What Wii U's Got Here Is Failure to Communicate

When people who should know better are still confusing the Wii U GamePad as an add-on rather than a new console, how will Nintendo get the word out to the casual masses?

In an E3 interview with GameSpot, Nintendo marketing executive Scott Moffit admitted that the Wii U has a messaging problem. As if to hammer home the point, that same day, CNN's (since-corrected) hands-on preview of the system led off by asking if the Wii U controller would breathe new life into the aging Wii console. Fast-forward to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime's appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last Friday, where the unquestioned gamer Fallon was clearly confused as to whether the new console was simply an add-on to the original Wii.

You mean people are confusing this for the Wii? Shocking.

These are examples of confusion coming from people who should know exactly what the Wii U is. If a technology journalist writing for one of the world's largest news organizations and a talk show host capping off his post-E3 "Video Games Week" with a live demo of the system from the company's president aren't clear on whether the Wii U is just a fancy controller or a new system unto itself, then who else could be expected to get it? Will the casual audiences Nintendo has been so successful courting instantly grasp the product the same way they did the Wii? Will that confusion build back the mainstream barriers to entry that the company broke down with the launch of the original Wii?

Of course, the messaging problem is one of Nintendo's own creation. Six years ago, Nintendo announced that it was renaming its in-development console, ditching the "Revolution" moniker in favor of "Wii." While the decision was divisive, at least it was a uniquely attention-getting name for a uniquely attention-getting system. Unfortunately, the sequel to a wildly original product is by its nature derivative, and what was uniquely attention-getting six years ago is now a simple brand extension.

The problem is, Nintendo has been relentlessly extending the Wii brand since day one. There was Wii Sports, then Wii Fit, Wii Music, Wii Party, and peripherals like the Wii Balance Board, a pricey add-on that expanded the system's functionality much in the same way a controller with a screen built into it could. The software on display isn't helping, either. The stylized graphics of New Super Mario Bros. Wii U and NintendoLand don't highlight the high-definition capabilities of the system, and multiplayer action in these games requires a bevy of original Wii Remotes.

The generational "leap" between Wii and Wii U (demonstrated here by the New Super Mario Bros. games) further complicates Nintendo's position.

Nintendo has been further aggravating the problem with its marketing of the Wii U to date. With all of the focus on the controller, the console itself--the physical box that plugs into the TV--seems like an afterthought. And even when it does make a cameo appearance in a publicity still, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the Wii. In an Olympic competition to see which gaming system looks the most like its generational predecessor, the Wii U would be on the medal podium along with the 3DS and the PlayStation Vita, two other offerings that have struggled to create a distinct identity in the public's mind. Even at E3, Nintendo separated all of its Wii U hardware news and dumped it into a Sunday afternoon streaming video presentation instead of featuring it at the main event, its Tuesday morning media briefing.

The bad news for Nintendo is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The good news is that as big as E3 is to the gaming community--most of which understands exactly what the system is--it's still barely a blip on the radar to the general public, the masses Nintendo specializes in attracting with its broadly appealing software. Even if the company has flubbed the mass-market messaging to date, it has months left to course correct and build up buzz for the all-important holiday launch. As for how, that's Moffit's big challenge. Because if Nintendo can't even get people to understand what the Wii U is, it's going to have a very difficult time convincing them it's worth hundreds of dollars to own.

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JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

well if they want the new controller and improved graphics, they'll find out it's not just a controller when they buy it, lol

buzzoinks
buzzoinks

does not require a bunch on new controllers

zpluffy
zpluffy

Its a very dangerous move to Nintendo. To casual gamers(kids and especially parents) will not have the same intellectual about games as we probably most do. and calling it Wii U and reshaping the console will not really help parents distinguished as being different on the one they have in the living room. And showing 2d mario  and pikmin in e3 to show capabilities of wiiu. Not a very good move. Why can't they show Zelda, the one they showed in the tech demo. Maybe wiiU can't handle that graphics in an open big world, or maybe not. But common show some improvement on E3

tevic
tevic

I agree with the article. Showing a 2D Mario game is not the best way to showcase a HD-console.

