TechBio: The story of the trendsetting Nintendo Wii

Posted on March 29, 2011 by


In 2007 the Wii changed the computer games industry forever and encouraged a growth spike the likes of which had never been seen before.

Nintendo brought gaming to the masses through the medium of motion sensor gaming. Even the name was intended to mean something to everyone in every language – Wii (or wee as we would write it in England/Scotland) means little or small in the UK.

The new console brought about an explosion in the amount of casual and social gamers running up to Christmas. Finally a console that appealed to the masses and not just avid gamers, it was now cool to play games. Square-eyed geeks could now come out of the darkness and share the magic of games with everyone.

Trouble was, Nintendo wasn’t ready for us…

The gaming giant struggled to match the demand for their new console which word of mouth had engineered and a widespread marketing campaign had pushed home. But why was it so successful?

The people could simply pick up and play without having to know the ins and outs of all the buttons was part of the immediate appeal to consumers who felt traditional gaming systems were too technical for them.

Nintendo was once again ahead of the innovation curve and created mass demand by managing to introduce gaming to the fitness sector with the Wii Fit balance board –another new audience for a gaming system.

Nintendo were exploiting every avenue that the other platform holders were not even considering.

A key factor in the success of Nintendo and the Wii were that they were the first to market on their initiatives and their competition was always playing catch up from then on. The word of mouth and positive consumer reaction was the best PR and publicity that Nintendo could ask for – The Wii was selling itself.

The Wii’s entry level price point gave it another huge advantage over the competition, but the ability to sell additional controllers, nunchuks and add-ons has been key to the revenue generated from Wii on top of the modestly priced console.

Despite being limited in comparison to the features available on the two other main consoles it does have the advantage of being first to bring motion sensor gaming to the public.

The special edition Red Wii, released in 2010 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Super Mario

Nowadays the Wii is more of a novelty toy than a gaming console, but the competition who try to emulate its success are likely to fail unless they substantially change the game to break into the mass market consciousness.

Currently neither has the stand out games software line-up to back their technology and despite the Kinect being crowned the fastest-selling gadget of all time I have a feeling that Nintendo are relatively unfazed.

When Sony and Microsoft brought out the Move and Kinect, Nintendo sat back, put the kettle on and said ‘been there, done that’. Although to be fair they didn’t rest on their laurels for long. Later this month we’ll see Nintendo release the 3DS, the first hand-held console with 3D capability.

Once again Nintendo lead the way with new and innovative technology, let’s hope they’re ready for the world to go crazy this time around.