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Reggie Fils-Aimé talks about poor Wii U sales, says the Switch was a “make or break product”

Although Reggie Fils-Aimé isn’t with Nintendo anymore, he’s still very much highly regarded as being one of the most memorable figures in the gaming industry from the last few years. Whether it’s due to his presence on stage at E3 conferences or his warm persona on and offline, Reggie still takes part in gaming podcasts and award ceremonies to this day. Most recently, the ex Nintendo of America president attended the New York Gaming Awards Twitch stream and here he spoke about his achievements at Nintendo.

Reggie talks about the lacklustre Wii U sales and touches on the Nintendo Switch being a “make or break product” which, thankfully, the console has become a huge global hit with consumers. Sales wise, the Wii U sold just over 13 million units whereas the Switch has sold more than 68 million units (as of September last year). It’s often said that the Wii U was a ‘stepping stone’ to the Nintendo Switch we all enjoy today.

Here are some snippets from the Twitch stream with Reggie Fils-Aimé but you can view the whole video here:

“You know, Nintendo has done so many innovations in the space… I think what Nintendo did with the Switch, after the poor performance of Wii U, I think to me and what I was part of, that’s my lasting memory.”

“People forget, when the Wii U launched, the performance over that life cycle was so poor, I mean it was the worst-selling platform, I think maybe Virtual Boy was a little bit worse, but Wii U underperformed pretty radically in the marketplace.”

“And when your only business is video games that next had to be successful and the Switch continues to be a dynamic platform – selling exceptionally well. And the ability for the company to come up with the concept, to bring it to life, to bring it to the marketplace, to have not only great first-party content but great third party and independent developer content – that is going to be something I will always be proud of.”

“Along with so many of the other things I was part of, but the Switch really was a make or break product for the company and luckily it was a hit.”

Source / Via

32 thoughts on “Reggie Fils-Aimé talks about poor Wii U sales, says the Switch was a “make or break product””

  1. Sony and Microsoft pay companies not to make games for Nintendo systems as well as spread lies about it. After the huge wii hit, they came through hard on the wii u. The switch took them by surprise and was already selling like hotcakes before sony and microsoft could do anything to stop it. They were prepared for wii u but not switch. Wii U should have been a hit.

    1. “Sony and Microsoft pay companies not to make games for Nintendo systems as well as spread lies about it. ”

      This is what 14 year-olds ACTUALLY believe.

    2. “Sony and Microsoft pay companies not to make games for Nintendo systems as well as spread lies about it. ”

      This is what 14 year-olds ACTUALLY believe.

    3. the wii u was not meant to be successful. it was meant as a stop-gap product. Nintendo used it as a learning opportunity. i say that , and i still own my wii u……but it was kind of a silly product once you look back on it.

      1. Who makes a product hoping for it to not be successful? Sure, the Wii U wasn’t successful but that came about because of misstep after misstep (name causing confusion, poor marketing, launch window had almost no killer apps, few games really took advantage of the gamepad, OS was confusing to developers, etc.). Thankfully Nintendo corrected just about all of these mistakes with the Switch after learning the hard way.

  2. I love my Switch and my Wii U. I’m glad the Switch is a success. It was smart to go by Nintendo dominate in the handheld market and use that strategy to be a hybrid. It worked.

  3. Honestly, contrary to what people believe there is obviously more to the Wii U story than we know. A lot seem to think it was built around an assumption that casuals would buy it but has anybody ever thought that the Wii name was never intended to be associated with it?

    The prototype rumours going around about Project Cafe seem to fir the notion of home console portability similar to the Switch now. A lot assume Wii U was milking the Wii brand dry but what if Nintendo intended to drop the Wii name at the start? I suspect Nintendo met half way and took what they could get out of the technology available at the time, then stuck the Wii name on there to take whatever was left of the brand.

    My theory is Wii U was nothing but a filler console, I am not saying Nintendo designed the system as a throwaway or sent it out to die, but I have thought it was never intended to be a member of the Wii family. The 3DS struggling would also have been known to them.

  4. Oh stop it. I can’t deal with one more horrible thing the Wii U did. The Wii U is an amazing console. It brought Mario and Mega Man together. Yes I know the 3DS did it first, but playing Smash on handheld only isn’t the same as playing it on the TV screen.

  5. Wii U had amazing first party support. It had some really great quality games as evident from the number of ports on Switch.

    Too bad for me though I did own a Wii U so the ports on Switch don’t mean much to me except these games get in the way of actually new games.

    1. No they do not who told you that nintendo ports are done by different devs, nintendo themselves stated years ago that ports don’t interfear with new games, there like two seperate things.

      1. It’s obvious that they do get in the way. It takes one glance at the release calendar to tell that they push newer game releases further down into the future.

        1. No its not there are literally other reasons as to why new release haven’t been seen, besides its january, and nintendo usually always has a dry release in jan and feb, its been always been like that for the switch.

