8 Reasons the Wii U is a Success

If We Measure Success by Innovative Experiences, the Wii U Rules

Was the Wii U a success. By a lot of metrics, such as sales compared with the other consoles, the answer is an unequivocal no. I see that point, and can list 10 reasons why the Wii U should be considered a failure. And yet, in some ways, in spite of game shortages, missteps, and poor sales, the Wii U was an exciting marvel that brought some great things to the gaming space. Here are 8 ways in which the Wii U really is a terrific success story.

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bayonetta 2

Complain about the deficiencies of the Wii U all you want; it's what you need to play Nintendo games. Mario Kart, Smash Bros., Legend of Zelda; that's what you get from the Wii U, and can't get elsewhere. With solid exclusive second party titles like Xenoblade Chronicles X and added into the mix, there's just too much to miss when you don't own a Wii U.

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The Touch Screen is Cool

Wii U Controller

The touch screen is just a really fascinating idea. It is a flexible controller that can be a rifle scope, a motion tracker, and the easiest way to root around your inventory. While not enough games have taken real advantage of it, those that have embraced the technology have created wonderful, unique experiences.

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Nintendo got a Handle on Online

Splatoon is like no other online shooter. Nintendo

In some ways Nintendo is very smart, but at times the company seems like an idiot savante, innovating brilliantly while failing miserably in the basics. The online space was a huge weakness of Nintendo's. The Wii U started off with some interesting online features, like a full social environment called Miiverse, an eShop that sells virtually every game available for the Wii U, and support for online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Mario Kart 8 showed off quick match-ups and its MKTV was a wonderful way to share game highlights, even spawning an amusing internet meme. With Splatoon, they finally created a game built entirely around online play, and it was as brilliant and as popular as their traditional couch-multiplayer titles. It's a whole new Nintendo.

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Online is Free

miiverse page
You can access the Miiverse through the Wii or, as in this screenshot, via browser. Nintendo

When the Xbox introduced a comprehensive online system, the critics fell in love with it. Frugal me, however, was annoyed that they also charged a fee for something that I was getting for free elsewhere. Sony followed suit with the PS4, but Nintendo, which always goes there own way, charges nothing for online use, whether it's online gaming, experiencing Miiverse, or browsing the internet. Critics often complain when Nintendo refuses to follow the industry's lead, but in this case, that approach puts Nintendo on top.

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Still the Console for Family Entertainment

Mario Kart 8 ToadHarbor
Tracks are beautiful and detailed. Nintendo

Sure, if you're a college student who wants to wile away the hours blowing stuff up, the Wii U isn't going to be your first choice. But in the way people used to think of video games as just for kids, a lot of older gamers now almost seem to forget how many little kids actually play video games. And Nintendo makes great games for kids. They also make great games for parents to play with kids. And the Wii U has a greater concentration of those games than anyone else. 

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Power-Shmower - The Games Look Great

Mario Kart 8 - Rainbow Road
This is easily the best looking game in Mario Kart's history. Nintendo

Yes, the PS4 and XB1 are more powerful than the Wii U, and yet, the most beautiful Wii U games are as gorgeous as anything on the other consoles. Look at Mario Kart 8 or Xenoblade Chronicles X; how much would the power of the PS4 improve them?

If it’s not about graphics, then it must be about offering a new experiences, and that is what Nintendo does. Power or no, until Microsoft and Sony innovate the way Nintendo does, the Wii U is going to be the most interesting console on the market.

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Supports a Wide Variety of Game Play and Control Schemes


Video game controls used to be pretty simple; you had a couple of buttons and something to control direction. Then you got more buttons and knobs and triggers. Then with the Wii you had gesture control, which was promptly copied by Sony and Microsoft. And now Nintendo has added a touch screen. This means that games can be controlled via touchscreen, buttons and knobs, motion control, or any combination. This has allowed a wide variety of game experiences. No system has ever offered so many ways to play games.

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Nintendo is at Their Best When They Innovate


While Microsoft and Sony have focused on a “same but better” model, Nintendo has stressed innovation in their recent products with great success. The Wii opened up a whole new approach to gaming; Microsoft and Sony copied that approach. Arguably Nintendo is weakest when they play it safe, as they did with the GameCube; it’s when they take chances that the magic happens. Even if the Wii U didn't sell as well as its competitors, it's still the most interesting home console on the market.