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Atari founder is “baffled” by the Wii U

One of the pioneers of video games says that he's baffled by the Wii U and thinks it might be the last Nintendo console.

Bushnell Wii UOne of the pioneers of gaming, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, recently did an interview with The New York Times where he gave his two cents on the new Nintendo Wii U console.

And Bushnell didn’t have many good things to say, if any at all. He doesn’t believe the Wii U will be a success, and actually thinks that this will be the last Nintendo console. When asked about this thoughts on the Wii U, he said,

“I actually am baffled by it. I don’t think it’s going to be a big success.”

“These things will continue to sputter along, but I really don’t think they’ll be of major import ever again. It feels like the end of an era to me.”

While he was a view game pioneer in the 1980′s, Bushnell hasn’t been directly involved in the video game business for many years. In fact, he had similar comments when the original Wii launched in 2006. We all know how that turned out.

The New York Times article is quite comprehensive and covers Nintendo, the new Wii U, and how it’ll fare in the current gaming world. It’s definitely a worth a read — you can find it here.

Around the web
  • Miit your maker

    Well, if it doesn’t have a single giant joystick and a single giant button, it’s going to fail.

    • Derp

      If it doesn’t have a keypad anywhere on the controller, it will fail.

      • Derp

        Inb4 completely overwelmed by downvotes.

        Here is the background of “If it doesn’t have a keypad anywhere on the controller, it will fail.”

        The Atari 5200 and Atari Jaguar controllers had numberical keypads (look it up) right on the controller itself. This upset those who used those controllers because there seemed to not be a significant purpose in having them (not to mention they took up a lot of space on the controller). Thus is my reference that I had stated.

        • Superrty

          And the 5200 had that huge box thing and failed really bad so this guy shouldnt talk.

          • edward montgomery

            Wow your all so blind! this is gonna be nintendps last console.the fact you all cant see it meens you dont deserve a console at all.

    • Asiancake

      We have another Michael patcher

      • Yo mama

        Haha your so right

    • U and Mii

      Sorry old timer, we have respect for what you’ve done in the past but your time has long been over.

  • BLACK OPS 2?

    hes wrong

    • Nko Sekirei

      the only thing thats not gonna be success is him wat a douchebag

      • Nko Sekirei

        it seems we have another patcher in the making

        • wiidude

          just because he doesnt like the wii u it doesnt make him like patcher. patcher changes his opinion a lot. nolan bushnell has his opinion and you should be a ashamed of yourself. you just insulted a old man just because he doesn’t agree with you. without him many things we have in gaming probably wouldn’t be around.

          • retlaw

            A man should be wiser with age. Not stupid.

        • Nko Sekirei

          I agree with you brah ;o
          Do you like playing with big joy sticks Sekirei?

          • gearchin1

            i like playing with mah joystick, its more fun than the crappy 5200 stick!

      • dojo

        he wasnt a succes to start with scince iv never even heard of atari wadda fail

        • ninjabake

          You gotta respect Atari. It was before our time but it was innovative

          • Nintenlord

            Yep till 1980 and then boom

          • Getting my Wii U soon!

            Bushnell, you’re a nobody in the gaming industry and you have no idea what’s going on.

  • prettypinkpanacea

    Only four days to go now :)

    • ledreppe

      I know! I was working out the number of days as soon as I got up this morning.

    • Jeffery02

      I’m sorry, but what’s in 4 days?

      • prettypinkpanacea

        @Jeffrey02: Part of the world is still awaiting nintendo wii u release. I am in a part of this world.

