Reggie Fils-Aime talks about the Wii U's struggles, how it paved the way for Switch's success

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime made an appearance at the 2018 GeekWire Summit. The subject was how Wii U's disappointment paved the way for Nintendo Switch. While Fils-Aime doesn't see the Wii U as a ''beta test'', it was crucial to how they moved forward. About the specifically, the company president said this...

''Without our experiences on the Wii U, we would not have the Nintendo Switch in terms of what we learned and importantly what we heard from our consumers. They were telling us, ‘I want to play with this tablet, this GamePad for the Wii U, but as soon as I get more than 30 feet away it disconnects.’ So the core concept, something that you could take with you anywhere anytime, was really compelling.''

About going through the struggles of the Wii U, Reggie made the following statement...

''We reinvent ourselves every five, ten years. We have to, in this fast-moving entertainment business. When you’re doing well, don’t be excited about that high-flying performance. When you’re doing poorly, don’t be sad. Always have an even keel and always focus on the next big adventure. And that’s what we do.''

We highly recommend reading the full article if you're interested in learning more. It was a really good read inside the situation.

Tags: wii-u, switch


Top Rated Comment

Wii U: The most underrated console in history.

Looking back, you could argue that the Wii U was basically a prototype Switch concept.

They hadn’t figured out / technology hadn’t allowed to fit the internals into the Gamepad yet so they streamed the game to the Gamepad.

That streaming on it's own was actually quite breakthrough technology, you know? And running a separate high res image on the TV screen really was something impressive.

Wii U's biggest problem was marketing and brand presentation and reputation. The rest was quite great actually..

People tend to forget there wasnt an HD console that could cast itself to the television and work entirely free of a television prior to the Wii U. It introduced a lot of ideas that many take for granted now.

Apple was streaming iPhones and iPads to TVs and mirroring on both back in 2010. And yes, it could do that with HD content, movies and games.

Actually that was quite different. The Wii U was the first device that had completely lag-free streaming, which is why you could game on the pad and not be gimped. The streaming wasn't the big deal, the speed at which it was done was huge.

It’s not quite different. Broadcom made the chip and had already done their Miracast solution. Then they worked with Nintendo to put it into the Wii U and optimised it for that specific use case.
Nintendo didn’t invent the tech, they licensed it from Broadcom. And Broadcom only came with their solution after Apple had already released Airplay (which could very well be using Broadcom chips since they provide other components)

Nobody said Nintendo invented the tech, just that it was pretty new. Lag-free streaming hadn't been done on any other mainstream devices at that point. You don't quite seem to understand though since you're talking about Apple Airplay, which is a very different thing.

You don't quite seem to understand though since you're talking about Apple Airplay, which is a very different thing.

Sure ok - believe that all you want.

Wed Oct 03 18 09:47pm
(Updated 1 time)

See my reply to Drew. Apple was actually doing that two years prior to the Wii U. I don’t know if they were the first and I don’t claim that they were.

It wasn’t “breakthrough technology” when the Wii U launched that’s for sure.

The particular streaming tech and its quality was quite new (Miracast itself was introduced in 2012 just like the Wii U). And like SW4J pointed out, what Apple did with airplay over apple TV was far from lagless (it was mirroring as well). The Wii U streamed it's gamepad image wireless quicker than the response rate of many TV's despite that being an HDMI connection.

I never said it was completely Nintendo developed tech. Every electronics company licenses from and/or collaborates with other companies to accomplish certain parts, even with innovative aspects. Doesn't mean it's not breakthrough or innovative.

You should look into this, it's actually quite interesting.

In any case, it certainly wasn't a prototype. That's just using a hindsight perspective. It's like saying NES was a prototype for SNES. It's simply not using the right definition of a prototype.

Yes I agree "prototype" might not be the best term. I wasn't using it literally. Just that you can see how they went from the Wii U to the Switch in the sense that the Switch was what they wanted the Wii U to be, but they needed the tech to catch up to their vision.

Sat Oct 06 18 11:12am
(Updated 1 time)

Really, Switch is what the consumers wanted Wii U to be, and that's exactly what Reggie was saying.

I wouldn't quite say the "beta", but certainly without our experiences on the Wii U, we would not have the Nintendo Switch in terms of what we learned and importantly what we heard from our consumers.

