15 years of Nintendo Wii: miracle of movement and surprise console

Honestly, wasn’t a game of Wii Sports a part of every get-together with friends at some point? Whether bowling or tennis – thanks to the simple and intuitive controls, the Nintendo Wii became the console par excellence between 2007 and 2010. With over 101 million copies sold, Nintendo effortlessly outperformed the competition at the time in the form of Sony’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

15 years after the Wii launch, the switch is approaching this magical limit and is likely to trump the Mario makers’ most successful console to date in the near future. Nevertheless, Nintendo’s white style icon proved that graphics power and high-end technology don’t always make the difference. Sometimes an unconventional concept is enough for success – and above all the entrepreneurial courage to put it into practice even in troubled times.

A console for your mother

The journey of the Nintendo Wii (buy now ) starts in the early 2000s. the At that time, Gamecube became a flopped console for die-hard Nintendo fans, but was unable to establish itself on the mass market. While Nintendo only slightly lost out with the cube compared to the first Xbox generation, things looked different compared to the Playstation 2: Around 22 million Gamecube consoles sold to date compared to 155 million PS2 devices speak for themselves.

The Mii avatars were undoubtedly an unfamiliar sight. After starting the console for the first time, users created their own character that would represent them on the Wii in the future. (1)

Quelle: Games Press

So Nintendo was lagging behind the competition. Although the company continued to make profits, not much remained of the glory of the old days. As a result, President Hiroshi Yamauchi resigned his position and passed the torch to Satoru Iwata. The special thing about this change: Not only was Yamauchi in office since 1949, Nintendo was previously a family company that was run exclusively by members of the Yamauchi clan. So the pressure on Iwata-san was enormous. But he should keep this up – as already showed with his first project, the Nintendo DS. The dual-screen handheld lived up to its name, selling over 154 million units. With that, the Nintendo DS solved the Game Boy at the forefront of mobile game consoles.

However, the concept work on the Nintendo Wii began as early as 2001. In an interview with Businessweek (now Bloomberg) from 2006 remembered designer icon Shigeru Miyamoto : “We started with the idea of ​​a unique user interface. We agreed that performance was not the most important thing for a console. Too many powerful consoles cannot coexist side by side. It’s as if there were only carnivorous dinosaurs. They would fight and fight, but only accelerate their extinction.” Sony and Microsoft had raised the bar in terms of hardware power and internally those responsible at Nintendo discussed how and whether they wanted to compete with it. “We didn’t think it was possible to make a powerful console for less than 50,000 yen (about $450). More power means more power consumption and more fans, which again creates noise,” Miyamoto continued on this point.