecting the Wii U’s follow-up to turn so many heads, but with games like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey on it exclusively and more great games being ported, it’s hard to say that the Switch wasn’t one of 2017’s best underdog stories. How did the Switch succeed after the Wii U’s failure though? What did Nintendo change about the Switch’s rollout for it to become the US’s fastest-selling console ever in its inaugural year? Let’s take a look.
Like with any product, you have to market it properly, and the Switch gained a lot of attention with its reveal. Its first trailer perfectly showcased what it is, what it does, and how it works. Majority of the questions that people had about the Switch were answered in it, whether it was about how it transferred to a handheld or its co-op functionality. They even showed that you can take your handheld Switch with you on a plane, which was incredibly vital information after using the Wii U gamepad and not being able to walk too far away from the base console.
While the Wii U’s first reveal did showcase that you can play your games on the gamepad itself, it never told you which games you can play using just the gamepad nor did it tell you that you still needed the base console to use the gamepad. This strange design decision led players to ask, “So what’s the point?” A question you never want to hear when making what you think is a big innovation. This was strike one for the Wii U.
With Nintendo’s recent consoles, they’ve vied for innovation and creativity rather than sheer processing power. Their decision to do so is what made the Wii such a massive success with its motion controls. The Wii U had nothing going for it in terms of innovation besides playing games on your gamepad, which we already had the DS series for. When people saw the Wii, it was immediately recognizable how it worked, but the Wii U’s design often led to more questions than answers. Nintendo took all of these questions into account when making the Switch. “Why can’t we leave the room with the gamepad?” turned into being able to fly around the world with the Switch’s gamepad. The first thing I hear when a port is announced on the Switch is “_____ on a plane!” “Where are all the games?” turned into a stellar year of releases for the Switch, with a few even winning awards. This was strike two for the Wii U.
Speaking of games, the Switch has been killing it. The Switch’s initial lineup looked pretty scarce at first, but after release it’s had a very well paced stream of games releasing for it. Breath of the Wild is already being regarded as one of the best games ever made and Mario Odyssey is right along with it. Even though that’s amazing in itself, they also released Splatoon 2 which is doing great, along with many, many ports on the way for those that want to play Dark Souls or Hyrule Warriors on a plane. While normally a lot of people talk down on ports, the Switch’s added function of being able to play them on-the-go has really helped welcome them. There’s also the fact that some of the ports are from the Wii U and not many people were around to catch them the first time around. It’s not only big titles making an impact either, indie games are huge on the Switch. Stardew Valley was one of the Switch’s top sellers even. We just didn’t have this much excitement about games coming to the Wii U. Sure, we had Super Mario 3D World and Bayonetta 2 on it, but the Wii U didn’t even sell well enough for those games to reach the heights that the Switch’s games are.
After you swing and miss the first time (with the trailer), the pressure is on you to follow-up and the Wii U just couldn’t. After the Wii U struck out, it was time for the Switch to come in and knock it out of the park.
After the failure of the Wii U, Nintendo really had to come back with something huge and I’m glad to say they did. The Switch is a lesson in learning from your mistakes and coming back stronger than before. I honestly think the Wii U was just a prototype that they let out. Anyway, what do you think of the Switch’s success? Were you surprised? Let us know below!
Also, if you’re the owner of a Switch and you missed the last Direct, be sure to click here to see all Nintendo revealed.