Walking on a dreamcast: the short retail story of the Wii U

With the introduction of revolutionary motion controls, the Nintendo Wii made a considerable impact on the console market during its production from 2006 to 2013.  With 7 years of retail availability, it had a solid life cycle for consoles of its generation, compared to the relatively long production run of Playstation 3 from 2006 to 2015.


(The Playstation 3 saw its evolution from an expensive bulky model to a slimmed down low tech version)

While the world has grown excited with the prospect of the new Nintendo Switch console, (you can read my article on the Switch here: The NX Switch: what does next-gen mean today?), the Wii U seems to be destined to suffer the same fate as the Sega Dreamcast, and fade into obscurity as an in-between-generations console.


(The Sega Dreamcast, released in 1998 and discontinued in 2001, jumped the gun in its release, trying to edge out its competitors.  Which left the field wide open for competition such as Playstation 2, to succeed; released in 2000, the PS2 went on to enjoy a retail run of 13 years)

With a release in 2012 and a discontinuation in 2016, the Wii U is one of the shortest lived consoles in recent memory.  In retrospect, beyond some beefed up graphics, it didn’t deliver much to improve upon the Wii experience, other than the Gamepad being a prototype for the Switch technology.

(The Wii U gamepad is featured on the left with the Nintendo Switch gamepad / screen featured on the right.)

How do you think the Wii U will fair in the history of game consoles? Do you feel that there were any breakaway exclusive hits for the Wii U? Would you equate the short run of the Wii U to be akin to that of the Dreamcast? I’d love to hear what you think about this topic, if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please do so in the comments below, or write in to playprofessor@gmail.com.

Andrew Mantilla is a ludologist and video game journalist for Play Professor.  You can check out more of his content on FacebookTwitterInstagramand Youtube.


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