The Wii and DS were quite the pair. Both systems were a clear shift in design philosophy for Nintendo. Prior to their creation, Nintendo was similar to that of SEGA, Sony, and Microsoft, where it focused on creating cutting-edge technology. With the Wii and DS, however, things changed. Instead of trying to make them powerful, the focus was on making them simple in both design and hardware capabilities.
Former Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime, touched on this topic during a recent interview with GameDaily. In the interview, Fils-Aime provided some context into what exactly led the company to make the Wii and DS the way it did. According to him, the main reason for this was due to the video game industry being on the decline in different markets. He explained that the thinking at the Big N was that there was “stagnation” in the industry “as a result of too much complexity, too many sequels.” He then continued that Nintendo considered there to be “a lack of innovation” and a “lack of fun”.
Nintendo took a gamble on the Wii and DS by making them less powerful partly to reduce costs. But, it paid off. The Wii is still Nintendo’s highest-selling home console, and the DS is Nintendo’s highest-selling handheld. Both systems are also two of the highest-selling gaming machines of all time worldwide. Their direct successors, the Wii U and 3DS, followed the same design philosophy but were unable to recreate their success. The legacy of Nintendo’s change in thinking still lives on today, however.
The Nintendo Switch still falls in line with Nintendo’s goal of creating unique hardware that isn’t too expensive. The company forged a new path by designing a hybrid console, and its been paying off swimmingly. The Switch has been performing well ever since its launch back in 2017 and is on track to amass some pretty high numbers in global sales as its life continues.