The Wii U famously did not make much noise during its abbreviated stint as Nintendo’s primary console. Based on some ResetEra notes from his recent speech as a Leader in Residence at Cornell last night, former Nintendo of America bigwig Reggie Fils-Aime directly acknowledged the ill-fated Wii U as both a failure and a crucial precedent that paved the way for its much more successful younger brother.
Theorymon had a numbered list of his overwhelmingly positive impressions of the speech (the speech, by the way, will eventually be posted online). His relay of the “failure forward” comment, which has been edited for clarity, came while listing Reggie’s great crowd interactions. He said that “a really great one in particular was when he straight-up admitted that the Wii U was a failure, but then added that it was ‘a failure forward,’ one that led to, well, he gestured us, and the whole auditorium yells ‘THE NINTENDO SWITCH!!!’ We had a really electric crowd here!”
Reggie’s comment is totally correct in my view. The ideas behind the Wii U had a lot of potential that was squandered right out the gate with confusing marketing and torturous game droughts. While it had its heavy hitters, far too many Wii U games were hampered by poor design or a stubborn adhesion to underwhelming Gamepad gimmicks. As Reggie alluded to, though, a lot of the wayward system’s best concepts were fully realized by the Switch, and Nintendo is back to churning out amazing games like there is no tomorrow.