If you didn’t notice, the first next-gen console was released last night. It’s totally understandable if you didn’t, because no one else sure did.
Various Gamestop stores across the country didn’t even bother with a midnight launch, despite the release of a single game less than a week ago becoming the biggest launch event in gaming history.
There was next to no hype with the Wii U before launch, with most gamers having no idea it was coming out so soon, and the general populace completely in-the-dark as to what a Wii U was.
This is in direct contrast with the launch of other game systems, such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (which we learned is actually more powerful than the Wii U in more than many respects, including RAM). The 360 was first released in 2005, over seven years ago; with a full hype machine spanning specials on MTV, online alternate reality campaigns, and Elijah Wood.
The 360 launched to a full media blitz and fanfare, including an extravagant launch at the Mojave Desert that was a magnet for the mainstream news media.
But what happened with the Wii U?
Sure, Nintendo World at NYC sure got long lines from the hardcore Nintendo faithful; but a very great number of employees in Walmarts across the country didn’t even know what a Wii U was, let alone the costumers.
The lack of education among the general populace allowed many costumers to buy a Wii U before it was supposed to have been sold, with various gamers getting their hands on and going online hours (and in some extreme cases, a day) before the people who waited in line weeks in front of Nintendo World at NYC could buy the first one.
But there’s a catch: Can the Wii U still take off? The Dreamcast had a phenomenal launch, but it was not enough to prevent its death. The original Wii’s source of success was also not because of a huge launch, but because of unstoppable word-of-mouth.
But can Nintendo bank on word-of-mouth for this new system like they did with the Wii? The idea of the Wii U was certainly not an easy one to transfer before launch unlike the Wii; it is not an “all-new” thing, but a mix-match of current trends (the rise of tablet use in the West and the move to handheld gaming in Japan).
The Wii U’s success can only go up from here….but was it a mistake to miss its chance for a great first impression? What was the problem, and is it even a problem?
Sound off below….