Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, spoke at the GeekWire Summit 2018 on Wednesday. On stage, Fils-Aime discussed the success of the Nintendo Switch and how the company had to learn from the shortcomings of the Wii U, as reported by GeekWire.
"We had launched the Wii U, following on the heels of the Wii, which had sold 100 million units globally. The Wii U did not have that same level of success. But what we heard from consumers is that the proposition of a tablet that they could experience gameplay [with], coupled with the ability to play games on the big screen TV, was really compelling."
As of June 30, Nintendo had sold only 13.56 million Wii U consoles, which is dismal compared to the 101 million units that sold during the Wii's lifetime.
What stood out about the Wii U was its ability to play on your TV or as a handheld tablet. Fils-Aime says that was essential for what ultimately became the Switch.
"Without our experiences on the Wii U, we would not have the Nintendo Switch in terms of what we learned and importantly what we heard from our consumers. They were telling us, 'I want to play with this tablet, this gamepad for the Wii U, but as soon as I get more than 30 feet away it disconnects.' So the core concept, something that you could take with you anywhere anytime."