Nintendo's 7 Biggest Failures and What They Taught Us

From the Virtual Boy to the disastrous deal with Sony that led to the PlayStation – Nintendo has had a few big misses

Wii U (2012)
Glixel / Nintendo 7/7

Wii U (2012)

Things were wrong from the very beginning. Sure, Nintendo was smart in identifying a whole trend toward "the second screen" with a growing number of gamers watching TV and playing video games while also messing about on their tablets or smartphones – so, what if a new machine could include both screen formats into one experience? And what if that experience was finally in HD? However, when the Wii U was first shown at E3, many were confused by the presentation, thinking the GamePad was actually a Wii add-on. When the truth emerged, other problems came with it. The IBM and AMD-based hardware was, once again, underpowered, and the software line-up for the first year was distinctly uninspiring: no new Zelda, no major Super Mario – and very little in the way of third-party support. As with the GameCube, there were certainly good games (Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World) but never enough to build an audience beyond the Nintendo faithful.

What we learned: The Wii U proposition was never really that clear. Nintendo promised a new era of fascinating asymmetrical local multiplayer games, but few titles supported this concept, and the portability of the GamePad as a separate gaming device was limited to around 30-feet. Everything it did was compromised. As Nintendo had already discovered via the Virtual Boy and, to a lesser extent, the GameCube, making something a bit kooky is not always enough to garner mainstream interest. 

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