(original source)

The Wii U was it's own thing, but the Switch is the result of what they learned from the Wii U and the desire the Wii U created with the consumers.

Wed Oct 03 18 08:48pm
Rating: 1

The one thing I miss most on the Switch is the two screens and how some games used them. ZombiU of course did it darn good from day 1. TW101. And, yeah lynch me, but I loved it SF0 (I actually might have to boot up that game soon). Deus Ex another... So much wasted potential. But I understand some devs. If there were no good ideas to implement it, then don't.

And Miiverse.

Here, here Entropy. Most devs settled with off screen play then using the Wii U's abilities to their full potential. It really suffered a lot because of trash talk by online gaming "news" outlets.

I know. I think I even mentioned that. But still doesn't change the point that there was a lot of potential with it (3D Metroid ;) Heck! Even I hade some rad ideas).

Yeah man.. It's such a shame.. Wii U had amazing potential, but it not taking off caused many possibilities to be put aside..

Wii U: The most underrated console in history.

I one hundred percent agree. Most people that bought it loved it but the third party gaming drought after launch really hurt people's perception of it.

I somewhat agree with this.

You learn from your mistakes, and even there you can find the silver linings and make full use of them next time. Just like the Virtual Boy paved the way for the 3DS.

I do think the Wii U could've lived a full life had its marketing not been botched from the moment it was revealed, but overall it will be remembered fondly years from now in a similar vein to the Saturn or Dreamcast.

Terrible console that met its rightful fate.

That’s what people said about the GameCube and Dreamcast too, but look how they are revered now.

I loved the crap out of mine and while I love the Switch for being a handheld with better quality games, the UI is utter shit and lacks all the charm Nintendo had on the Wii U OS. Wii U also had more features for online such as voice/video/text chat and even multimedia apps, all of which Switch lacks... Don't even get me started on folders. They were late coming to Wii U, but they allowed you to at least move the games around beforehand, yet the Switch can't even be assed to do what the DSi allowed you to do a decade prior.

I'm honestly still very pissed the Wii U has just been left to die and used for porting lots of the library to the Switch with little edits. I enjoy ports with extra care like Pokken DX and Hyrule Warriors, but stuff like DKCTF or Captain Toad (even though I got it since I never beat it on Wii U and preferred it portably) have no reason to be moved to the Switch. Let the Wii U have something worth returning to it for besides SSB4 and the VC... Of course, the dream solution would be to have digital downloadable Wii U games working on Switch somehow so you can just play them there without any extra steps, but Wii U Emulation isn't that good so I understand why they didn't bother with that.

He's right. But the problem now is that the switch is not backwards compatible...

Reggie as always is so full of crap.

''Without our experiences on the Wii U, we would not have the Nintendo Switch catalogue of games that we currently do"

That's what he really should have said. The Wii U ports make up about half of their output on Switch.

"I want to play with this tablet, this GamePad for the Wii U, but as soon as I get more than 30 feet away it disconnects."

30 feet? That's pure BS. Anyone who owns a Wii U knows you couldn't even leave the room with the gamepad.

The next paragraph where he says they reinvent themselves every five, ten years is debatable. Then how come their approach to online is as backwards as ever? How come the Switch lacks native voice chat, a browser, Miiverse, free online, apps, messaging, folders, etc? All features the Wii U had.

30 feet? That's pure BS. Anyone who owns a Wii U knows you couldn't even leave the room with the gamepad.

Now I don't think I get 30 feet, but I am able to go into the next room, the room after that, and the bathroom off of that room. This is very much dependent on the structure of the place you are playing in.

30 ft is less than 10 meters. It easily did that with a clear line of sight. It was very susceptible to things between the console and gamepad, even thin walls though.

Thu Oct 04 18 06:50am
Rating: 1

Learn from the Wii U? Then how come the Switch can't do half the things that the Wii U could?

I like the Wii U much more than Switch because I don't care about portability. I liked having the second screen for maps and inventory. It was great for Splatoon, and Splatoon 2 is a step down in that regard.

I thought Splatoon 2's map would be step down too, but now I disagree. Bringing it up quickly with a button and aiming your jumps with the gyro feels like a really natural extension of gameplay, and I can do it much more quickly than I ever could on the Wii U.

I would miss the gamepad more for things like drawing, sailing in Wind Waker HD, and the minigames in Nintendoland.

Yeah, drawing and sharing on Miiverse was something I really miss.


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