        • idea

          im from the US and bought mine the first week of pre orders but the shipping option wasnt a smart idea mine is still on the way especially with the long thanksgiving weekend they took off haha well im still counting down with you guys too haha Happy WiiU launch

        • Jeffery02

           Ah! Sorry about that. I hope you enjoy the Wii U as much as I have so far

  • some gUy

    Said the same thing about the wii?
    Ok time to disregard…

    • Nintenlord

      He did also said the same thing about the nes

  • Ryu No Hadouken

    I’m baffled it isn’t more powerful myself…I own one, but I’d rather have a pro controller and a more powerful chipset than a gamepad

  • fanwiiu17

    whats happen with this man…
    I think that he was more funny…
    very bad

  • Tobbe

    of topic question now. Lets say i have a 320gb external for my wii u and deside to lets say replace it with a 500gb. can i transfer things from 320gb to 500 gb and still get things to work. one other thing, can i make 2 or more partition on the external wii u drive. for example a 1gb 2.5″ external hdd. partition 1 is for wii u, partition 2 is for wiistuff and partition 3 is for movies

    • Gaming Teenager

      No, and no, as if now
      I study Wii U in my free time

  • Sobari

    Says the dude who founded a company that flopped and was bought out.

  • LazerK

    It sounds a bit like he’s not accepting the fact that times change.Video games have gone a long LONG way since the Atari era,probably more than what he expected and will continue changing until the end of time
    He’s just gonna have to get used to it or rather should be used to it by now…

    • LazerK

      In the end,he just another person who is probably confused about what the Wii u is,what it can do,the possibilities it could bring in the future and therefore not accepting it;just like the thousands of closed minded people out there

      • metroidfusion2

        Someone who knows what they are talking about its so rare these days

  • Lewis

    A guys who’s run a huge gaming company into the ground wants to talk about Nintendo! What the f would u know a hole! Do 1

    • Marty Goldberg

      Huh? He was long gone before Atari was run in to the ground.

  • Nintenjoe

    I’m still baffled by Pokémon but that is one of the most successful things ever.

  • jeremy

    WELL I DON’T AGREE WITh (<sorry) him i must say, he could be onto something. He knows what an end of an era looks like from first hand experience lol

    • Nintenlord

      he saw gamming doom first hand

    • D2K

      Good one.

  • GameChanger

    Is Nolan Butthurt a “Wii” bit jealous? By the way, typing this on my gamepad.

    • [000]

      Mii too.

      • dubYA

        That makes three of us!

  • Andrew Sheehan

    Hahaha, go bury yourself with all those E.T. games!

  • MugenHiryu

    4 days, 2 hours, 1 minute and counting…***

  • Kenno

    Whats the last good thing Atari made ?
    This guy is just jelly.

    • Marty Goldberg

      Which Atari? The original Atari died in 1984. The Atari that’s around now is just the French company Infogrames that’s been renamed to Atari SA.

    • ShootTheCore

      well the last thing i liked with atari’s name on it was Ikarugua for gamecube , but all they did was publish it .

  • Gabe Hoffman

    Could we have a another Pachter here?

  • James

    Who gives a f*ck what this guy thinks.

  • CheckItNow12

    He is just jealous the Wii U will sell more then their Flashback 4 system.

  • Sergio1112

    *Clears Throat* I Don’t CARE what U Think!
    There’s a Reason why Nolan K. Bushnell isn’t Thriving in the Video Game Business anymore……………-_-

  • Cubical_M

    Hate Nintendo all you want! all I know is this weekend I will be a proud Wii U owner!!!! NSMBU your mine!!

    • Abuela Rapera Mex

      me too dude!! i´m getting my wii u and black ops 2 on november 29 :-D

  • Duaplex

    He is still bitter about the Jaguar and how it failed to beat the SNES.

  • nm_nintendo

    4 long days!! :D

  • marioooo

    Haha, guy who had first 64 bit console on the market (Atari Jaguar) and managed to ruin every chance awesome hardware given it, gives advice about Nintendo, company which have success with every console to date. Riiight :)

    • Marty Goldberg

      Umm…you’re a bit confused. Bushnell had nothing to do with the Jaguar. Bushnell’s Atari was Atari Inc, which he left in December ’78. The Jaguar was released on Tramiel’s Atari Corp.

  • Thepokemonmaster

    Are you Michael Patchers Dad?

  • Dan

    Yup, only idiot will believe this guy,, lol

    • eli

      or xbot’s and drony’s

    • Grodus

      Nope!

