Wii U Name Is "Abysmal" And It "Cut Sales In Half," Former Nintendo Dev Says

Dan Adelman criticizes the system's name, but says the console "has a lot to offer."

The Wii U name is "abysmal," and the title alone significantly hurt sales of the console, according to Dan Adelman, who left Nintendo last week after nine years with the company. Responding to a question on Ask.fm, Adelman said the Wii U is a compelling platform with plenty of great games, but also explained that Nintendo still has a lot of work to do to make the system really take off.

"Wii U is not selling as well as it deserves to," Adelman said. "It has a lot to offer with great games you can't get anywhere else. The value of the GamePad hasn't been justified. But the name Wii U is abysmal. I think that cut sales in half right there."

Not everyone at Nintendo would agree. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said last August that the Wii U's name was not to blame for the system's early struggles. "The challenges we're facing with Wii U are not issues of the name," he said at the time. Instead, Fils-Aime said a lack of compelling software that makes unique use of the GamePad was the issue.

"Nintendo is still an amazing company that makes amazing games. I think the negative hyperbole will die down" -- Dan Adelman

It's no secret that the Wii U has struggled since its release in November 2012. Currently, hardware sales stand at 6.68 million units, which is below the PlayStation 4's 7 million consoles sold. Notably, the Wii U had a year's head start on Sony's platform.

Looking ahead, Nintendo plans to release a range of high-profile Wii U titles from summer to the end of the calendar year, including Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 2, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Super Smash Bros. In addition, Nintendo will roll out its toys-to-life platform, called amiibo, later this year.

As part of Adelman's exit interview with Kotaku this week, he confirmed that Nintendo did in fact restrict what he could say on Twitter after he tweeted about 3DS region-locking. But there is no bad blood between himself and Nintendo.

"Nintendo is still an amazing company that makes amazing games," Adelman said. "I think the negative hyperbole will die down. I just don't want that story to overshadow why I'm really doing this: to make indie games a viable business for years to come."

Adelman, who previously worked at Microsoft and helped launch Xbox Live Arcade, quit Nintendo to work independently and help indie studios grow by working as their "business guy."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

289 comments
AzatiS
AzatiS

Just lol with the name excuse already ...
Smash will push sales , Zelda will also .. So definitly not the name.

cguido
cguido

this is an old article The WiiU surpassed 7 million units a long time ago and its selling fast

a lot of good games were announced by nintendo in E3 2014

and the ps4 dosent have any good games coming to it until over a year from now

the WiiU will surpass the ps4 in sales soon with all of its exclusives

megakick
megakick

It is a dumb name. Wii U looks like a external PC CD drive. 

About the size The XBOX 360 HD DVD player.


It is amazing that a console can be that small and have as much to offer as it does.

cguido
cguido

The wiiU is a great console. It's INNOVATION that stir up creativity. The third party developers are too lazy or NON-imaginative. They cannot come up with ways to EFFECTIVELY utilize Nintendos Hardware. They would rather take the easy road and cater to the other console's power for better graphics. Better Cosmedics DOESNT translate to better gameplay though. It's a fact, we all know that Nintendo always has the best 1st party games out of the other consoles and all the popular third party are on the WiiU so its Ok. it is the ps4 who is missing out on all the Nintendo Fun plus now the WiiUs library is groiwing big enough that we can say it offers Awesome games to people of all ages

Defender1978
Defender1978

I never cared for the name Wii to begin with, but I play the Wii U a lot.  Right now, in my opinion, it has much better games than the PS4 and Xbox One.  That will change down the line with Nintendo's lack of power and third party support, but Nintendo will continue to make quality games.  Wii U is a great console.  In fact, I will likely only be getting exclusives on the other next-gen consoles too because most of the 3rd party titles will be on PC.  If I were a PC gamer and only wanted one console, it'd be Wii U.    

Tranula
Tranula

Or the fact that it looks like a cd player for a car.

xenus_13
xenus_13

When the Wii U was first released I thought the gamepad just plugged into the regular wii. Took me awhile before I found out it was actually a new console

1flooovah
1flooovah

The "U" probably stood for "Ultra" in the minds of the Japanese who named Wii's successor. So it would be understood by the majority of Japanese gamers, instantly, as the "Wii Ultra". Then there's the play on "we" and "you". However, and it's a BIG HOWEVER, the "U" would not signify "Ultra" in most foreign markets such as Europe and North America. Here, the name "Wii U" sounds a bit silly. I lived in Japan for a while and that's my take on the Wii U name.

petermavreas
petermavreas

So what do we say about

xbox

xbox 360

xbox one

ps1

ps2

ps3

ps4

...really the name is a problem?

