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Wii U

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NOTE: This console isn't bad. This only focuses on what caused it to flop.

This is the 900th page on Crappy Games Wiki!
Wii U
Wii U Basic Set.png
Wii U.png
The successor to one of Nintendo's biggest successes fell far short of its predecessor's heights.
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: NA: November 18, 2012
MEX/SA: November 29, 2012
EU/AU: November 30, 2012
JP: December 8, 2012
CHI: December 10, 2012
BRA: November 26, 2013
Predecessor: Wii
Successor: Nintendo Switch
Competitors: PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Generation: Eighth generation
"The phrase 'spectacular cavalcade of failure' is tossed around a lot these days, but until the Wii U's E3 reveal in 2011, we never really knew what those words meant."
Daniel Hardcastle[1]
"They've been able to succeed, because their games kicked so much ass, and the culture they've created has turned millions of people into hardcore fans, but their greatest weaknesses would become impossible to ignore with the Wii U. Following the outrageous success of the Wii, Nintendo must have thought: Let's just make a sequel, Wii would like to play, again. Are you sure the novelty of the Wii won't have worn off in the six years since it came out, no, it's all good, it was not all good. And the console sold terribly, no amount of promotion or amazing titles could save it from mediocre performance, the console was the problem, not the games."
The Act Man

The Wii U, codenamed Project Café, was a home video game console developed by Nintendo, the successor to the Wii, and the predecessor to the Nintendo Switch. Initially released in North America in 2012 and discontinued on January 31, 2017, it was the first eighth-generation home video game console and competed with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The console was announced in E3 on June 7, 2011.[2] It was marketed along with the Nintendo 3DS and as a home console that would allow gamers to play games on it off-TV with a controller with an integrated touch-screen, called the Wii U GamePad. The latter would also have other features like a movement recognition which is also present on the Nintendo 3DS, and a NFC that would be used mostly for Amiibos.

This console is also well known for home to what is considered not only the worst Sonic game, but also the worst game on the system, as well as one of the worst video games of all time: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.

Hardware specifications

  • CPU: Tri-Core IBM PowerPC "Espresso" @ 1.24 GHz
  • Memory: 2G DDR3
  • Storage: 8 / 32 GB internal flash memory
  • Display: 1080i, 1080p ,720p ,576i ,576p ,480i ,480p
  • Graphics: 550 MHz AMD Radeon-based "Latte"
  • Media: Wii U Optical Disc, Wii Optical Disc

