Can Nintendo Reclaim Lost Ground On Sony And Microsoft With The Wii U?

POSTED BY Heather Johnson, UPDATED ON January 28th, 2024
Can Nintendo Reclaim Lost Ground on Sony and Microsoft With The Wii U?

On 19th November 2006, the World finally got hold of what it had been eagerly anticipating for many, many months. Launched to great fanfare as the first standalone motion-sensitive console is available, the Wii went about redefining what a typical “gamer” was, with a range of titles designed to include the whole family from the teenage boy right through to grandparents. It offered so much promise, and yet in 2012, the Wii is looked upon as a far inferior product compared to Sony’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Lacking the HD visuals and network infrastructure of its main rivals, even legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto was forced to admit that the Wii could not offer the same gaming experience to “core” gamers as the other 7th generation consoles. This is where the challenge lies for the Japanese gaming giants’ latest console, the Wii U, so what does Nintendo have to offer this time around that will get serious gamers back onside? Can Nintendo reclaim lost ground on Sony and Microsoft with the Wii U?


A Different Breed of GamePad

If the Wii Remote and Nunchuck combination offered something dramatically different from the accepted norm, the Wii U GamePad is once again looking to rewrite the rule book on controllers. Designed with a touch screen built-in, the GamePad can both supplement the on-screen action or replace it, with users able to play solely on the pad if the TV is unavailable – yet if it is, you can make use of the ‘slide’ function and quite simply flick your hand over a selected video or set of photos on the Gamepad’s interface and towards your television, then watch in awe as it appears right there on the big screen in front of you.

This innovation combines for the first time Nintendo’s traditional and handheld gaming experiences while offering a raft of other features including an accelerometer, gyroscope, camera, dual analog sticks, built-in microphone, and near-field communication support.

So far, so novelty – the main problem with the original Wii. However, with the U, Nintendo is also releasing the Pro Controller with the aim of attracting the “hardcore” gaming fraternity. Armed with the traditional control sticks, buttons, and triggers, Nintendo has brushed off the claims that it looks remarkably similar to the Xbox 360 controller, insisting that it offers an “enhanced version” of the Wii Classic controller.


Network Capabilities Need to Improve

Although the major attraction of the Wii initially was the way it enabled groups of family and friends to play games together, this capability is something that has since been matched by Sony and Microsoft with the introduction of the Kinect and PlayStation Move respectively. This robbed the Wii of its USP, while the poor network infrastructure meant that it simply couldn’t match what the PS3 and Xbox 360 could offer.

With this in mind, it is essential that this time around Nintendo get it right, and they will be hoping that the ‘Nintendo Network’ can provide the kind of support that PS3 and Xbox users currently enjoy.

Providing the means for online multiplayer gaming, video chatting, and digital downloads, the early signs are good that Nintendo has learned its lesson, but we won’t know for sure until those first users get up and running against the rest of the world.


Games Are Key to Its Success

No matter how impressive the hardware or innovative concepts are, a console lives and dies by the quality of its games. One of the major issues for the original Wii was that quality, third-party titles were so hard to come by. Browse the Wii section of your local video games retailer and you will see umpteen examples of dancing and family-focused titles, but very few of genuine interest to traditional gamers.

For the Wii U, Nintendo has promised greater support for third-party offerings and it seems to have come good already, with their recently released list of launch titles mirroring the standard of those that are currently available for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Some of the most notable and mouth-watering titles include:

  • Assassins Creed III
  • Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition
  • Mass Effect 3
  • The Avengers: Battle for Earth
  • Tekken Tag Tournament

As the battles lines are drawn on the next generation of game consoles it is clear that Nintendo needs to up its game considerably if they are to be considered a serious gaming platform once again. Yet given the Japanese firm’s reputation and history in the industry, who would bet against them?


  1. DivineAssault says:

    if nintendo treated the west w the same care as japan, i would support em to the end.. as long as they keep releasing E rated games to us w few eastern titles, im not giving them a damn cent anymore.. I may eat those words when i see metroid & zelda but i dont so for now, my money will go towards games that deserve it…

  2. ChunkyLover53 says:

    Nintendo had a great idea, the motion controls and cheaper price point were pure genius, but I think Nintendo underestimated how fast people would adopt HDTV’s. When the Wii launched in 2006 only 15% of homes had an HDTV, now its around 50%, and those people want a console that takes advantage of that.

    I don’t think Nintendo really lost ground though, they just reached market saturation. After selling almost 100 million Wii’s, who was left to buy one?

    I think people are throwing out guesses when it comes to “core” and “casual”. We know the Wii appealed to casuals and families, but core gamer’s bought it too. Some people buy Nintendo consoles strictly for Nintendo first party games.

    They’ll be fine, launching first for the next generation and at a reasonable price point, offering more then just gaming, Nintendo will do well. I doubt we’ll ever see a console sell 100 million again though, its just a different time and there is too much competition, which is a good thing. No one company should dictate the whole gaming industry.

  3. Vampiric says:

    lost ground?

    they gained 50 percent of the console market share this gen

  4. Mark Lockett says:

    Most people come to gaming, on a Nintendo machine, that will not change anytime soon. So it is a matter of keeping those who started young playing on the same system two or three years later. If all we got from the Wii U was Nintendo’s own exclusives and a fair number of cross-platform games from third partys, then I think Nintendo is still in a very good position. A great deal depends on keeping third partys keen on deving for the Wii U.

  5. Trunkz Jr says:

    The Wii lost a fair amount of hardcore gamers, with the Wii-U those that were Nintendo fans can actually come back now. The pre-orders are showing this, I just wish the system could support 4 Wii-U game tablets so I could get a group of friends and play say Goldeneye and nobody can look off my screen ^^

    • dedicatedtogamers says:

      Well, considering how the Gamecube only sold about 20 million, the Wii couldn’t have lost THAT many hardcore gamers, because there weren’t many loyal to Nintendo anyway, it seems. Every single one of my gaming friends owns a Wii and several games for it. I don’t see how Nintendo “lost” them…

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