Nintendo recently announced their revised target for first year Switch sales as 14 million units. This number is significant, as it would mean the Switch had taken just 12 months to surpass the total number sold by the Switch’s predecessor, the Wii U.
Coming after the monumental success of the Wii had re-established Nintendo as a force in the market, the Wii U was a huge disappointment. It failed to sell a fifth of what the Wii managed, despite a relatively strong library of games.
So if it wasn’t the games that were the issue, what was responsible for the Wii U’s failure to launch? Most of the blame lies with the marketing of the console. Consumers were left confused by the touch screen gamepad, which some mistook for a handheld. Then there was the name, which suggested the Wii U was an add-on to the Wii or some kind of peripheral. Try as they might, Nintendo never managed to get the Wii U past these hurdles.
The Switch was something of a gamble in that it again straddled the line between handheld and console gaming. However, Nintendo’s latest console launched alongside a significant marketing campaign, including a SuperBowl advert, that helped outline its ‘three ways to play’ approach. The name helped reinforce the fact the Switch works as both a handheld and a console.
But has the Switch completely overcome the image problems suffered by the Wii U? We dug into our data to find out.
Presenting the Wii Switch
Back in the ‘90s, to some people every games console was ‘a Nintendo’. Sega Dreamcast? ‘A Nintendo’. Sony PlayStation? ‘A Nintendo’. Nintendo had dominated the games industry to such an extent that their name was well on the way to becoming synonymous with games consoles in general.
No longer, it seems. Instead, people are apparently confusing ‘Nintendo’ and ‘Wii’ as the manufacturer. As a result, more than 10,000 people saw the Console Deals website listed in Google over the past few weeks while looking for the Wii Switch.
Putting all your eggs in one basket: Nintendo Switch Wii
In a similar vein, there’s a few people out there apparently not ready to let the Wii name go. We’re not quite sure what a Nintendo Switch Wii would look like, but at least it covers all the bases.
Looking to the future: New Wii U and Switch XL
Nintendo have opened themselves up to some light hearted digs as a result of the naming conventions of their 3DS range. Original models have been usurped by those simply called ‘New’, while the presence of larger ‘XL’ models has made for numerous variations of very similar consoles.
Some intrepid searchers - thankfully, from Nintendo’s perspectives, only hundreds rather than thousands - have been on the hunt for the Switch by searching Google for the New Wii U.
We’ve also seen a few searches for the as-of-yet nonexistent Switch XL. While a larger version of the Switch is probably not a bad bet to materialise at some point in the next couple of years, we’re afraid those of you looking for one right now are out of luck!
When looking at the Switch vs the Wii U and Nintendo’s effectiveness at marketing the two consoles, the numbers speak for themselves. The Switch has clearly gotten past the factors that ultimately held the Wii U back. That being said, the numbers do shed some light on why Nintendo went with the name ‘Wii U’ in the first place. Such is the brand recognition with the Wii, even more than a decade after the original console launched, that it’s completely understandable that Nintendo would have wanted to continue to capitalise upon it.