Wii

Wii U

Wii 3

Wii X


tcd311
tcd311

I've always known it was a new console and not a peripheral, but you know.... I have a brain.

I also don't purchase or avoid consoles because of their name. I buy them for the games they offer, and the Wii U has only just recently started to release great games.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

If the name would make sales, xBox One would sell even less. Nintendos problem is that the only worthwhile titles are first party. It is fine for gamers like me, but many 13 year old CoD boys who think Ps4s graphics are impressive stay away from it

gplayer5
gplayer5

I used to be a console and PC gamer. The last console I ever bought was the original Wii (mainly for super smash bros. brawl). I got about 7 games for it before they started making all casual games. That made me quit consoles altogether. Now I game exclusively on PC. Great job Nintendo. I don't think it's just the name of your consoles that affects your sales...

bfa1509
bfa1509

One year after the Wii U release I realised it wasn't just a peripheral of the Wii.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

I just hope their next console is solid. With my PC + the two current gen consoles, I just can justify a purchase at this time. I'll probably get it when it gets to about $150, but I really want that feeling of buying a Nintendo console because it's the best at that time. It's been way too long. 


They don't need to try so hard to be different. Their franchises alone put them in a very unique category. I just want quality, and right now they seem to be more about quantity(gimmicks). 


Oh yeah, the name is pretty terrible.

karloss01
karloss01

Should have called it the Wii Too, it still gets the idea across that the name Wii U was meant to convey and being 'too' also works at indicating to people that it is a successor console and wouldn't be mistaken for an accessory for the Wii (as many do.)

Martyr77
Martyr77

It is a terrible name period.

cousinmerl
cousinmerl

i think this is a bit of a slap in the face for Nintendo - but you've got to admit, it is a terrible name and we all know it.

think nintendo need to get out of the 'emperors new clothes' way of thinking - expecting everyone to agree with them and should start on a new system, with mature titles and a better respect for 3rd parties.

ank000
ank000

Wii U name does sounds a little childish, but I doubt it can impact the sales in any significant way. If the console has right hardware and darn good  games who'll care about its name, well atleast not me. Wii U's weak sales is not the product of its name but the combination of weak hardware and very few games which are must play. 

Hyrule, Bayonetta 2 and Chronicle X might change Wii U situations to some extent. But if Nintendo truly wants their console to get ahead of Sony and Microsoft they need a console which can handle games like hyrule, Bayonetta and chronicle X in its full glory.

Veenox
Veenox

Still, it really is an horrible name.

hystavito
hystavito

It's interesting comparing the 2 opinions.  Saying the name cuts the sales in half is more of a BS type answer, like hey our system is amazing but we just messed up the name :).  The funny thing is that BS answer is coming from the person who has less reason to BS :).


Still I disagree, I think it's just that the market for the "low end" console is gone, or rather it's been replaced by mobile.

b1ank
b1ank

If that's the case, wouldn't the Wii have struggled in a similar fashion? 

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

That lineup of games is pretty weak. Mario and Zelda again and again... Geez.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

Nearly 2 years in and still under 10 million units, I think he has a point...



EDIT: Even if you doubled Wii U sales it would still be doing pretty bad just not terrible...

nervedamaged
nervedamaged

Nintendo needs to stop giving games stupid names.  Like say, Mario 64, and every console after that, that has the name of the console in the name of the game.  You never hear a game from Sony or Microsoft or SEGA(when the made consoles) use the console name in the title.  Uncharted PS3, Halo 360 or Sonic Genesis.  Find some new IP, stop recycling game franchises every year after year, and then you wouldn't have to distinguish each title by console. and the name Wii U confused so many people who aren't in the know like us.  Everyone bought a wii, i got one too, but my mom isn't gonna know that a Wii U is a new console because it still says Wii in the title!!!  Different name would have equaled more sales.

anitasockmywang
anitasockmywang

To claim that the name of the Wii-U alone is the reason why the system is struggling is stupid...  No wonder this guy lost his job.

penpusher
penpusher

@AzatiS kind of was. A huge amount of people who might have bought it didn't do so because they thought it was just a Wii with a new controller. If I wasn't a hardcore gamer I might not have realised either. Those games will push sales just as Mario Kart 8 has, but that is only after about a year of poor sales as the Wii U slowly established itself. 

