Nintendo has been a household name for generations. Just a few years ago, the latest Nintendo platform, the Wii U looked ready to dominate the market – fans were enthusiastic, the ideas were novel, and the rest of the market was jealous.

Not anymore.

In just a short six years, the Wii U has not just run out of gas, but crashed and burned. The Wii U, which looked so promising initially, has stagnated and sold a total of only 9.5 million units world-wide. This gives the Wii U the sad distinction of being the worst-selling Nintendo system of all time.

It begs the question: What in the world happened?

The Death of the Wii

There appear to be many causes of death for this particular platform. Some feel that the jump from the Wii to the Wii U wasn’t very innovative after all. Why pay more for the same system, revamped?

Others claim there simply aren’t enough Wii U games to keep the players interested and active. This may be very true as most game developers aren’t interested in creating for the Wii. They would rather create something new and novel for the Sony or Microsoft systems instead.

But one of the individuals closely involved in the original creation of the Wii U claims it’s not a simple answer as to what went wrong, but rather a fundamental flaw-in-the-universe sort of issue. Shigeru Miyamoto, the designer responsible for the Mario, Donkey Kong and Legend of Zelda franchises is more than a bit convinced that customers simply never understood the Wii U.

We just didn’t get it.

What the Wii U Was All About

When the Wii U was designed and released it was wasn’t created to be a game machine and tablet, according to Miyamoto. Instead, it’s really “a game system that game 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.”

Unfortunately, that explanation doesn’t particularly clear the matter up – especially as we use similar technology that “speaks” between tablets, phones and the television almost daily in many households.

It’s just this emerging tablet and phone technology that put the digs in the Wii U. Miyamoto explained that “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.”

So, in short, iPads killed the Wii U.

But Nintendo does have a chance to rise again from the ashes of a failed game system. The Nintendo NX is going to “catch the attention of a large number of players and get them excited again.”

Unfortunately we’ll have to wait more than a year to see just what Nintendo is planning next.

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