I will be the first to admit that I am a long-time Nintendo fan. I can still remember getting the original Nintendo for Christmas when I was a kid (yes, I’m old) and from my first game of Super Mario Bros I was sold. At that time Nintendo had literally resurrected gaming console market and paved the way for a new generation of gaming at home.
Nintendo followed-up their original NES system with another massive hit, the Super Nintendo. Then came my personal favorite (or at least the console I played the most) the Nintendo 64, which was followed by the GameCube, and then the Wii. Of course, Sony and Microsoft joined the race for the living room and as time went by Nintendo’s dominance began to erode.
Nintendo really tried to out-innovate Sony and Microsoft with the Wii but it may have been too little too late. Enter Nintendo’s latest system and a console meant to get Nintendo back in the game (pun intended) – the Wii U.
Here’s the problem. When it comes to branding a new console, Wii and Wii U really don’t sound like two very different things. The GameCube sounded cool and futuristic, Wii was new and different, but adding a U to the end really doesn’t make me think of a next-generation console.
The sales numbers for Nintendo’s latest console haven’t been great and while you can’t blame it all on a the branding I do think that is somewhat responsible for the lack of buzz around the Wii U. It just doesn’t sound like a new system and if you’re not plugged-into the console world (which I’m not any more) then you could easily miss that it even came out.
I actually had no idea that the Wii U was different from the Wii but stumbled on an article a few weeks ago talking about it and started scratching my head.
So here’s my question to you – did Nintendo make a huge branding mistake here?