Few people saw the Wii coming. In the weeks before Nintendo’s video game console hit stores on November 19 2006, critics called it underpowered, gimmicky, and a potential flop. But six years later the family-friendly, motion-sensitive Wii is the undisputed leader of its console generation, with nearly 100 million units sold worldwide –about thirty million more than either of its competitors, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3.
This fall Nintendo hopes to confound expectations once again. On November 18th, the company will release a new console called the Wii U. Critics are already calling it out for a “gimmick” –the Wii U GamePad, a controller with its own built-in touch screen display, like a tablet computer. But Nintendo says the controller will usher in exciting new styles of gaming.