9:40 PM EST: With the Nintendo NX set to reveal in about 20 minutes, I thought I'd take a brief look back at the Wii U, and share my thoughts about what Nintendo needs to do to make the NX as successful as the Wii.
The Wii U was a follow up to Nintendo's 7th generation console, the Nintendo Wii. To say that the Wii was a success was an understatement. It outsold Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3 by a very wide margin. The margin was so wide, it was almost comical, really. According to Vgsales, the Wii sold 52.6 million units around the world. That's 21 million more than the Xbox 360 at 31.5 million, and almost 30 million more than that of Sony's Playstation 3 at 23.8 million.
look guys, I'm smart because I use graphs!
UPDATE: 10:19 PM. Well. I've watched the trailer, and it isn't called the NX. In fact, it is called the Nintendo Switch. And from the looks of the trailer, they have 3rd party support (footage of NBA 2k) and an amazing gimmick. It looks like you can just pack up and take the console anywhere on a gamepad-esque screen. Now, I gave Nintendo trouble over the gamepad being clunky, but it it looks a lot more sleek now. I hadn't even mentioned the hand-held market, as I thought that wouldn't have even been relevant, but for reference, the Original Nintendo DS sold as many as the other 3 consoles combined with 107.75 million units sold. The 3ds sold 57.9 million units. If Nintendo has made a home console that is capable of running high-performance titles, and a hand-held console that can be taken anywhere, and wrapped them into an affordable console, then they may have something here. I don't see how this console can be priced at any less than $500, but I suppose we will see.
Wii would like to play
Now, with numbers like that, how could the big N go wrong? The Wii was a huge success! It's combination of great advertisements (Wii would like to play ring any bells?) and the motion control capabilities of the console drove millions of sales. Not to mention that Nintendo's 1st party video games were household names to both the 'hardcore gamer' and the more casual gamer alike. I mean, everybody knows the Super Mario Brothers, even people who have never picked up a video game controller in their lifetime.
Well, Nintendo did go wrong with the Wii U. They tried to use gimmicks to sell their console. Motion control was a big part of the Wii, and even though it was a gimmick, it was a smart gimmick, and it was a gimmick that was done very well. Most games made ample use of the motion controls and if they didn't, the controller could be used like a regular controller, no big deal. The Wii U was supposed to be driven by the Gamepad. A big, clunky, uncomfortable controller that only had one redeeming factor; the screen.
You know, the Gamepad really wouldn't be that bad if it was used well. Nintendo completely ignored it in it's first party games. In New Super Mario Brothers: U, it was another screen. In Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, it was another screen. Get the picture? It also lacked power compared to the Xbox One and PS4, which limited the amount of 3rd party games that it could run. This is extremely bad for a company trying to be successful.
In order to be successful, I believe that the Nintendo NX needs to drop the gimmicks. Either that, or have a really good gimmick. It needs to rely on the strength of it's 1st party titles. You have the rights to one of the most recognizable characters of all time! Mario is a household name! Use these things to your advantage. Make sure everyone knows that this console is THE console for family gaming. It also needs to compete with Microsoft and Sony in the hardware department. And the biggest thing that the NX needs to be successful, is 3rd party support. You need console exclusive 3rd party games. Some of the most recognizable video game characters are 3rd parties. Mega Man, Mega Man X, Banjo and Kazooie. Even Sonic is associated with Nintendo more than anyone else. It also needs to be affordable. It is going to be aimed at families most likely, and most parents aren't going to want to shell out big bucks on a video game console.
So Jim's Keys To Success© are as follows
1. Rely on your brand's strength, and the strength of your 1st party games
1A. Have a really good gimmick that doesn't feel like a gimmick.
2. Make a system that has hardware that is up to snuff with the competing consoles
3. Get as much 3rd party support as possible.
4. Make it at least semi-affordable so that parents buy it for their kids
The "Switch" in action