Bad Qualities

  1. Poor marketing: Having gotten cocky on the huge success of the Wii, Nintendo did a terrible job in marketing the system, with it being less advertised than the Wii and the ads being excessively focused on younger kids and families. The ads also focused more on the GamePad rather than the console itself. (the console sometimes is barely visible in the ads as well")
  2. The name "Wii U" and the overly kid-friendly marketing made many people confused about whether the system was a new console or an add-on for the Wii (especially with how Nintendo made many Wii games and Wii accessories with the title Wii slapped on it). In contrast, the PlayStation's successor was called the PlayStation 2 which made it easy for everyone to know that it was a new console.
  3. It has poor third-party support due to its poorly designed hardware that made it difficult to program for. When the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were released, developers immediately ditched the Wii U in favor of them since they both had more powerful hardware and were easier to make games for, this caused many third-party developers like Sega Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive and Konami to release only a few games for the console, while Activision, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gave much stronger support than other developers, for Just Dance, LEGO, Skylanders, and the infamous Cars 3: Driven to Win. Some poor hardware designs include:
    • The PowerPC-based CPU was essentially just three Wii CPUs overclocked and thrown together onto the same chip (It didn't help with the fact that the Wii CPU was also just 3 GameCube CPUs overclocked as well, which meant that the Wii U was based on severely outdated technology). According to some developers, the CPU has less than half the power of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
    • It only has 2 GB of shared system and graphics RAM. Meanwhile, neither of its competitors had less than 8 GB of RAM.
    • The internal storage space is very small on standard models, with only 8 GB (with only about 4.5GB of that actually available to the user, as the rest is taken up by the OS), while deluxe models have 32 GB. Either option severely limits digital downloads of games. The only ways to expand storage were via an external USB hard drive or an SD card.
    • Unlike the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, it didn't get any hardware update versions like PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X.
    • Just like its predecessor, the Wii U lacks an Ethernet port, requiring you to get an adapter if you want to use wired internet.
    • Also like its predecessor, it uses a proprietary disc format and cannot play DVDs or Blu-rays, unlike its competitors. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president at the time of the system's release, did not think it was worth it to pay licensing and patent fees because he found that such functionality would be redundant to DVD and Blu-ray players that users may already own.
    • The console's hardware was far weaker than the PS4 and Xbox One, overall. While many developers were willing to make downgraded versions of PS3/Xbox 360 games for the Wii due to its success, they weren't willing to make downgraded PS4/Xbox One games for Wii U due to the aforementioned issues with developing games for it and due to the large difference in hardware power. Finally, it was quickly overshadowed by the PS4 and Xbox One and even its successor, the Nintendo Switch, which also has more powerful hardware.
  4. Due to the poor third-party support, the console didn't get a lot of sports video games, unlike the other consoles. It never got a MLB or a NHL video game. Plus, it only got only a single NBA video game called NBA 2K13. The same goes with the Madden NFL and FIFA series. Additionally, it never got a PGA Tour video game, and to make things worse, many of Nintendo's sports games like Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash and Wii Sports Club were lackluster, with the latter simply being a reskin of Wii Sports that was released for the Wii.
  5. Only about 781 games were released for this console, and most of the Wii U's games were also simply next-gen remade versions of Wii or home simply redone home ports of 3DS games, for example:
    • Monster Hunter Ultimate 3 (Which it is 3DS port of Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii) on the 3DS was ported to Wii U and titled Monster Hunter 3G HD in Japan.
    • The Japan-only game Dragon Quest X was also ported to Wii U from the Wii, which the Wii U version can still be played online, as Square Enix still support the Wii U version.
    • Wii Sports Club is basically an HD version of the original Wii Sports but you actually have to subscribe to the services in order to play the games! Even worse, you have to keep your console connected to the internet even when not playing online!
  6. Not even Nintendo themselves helped the system's library. While Nintendo gave it a large amount of first-party support, they completely ignored many of their IPs; most of the first party games were either Mario games or Mario spin-offs. There wasn't even a new Metroid game and there was only one new Zelda game (Hyrule Warriors). Two of the other Zelda games released for it were only remasters and one of them was a game that also released on the Switch. Basically, the inverse of one of the reasons the Sega Saturn flopped.
    • The only Kirby game to be released for the console was Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.
