Soon it will be like a Nintendo console never existed

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Credit: Nintendo

There was an update for the Wii U recently. It’s … surprising to say the least.

As far as I know, we’re all supposed to agree that the Wii U wasn’t really a thing. Perhaps the most important part of the latest update is a message that was pulled from it that suggests the Miiverse is coming to an end on the console.

Nintendo is slowly but surely erasing the Wii U from our collective consciousness. Soon the years between the Wii and the Nintendo Switch will be blanketed in a thick fog, as if the Wii U never existed.

Just a bad dream, nothing more.

Nintendo’s first foray into HD gaming was, to say the least, a complete and utter disaster of such epic proportions that it’s astonishing that the company recovered so nimbly with the Nintendo Switch.

The Wii U sold just over 13.5 million units during its brief and bitter time on this planet. That’s almost 8 million units sold less than the GameCube, which was a big flop at the time. That’s almost 90 million units less than the Wii. 90 million!

Just look at these numbers, which are Nintendo’s official sales numbers at the start of 2017:

Wii U

  • Material: 13.56 million units
  • Software: 96.52 million units

Nintendo 3DS

  • Equipment 65.30 million units
  • Software: 320.96 million units

Wii

  • Material: 101.63 million units
  • Software: 917.34 million units

Nintendo DS

  • Material: 154.02 million units
  • Software: 948.51 million units

The Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, sells like gangbusters. It is significantly surpassing the PS4 in Japan compared to the launch of this console, and easily outperforming the Wii U in the same time frame. The week-to-week numbers show absolutely no slowing down for the system. Indeed, the only reason it doesn’t sell more is the limited supply. It sells out week after week. In Japan, huge queues still form whenever new inventory goes on sale.

And with that success, Nintendo spotted an opportunity: The Japanese game maker can take each of the Wii U’s most beloved games and re-release them on Switch. Since consoles aren’t much different in raw power, these re-released games don’t have to be better at all. They can just include the DLC, minor upgrades and tweaks, and since so few people have played them to begin with, it won’t matter.

Credit: Nintendo

The most obvious example is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which is almost identical to the Wii U version, but includes additional racers and tracks from the DLC, as well as a few new racers from the Splatoon series and an appropriate combat mode.

Speaking of Splatoon, The sequel to the game is incredibly similar to the original Wii U game, so much so that some reviewers have said it should just be called Splatoon Deluxe because it is more of a port than a real sequel.

The list goes on. Pokken DX tournament is a reissue of that Wii U game, this time for the more robust Switch audience. Platinum Games teased both Bayonetta and Wonderful 101 The Switch versions, and while these are yet to be confirmed, it seems almost certain that they are headed for the new console. (Maybe a new Bayonetta and one Wonderful 102 instead arrive on the switch, but the ports seem likely anyway.)

Gallery: The Nintendo Switch

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Nintendo could go on like this. They could release Pikmin 3 Deluxe, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Deluxe, and a number of other Wii U games. On the one hand, that means Nintendo is just releasing older games rather than making new ones; on the other hand, many gamers told me it would still be good as very few of them have wii u systems.

With each “new” Switch reissue of an older Wii U game, this console fades around the edges, like Marty McFly when he stepped back in time and his mom started falling for him. At this point, almost all of its third-party exclusives have been released elsewhere as well.

Soon it will be as if the system never existed.

Wait, what system?

Exactly.

Credit: Nintendo

It’s all a bit bittersweet. I’ve always been a strong supporter of the Wii U, which had such wonderful games and so little third-party support. Big publishers screamed at its poor sales, but maybe with a little more third-party support the Wii U would have limped a little more confidently. It’s a vicious circle.

Of course, it lacked power, and the second screen gadget has never been as good as the Wii’s user-friendly motion controls or the Switch’s portability. And the name ‘Wii U’ is probably the worst name for any console — and I mean already. Simply awful. Just ridiculously, ridiculously horrible in every way.

And yet, for all that, I liked my Wii U. I wanted it to be successful if only because it offered something to gamers. different. Oddly enough, that’s exactly what the Switch offers, just in a much more attractive package with a much better gadget.

With the Wii U, I enjoyed the second screen as an inventory management screen, and even the occasional cool way to play board games. He never lived up to his potential, of course, but it wasn’t that great either. It wasn’t as bad as the sales numbers suggest, and I still blame Nintendo’s odd marketing for at least part of the console’s failure.

Now it’s dead. Dead and more and more buried and erased from human memory. No one really understood what the Wii U was to begin with.

It won’t be very difficult for us to forget that it never existed.


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