Nintendo: The most powerful console doesn't always win

Reggie Fils-Aime says success of the original Wii and PlayStation 2 proves you don't need the beefiest specs to come out on top.

The most powerful console isn't always the most successful, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Forbes when discussing the Wii U's prospects this holiday against the more technically capable newcomers the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

"The interesting thing there is, if you look at the last two hardware cycles, it was not the most powerful machine that won, not in the case of the PS2, not in the case of the Wii," Fils-Aime said. "So, in the end, it's our responsibility to show consumers how much fun you can have, because in the end, this is an entertainment business, and we think we've got stellar entertainment to make the consumer smile."

Overall, Fils-Aime said the software lineup Nintendo has in place this holiday for Wii U and 3DS is compelling enough that he believes Nintendo's chances are "very good" against the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft. "Software drives hardware, and we're having a stellar year," Fils-Aime said.

Some notable new releases for Wii U and 3DS this holiday include Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (December 6), and Pokemon X/Y.

Also in the interview, Fils-Aime acknowledged that when the Wii U launched last year, some people did not understand that it was an altogether new console. Such perception issues have been remedied, he said.

"That issue has been largely addressed," Fils-Aime said. "The consumer I believe now understands this is a brand new system with brand new capabilities."

Fils-Aime also explained that the Wii U will be a desirable platform this holiday against the PS4 and Xbox One because of the "differentiated experiences" that it can offer, including its lower price point. Others include the Wii U GamePad, which allows users to play some games entirely off the main screen, as well as its exclusive Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong franchises, all of which have new releases this holiday. Lastly, Fils-Aime said Nintendo TV is a "differentiated experience" that consumers won't find elsewhere.

"We believe those will drive our performance now and into the future," he said. "And differentiated experiences in this entertainment business win."

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Discussion

1305 comments
k9kal85
k9kal85

A strong line-up of first party games will keep the Wii U afloat at least another year, but they really need some third party exclusives that will make people want to buy a Wii U just for those games.

Jedi4ce28
Jedi4ce28

Though it's true, hardware doesn't necessarily make a console, at the same time, I haven't taken Nintendo seriously since the 64. I saw the writing even back then that we'd arrive at this precise point.  It's not enough to sustain your systems by appealing to people who don't really take gaming seriously (that is, they don't often play or buy games, hate the word casual, as it's used often improperly and as an insult these days) or keeping up this family friendly image that needs to change. Even though I grew up on the NES onward it feels like Nintendo hasn't evolved as a company to me. Some of us have developed different tastes. I can't speak for anyone else, but I stopped wanting to see games starring a fat moustached plumber back during the days of super mario world.

GuillermoX
GuillermoX

Hmm I dunno Nintendo. Gamecube lost, Wii lost, Wii U is a joke. They were all less powerful.   The DS is great, but handhelds are different, and from what I hear the 3DS is a waste.  Just start releasing your games for PS and Xbox, then everyone will be happy :)

Coolspot18
Coolspot18

The Wii was a one hit wonder - personally I only played mine 5 or 10 times then it collected dust.

theKSMM
theKSMM

Nintendo's problem is that they built their fortunes on the Wii's appeal to casual gamers.  But casual gamers treat gaming casually, and though they came in droves to experience motion-controlled gaming first-hand, they disappeared just as quickly once the novelty wore off.


Now those same gamers have even more casual games that they can play in their web browsers or on their mobile devices.  In effect, these games lower the bar to entry even further than the Wii did by (a) being playable in the places where the user already spends most of her time and (b) being free or very cheap.  In this context, there are few people who are going to pull out $300 to buy a Wii U after remembering that they got maybe a good year of use out of the Wii.


Sony and Microsoft (but especially Sony) may have made half-hearted plays for the casual motion-controlled gaming crowd, but they never let go of their base of core gamers in trying to do so.  Nintendo did.  Now they need to realize where their bread is buttered and come on back home.

