Nintendo’s Switch looks to be a platform that will manage to be successful, in spite of the numerous missteps Nintendo are making. In general, there is more hype, buzz, and awareness around the system than there ever was for Wii U. So there is that.
But the Switch also comes on the back of the Wii U, the dismal performance of which has put Nintendo in a very precarious spot, and which is probably one of the most high profile failures in the gaming market of all time. Was it the Wii U’s failure that catalyzed Nintendo and induced the fresh way of thinking within the company that pervades the Switch as a whole?
Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime seems to think so. In an interview with TIME, he was asked if he felt the Wii U was a failure- and Fils-Aime agreed that it was, but also that it was necessary.
“I don’t recall who said it but, one of our executives said something similar — I think it might have been Mr. Miyamoto, the last time he was here in New York, where he made the comment “I hope consumers look back at Wii U as a necessary step, in order to get to Nintendo Switch.” Which is another way of saying what you did,” Fils-Aime said.
“And it’s interesting, you know, as consumers think back, the fondness and the memories shift. I joined the company as GameCube was ending its life. And as we look at the install base of the platform, certainly it’s not one of our higher install base platforms. And yet it seems the talk now is all about how consumers are hoping that there’s a GameCube virtual console, which I just find interesting.
“But yes, you can look at Nintendo Switch and certainly see a lineage, not only to Wii U, but as our Switch presentation highlighted, really to so many of our historical platforms. And there is certainly no mistake in that.”
In other words, it sounds like Nintendo agree the Wii U was a failure- but they also seem to think that its failure was necessary for the company to learn some hard lessons. I’d agree with the sentiment- but whether or not that lesson was actually learned is something that I reserve judgement on.