It was 2006 and through out the industry, many analysts thought that it was the dawn of an era for Nintendo. After being the #1 console in the world for more than a decade, Nintendo had lost its edge to its two main competitors: Sony and Microsoft. Since their launch in the 1990's and 2002, respectively, both companies had been able to displace Nintendo to the third place.
When the Japanese company made public the name of its new console, critics thought that it was more than the dawn of an era: it was the end of a legend. It was impossible that such a product could put them back in the first place.
Although Nintendo is known for some great games like the Mario Bros. series or the Zelda games, it wasn't enough to save the brand. For many, Nintendo would remain in the third place forever, destined to be overshadowed by two juggernauts with enormous amounts of money ready for product development.
After all, the Xbox 360 was a seventh generation console that packed a lot of hardware. The same thing happened with the Playstation 3. Both products include top-notch hardware; everything to make their games the best looking ones in the market.
So, if the Nintendo Wii is a technically inferior product, why is it so successful? There are several reasons for that. The one that stands out is its price. With a retail price of $250, the Nintendo Wii is a lot cheaper than its competitors. After all, the core system of the Xbox 360 costs $299 and the basic system of the Playstation 3 has a final price of $599. It's impossible for Sony and Microsoft to lower their price to that level.
On the other hand, the Nintendo Wii has decided to exploit the nostalgia market in two fronts. The first one is through backward compatibility; the Nintendo Wii is compatible with the games and controls of the Nintendo Gamecube, the previous console made by Nintendo. That way, long time users wouldn't be affected with the transition. The second front is through the Virtual Console. With the Virtual Console you can buy and download game hits of the past like Ninja Gaiden and Double Dragon.
Ease of play is another important factor in the success of the Nintendo Wii. The designers of the console noticed that there were a lot of people who didn't play console games because they were not interested. In order to attract that public, they designed the Wii with innovative games. How so? Through a new control.
The control of the Wii is the main reason why this console has become so successful. It has closed the breach that existed between hard-core gamers and non-gamers. With a Wii control, anyone can play.
Nintendo has proven that the console gaming market isn't about having the latest technology in graphics, or the best technology in sound. Consumers crave for entertainment at an affordable price, and that's precisely what Wii gives to them: a lot of fun for less money.