      2. Yeah, but if Nintendo would want the port of Mario kart 8 to sell well, they can’t go and launch the sequel to that in the same year… Same for new super Mario Bros, Pikmin, Donkey Kong Country, …

        To say that re-releasing those games for the Switch isn’t having any impact on the sequels to those games is just plain stupid. Development wise, they might not interfere, but release wise, they definitley do.

        I barely have games for my Switch, and play it even less. I might have grown out of it, but the lack of games that aren’t re-releases defilitley helped with that as wel… The only re-release I got was Mario Kart 8, and I’ve played that game even less then on the Wii U, because I’ve already played it on thet console, obviously. So why should I be interested, and happy with re-releases holding up the new versions of all Wii U games I’ve already played?

  6. The Wii U is an easy story to explain. It was Nintendo’s first step in HD game development and they overestimated the workload and thus were unable to provide much software for the launch and first year of the Wii U.

    The 3DS is a similar story (and somewhat related). It launched with a very lackluster library and was considered a failure at the time. Then Nintendo really focused on 3DS software development and shot life into the system. There was some overlap with this and the Wii U launch period so… Perhaps Nintendo had their hands full trying to save the 3DS which is why they had less ro offer in Wii U launch (in addition to underestimating the work in transitioning to HD).

    1. @CFG,
      Yeah, I remember (during that era) thinking that the 3DS was all Nintendo cared about. I don’t think they tried very hard with the Wii U. But at least the Wii U had an internet browser. I still use that all the time. Even though a lot of sites don’t work on it anymore. I sure wish Nintendo would put an internet browser on the Switch.

  7. The WiiU is a horrible console, if you liked it, congratulations you are one of the 13 millions buyers that is happy with the purchase, and the rest of the people doesn’t even care about the WiiU.

    The WiiU isn’t a stepping stone, because the switch is a Nvidia Shield, so stop defending that dead console.

    1. The Wii U was a fine console. Much like the Gamecube, it has some pretty good Nintendo games but not a lot of third party support.

      It’s also undeniable that it was a stepping stone to the Switch. Two reasons: the feedback from the Gamepad showed a lot of gamer interest in playing their home console games NOT on the TV. Second, the Wii U also showed how Nintendo has a weakness when spreading themselves too thin over two systems (the Wii U and 3DS) and made the decision to join their two game console departments to focus solely on one platform that can do both a tradition TV gaming experience and a handheld gaming experience.

    2. Yeah, regardless of wether you liked the WiiU we wouldn’t have the switch without it. If you like the switch then the WiiU is to thank no matter how much it underperformed. That’s just how cause-and-effect works

    3. Earlier dev kit rumours suggested some developers had access to the controller which did actually operate as an individual handheld like a 3DS/Vita. Still not convinced? Look at the very first Wii U prototype. It has Wii remotes attached to the side of it.

      Nintendo were obviously looking at the concept back then and somehow it turned into the product Wii U became.

    4. @ Rob,
      The Wii U was a great console, until support for it dropped. Though I was never really a fan of games that forced the Gamepad to be used. My hands used to ache when playing games like Assassin’s Creed III and IV with the Gamepad. I preferred the Pro Controller. Same with the Switch.

    5. Uhh… the Wii U gamepad literally looks like a Switch prototype. You’re blind if you can’t see that it was a stepping stone to the Switch.

  8. AmI the only one that loves the Wii U pro controller so much I bought an 8 bit adapter just so I can play that controller on my Switch?

    Yeah sure I cant play Splatoon but good thing most games aren’t motion control.

    I have both Wii U Pro and Switch Pro controllers. Between the two I like the Wii U pro more because it is bigger lighter and more comfortable to hold.
    Dont get me wrong the Switch Pro controller is one of my favorite controllers. But I just love the Wii U controller more

  9. Did Nintendo ever even do anything with that TV button feature on the Wii U? I don’t recall ever seeing what that button actually did. And if I did, it was too long ago to remember.

    Every time I think about the Wii U, I’m reminded of all of those stupid people (or, uninformed people) that didn’t even know what it was. Or, they didn’t know it was Nintendo’s new console at the time. Some thought it was just an add-n for the Wii. Didn’t people ever read game articles or magazines? I still remember asking some employees at Best Buy about the Wii U shortly before it launched, and they didn’t know what I was talking about. I was dumbfounded. (- _ -)

    1. That TV button let your gamepad act as a simplified TV remote. You could sync it with your TV to adjust the volume, change the channel, and turn it on or off. I used that button pretty frequently due to convenience.

  10. It doesn’t matter anymore. Wii U failed; the end. Every company releases a dud sooner or later. That said, nothing wrong with liking a bad product. *cough*StarWars8+9*cough* Troll 2, Double Dragon (the movie), Super Mario Bros The Movie, Wonder Woman 1984 to name a few more.

  11. Pingback: Nintendo president concerned about how to transition large Switch user base over to next-gen hardware - News Daily Today

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