Since the Wii U was revealed during E3 2011 many people have complained about the console’s name. Not just about whether it sounds stupid or not, but because of how it confuses the general consumer.
The idea is that consumers who aren’t knowledgeable in gaming would see the Wii U and think it is an add-on for the Nintendo Wii. They would wonder why they had to pay $300+ for a tablet controller for their 6 year old console.
I don’t deny that there are some people out there who think this and I won’t throw them under the bus because I’m sure they have many other things to be concerned about than what Nintendo’s next-gen plans are I have to say I think this whole situation is stupid.
Here are a few reasons why the confusion as to whether the Wii U is distinguished enough as a next-gen console to consumers is silly.
The graphical upgrade over the Wii U should be enough to tell people who aren’t blind that this is a new system. You’re going from Resident Evil 4 being one of the best looking games on the Wii to Assassin’s Creed III, Batman Arkham City and Mass Effect 3.
If the whole HD resolution change wasn’t enough to tell you the Wii U is a new console and not an add-on and the smoother and vastly improved graphics of those AAA games I mentioned above doesn’t do it then I don’t know what else to tell you. Its such an easy difference to notice that I’m surprised people see the lighting in games like Zombi U and ask “Can I play this on the Wii?”
Good lord the controller. It looks so different than the Wii remote and there really isn’t anything like it on the market. By that I mean there is no device that you use in conjunction with a video game console that is similar, outside of the PS Vita.
I can understand why a person would think the uDraw tablet is an add-on because it looks cheap and is very simplistic. But the Wii U Game Pad is dramatically different than anything any console game player has ever seen. It should immediately tell them that this isn’t for the Wii.
Who exactly has been releasing add-on controllers that have 6.2-inch 850×480 touch screens with all those buttons? Why is this confusion here at all?
The title of the console is possibly the most criticized aspect of it. I understand this to an extent. Adding U onto the Wii brand name isn’t as clear as slapping a number two onto it. But are people (and us as gamers) really that dumb as to not be able to tell whether a console is next-gen if it doesn’t have a number in the title?
If the PS4 is called PS Orb when it releases will consumers be baffled by it and have trouble identifying whether it’s a new console? You would think not so why doesn’t this apply to the Wii U?
Does the general consumer really need numbers in the title of the console to understand that it’s next-gen? I don’t think consumers are as unaware of these things as some may assume.
Every parent I know worries about buying game consoles for their children because they’re worried the “next big thing” will arrive in stores and invalidate their purchase.
They’d like to stick to one device in their house. Some lower-income parents worry about whether they can afford a new console shortly after buying one for their family so I find it odd that they’d have such a difficult time telling the Wii U apart from the Wii.
It is ironic that Apple enjoys so much success with iPhones and iPads that are marginally upgraded annually with changes to the name of the device happening every few years yet Nintendo can’t get away with naming their console Wii U.
I don’t understand why Apple has an easy time getting consumers to understand that the iPhone 3GS is better and worth your money even if you have an iPhone 3G, and the same goes for the iPhone 4 and 4S. All they do is highlight some minor differences and say “the new iPhone” and apparently consumers can figure it out.
But this isn’t happening for Nintendo. Their ads literally say “the new Wii U”, show off the large leap in visuals and say this is “How U Will Play Next” but apparently that is way too subtle whereas Apple gets it right somehow.
I don’t necessarily think calling the console “Wii U” was the best move but I don’t think it’s entirely they’re fault for consumer confusion. Yes they should be able to communicate to shoppers clearly that this is a new console, not an add-on.
But what else are they suppose to do if the graphics upgrade, dramatically different looking controller and new marketing tag line “How U Will Play Next,” isn’t enough? What more do they really have in their power other than running ads saying “this isn’t a Wii, it’s a Wii U” like they did for the 3DS? I’m not even so sure that would help either.
What do you think Nintendo should do to help consumers differentiate between the Wii and the Wii U? Leave a comment below with your opinion.