GhoX
GhoX

He's right. Power doesn't sell consoles, games do. That has always been the case whether it's for home console or handhelds. However, Wii U is failing precisely because it lacks games, the fact that it has weak hardware is just salt on the wound.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

Power isn't all that matters, but the Wii was only a success from a business standpoint. It flew off shelves over the course of a small window, then died with the same speed it arrived with. Meanwhile, slow and steady 360 and PS3 are still trucking right along even after the release of their replacements. The Wii was very well marketed, and very well received. Then the games stopped coming and people realized they'd been duped. Skyward Sword came off to me as an apology from Nintendo to everyone they duped into buying a console with about 15 great games resting atop a mountain of horrendously shitty ones designed for people who do not play video games.

jose2390
jose2390

You right Reggie, more powerful systems doesn't mean first place at the finish line. However, what is YOUR company really doing regarding the Wii U? You got killer games like AC4 and Ghosts, but where are the commercials? Inform the public, let them know that they don't need to buy a PS4 or an Xbox One to experience those games. I been a Nintendo fan since the NES, and I must say, the current direction of the Wii U will lead to disastrous conclusions if they don't improve their marketing strategies. Peace gamers. 

waffleiron88
waffleiron88

nah power isnt all that matters, having a title lineup that consist of more than mario, now that matters.

AjenoMerveilles
AjenoMerveilles

PS2 was just a phenomenal console. Still have the first and only one I needed to buy purely out of nostalgia. Still works. A corking library and pretty much indestructible (assuming you didn't test said theory with a hammer). Hard to think a company went from that to the clusterf*ck of the PS3.

Someone in a different forum described the PS4 as the PS2 multiplied by ten. In design, it is an assessment I agree with. I can only hope that at some point the library will also be comparable. 

megamatics
megamatics

The Weaker Hardware thing is attributed to a lot of elements. The Ability to churn out games faster, Lower Cost of Competition with other games, and the easier to supplement install base because of cheaper cost. Nintendo has not reached the optimal cost for the WiiU yet, Imo they need to have a console that costs 200 Bucks with a cheaper more cost effective WiiUMote. This new WiiUMote imo should look about the size of a Game Boy Advanced so it's cost can be brought down significantly.  The is no way you can charge 100+ Dollars to replace a controller, bring it down to something parents are more comfortable in replacing. 

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

Lower price point? A reason not to get a Wii U over a PS4 is that the difference between 7 years old hardware and yesterday's is 40 dollars. Of course I'm not talking about games, but you wouldn't choose a Prius over a Bugatti because of 40 dollars.

zyxahn
zyxahn

He hit it on the head.  You can get CoD and Battlefield and such games that are on both the Sony and Microsoft consoles.  You can't get Nintendo franchise games on any other console.  They just need more though or maybe Bethesda supporting the WiiU might look good.  Dragon Quest or Warrior will help.  Maybe do a Xenoblade HD remaster.  I like the gamepad alot and obviously feel it can be used way more then they are currently.  The thing is though is I'm playing Super Mario 3D World with the Wii motion controllers and not the gamepad.  Those motion controllers are just to damn fun to play Mario with.  If they can't make you want to use the gamepad over the Wii controllers on one of their major hitters like Mario then I'm not sure they can.  I hope so but it doesn't look good.  Remake Kirby's Canvas Curse for the WiiU and gamepad and see how that works.

Gen007
Gen007

Yeah ive always found it funny how sony fans are now champions of having the strongest hardware when they used to have some of the weakest. Back then it didn't matter cause they had good games now its all about the graphics but yeah history shows us that the strongest system has pretty much never been top dog so i dont understand why console gamers argue over it so much especially when the difference between the ps4 and x1 will ultimately be negligible just like it was between the ps3 and 360. Games sell the systems and it has been that way forever.

thaxeus
thaxeus

A point he makes against himself is when the PS2 and Wii first came out they were cutting edge, so his argument is automatically null and void. As for the PS2 it had the best game library of any system to date. the Wii did well because it was innovative and pulled in an entire new demography of people. I have to agree with Danny O'Dywer on The Point the other day. Nintendo did a shit job naming their system, which created confusion among potential customers. Lots of people thought the Wii U was an add-on to the Wii. Then of course the every present lack of 3rd party support for Nintendo games and the constant re-hash of Nintendo's flagship IPs and it's no surprise the  Wii U is a complete failure. Nintendo needs to stop making home consoles, stick to hand-helds, and license Mario,Zelda and Metroid to other companies to make since all Nintendo wants to do is make almost the exact same games over and over again. 

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

You got to give him props that he acknowledges the fact that the PS2 won the 6th Gen.


The Wii U needs better Marketing and more exclusives, frankly its best suited for a second hand console, because with it, its basically an exclusive machine. It has things the mainstream major consoles wont have so its an advantage to own either a PS4/Xbone along with a Wii U.

