Features Into the Fray

Into The Fray: Why the Wii U is Already Dead

Written by Branden Wilson

Nintendo is dead 2Like many of my gaming counterparts Nintendo was the first console that I could truly call my own and is largely responsible for starting my love for video games. It is this very reason that it pains me to say that Wii U Is Dead and there might not be a way to resurrect it. For years the name Nintendo has been synonymous with gaming, it was the name that those outside of the gaming world seemed to use when referring to consoles as a whole and that kind of brand recognition is terribly hard to screw up. While it might have been hard, Nintendo has somehow found a way to tarnish their once proud name and is now on the bottom of the totem pole looking up and gaming juggernauts Sony and Microsoft. Some might ask where this downward spiral began and what Nintendo can do to try to revive themselves in a marketplace that is more competitive and advanced than ever before. I don’t think it’s as simple as making a few minor changes and reestablishing themselves atop the gaming world, Nintendo is going to have to take some drastic steps and do some serious soul-searching before they will ever come close to the brand that we have grown to love.

It has become abundantly clear over the years that Nintendo suffers from a common ailment to those who have been at the top of their field, which is none other than pride. When you dominate anything for an extended period of time you start to believe your ideas are infallible and soon after you are passed by the up and coming innovators that share your particular space. In the 80’s and 90’s Nintendo had all the freshest ideas, they made household names out of a pair of plumbers and a kid in a green dress, but those days have passed and everyone at Nintendo has been grasping to their relevance ever since. During the golden era of Nintendo you saw three consoles that will be remembered forever for the great gaming experiences and innovations that they brought. The NES, SNES and Nintendo 64 brought us adventures and experiences that we still hold dearly even to this day. In previous features you have seen me give praise to the Zelda series that I loved so dearly, and A Link to the Past still holds a place in my top five video games of all time., but love for the classics does not sell consoles in 2013. Ever since the Gamecube we have seen a lack of innovation from Nintendo’s first-party developers that is both alarming and insulting to the lightning fast growth of the video game industry. While Sony is putting out games like The Last of Us, Nintendo has just recently released New Super Luigi U… Whatever that is.

Nintendo is dead 1

As we all know it is hard to argue with the hardcore Nintendo fans. They take a very defensive stance to the topic and refuse to see the flaws in a company that has provided them with so many years or enjoyment. I get that completely, hell I continually bought Madden games for a long time even though they were stale and failing to innovate time and time again. Did the Wii sell more systems than both the PS3 and 360? Absolutely it did, I had a Wii (which I did not purchase for myself) as I am sure many of you did, but did you buy games for it? Did you support the software that came out in the years following its release? If you did, was it anywhere close to the number of games you bought for your PS3 or 360? Software sales will say that not very many of us did, and the reason was that we were all too busy buying better titles for our other consoles. The reason the Wii had such insane sales numbers was simple. Casual gamers and non-gamers alike fell in love with “the bowling game” and I can’t say that I blame them. Wii Sports was a lot of fun and I loved every moment of playing it, but it came packaged with the system. Instead of capitalizing on the market and finding new and cool ways to innovate using their new motion controls they slapped together a new Zelda, shoved shovelware down our throats and asked us to turn the controller sideways to play the New Super Marios Bros.

So in all of this the question obviously becomes “can Wii U be saved?” or even “is the Wii U worth saving?” The answers to these questions certainly aren’t as simple as yes or no, there is so much involved and Nintendo truly has so much to offer that it would be sad to see them disappear forever. Would we truly be better off in a world with no Mario? Or would we all just be better off with better Mario games? Is it such blasphemy to ask the worlds most famous plumber to step outside of his comfort zone in a way that isn’t a Mario Party, Smash Bros or a Mario Kart game? Is he not allowed to have dialogue that is more extensive than “it’s a me, Mario!” What about Link? Is Link never allowed to grow into an adult capable of kicking ass with the likes of Kratos and Master Chief? How incredible would it be to play a true RPG style Zelda game with choices and a level-up system? What if Link wasn’t simply a slave to certain items and had the ability to carry the weapons and items that the player felt were the coolest? While these are all very simple ideas and solutions it seems that no one in the entire Nintendo corporation has had the creativity to even consider something outside of their standard platforming or adventure genres. Certainly it is going to take more than the franchise poster boys to bring the Wii U out of its slump. Its going to take new and interesting IPs as well as creative new directions to take the gamepad in order to draw in the gamers who might have given up on Nintendo lately.

Wii U is deadWhile Nintendo continues to focus on their insanely popular DS handhelds it seems as if the Wii U is in the back of their minds. When discussing this very topic on Twitter with a buddy of mine I was told that “Nintendo is taking it slow”. This comment was more than a bit alarming to me as one would think that Nintendo would need to be carving out its own corner of the market as Sony and Microsoft make their push into the real next generation. I do not want Nintendo to fail, quite the contrary actually. I believe it is better for all gamers when Nintendo is alive and well and giving gamers fun experiences to enjoy. The problem I find is that the same old experiences just aren’t that fun anymore, and I am absolutely not going to pay $399 to buy a Wii U when they haven’t even proven that they’re going to provide us something new and exciting to enjoy on it. I hope that they can do something to change my mind, but for me as it stands right now, the Wii U is dead.

