How Wii U Owners Got Owned

The Nintendo Switch seems to be in full-swing now. Everyone is overjoyed with the new Nintendo system taking the world by storm, effectively blending concepts of home consoles and handheld devices into one sleek package. While the 3DS is still enjoying some new releases in the wake of the new hotness, the Wii U hasn’t been treated quite so well.

Essentially, the last thing the Wii U received as a going-away present was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Though I must admit, I’m fairly certain Nintendo would’ve kept it a Switch exclusive had they not promised it to Wii U owners already. This also includes the game’s DLC. Not much else has been released to the system aside from a few older indie projects being finished and the occasional virtual console title. Most of the developers, and much of the public, have shifted their focus to the Switch.

We’ve seen plenty of games being ported over to the Switch such as Shovel Knight and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. There are also remakes, or deluxe editions if you want to get technical, such as Dark Souls Remastered and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. These often have extra content, updated features, and the appeal of being on a system that can used in the versatile new ways only available to the Switch.

Now the third party games coming to the Switch don’t seem to be ruffling too many feathers, but the Wii U ports and remakes certainly are. Why is that? Well, a lot of Wii U owners look at this as somewhat pointless. Why would they want a Switch to play the same games they already have on Wii U? There’s a bigger crowd forming there and new features, but is it really worth the price for such a small jump? Many of these owners would say no, it’s not.

This outrage is often misunderstood. Many fight back against this, claiming that no one is forcing you to buy the games again. This is true. However, let’s be fair on that point. If you want to get a Switch, you’ll have to fork over the dough for the system AND for whatever games you want as it comes with none. My point? Well, it’s expensive. So a common practice in these situations is to sell off the old system in order to raise money for the new one. The problem is that the Switch doesn’t have backwards compatibility.

On the one hand, this means you could sell all of your games also and get even more money, but that would then force you to purchase them again for full price on the Switch if you wanted to keep playing, basically costing you even more money in the process. Even if you didn’t sell your Wii U and could afford the Switch, you’d have to buy those games over again to continue playing them online or take advantage of the Switch. Even selling them at THAT point would still have you taking a loss and making your Wii U a rather pointless console the longer this trend continues.

Before I go any further, I want to make something clear. Making these games more available to a wider audience is GOOD. The Wii U didn’t sell as well as expected and these games can reach many more people on the Switch. This is a GOOD thing. The frustration isn’t what others ARE getting, but rather what Wii U owners AREN’T getting. Nintendo absolutely refused to throw them a bone.

I’m willing to accept that Nintendo’s conscious decision NOT to have backwards compatibility with Wii U discs was a smart one. It would’ve added to the cost and bulk of the system while not being ideal for portable play. As a business decision, cutting their losses of the Wii U fanbase resulted in acceptable losses. The complete shift to the Switch was also a sound choice, though more virtual console titles would’ve at least been appreciated or perhaps a few late Wii U games to send off the system in style.

I thought of an idea for an add-on device to connect to the base unit that would play Wii U discs, making the upgrade more cost-effective for Wii U owners not looking to repurchase the same games again. This, too, would probably not be cost effective even in a limited run. If nothing else, why not simply use the virtual console they have been so fond of and sell those Wii U games through that at a cheaper price than Switch games? It would seem to make the most sense, right?

Well, okay. I want to be as fair as possible. Let’s assume none of these ideas will work due to cost or technical issues. Assuming all of this… how would Nintendo throw Wii U owners a bone on this one? My answer is My Nintendo. I think your Nintendo Network ID is the same across all devices, but I KNOW that the Switch and Wii U can both connect to My Nintendo. It can detect what games you’ve bought and access special discounts in terms of the eshop. So why not take this system that’s already in place and use it to check if owners of both the Wii U and the Switch own at least the digital versions of the games being ported and remade? Then once detected, you could get discounts on those games if you own the originals. It could also continue for more releases and keep people checking the My Nintendo site or at least get more signing up and using it for other things in the process. It wouldn’t be great or save tons of money, but it’d be a nice gesture to Wii U owners.

Remember when the Nintendo 3DS wasn’t selling real well due to its price point? Well Nintendo cut the price and that didn’t sit too well with early adopters. So they came up with the 3DS Ambassador Program, allowing these first supporters to receive some exclusive virtual console games. It probably didn’t quite amount to the money they were screwed out of in that deal, but it was something. It was a way of Nintendo showing they were sorry they had to do that. So why not do SOMETHING for Wii U owners?

THIS is why Wii U owners are truly upset. They were abandoned coldly after years of support and Nintendo hasn’t looked back since. Meeting obligations with Breath of the Wild was the most they were ready to do. The Wii U crowd, apparently, is just too small to care about, which is a sad thing to see. Could it be any smaller than the early 3DS crowd? I guess they still wanted to move 3DS units and they don’t care about moving the Wii U with the Switch now, despite stating earlier that it wasn’t a successor to the Wii U… whatever that means. There’s no significant benefit for Nintendo to throw Wii U owners a bone outside of their image, and with the small crowd complaining there’s not enough bad press to bother.

So the next time you see a Wii U owner lashing out at more and more regurgitated content from the Wii U to the Switch, remember what they are REALLY upset about. They are the victims here. Not Switch owners with all of these games they never even knew they wanted until popping up on this new system. Not Nintendo selling millions of Switch consoles. The victims are the Wii U owners who decided to support a company that sure has a funny way of showing its appreciation, if it even has any for the support at all. That’s how the Wii U owners got owned.

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