Reggie and Geoff are good friends who always play around and argue on every interview, especially with serious stuff. Reggie technically won this round with the whole "PLAY THE GAME" especially considering 3D World became a better game than most expected it to be. Geoff is pretty excited and happy that Reggie is making his appearence at the VGX and when asked what exactly is Reggie showing he said its gonna be a "World Premier".


The VGA/VGX is most the target for dude bro gamers and such, and more known for its World Premiers, whatever stunt Nintendo and Reggie are planning for VGX, lets hope itll boost the Wii U.

franky111
franky111

Yeah, that lack of third party support is going to win you the race, because hundreds of Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon rehashes are exactly the kinds of things that win console wars.

Anyone else tired of Reggie bashing other consoles on Twitter while the console he represents is flopping?

doubleii
doubleii

8:pm tomorrow night at my crib I'm throwing a wii u going out of business party. All are invited there will be games like smash the wii u, bobbin for wii games and pin the tail on the wii u

chuckles471
chuckles471

When you have the momentum of a tortoise with a limp, you aren't going to "win".


What the PS2 and WII had was unbelievable momentum, that just got better as time went on.  The WiiU has to wait a couple of months until a game comes out, it get's a slight sales spike and then goes back to not selling that much. 

KingsofQueens
KingsofQueens

LOL Nintendo.

Yes PS2 and Wii won in sales in their respective generation, but the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE is PS2 had THE GAMES & 3rd PARTY SUPPORT, all of which was completely missing or limited on the Wii console, a console almost completely reliant on it's 1st Party Nintendo offerings, that's it. 

What a Crock of Sh!t Reggie is, and how DELUDED Nintendo have become!  

Gunmaster51
Gunmaster51

Nintendo may have won the last gen in terms of sales with the Wii. But in terms of legacy, the Wii will have the weakest impact. Gamers 20 years from now will remember original last gen IPs like Uncharted, Gears of War, Red Dead Redemption and The Last of Us. What original IP is there on the Wii that will define the console? Wii Sports Resort?

Space_Paranoids
Space_Paranoids

I have been a happy Wii U owner since it's release but let's be honest, the "differentiated experiences" or "tablet" sucks. The pro controller works amazingly and should be used in all cases possible. Also, remote play on my PS4 is cool, so I am finding "that experience" elsewhere and it's just as good if not better. You're a good guy Reggie but...eat it.

Derpalon
Derpalon

Reggie is correct here, but the implication is that the Wii U can still come out ahead at this point, which the numbers simply don't add up. He's right that the hardware is not the determinant for success, but the Wii U also doesn't have the software to compete with its rivals unlike the PS2, and unlike the original Wii it doesn't have the casual non-gamer appeal either.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

I know it's just his job, but Reggie is really annoying. 

barnold81
barnold81

How is the Wii U anything like the Playstation 2 from a competitive positioning standpoint?  

Sikrion
Sikrion

Games are why consoles win, which nintendo.... is why you are losing...

jadaski1
jadaski1

While I agree with what Reggie said, by lagging behind the true current gen they're causing third party developers to ignore their system when porting across consoles.  In the end, when the PS3 and the Xbox 360 finally retire, the Wii U will be left with only exclusives and very limited third party support.

Falconoffury
Falconoffury

If there is one reason I think Nintendo should stay popular, it is because they don't push microtransactions like M$ and Sony do. Their games are consistently well designed and charming. They aren't corrupted by the desire to tempt people to spend more money.

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

the problem with fanboys is that they think with the hearts and not their minds. When the company they love makes. Mistakes they  rubber stamp it . They make excuses they defend the mistakes. That does not help the company in the long run. Look at Sony PS3 was too expensive and too difficult to program for. Sony changed it for PS4 on the ps4 is on top. Nintendo also needs to change. Nintendo can't continue like this if they want to stay in business.

anab0lic
anab0lic

True tbh... look at the 3ds vs vita...vita is way more powerfull.. yet which one is the one gamers want right now?

BladeManEXE
BladeManEXE

@OHGFawx Your sales analysis is terribly flawed. The Wii didn't start selling below ten million units per year until 2011, during which it sold about eight million. That's hardly a "dead" console that only flew off the shelves in a short window.

