Why There’s No Reason to Buy a Wii U Anymore

The Nintendo Wii U and GamePad controller

The Nintendo Wii U and GamePad controller | Source: Nintendo

Are you a Wii U owner? Judging by the console’s poor sales, the most likely answer is no. In fact, when people come over to my house and see the Wii U’s GamePad controller sitting on the coffee table, their usual response is, “What’s that thing?” By most metrics, the Wii U has been a failure.

In the three and a half years since Nintendo launched the Wii U, the company has sold roughly 12 million units. Nintendo predicts it will sell about 800,000 more during this financial year. By comparison, the original Wii sold over 100 million units. So yeah, things aren’t looking good.

Clearly, Nintendo made a whole mess of mistakes with the Wii U. What that means for consumers is that there’s no good reason to buy one, at least not unless you can get it for dirt cheap. Here’s why.

Nintendo has moved on

Nintendo has given up on the Wii U. It’s a good business move on the company’s part, but it makes the Wii U a much harder sell when you look at what a slim lineup Nintendo has in terms of upcoming Wii U games. Only one of those games — Zelda — has wide appeal, and it’s coming to Nintendo’s next system, code-named NX, in 2017. With such a barren schedule, it’s obvious Nintendo has shifted its focus to the NX. That’s exactly what consumers should do, too.

A Bullet Bill rushes at Mario in Super Mario World.

A Bullet Bill rushes at Mario in Super Mario World. | Source: Nintendo

We don’t know if Wii U games will carry forward

We only have so much shelf space under our TVs, so many of us simply can’t keep old consoles hooked up once we buy new systems or set-top boxes. If we knew the NX could play Wii U games, at least we’d know we’d be able to play our games on future hardware. But since Nintendo hasn’t gotten around to announcing even the basic functions of the NX — aside from saying it will be based on a “new concept” — we have no way of knowing if it will be able to play Wii U games.

Even more concerning is the question of whether the NX will be able to play the classic games available on the Virtual Console, Wii U’s digital store. There’s no good reason you should have to buy digital versions of classic games like Super Mario World more than once, but so far Nintendo hasn’t created a way to transfer your purchases from one system to another.

It’s too expensive

When a piece of video game hardware is selling poorly, the classic business move would be to reduce its price to encourage people to buy it. For whatever reason, despite the Wii U’s poor sales for the past three years, Nintendo has never dropped the price. It boggles the mind, but the Wii U still costs $300, which is just $50 less than the much more powerful PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

With the Wii U’s lineup of good games, it could have been a worthwhile gaming console. But thanks to its poor marketing, weak reception, and cold shoulder from Nintendo, there’s simply not enough reason to justify the price of a Wii U in 2016.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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