The E3 communication on the Wii U was downright catastrophic.

djmaster1994
djmaster1994

The heck were people confuse about Playstation 2

Super Nintendo

Gameboy Advance

 

 

People nowadays are just mindless idiots who don't think for themselves anymore they let society do all the thinking and decision making for them. random person: " Oh nobody in my town know what Wii U is and I am not gonna buy it because no one in my area knows about it." 

Pattonfiend67
Pattonfiend67

i agree with wormkid... you'd have to be thick as a brick (thank you, jethro tull and ian anderson) to not know that the wii u is a new console. for one, it looks NOTHING like the wii. you have to be blind to not notice the differences. they showcased two brand new controllers as well as the first TRUE HD gaming, something that the wii did not have.

 

also, if these people had even BOTHERED to watch or listen to even ONE WORD that came out of reggie's mouth the past two years, they would have known these simple facts.

 

leave it to journalists to misconstrue and misreport EVERYTHING.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

I'm sorry folks,but I continue not to understand how anyone was ever confused about this. I can't count how many times they've said "new home console" or some facsimile of the phrase. Perhaps I'm just more perceptive than most,but I did not for a single moment think that the Wii U was anything other than Nintendo's next console. How many times was the HD Zelda footage shown last year? People really thought adding a controller with a screen suddenly enabled that sort of technical prowess on the old Wii? Plus,a simple google search would rectify the situation in a matter of seconds. I do believe more of the console should be shown,and this year they did show the controller leaning against the console a number of times.(In a slick looking black,I might add.) But still, it's not exactly the Da Vinci Code,or Copenhagen interpretations of quantum mechanics we're talking about here,so it shouldn't be that confusing.

cazadorcazado
cazadorcazado

I can't see the confusion... One thing is the gamepad and other thing is the console, is so difficult to understand?

Kingjames11
Kingjames11

And amazingly, I still don't care about Nintendo and haven't been since the SNES.

snake-ala
snake-ala

this is the DS and 3DS all over again. At first some people were confused between 3DS and DS. But now things are much clearer. I think it would help if they'd simply name it Wii 2.

But I suppose the confusion will be temporary. people working at Gamestop and walmart will explain to non-gamers that it is something different.

Wula_
Wula_

I know when I heard about the Wii U right away I thought oh another wii? is it slim? or is it a add on? OH ITS A NEW SYSTEM!? Wait.... so its a wii that does 1080P? So it will upscale our wii games to 1080P? wait it doesn't? Its a new system altogether? But it looks like the last system? Oh it has a new controller? Awesome..... wait..... you can only use one(at the time of first press)? So then what do other players use? wait Wii motes? Then what is new? What happened to them making drastically different systems and marketing?

 

At least Sony did it right by labeling the Playstation line with numbers and showing leaps in technology with each new system. That way you know for sure the next system is a massive leap in hardware over the last.

moviequest14
moviequest14

Just to see how little effort and time it takes I timed myself googling wii-u and clicking one of the top results (wikipedia) the first sentence on the article was ''The Wii U ( /ˌwiː ˈjuː/) (ウィー ユー) is an upcoming video game console by Nintendo, and will be the successor to the Wii.'' , the first damn sentence! Any ''reporter'' or late night show host is a downright disgrace (even though I like Fallon) if they can't take the 9.7 (9.7!!!!!!!!!!!!) seconds to google wii-u on their computer , and to be quite honest , if someone doesn't want to put forth the effort to do a google search that takes well under 1 minute , then I doubt they'll take the effort to spend $250+ on the system.

the22for4
the22for4

I wish that WII u going to be a real game system Not A toaster , sorry to say that.

Neosonic23
Neosonic23

Even on how bad Nintendo is Marketing this WII U, i will still buy it, However this may be my Last Console from them, Watching that E3 Conference and them Promoting nothing but Lego City and NintendoWorld made me feel..... Old. If I see no improvement from this New Wii console before Microsoft and Sony goes Next Gen, im gonna have to Move on from Nintendo

R2BDSi
R2BDSi

What pathetic leap XD!

Epicurus-Reborn
Epicurus-Reborn

its a new console?? yuck. too soon. i barely have time to brush the dust off my wii let alone play it. no need for a newer, even more gimmicky one.

Jimmy2Crack
Jimmy2Crack

It's hard to get excited about this, nothing has jumped out at me as of yet.