About the author

Branden Wilson


  • Nintendo has certainly been brain dead when it comes to consoles…. Thank God for them they’ll always have Japan and handhelds

  • Thank you to everyone who was compelled to comment on this post! I love it when a topic can cause debate and conversation within the gaming community! Thank you all for reading and sharing your thoughts!!

  • Yeah. This isn’t the first time Nintendo’s been sitting at the bottom. In certain territories, the Sega Genesis (or Master System) was beating out the SNES even though the SNES could claim worldwide dominance. But, once Nintendo had scorned Sony, Sony opted to enter the gaming market on their own and once the PlayStation hit, Nintendo was on the bottom looking up to the PlayStation and once again with the Gamecube on the bottom (even less than the Xbox) so this isn’t anything new to them. With the Wii they struck gold but ever since, they’ve been looking up to Sony and Microsoft. Sony had a minor hiccup this generation after riding the tidal wave for two generations. I’m not even sure they’re still in third place. I think they creeped up to second place. Sony just knows how to get things done. They know how to market and they know how to find developers. Apparently even without Phil Harrison. Sony just made a bad decision but, they’ve learned from it and they’re doing well. Now its Microsoft that have slipped up and they’re paying the price before they’ve even gotten out the door.

    • The Japanese are losing the influence they used to have however and Western Development and such are taking over. Sony Computer Entertainment America has more freedom given Jack Tretton than Nintendo gives to Reggie.

  • With some developers openly stating that they have no plans for the console because its not selling is HUGE. Its a catch 22. And how many times can you play the same mario game? Apparently not forever Nintendo. Close up shop make games for the X1 and ps4.

  • Yeah I bought my fair share of Wii games (as a core and even hard-core gamer), no didn’t buy a PS3 or 360 at all, had my PC. And even that I only played SC2 on for the most part.


    excellent article from many months ago worth some reading.
    And Nintendo’s stock rose quite significantly in the last month and also, the earthquake in Japan was reported as stalling most of Nintendo’s major production, they do have unannounced titles on the way for WiiU, the software rate and quality is picking up. It will do fine

    In the last several months I have bought a lot of ‘non-Nintendo centric’ titles , like Ninja Gaiden, Tekken, BOps2. And I gotta say, I don’t know what the rest of the gaming world considers quality gaming half the time. Most of this software is utter trite. Even bought FarCry 3 for PC recently for a few dollars. Technically very impressive, but sheer trite. Inconsistant, broken gameplay. Comparitively Nintendo’s core titles still eclipse much of these in the brain usage department

  • First of all Nintendo have done themselves no favours with Wii U, and the amount of software available in the 7-8 months that it has been out. That can be rectified but they seriously need a couple of big hitters this year, from both 1st and 3rd party sources.

    Nintendo should do more with the GamePad, I know the fans want an (only) games console, but why haven’t (apps) like Facebook, Twitter been integrated possibly into Miiverse? And not just the share feature.

    Achievements, or Mii-Achievements as I call them, why not some-kind of system in place.

    Maybe this kicking is whats needed to give them a reality check.

    I love Nintendo and what they have bought me over the years, but now/today is more competitive world.

    Get the 3rd party’s back on-board, both AAA content and indie goodness, maximize what Unity engine can bring and HTML web framework, before the end of the year and Nintendo will be back onto a winner.

    ***At author: Could we have some spaces between the written content please.***

  • Wii U is in bad shape and maybe lacking compelling software, but I don’t think it’s dead or near death. But their strategy of hardware first, then trickle out the software is strange.

    Also, Super Mario RPG 2, Super Metroid 2, I’d buy a Wii U right now for those.

  • LOL Wii U is dead? With only 7 months of life? jajaja I just remember the Nintendo 3DS… All peopla says… ”3DS IS SHIT!!! IS DOOMED AND IS DEAD”
    And what happen now? Don’t they say that 3DS was ”DEAD”
    I always have said… This articles are boring and stupids… because they don’t show their opinion; They show a ridiculous future that their mind created…
    It’s so sad to think, that the worst thing of the videogames, are the journalists and their ariticles… It’s patetic…

  • The Wii U hasn’t even been out for a year, so I think it is a bit premature to proclaim its death. I do agree that dismal software and hardware sales have to be alarming for Nintendo and reflect that the console is is trouble but there is time and opportunity to turn it around. When many of their big releases are more than a year out it makes you wonder what Nintendo was thinking when trying to create a successful platform for gamers.

    • Well except for ya know the fact that it’s selling worse than the Vita….Nobody wants one, they have no system sellers coming out until the end of the year….Pikmen 3 is not a system seller no matter how much people want to dilute themselves that it is…

      • In the month of June it sold better than the Vita and just under the Wii

  • Well.. as much as i have always loved nintendo, im not so sure i can argue with what you are saying.. you of all people know james, i loved my Wii, as i used to bring my wii and a bag full of over 50 games to your house on a regular basis. Its a such a fun sys for playing with friends, and not just bc of bowling… however the ‘hardcore gamer’ selection is just not there. Short of Scarface, Manhunt 2 and a very few others, its all just novelty games. i was told time after time that to be considered a “real” gamer today, the Wii cannot be your primary and definitely not your only console. With the mind blowing games and specs coming out with the next gen consoles, this statement is now more true than ever. i never wanted to accept all the ridicule that i used to get over my wii, but now it seems you are right, short of a pair of plumbers and a kid in a green dress, there is not much to compete with in the upcoming console wars.. and did i catch a ‘top five’ in there buddy? haha

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