The Reveal of the Wii U
E3 Announcement Fails
The reveal of the Wii U may go down as one of the worst in E3 history. As we’ve seen many times in the gaming, first impressions are everything when it comes to pitching new hardware – ask Microsoft and Sony how the reveals of the PS3 and the Xbox One went for them. In the case of Nintendo with its Wii U, instead of getting the masses excited and interested, they confused the casual community and failed to impress all but the most loyal Nintendo fans. It was a nightmare reveal.
Of course, prior to the conference, Nintendo was still riding high from the popularity of the Wii. By that point though, despite selling like crazy for most of the generation, the Wii had kind of fallen off a cliff at the end of its life and a successor was sorely needed. More than just to keep up with the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, the eight console generation was fast approaching, so Nintendo was in even greater need of a big win to keep the momentum rolling.
The Wii U’s reveal trailer constantly referred to the console as “the new controller.” Many of the games shown had Wii-era looking graphics, as well as a bewildering focus on the Miiverse, and it’s easy to see why all but the most up-to-date gamers could be thrown off by what it actually was. Not to mention, the name itself didn’t do the console any favors. It was far too close to ‘Wii,’ only reinforcing the notion that the hardware was a small iteration rather than a generational leap. See the mess for yourself below:
To make matters worse, it didn’t resonate with many hardcore gamers either. The controller concept was neat but gimmicky and limited. Unlike the Wii’s motion controls, the limited portability of the Wii U controller just didn’t change the gaming landscape in the same way its predecessor did. Plus, it lacked the power of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (forget the PS4 and Xbox One). A double whammy for sure.
It’s because of all this that the Wii U had the shortest home console lifespan since the Sega Dreamcast. There is a happy ending, though. Nintendo learned their lesson, and built on that idea and released the way, way better Nintendo Switch, which fully realized the Wii U’s untapped potential. RIP buddy; you kind of deserved it, but at least you helped give us the Switch.