42316
42316

That's the killer, the fact that most of the games that will be coming out (core games) are available for platforms that people already have.......Developers will need to do something ridiculously special with that controller to set it apart  because I don't see myself buying a whole new console to pla AC3 just to see how many arrows are in my quiver on the tablet instead onscreen.....The exclusives look ok though.....come on ninty get some legit third party dev ro sign on!

JASAEric
JASAEric

After all this time, Nintendo decided rather to upgrade the wii to the level of xbox360 and ps3.  All the games showcased at E3 where games the other consoles already had (minus exclusives of course, but nothing next gen level).  As far as what I've seen/heard, they still don't have a decent online either.

 

Before fanboys start raging, I love nintendo exclusives, mario, zelda, SSB, but after 5 (6?) years the console really should be better than what we currently have.

 

Nice to see they got a real controller though, the 100% motion sensing was holding them back.

Shulk2206
Shulk2206

They shuold have continued to release more games for the Wii

 

Personally, i hate the Wii u, i expected from nintendo to add the gamepad just as an add-on for the wii.

Tae_One
Tae_One

I just don't understand...How is it one minute everyone is talking about how great the Wii U will be, the next they are condemning it (in this case because of communication).  The thing hasn't even come out yet and people are already swaying back and forth because Nintendo didn't do enough shucking and jiving during E3.  How 'bout we save our disdain for the console for when it actually comes out and has a chance to explain itself. 

 

I personally don't like the Wii/Wii U too much but I do love some of the games.  I've always felt Nintendo basically says "Here is this great game, but you'll need these pink mittens to play".

Intellips
Intellips

Ahhh, the Wii Useless. A system where the vast majority of it's announced core games have been released months ago on other platforms. With the exception of the Virtual Boy I have owned every Nintendo console since the SNES (including the handhelds), and I have to say that this mess of a product, is the least appealing console I have seen from the big N. Also, the article is spot on in it's evaluation of how Nintendo has gone about presenting the wii u. They would have been better off calling it wii 2. On another note, the mere fact that Nintendo has mentioned that friend codes will still be a part of this console's online experience, is absolutely absurd.

Vickman178
Vickman178

When I see how negative people are for no real reason its just so sad, they hate a company because they think that "oh this company makes games for kids only, I'm a adult I need mature experiences" Really? REALLY? "I'm a serious player and Nintendo only makes casual games"

 

This whole mentality that Nintendo only makes games for kids all started as a marketing ploy from Sega back in the 90's for the Sega Genesis.And sadly its stuck this whole time.

 

Your opinion that Nintendo only makes games for kids isn't something you thought up in your head, you just heard other people say it and now it has been drilled into your head. Its not even your own unique opinion.Your all just sad and pathetic  people with no real opinions of your own your all just brainwashed.

 

Go play your mature games on your Xbox and PS3 then! Mature yourselves!

zeldazero
zeldazero

I think the biggest problem is only hard core gamers know of E3 , let alone watch it. I alone have told about half a dozen people about the Wii U in the weeks since E3 who have never even heard of it. Time for a TV commercial. You want mass communication put it on TV...

WCK619
WCK619

I must confess. Before reading this article I thought the Wii U was a portable iPad type device for Wii games.

bluefox755
bluefox755

To the fanboy extrordinaire harping about how hardcore Nintendo is, it's not...that's not to say it's bad, just certainly not for me, or most of my gamer friends that own 360 or ps3, or both (I do), I don't care about Mario, or Zelda or whatever anymore, I grew out of those games when I was younger, nothing against those of you that stayed devoted fans, but I just lost interest. it's ok that its a console geared towards casual gamers, that was the hook, serious gamers are the minority, Nintendo tapped the casual market, and made tons of money in the process...everyone I know that owns a Wii is either a girl or has kids, I understand that's not always the case, but don't get your panties in a bunch because a lot of gamers don't care for Nintendo as much

tthomas1
tthomas1

Hey All,

 I used to love nintendo mowed yards to buy my own super nes. N64 was a joke didnt make the leap to disc technology.The gamecube had little support and the wii way less. Nintendo puts out their big name titles because they have. They make great games and I play them with my son. Nintendo is introducing this wii u before its competition and they are equivlent graphic wise with either the ps3 or 360 with the wii u . The thing is this is the end of the 360 n ps3 console life. Maybe 2 yrs at best left. Then they will have far better graphical capabilties.Whats the rush from the wii if there is so many in so many homes make more games for it. Hardcore gamers dont want the wii u hardcore gamers want the best games. The wii u isnt going to win any awards above and beyond what the current gen consoles are doing. The controller is its gimmick like the numchuck was for the wii. By the way the wii controllers was evpensive to get with the wii motion plus,numchuck.

