A Decade Ago Wii Took Gaming to Weird & Wild New Places
2009 was the year of peak Wii. That’s when annual Wii sales reached their highest level (26 million units sold compared to 19 million in 2008 and just 6 million in 2007). It’s also the moment the Wii seemed to be everywhere—swallowing up a large chunk of the culture before its inevitable regurgitation and eventual decline would begin at the turn of the decade.
So what made the Wii such an outlier, transcending its status from mere gaming system to mass mania? Here are six significant factors…
- Novelty – The Wii grabbed the curiosity of a mass audience by doing something different from previous systems: Gameplay was based on the motion and movement of players. So you were up and moving while playing. This was unique and innovative for its time.
- Mass Appeal – Because of the novelty and physical element, the Wii managed to open the door to a wider audience than video game systems typically reached. Suddenly it wasn’t just young people and gamers interested. It was toddlers and parents and young couples, and even more surprising audiences…
- Seniors – Elderly people had never been a real audience for a gaming system before, but they were with the Wii. Stories about the Wii helping seniors get active and becoming a staple in retirement homes popped up left and right in 2009.
- Fitness – And it wasn’t just seniors who embraced the Wii as a fitness tool. A key narrative that sprang up around the Wii—and helped it further widen that mass audience—was that it offered a fun way to get in shape. Capitalizing on this notion was the Wii Fit, an exercising game that included a balance board (and sold more than 22 million copies).
- Just Dance/Guitar Hero – Along with working out, popular Wii games like Just Dance and Guitar Hero gave players the chance to jitter and jam to popular songs. Many people even (mistakenly) believed that success in these games meant they were good dancers or could play guitar in real life.
- Broken TVs – The popularity of the Wii was further cemented by the viral spread of videos showing overly enthusiastic players losing their grip and smacking their TV screens with Wii controllers.
With over 101 million units sold, the Wii remains the best-selling console of the past 15 years—and it’s behind only 2000’s PlayStation 2 (155 million) and 1994’s PlayStation (102 million) on the list of best-selling game consoles of all time. While the Wii doesn’t live on today the way the PlayStation does, for one glorious, fleeting moment back in 2009 it did have everyone swinging, strutting, and strumming in front of their screens.
- SOURCE: Daily Mail
- BRANDS: Wii, Nintendo
- WHY YOU SHOULD REMEMBER: Because the Wii turned your grandma into a gamer
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