Here is a radical idea: Nintendo went from a very consumer-friendly console in the Wii U to one that... is decidedly less so, with the Nintendo Switch. The result? The Switch, last we checked, is stomping the Wii U's lifetime sales in its first year. Can't wait for Nintendo's annual report at the end of this April!
It's something I thought of as I was finally returning my Wii to its original packaging this weekend (consider it a grave), instead of having it sit around for years unconnected to anything and just collecting dust and taking up space. There are all of these Wii Remotes laying around, and if you go back all the way to Nintendo Land, you can see what Nintendo was trying to do. Since they sold a hundred million Wii consoles, and some multiple of that in Wii Remotes, then Nintendo would have a huge hardware and accessory base to work from for their next console.
And so they made the Wii U, which set out to have asymmetric gameplay experiences as its core selling point. Nintendo Land was supposed to sell that concept to the market place, bundled with every Wii U. The Wii U GamePad in conjunction with all the Wii Remotes out there would enable those experiences, and it was sort of correctly assumed that everyone in the world would have a bunch of spare Wii Remotes to work with. You didn't have to buy any new controllers!
Nintendo made a big mistake, though...
|Ludwig's shelf of Wii accessories that he hasn't used in years, including two Wii Remotes, a Wii Remote MotionPlus, |
a Wii Classic Controller, a Wii Wheel, a sensor bar, some wrist straps, and two Nunchuck controllers.
Also features the Wii U GamePad that lives on its charger because it can't function otherwise,
as well as a cameo by Ghost Trick.
...Nintendo was SO consumer-friendly by being SO backwards-compatible, that the conventional wisdom is that customers didn't know the Wii U was the next generation of hardware, as opposed to an add-on. No one has actually ever provided me evidence that this is what actually happened as opposed to well-written theorycraft, but let's pass this off as what happened.
Nintendo really went out of their way to not screw over the 100 million Wii owners when making the Wii U, to their possible sales detriment. That's looking out for the consumer. The Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, is infamously backwards compatible with nothing.
Many people are complaining about the cost of the Switch's accessories. Many people were complaining about the lack of a game bundle with the Switch's release. The Switch is now filled with pretty scummy micro-transactions of dubious worth, while the Wii U was only just starting on that as a novelty. Now, it's expected for everything on the Switch, and people are kind of tricked into thinking this is in their best benefit. People complained... and the Switch is selling tremendously anyway. The complaints are just words. No action.
The only thing the Switch does to be friendly is that you get two Joy-Con controllers, and you can play some multiplayer games with one Joy-Con per person. I haven't ever done that myself, but I imagine in practice it's pretty cool. Each Joy-Con costs $50, or $80 as a bundle. A Wii Remote back in the day cost $40, and they gave them out at discounted rates when they sold Wii Play and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. That said, Wii Remotes are a pain to use because they run on AA batteries, and then they creepily melt or turn into acid or something. ...It happened to me. Wasn't consumer-friendly. I don't keep batteries in the Wii Remotes as a result.
Anyway, it looks like the lesson here is that catering to your customer base and doing things they want gets you less profit than the alternative.
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Just wait until the Nintendo Labo comes out. You think that's consumer-friendly? Nope!
Ludwig had to go through that mess of Wii accessories and find the ones that worked.