BladeManEXE
BladeManEXE

@Reuwsaat Except a Bugatti has terrible gas mileage, its top speed causes the car to rapidly break down (and said speed is basically illegal anywhere but on the Autoban), and replacement parts are much more expensive. Expensive, fast cars like Bugattis are for people with more money than concern for what their money is actually buying them

Also, the Wii U is $300 with a full $60 game bundled as opposed to the $400 PS4 with no game. That's not $40.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@zyxahn I agree, but Nintendo's problem is that their *only* calling card right now is first-party games.  If I could play Nintendo's legendary franchises (Mario, Zelda, Metroid) along with third-party hits (GTA, Call of Duty, Batman) without sacrificing any features or suffering release delays on the latter, I'd be all in on the Wii.  But right now the only draw is a handful of Nintendo games, not yet enough to justify a $300 console purchase.

thaxeus
thaxeus

@Gen007 I agree with you. Games do sell the system. the PS2's library shows just that. It's also the reason i haven't and currently do not intend to buy a PS4 or X1 any time soon.

Lash540
Lash540

 Wii was not cutting edge, it was bottom of the barrel. It was a Gamecube with a slight overclock and some extra memory, that was it.

It was originally going to be an add on for the Gamecube but Nintendo said to itself, Oh well let's just make a new console and resell the same hardware, no one will notice, oh and make sure there is a gimmick that can help it out.

The gimmick that helped sell the console to regular people who never play games A.K.A. Wii Motion Controller.

 Most of the games needed a Gamecube controller though to have access to the full functionality of the game, ex. Tatsunoko vs Capcom. You could play without a Gamecube controller if you wanted, but it just didn't have the same level of control you would have had you played with a Gamecube control. 

Virtual Console games, many of them needed a Gamecube controller or a Virtual Console Remote.

See where I am going with this?

Bubbagum_Bish
Bubbagum_Bish

Aside from Demon's/Dark Souls my most memorable moments last generation were on the Wii(I have all last gen systems btw). Xenoblade Chronicles, Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Twilight Princess, etc.

dummpymonkey123
dummpymonkey123

@Gunmaster51 and you said original Ip what defines original is is the same shitty gameplay of point and shoot that literally every game has no maybe the story but not the gameplay when anyone thinks of gameplay and experience you think of super mario galaxy which is literally still being called the game of the decade

dummpymonkey123
dummpymonkey123

@Gunmaster51 your completely backwards no one remembers shooter ips that's why there are so many of them per year people remember consoles for what they brought to the table when you here wii you think revolutionary motion control NO ONE THINKS ABOUT AVERAGE SHOOTERS

barnold81
barnold81

On a side note, Reggie Fils-Aime is ridiculously arrogant.  

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@evil_snuggles 
I think the problem with ignorant people is that they don't think, they just assume. They don't look at the bigger picture or think ahead, everything is always "right now" and "but the past this" unless the past counters what they're saying. They can't see what the company they're criticizing is doing to change things and when that said company does succeed in doing something, they make up excuses to try and invalidate that success. 

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@anab0lic my best friends mother games on a 3ds. Nah it aint just for kids. Grown adult actually love mario/zelda/dk games

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

Short when compared to the life cycles of consoles that were released years prior. Life cycles that continue as we speak, long after the Wii's demise. I supported the Wii with my money, and I got hosed.

barnold81
barnold81

@evil_snuggles @anab0lic I think Nintendo limits the scope of its platforms by the flawed design choices they make.  It creates the impression it is marketed to children, but in reality, it's just really poorly designed.  All of Nintendo's systems since the Nintendo 64 have that issue.  They have partitioned themselves off from third party support, and they do it REPEATEDLY.

anab0lic
anab0lic

@evil_snuggles @anab0lic LOL they really arnt though thats a pretty ignorant statement... they may look like that on the surface but they actually can be enjoyed by gamers of any age... they are kinda like pixar films... looks can be deceiving.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

I only own 6 wii games, but I have over 40 360 and ps3 games. Backwards compatibility is nice, but it's not a selling point to me for the wii u. I need to see it stand on its own feet before I bite this time.

BladeManEXE
BladeManEXE

@OHGFawx Only the 360 was released a significant amount of time before the Wii. The PS3 was released within weaks of the Wii. And part of the reason they continue to sell is that their successors are took longer to come out. And, considering it has been known for some time that their successors do not have backwards compatibility, it's not surprising they haven't seen huge drop offs yet. If you want 360 or PS3 games, you have to keep the old console.

Furthermore, I also supported the Wii with my money. And if I buy 15 games for a console that are worth playing and keeping, that console has been a success for me. I currently have over 20 games for the Wii, which is more than I can say for my PS3 or 360.