Few would say the Wii U itself is a bad console, but it’s the slowest-selling of any Nintendo machine in history (if we’re not counting the Virtual Boy). In a recent interview with Fortune magazine, the legendary game designer and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto stated that he’s aware part of the failure is on the company for failing to communicate the “true value” of the Wii U to consumers. If you recall, due to the name and some too-vague advertising, a sizable chunk of the general public thought the new console was an add-on to the original Wii.
“I feel like people never really understood the concept behind Wii U and what we were trying to do,” Miyamoto told Fortune. “I think the assumption is we were trying to create a game machine and a tablet and really what we were trying to do was create a game system that gave you tablet-like functionality for controlling that system and give you two screens that would allow different people in the living room to play in different ways.”
Miyamoto feels introducing the console at the same time that tablets were exploding in popularity created more confusion for consumers and resulted in the Wii U looking odd and confusing.
“Unfortunately, because tablets, at the time, were adding more and more functionality and becoming more and more prominent, this system and this approach didn’t mesh well with the period in which we released it. I still feel it was a very novel approach — and a very interesting idea.”