 

Yakol
Yakol

Also by the way that is the hackiest title in the world. It made me chuckle because of the pun, but it really made me think of those local news shows when they say before commercial that your floss my kill you and to stay tuned for the surprising tooth lol

Yakol
Yakol

Its a marketing issue they focused so much on the whole tablet attachment they never said really what was new about this new console. I mean the guy who decided that this was a good idea is stupid. I'll give the new console a chance if they can honestly show how this is different more than better graphics and such which every other console has. The Wii was cool because of the innovative motion controls while they didn't always work it worked enough and then they just lacked in the game department because they refused to license almost anything for it until later in the console's lifespan. Why can't they just go back to the gamecube setting where it has a controller it's really fun and has alot of awesome games because it holds to the current gen games. Minus that tiny disk thing which was stupid and look really weird when you opened the box lol.

kindredmachine
kindredmachine

I think we all saw this coming from day one. It looks almost identical to the Wii... what bonehead at Nintendo decided that was the way to go?

WayneL23
WayneL23

The Wii-U is a high tech toaster???

Hellagoth
Hellagoth

 @tevic it isn't 2d the difference is the wii u version is 3d including the background witch is made up of multiple layers its easy r to notice in the video rather than a picture

Hellagoth
Hellagoth

 @snake-ala wii as in'' we'' now the u stands for ''you'' aka the multiplayer

HeyTJayD
HeyTJayD

 @Wula_ But everyone's gonna have trouble showing off huge leaps through graphics from now on. Even looking at modern gaming pcs, yeah, I can notice the difference, but the average consumer won't be like, "oh, it's so amazingly better". Pixel definition will be set at 1080p most likely, cause anything more would go completely unused. Textures will be improved, so the realistic stuff will look a more, but non-graphic snobs will just be like, "oh, that does look pretty real. cool" Physics and AI will probably be the main focus, and that'll be pretty hard to show off. So it'll be interesting to see how they try to show it off, beyond a game that looks photo-realistic, cause we're already really close to that with the 360 and ps3. Marketing on power alone won't work anymore. Everyone's gonna go for some kind of gimmick, or maybe Sony won't and they'll use that to say they're the only serious gaming company next gen, but I guess we'll just have to wait to see

liam82517
liam82517

 @moviequest14 And what about the people that watched the press conference and took away the notion that the wii u was a controller add on? Nintendo didnt show of the console, they showed off the controller. every image has the console in the back, with the controller front and centre.

 

Take a little bit more time with your arguments dont just jump to the defense of nintendo coz youre a fanboy.

HeyTJayD
HeyTJayD

 @Neosonic23 You should give the system 2 years, I'd say. Wait for some of the big first parties to hit, and those new IPs that Miyamoto is supposedly working on. That way you'll give the system enough time to see most of what's going with the company. Even a year in, when the other next gens are likely to hit, there will still only be a few heavy hitting first parties, at best. I figure 2 years will be a good point to see what the system will be bringing. I'm only just getting a lineup of 3DS games, and it's a year an half old, or something like that

moviequest14
moviequest14

 @Neosonic23 In general I think this might be my last generation , unless we see a major change in this generation or the next. This generation as a whole has been far too focused on shooters and more shooters disguised as action games... on top of that all of the new anti-used games propaganda and mildly related ... the shift towards all-digital.... I'm just not up for minority (game &) watch style consoles... it seems like all it's become about now-a-days (with a couple exceptions) is obsession with power and ''popcorn games''. If it continues as it does I'm planning on going back to this gen and the gen before. ps2/gamecube easily have enough games to last the rest of my gaming life.

Epicurus-Reborn
Epicurus-Reborn

 @Tae_One ha i actually dont remember a time when people were talking about how great it would be. i only remember the pessimism. :P maybe i was just in the wrong crowd.

