The Wii campaign successfully ceased to be a mere marketing or console campaign and became a movement instead. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were not just ‘expensive’, they came across as machinations of a company seeking to just profit. 599 US Dollars? No thanks.
Nintendo’s reputation was in a much better spot. The only mar against Nintendo, the gamer could conclude, would be the Virtual Boy and, at least, the Virtual Boy was a novel take on gaming. The 2d Mario fans assumed there was no 2d Mario because Nintendo (and everyone else) didn’t understand there was still a market out there.
The difference between the Wii and the Wii U is that Nintendo felt like they genuinely wanted to better gaming (expand the market, make gaming more interesting, more fun).
Nintendo now has a different reputation post-Wii. Nintendo is demonstrating that it wants to be Microsoft and Sony and isn’t really interested in ‘expanding gaming’ or doing anything to make gaming more interesting. Nintendo games are coming across as two types of games:
1) Factory produced- No passion. Just old game universe reassembled with the game trying to use a poor gimmick as differentiation. Super Mario Brothers, unfortunately, is fitting that description. Animal Crossing fits this. Wii Sports franchise was great until Nintendo began to factory produce it into uninteresting games from Wii Sports Resort, Wii Party, and so on.
2) Strange/Odd- These games aren’t factory produced. They are passionately and detailed made, but they come across as strange, bizarre, as if the makers weren’t in touch with the market. Whatever one may think of Sakamoto’s Other M, everyone agrees it is a strange and odd direction. Zelda has become more strange and odd as if Aonuma has never read a traditional fantasy book. Mario Galaxies came across as strange and odd. Some people liked them. More people didn’t.
The NES eruption occurred because the arcades were still healthy. The Wii eruption occurred because Nintendo handheld line was still healthy. Clearly, there were tons of Nintendo gamers out there. Why weren’t they buying the home consoles? What was different between the Gameboy Color and N64? Or the Gameboy Advance and the Gamecube? The controls were very simple as were the games. And the handhelds didn’t try to ram 3d down your throat like the N64 and Gamecube… until the 3DS.
The 3DS, causing Nintendo to operate at a financial loss (currency differences don’t give a pass to poor sales), tried to take Nintendo’s stable handheld customer base and ram 3d down their throats. The results speak for themselves.
The question is not why someone wouldn’t someone be hyped for Wii U, but what non-Wii U reason has Nintendo given? The Wii became a huge disappointment in how it was handled. The 3DS was a flop. Gamers aren’t passionate about the 3DS as they were with the DS. And seeing the dissatisfaction concerning the Wii gamers, many are saying no to the Wii U or a ‘wait and see’.
Much of people’s reactions to the Wii U is how people currently regard Nintendo as a company. You’re only as good as your last console. After the 3DS debacle, everyone is right to be skeptical.