Coolspot18
Coolspot18

@cguido What's with all the CAPS? If all the BEST devs in the world CAN'T effectively use the Wii U's hardware, it MEANS the Wii U hardware was poorly thought out. 

Defender1978
Defender1978

@ArchoNils2 As a teacher I can definitely attest to that.  My students actually pick fun at me because I am mostly a PC gamer.  Kids today don't want Mario, Zelda and Metroid.  They want CoD, GTA and Assassin's Creed.  Ironically they aren't even old enough to play them.  Oh well.  

Defender1978
Defender1978

@gplayer5 I jumped on the PC bandwagon due to Xbox One and PS4s lack of reverse compatibility.  PC is the best hands down and it's future is brighter than ever.  Most of the new games coming out will be on PC and will be the best versions.  I guess the consoles switch to PC architecture causing it's lack in BC is actually a plus for me now. 

Stinger78
Stinger78

@PS2fweak Hardware-wise, Nintendo hasn't been 'the best at that time' for quite a few generations.  It wasn't with the Wii, it wasn't with the GameCube, it wasn't with the N64 either because they stuck with the cartridge format.  The SNES may have been the last time.

The 'feeling of buying a Nintendo' was there with the Wii and there with the Wii U because of the first-party titles.  

The name is what it is, the issue is it wasn't distinguished as a new system, but as a gamepad/tablet controller add-on for the Wii.

guardtowerx
guardtowerx

@Veenox explanatin please?... all i can see it "Its a horrible name" without anything to back it up aside from the oozing aura of hate against nintendo

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

@b1ank No, because there is confusion about what the WiiU is as a result of the Wii being on the market. People see WiiU and think of its a Wii with a tablet = don't need.

LordKaizer
LordKaizer

@snacky_smorez yea, just look at ps4/xbone line up. halo remaster, last of us remaster, uncharted remaster, resident evil remaster, tomb raider remaster, destiny from last gen, watch dogs from last gen. and so on. 

metallinatus
metallinatus

At least there is no Halo nor last-year-games rehashes.

voltedgamer
voltedgamer

@nervedamaged I agree with your comment but I don't think the console name thing was very smart. Are you serious? So the PS4 and Xbox One are fine but the Wii U is all of a sudden sounding like it's just another Wii? No. I don't think so. That's like saying people will think the PS4 is same as the PS3 because they both have "Playstation" in them, same goes for Xbox. But otherwise, totally agree. I like Mario 64's name though, dunno why. Just sounds cool.

penpusher
penpusher

@Coolspot18 @cguido of course they can utilise it. Nintendo, one of the world's best developers, doesn't seem to be having trouble, there's no reason the other devs of the world can't either.

LordKaizer
LordKaizer

@AyatollaofRnR @b1ank i was confused about it at first when they announced it at E3 2011 and i can't blame people for the confusion.

nervedamaged
nervedamaged

@voltedgamer @nervedamaged No no, I never said the Wii U was a bad console.  It has alot of great games.  I just think that Nintendo as a corporation is making bad decisions.  But I think PS2, PS3 and PS4 seperate better than wii to Wii U.  We had the NES, then The Super NES.  It was ok to do that then because they marketed them well with clear and concise advertising.  Game Cube was a great name, the N64 was a good name that was marketed as the only 64 bit console.  The Wii was great also.  Then they mixed Wii and added a U.  It is confusing to some.  But I never said that the Wii U was a bad console, and I love my 3ds, which was also better marketed.  I think the DSi was confusing also.  And the XBOX going to 360 and back to One was also a weird decision.  I am expecting the next Microsoft console to be called Xbox One 2,  that that would be funny wouln't it?  LOL

Slayer420
Slayer420

@voltedgamer @nervedamaged I don't think anyone is going to confuse PS3 with PS4 as it is a numerical successor.  Xbox 360 to Xbox One on the other hand was a definite risk but doesn't seem to be hurting sales in the long run.  Wii U is just a terrible name, and doesn't give anything to differentiate that it is a successor console and not just an accessory to the original Wii.


Totally agree about the game names using the console as part of the title as being pretty ridiculous.

karloss01
karloss01

@LordKaizer @AyatollaofRnR @b1ank People still confuse it today, I was just in town looking at the offers on PS4 and Wii U (not sure which to get, Xbone will be the last one to pick up) and a sale rep was trying to explain to a customer that the Wii and Wii U aren't the same thing.

guardtowerx
guardtowerx

@CallousIW @metallinatus Each zelda is a different genre/story of games... halo is a forever FPS machine