    • Some of Nintendo's franchises were lackluster on the console, such as Star Fox Zero, Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, just to name a few.
  7. The GamePad was often underutilized or poorly implemented: even Nintendo's own first party games didn't use it much. The GamePad's battery life is also short, lasting only about 1-3 hours, while Nintendo Switch's Joy-Cons last 4-5 hours.
    • Sometimes the Wii U gamepad makes certain games worse, the most famous example would be Star Fox Zero.
  8. Despite knowing that the system was struggling, Nintendo kept the price at or slightly above $300 during its entire lifespan, when you can get a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One for cheaper. Unlike the Virtual Boy, Nintendo didn't reduce the price due to high production costs.
    • The same goes for many first-party games such as Mario Kart 8, which are, to this day, still sold at their launch price.
  9. The stylus is very slippery and loose meaning that you could easily lose it.
  10. Absence of games from iconic franchises that were on the Wii or other Nintendo systems for that matter, such as Mega Man, Worms, Final Fantasy, The Sims, Burnout, Story of Seasons, Shin Megami Tensei, and WWE just to name a few. Without these franchises, many people who were otherwise loyal to the 3DS or others were less willing to transition to the Wii U.
  11. While it certainly did not have as much shovelware as the Wii did, Nintendo exercised very little quality control over indie developer content, similarly to the Xbox 360. Games like IQ Test, Meme Run and Bigley's Revenge from Ninja Pig Studios, The Stonecutter, Alice in Wonderland, and Red Riding Hood from Brave Rock Games, and The Letter ended up on the Wii U as a result.
  12. Very few of the PS3/Xbox 360 games released between the Wii U's launch, discontinuation of the Wii, and the launches of the PS4 and Xbox One were ported to Wii U. The games that were ported didn't have any real performance advantages, and were frequently stiffed on content compared to the other versions. A particularly infamous example was EA releasing Mass Effect 3 for Wii U, but not the Mass Effect Trilogy.
    • Most multiplatforms were either coming from the PS3/360 or were family friendly games like Skylanders series.
  13. The GameCube controller adapter released for it only worked with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. It doesn't even work with Wii games that supported GameCube controllers on the original Wii.
  14. Just like the Wii and the 3DS, it's region locked, but fortunately it is the last Nintendo home console to have regional lockout. It is also the last home console in general to have region locking.
  15. As fine as its Virtual Console lineup was, it was still lackluster to what the Wii offered. At the beginning of its lifespan, it only offered NES and SNES games and would eventually get games from the GBA, Wii, DS, and N64. Ever since the Wii Shop Channel launched, it offered games from many more platforms, including non-Nintendo platforms.
    • Game Boy Advance and DS would've been more fitting on the 3DS's VC library, since those systems are handheld, while the Wii U is a home console. Also, the GameCube games should be on the Wii U instead.
  16. Speaking of Virtual Console, There were no visual options to adjusting how the games looked like the NES Classic and SNES Classic, and the NES and N64 games were locked to a dark filter for epileptic reasons along with forced widescreen and blurriness.
    • Another problem that the N64 emulator has is the inability to emulate a controller pak, just like the one on the Wii and Switch, which means that some features like ghost data in Mario Kart 64 are unavailable.
    • DS games are miserable on Virtual Console. Each of the display options are terrible. Either one of the screens are too small to see. Also they look terrible on a TV screen because it's all pixelated. It would've made more sense to put DS games on the 3DS Virtual Console.
  17. Wii Mode is very clunky and slow. You can't quickly access Wii games unlike GameCube games on the orginal Wii. You also can't use any of the Wii U controllers while in Wii Mode.
  18. Because the console has been discontinued in early 2017, shortly before its successor, the Nintendo Switch came out, most services and multiplayer online games would be shut down on the 3DS and Wii U.
    • Miiverse was officially shut down on November 7th, 2017 on both the Wii U and 3DS systems, alongside the Wii U Chat aplication.
    • The Monster Hunter: Frontier G was officially shut down on December 18, 2019 along with PS3, Xbox 360, and PC versions, after going free-to-play for its final month.
    • The Wii U and 3DS eShop was shut down in Latin American countries on July 31, 2020, making it impossible to download classic games in those regions, this doesn't affect North and South American, Japanese, and PAL regions until March 2023.
    • Similar to the 3DS, the YouTube app was redesigned, making it impossible to watch videos.
    • Since March 31st 2021, the Super Mario Maker level sharing feature from the Wii U version has been removed.
    • As of June 30, 2021, players can no longer access Netflix on the Wii U and 3DS.
    • The 3DS and Wii U eShop ended credit card support in all countries starting January 18, 2022. Though if you merge your NNID with a Nintendo Account, you can add currency that way.
      • In February 15, 2022, Nintendo announced that they will end the 3DS & Wii U eShop support in late March 2023.

