Opinion; Why Releasing the Wii Mini for the 2013 Holiday Season is an Awful Idea

Just yesterday, we at Nintendo 3DS Daily announced that the Wii Mini (aka the complete failure of a Wii redesign that ‘graced’ the shelves of the UK and other countries a year or so ago) would be heading towards the US and released sometime towards the end of the year.  But while most people seem to have figured out why the console is such a horrible idea and why it’s release isn’t a good thing, some people say it’s not much of an issue.  Here’s why they’re wrong.  Here’s why releasing the Wii Mini is going to cause a horrific brand confusion nightmare that could destroy Nintendo’s home console sales this holiday season.

So what it makes it such an awful idea?  Why is the Wii Mini going to be such a bad thing for Nintendo this holiday season?

In two words; brand confusion.

Basically, the Wii U already has a lot of issues with people mistaking it for either a Wii tablet add on or a DSi style Wii redesign, to the point at least half the general consumerbase doesn’t have a clue the Wii U is even a new system (or in some cases, even exists).

NSMBU Confusion

Above: People like this didn’t even know the Wii U was a new console, and thought the game would work in the Wii.

That’s already pretty bad for Nintendo.

However, the Wii Mini will just add even more ‘complexity’ to this issue.  It’s a ‘new’ system, it’s got a new design, a different name, it sounds similar to the Wii U in title… it’s basically a disaster waiting to happen. This is because while us gamers and people somewhat savvy with the internet know what it is, the average customer doesn’t.

Wii U box artwii mini box

Above: Confusion in two boxes.  Which is new?  Which is the GBA Micro/DSi style redesign?

And so we’ll probably get a lot of stories similar to the following:

  1. Consumer sees ad for ‘brand new Wii U console with great features and new games’
  2. Consumer goes to buy one from a video game store (like GAME or Gamestop)
  3. They see two systems on the shelves, the Wii U and the Wii Mini.  Both are packaged differently to the Wii, have similar names.
  4. They decide that hey, the name Wii sounds familiar, so the Wii Mini must be that new system!  They buy one
  5. Later, they realise it’s the wrong system, that the newer games don’t work on it, etc.  Complaints ensue.

But hang on you might be wondering.  What about the description on the box?  The store staff?  Other stuff?  Wouldn’t that help?

Well, not really.  For starters, a lot of people tend not to read the box their stuff comes in to begin with,  Or at least they only glance at it very briefly.  It’s why such knockoffs like the works of The Asylum or Video Brinquedo actually sell, because people confuse them with the genuine products and decide they’re worth buying.  What’s the chance this group will read much of the Wii Mini description?

3D Cartoon Land Safari 5

Above: If people cared about descriptions, stuff like this would never be purchased.

Store staff?  Kind of useless in a lot of cases, even the ones in video game stores tend to be only interested in a sale at all costs and have limited knowledge of their own products.  The ones in big name stores selling video games as a minor part of their business (like Walmart, or Tesco, or Asda) are even worse.  I suspect many of those won’t know or care that the Wii U and Wii Mini are different things.

And the packaging won’t help matters either.  You see, normally, packaging that doesn’t mention a game is compatible with a certain system is a good indication that said game isn’t compatible.  However, Nintendo may have shot themselves in the foot here with another gadget they’re releasing this holiday season…


Yes, the 2DS.  Why is the release of this console something that could affect the Wii U and Wii Mini?

Because it completely throws out the window the old rule of ‘games not marked as being for a certain system aren’t compatible with it’, and makes it look (to the average buyer) like a weaker version of a system is somehow also compatible with the games from the ‘more powerful’ version.  You can play a 3DS game on a 2DS, despite the boxes for the former’s games not actually mentioning this fact.

Dream Team Box art US

Above: Boxes like this don’t say ‘compatible with Nintendo 2DS’, so even Wii U games being ‘only for Wii U’ isn’t much help.

As a result of this, even the Wii Mini having different packaging and the Wii U games having ‘Wii U’ marked on the box won’t help, because the 2DS has already kind of conditioned people to think that a weaker system with a different name is indeed compatible with the games available for the ‘stronger’ version.  It doesn’t take a genius/idiot/whatever to come to the conclusion that the Wii Mini is compatible with Wii U games from that.

But brand confusion with the Wii U isn’t the only issue, as important as it may be.  Oh no, the other one is simply this…

Why are Nintendo advertising a redesigned Wii system two years after the Wii U has been released?  The Wii U has low sales as is, and they want to add even more competition?  Are they insane?

We’ve already got a battle going on between the Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One, along with various lesser known systems.  We don’t want to add the Wii Mini to this line up too, otherwise it’ll just hurt the already suffering sales of the Wii U.

Put simply, the Wii Mini is just brand confusion waiting to happen, and hurts the sales of the Wii U by offering another confusing alternative to an already confused to hell Nintendo fanbase.  It should be cancelled, scrapped and the effort focused on promoting the Wii U this holiday season instead.


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6 years ago

“In two words; brand confusion.” Yeah, but the article could also have been titled “Why calling Nintendo’s next home console “Wii U”, was a bad idea.”. Because, in essence, there’s nothing actually wrong with the Wii Mini. It’s a mini Wii. -It’s cheaper, literally and figuratively. Full stop. Now, as to why Nintendo chose “Wii U” as a name? -Same reason they called the sequel to the DS the 3DS.. Nintendo wants to borrow the brand it established for a more conventional game console and experience. ..And it turns out, a boring console with the wrong software is still a… Read more »

6 years ago

No matter what though, this will still cause confusion even if it’s less than what we anticipate. It’s going to confuse potential buyers of a Wii U. And the Wii U needs as much support as it can get now that the holiday season is right around the corner.

6 years ago

I see some flaws with your opinion. 1.) Like it or not, the 2DS is probably selling. And besides: it’s meant for people that can’t afford a 3DS or just don’t want 3D, so I don’t think Nintendo “shot themselves in the foot”. 2.) I think they mentioned that they were gonna label 3DS boxes with some sort of “compatible with the 2DS” logo (and keep in mind that Mario and Luigi: Dream Team released way before the 2DS was released, so they couldn’t mark that logo on it in the first place). 3.) The Wii U/Wii Mini picture you… Read more »

6 years ago
Reply to  CM30

Can’t argue with all of that.

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jhgl hgyi
6 years ago

I think everyone’s missing the bigger problem here: Why buy a nerfed version of a 7 year old system!? If anyone out there still wants a Wii, just by the regular one (if you really don’t want to get a Wii U instead, that is)! It’s only a few bucks more expensive, and it’s more than worth it for online features like Mario Kart, Brawl, the eshop and such. Yes, the Wii Mini has NO online capabilities whatsoever, or backwards compatibility like for Gamecube games. As for the other problem with the 2DS, sure some people don’t care for 3D… Read more »