Probably one of the reasons the Wii sold so well was innovation. Over the last two generations, Nintendo has been last in sales: coming in behind the PS1 and mostly recently the PS2, and Xbox ran circles around the Gamecube. This time Nintendo needed something different. By showcasing motion controls and appealing to the casual gamer, Nintendo took living rooms by storm. People who had never been gamers picked up a Wii. The marketing campaigns were great. They had bright commercials showing everyone of all ages playing the Wii. At launch, the Wii was the cheaper console at $250 and this helped curious gamers decide to give it a go. Making sure it was backwards compatible with the Gamecube was important too. The Wii was also the first console to have Netflix.
Not only did Nintendo innovate, they made sure many of their strong IPs made it to the new console. Gamers got two Zelda games, two Kirby games, Mario Kart, two Mario games, Metroid, Super Smash Bros, Mario Party, Donkey Kong Country, and the list goes on. Gamers saw remakes of games from the Wii, such as Pikmin, and Resident Evil Zero. There were some great third party games as well. House of the Dead, MadWorld, The Last Story, No More Heroes, XenoBlade Chronicles, and Sin & Punishment. The Virtual Console was another great feature. Nintendo put up tons of classic games for gamers to download, including games from SNES, Neo-Geo, Genesis, and Wiiware games. The Wii was also cheaper and profitable almost right away with the console alone. No hard drive, smaller processor, and a small console were all good things. While Microsoft and Sony had to depend on software to make the money back they lost from hardware Nintendo didn’t have to worry about this.
But everything wasn’t all good. The Wii had a few shortcomings. The options to play online multiplayer were cumbersome. While the other two consoles became more media driven with lots of streaming and entertainment options, the Wii only dabbled in this. Being the most successful console also lead to tons of shovelware being created. For every single great game there are least 3-4 games that no one should ever play. Speaking of games, Nintendo tried to keep up with the 360/PS3 and developers ported some of the heavy hitters such as World at War and Black Ops to the Wii. That was a mistake as those games were nothing like the superior PS3/360 versions. A cheaper console also meant it wasn’t as powerful. By the end of its life it really showed its age. Many people pointed out that the console specifications were about 1.5x times as powerful as the GameCube.
Even with a few shortcomings, the Wii is still a great console. It is dropping in price, a used Wii on Amazon is around $50 or less. A good majority of the games are very cheap, minus a few of the smaller releases and first party games. This would be a great system for someone who is a generation behind. I still have my Wii, I play a few games here and there and I suspect it will continue to get used in the next few years.