A decade ago, the Wii was one of the most promising new technologies of the decade.
The system boasted a touchscreen, two joysticks, a gamepad, and an infrared camera to detect where the player was and where the game was.
The Wii had the power to be a game changer, but it was also a gamebreaker.
“The Wii became the first video game console that could take a big hit if it was hit by a hurricane,” says Dan Szybzyn, a professor of marketing at the University of Pittsburgh.
“You couldn’t even get a game to run if you were in a room with a hurricane.”
The Wii made it a target for hackers.
“A lot of people were like, ‘Oh, you’re going to have a hard time playing this thing,'” says Szybrzyn.
“I’m like, Yeah, but we’ll get the game.”
To counter the widespread interest in the Wii, Nintendo began a marketing blitz to convince consumers that it was a great product.
“It was a game for kids,” Szybrazyk says.
“People were excited about it, and they wanted to play it.”
By 2007, Nintendo had more than 40 million Wii consoles and a strong presence on social media.
“In 2007, the market was huge for kids’ toys and games,” Sxybrzys says.
And while the Wii had a strong reputation among kids, Szybski says the company’s success at reaching a broader audience of adults also helped Nintendo grow its business.
“We were trying to reach a wider audience than we thought we could,” he says.
Nintendo, which had begun its gaming revolution in 1993, was still trying to find its footing with a younger audience.
But in the years since, it’s been able to turn that tide.
With its ability to turn a simple console into a powerful gaming device, Nintendo helped pave the way for gaming in the mainstream.
The industry As the Wii came into its own, it was quickly overshadowed by the arrival of more powerful consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox.
The Xbox was a major hit.
It had a solid foundation in graphics, but its biggest selling point was its controller.
“If you look at the first-party gaming market, Xbox has been the most successful console, and then the PS4,” Szypinski says.
Sony’s PS4 and Nintendo’s Switch, meanwhile, have struggled to sell and both had their fair share of problems.
But even when the consoles were struggling, they helped bring Nintendo back into the mainstream in ways it never had before.
“When you look back at the industry, the first thing that came to mind was how big the Wii could be,” says Szymanski.
“That made the Wii the most powerful video game controller in history.
It’s the one that was the most disruptive, because it had the most to gain from the introduction of the GamePad.”
Nintendo was able to convince its customers to spend big on the Wii U because of its appeal to young adults.
“One of the things that makes the Wii so unique is that the Wii has been such a success among young people,” says Jason Fink, an associate professor of management and marketing at Harvard Business School.
“They’ve been spending more money than ever, but they’ve also been spending less money on consoles.
And they’re spending less on game consoles.
It means the Wii is the most valuable product in the world.”
It also meant that the console had a powerful competitive advantage.
“There are only two gaming consoles that people really care about,” says Fink.
“And Nintendo has two.”
Nintendo launched the Wii in 2007, and by 2008, the company had more sales than any other console.
But it wasn’t the first console to take the gaming world by storm.
“By the time the Wii arrived, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were in the market,” says David W. Cohen, a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Co. “So Nintendo was in a position to really get the attention of a lot of gamers.
They knew they could do something special.
But they didn’t know how to make it so successful.”
Nintendo’s marketing team had already learned to position the Wii as a gateway into video games.
“As soon as they started introducing the Wii and the Wii remote, Nintendo was like, This is the best gamepad,” Cohen says.
The company made the decision to build the Wii into a game console with a single touch screen and a built-in camera.
“Every time you press the screen, you feel a little vibration.
And it makes a lot more sense than the physical buttons on a game controller,” Cohen explains.
But the console didn’t stop there.
The console also included a new, more powerful controller.
In 2006, Nintendo released the GameCube.
The GameCube wasn’t a smash hit with the public.
In fact, it only sold about 1.2 million units in its first year