Let’s be honest, the Wii U was a disaster. It had potential, but a poor naming choice, bad marketing and more led it to not only being the last place console in the previous console war, but leaving many to wonder what Nintendo would do next. Obviously, that answer was the Switch, and we’re still talking about it 8 months after release.
So, what made the difference? Why did the Switch work while the Wii U didn’t? Well, Nintendo of America senior product marketing manager Bill Trinen and Nintendo of America senior VP of sales and marketing Doug Bowser talked about this with Business Insider, and revealed that for them, success was honestly about fixing mistakes.
For Trinnen, that meant fixing how long it took for the system and games to come up:
“If you look at the Wii U hardware system, just the system menu itself — the time that it took to boot that system up, to get into gameplay — was something that was a frustration for a lot of players early on, and actually became a hindrance.”
“With Switch being something that you can take with you, it made it really important that you could play it instantly. That to me is an example of a direct lesson from the Wii U era, where Nintendo said, ‘That’s something we’re gonna zero in on and make a dramatic improvement on.’”
Meanwhile, Bowser said that Nintendo really wanted to give out a steady stream of games, and that they’ve lived up to that idea:
“We had a glut [of game releases] up front, and then kind of went dry for quite some time. From a first-party perspective at least, we were very intentional and deliberate about Switch. We launched with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which obviously was incredibly successful, drove hardware, and brought a bunch of new people into the franchise. And then followed that with ‘Mario Kart,’ straight through the series of games we’ve released since then. That’s been a really important lesson that we’ve applied that seems to have worked.”
It’s hard to deny that Nintendo’s thoughts on bettering the Switch was key to it being sold out everywhere nearly every week. And who knows just how big this is going to get.