 

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

 @tthomas1 Ahhh...but what outsold the PS3 and the 360 this generation? The Wii.

moviequest14
moviequest14

 @liam82517 Because I realize the extreme laziness and stupidity of someone not to have a 9.7 google search that makes me a fanboy? You're funny. I find the exact same stupidity with people that consider Vita the same as a psp. Takke a little bit more time with your arguments before automatically resorting to calling fanboy.

If you didn't realize it was a new console you must've fallen asleep during the show. I watched the debut on my computer with 4 or 5 other tabs I was using at the same time , and eating food , and I still easily got the idea. Within the first couple words Reggie said ''It's a *SYSTEM* we will all enjoy together'' did you think they meant the eco-system? The sizzle-reel with games/graphics far beyond even the best wii is known to do... you think a patch will make the graphics 5X's better. What about this e3 when Nintendo talked about games with wii-u game footage like Arkham City and Assassin's Creed , graphics not even attempted at even getting close to replicating on wii.

You're seriously giving a defense to people that are too lazy to take literally 10 seconds to google wii-u? It's not like they don't google 15 other things a day.

moviequest14
moviequest14

 @Sub-Scorpion I see what you're saying , and agree. But it's only second nature among gamers (or fans of anything in general) to be more interested in the things not announced. Rumors for sequels are talked about much more than confirmed dlc/expansions. The rumors of KH 3 / hd collection are talked about much more than the soon-to-be-released KH : DDD. Gamespot itself is a perfect example of just how addicted people are to speculation , even more so than what's already confirmed.

I agree that Nintendo definitely needs to get busy with their activity in general , in my opinion it's rather ridiculous that we are forced to speculate about price around 4-5 months before the console itself comes out , or the fact we don't have a release date yet. The sad truth of the matter is there's a LOT that Nintendo hasn't decided to do yet with wii-u ... supposedly a lot of games are being made (one a launch title if GameTrailers is correct and is supposed to make the launch ''damn good'') and good ones too , there are also supposed to be more wii-u features , and in general a lot that still needs revealing. Personally I'm more aggravated about the lack of info out there rather than the ''misleading'' info currently out.

Sub-Scorpion
Sub-Scorpion

 @moviequest14 Completely agree with you on all fronts in that. (significantly about the vita too). As long as Nintendo does actually begin advertising the Wii U as a separate entity, such mistakes will easily be avoided. Furthermore, I do agree with you in that it is a bit early for mass advertising, but I would expect a follow-up to a console as mainstream as the Wii to have a bit more hype behind it in the casual gaming community. A significant amount of my friends who are casual gamers, didn't even know of the thing's existence when I asked them about it, whilst others thought that it would be a new add-on, which will be required to play certain games (like the Wii Motion Plus). Again, your argument is solid and I agree with you, it's just that I believe that so far Nintendo has had way too little publicity on this thing, with many of my friends rather speculating about the the PS4 or the Xbox 360 follow-up rather than a new Wii. Also, the fact that it looks quite similar to the old one still doesn't help.

moviequest14
moviequest14

 @Sub-Scorpion I know what you mean , but I think that Nintendo doesn't really think that that's a problem right now , it's not like say ... the vita .... which has incredible hardware but a lack of ''AAA exclusive games'' that aren't ports and an all-but non-existent advertising plan , after it's already been out several months. Advertising for wii-u hasn't even started yet because it has SEVERAL months before even the earliest rumored release date. They focused on the controller/games (last e3 controller this e3 games) because they assumed that's where the core audience is and assumed (wrongly I guess) that the core audience is informed enough to come to the conclusion that it is a new system (they said it was even last e3) ... no offense meant to you. All it will take is a 2 minute advertisement to show it is a new console , at the moment I'm shocked the mass market even thinks it's an add-on considering it hasn't had ANY advertising , much like the 3ds/ds I'm sure this will be resolved easily by launch.

Sub-Scorpion
Sub-Scorpion

 @moviequest14 I completely understand and agree with your point, but even so, Nintendo is not in the right by trying to advertise their controller so much more than the console itself. Had I not known better I would've thought that the Wii U is a new portable gaming system, akin to the DS, which can connect to your TV and which can also be used with ur Wii, ie. Vita-style.