Good Qualities

Despite failing and considered by some as a bad console, the Wii U is still considered by many as a good console and did have enough redeeming qualities to be on the Awesome Games Wiki. See here.

Reception

While the console garnered mixed-to-positive reviews even from critics and was well-received for the improvements over the Wii, unlike other Nintendo consoles (not counting the Virtual Boy), it was slightly less positively received with some fans still showed negative feelings towards the console, though developers were distinctly more skeptical of the system due to its weak hardware, and struggled to find non-gimmicky ways to use its various unique features. But when the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One were released in the next year, many gamers shifted from the Wii U to other consoles in the same generation, which both of them have far better line up. It was initially expected to sell 100 million units, due to the weak hardware loss of third-party support, as a result, only 13.56 million units and 96.52 million games were sold as of December 31, 2016, lower than Nintendo's previously lowest-selling home console, the GameCube, which was 21.74 million. It should be noted that this is only the lowest-selling because Nintendo claimed that the Virtual Boy was a portable system, but the Wii U at least far outsold that.

Nintendo initially supported the console, but in response to slow sales, the Wii U was discontinued on January 31, 2017, with its successor Nintendo Switch released on March 3, 2017. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which was also released on the Switch, went on to be the last first-party game released for it. The Wii U has gone on to be somewhat vindicated by history, if only for laying down the foundation for the Switch, with Nintendo themselves calling the system a "necessary failure".

The Wii U's failure caused many to become concerned about Nintendo's future as a hardware manufacturer, which also inspired Nintendo to create its successor, the Nintendo Switch. Many were quite critical when it was announced, wondering if it would turn out to be a similarly gimmicky piece of hardware that would struggle to find a place, but the massive success of the Switch help undo much of the damage caused by the Wii U, with many saying Nintendo learned their lesson from the Wii U and would improve almost everything with the Switch. Several of the Wii U's ideas have been implemented for the Switch and done better.

While the Switch lacks backward compatibility unlike its predecessors, Nintendo has ported most Wii U titles to the Switch, such as Mario Kart 8 and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, with extra content and all previously released DLCs in the Switch version, to the point that some of them outsold not only their original versions, but the console itself such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe selling 43.35 million copies on the Switch alone, which is almost twice as many as the original game and its console combined.

CGR Undertow considered it as his least favorite Nintendo console, [3] and WatchMojo.com ranked the Wii U 4th worst Nintendo fail, behind the Nintendo Creator's Program, and ahead of the Philips CD-i.

The Wii U has a rating of 3.93 on GameFAQs (which it is lower than Wii's and higher than Xbox One's, while the Wii has a rating of 4.07 and the Xbox One has a rating of 3.61 on GameFAQs), making it is currently the lowest rated Nintendo home console.

Trivia

  • Unlike the Wii, the 3DS, and its successor the Switch, as well as rival consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, both in the same generation, it never released in other East Asia regions, (South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and in recent years for Sony and Microsoft, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam) meaning if you want to play this console outside Japan but not in the western countries, you have to buy a Japanese import, North American import or European import.
  • This was the first Nintendo console to not have an exclusive Zelda game.
  • It was the shortest-lived Nintendo home console, with only 4 years of lifespan.
  • Nintendo of tried to obtain wiiu.com from the previous domain holder in February 2013 to be tied with the release of this console by filing a claim against them. The domain was filed in 2004. Nintendo had lost the claim with the World Intellectual Property Organisation to get hold of the wiiu.com domain.
  • Chameleon's controller was discovered to be a shoddy third-party Wii U controller.
  • This console had an exclusivity deal between Nintendo and Sega, which would produce three Sonic games for the Wii U, but the poor reception of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, which ran on CryEngine 3, and engine the Wii U didn't support properly, which led the game received overwhelming negative reception, Sega and many other third-party companies reduced or dropped support for the console.
  • Due to the eshop shutdown, Nintendo launched a website called My Nintendo 3DS & Wii U Memories, which you can view your states and preferences on it.
  • Currently, the last game released on the Wii U was an indie game called Pad of Time, released in April 2022. That is too late for the console, because its lifespan died out.

Videos

References

  1. Fuck Yeah, Video Games: The Life and Extra Lives of a Professional Nerd, page 123
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eToRfMrjbzM&ab_channel=1UP
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nuh2pF8L2s&t=253s

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