      …They’re cousins!

      • Grodus

        Did I reply to the wrong comment? ugh. This was a reply to thepokemonmaster, one comment up. Or my computer is glitching the moderation thing and I replied right.

        • Person

          Obviously

  • MY MOm!

    this guy is just mad that his crappy console was quickly shown up by bigger and better items.

  • dog dinner

    DNintendo disrupted atari into dust in the 80s the effect rippled thru the usa like comunisum statemen demanded nintendo banned from tradingbin the usa and atari and some other clowns went to the supreme courts demanding nintendo hands all profits to atari and so began the console war and gaming control taken away from os computer industry and a fear a console box by nintendo could destroy the usa computer industry and console licence fees for 3rd partys was blamed on nintendo also did u really think the cpu was weak dud u really think that nintendo were kiddy did you really think nintendo was doomed did u really think nintendo went casual is wiiu hate all iver the web a shock to u its nintendo hate existed from 1980s steve jobs once said the only thing I ever feared was nintendo wake up the industry hates us

  • Grodus

    Y’know, even if the console was a complete flop, Nintendo has money to burn, and can easily make another console.

  • Ultrasyd

    I’m an Atari lover, but his advice is of no more importance than the one of any random guy on earth. No one cares about what you think dude !

  • Steve

    Why would it be unsuccessful? Oh, that’s right, because its new and different. I praise Nintendo for their uniqueness and originality. Can’t wait for the playstation duo and a new XBox feature that allows one player to play on the TV screen and another from his/her laptop/desktop.

  • MiGi

    if Nintendo don’t keep up with his promise, then it will be a epic fail on his entire life.

  • Nintendonoob

    Yep… Because 750,000 sold in 2 weeks is a fail… Damn Pachter Juniors

    • Nintenlord

      2weeks ? The wii u still dont have 1week out yet

  • 343 H4K0R

    He may have said some stupid things but you guys are still being bigger retards, this is his point of view if you haven’t heard of him you are to young, this man is a god.

  • Nintendo Power (Wii U FTW)

    Well this guy is stuck in the past

  • gary moscheles

    what is up with all these Nintendo nay-sayers? THAT’S what i find baffling. it’s ok to not like the Wii U, but when will people catch on to the fact that Nintendo is good at what they do? if the Wii (a far inferior system) was the best selling system of the 2006 generation….well, need i say more?

    seriously. what gives.

    • Zhenya

      i guess people don’t like success from other people, really pathetic, either that or the press likes to get attention from the media…

  • TheShmow

    Atari people clearly know about what makes consoles successful!

  • MujuraNoKamen

    My first thoughts on reading the headline were “yeah yeah we’ve heard it before, the experts always say this’ll be Nintendo’s last console” they said it about 3DS (now on its way to being the best selling handheld+2nd best selling console ever) they said it about Wii and DS and they’re always wrong. This guy might have been a pioneer of video-games but I really don’t see his point. I mean he’s baffled by Wii U? how? it’s got a 2nd screen, sure that’s a bit weird but how hard is it to grasp the concept of playing on that screen when the TV is in use? Wii U has plenty of features, none of them new – the only thing that’s new is the fact that they’re all being put into 1 device. I don’t get when people ask what Wii U ,or any console for that matter, is about, it’s about games, not a certain play style (as with Wii) the great thing about Wii U is it can be used in any way, it allows motion controls from Wiimotes, normal button controls (Gamepad or Pro-Controller) as well as the multitude of options the gamepad offers. As for the “I don’t think it’s going to be a big success” remark, it’s sold out all over the world, even in areas it hasn’t actually been released yet, it’s out performing the sales of the best-selling Wii, all this with rather limited publicity. As well as positive reviews from even harsh critics and ever increasing support from developers, looks like things will get even better for Wii U.

    • Abuela Rapera Mex

      you said it: “experts”

  • Nintendude

    I think he is still mad that the Atari Jaguar ended up being a failure and lost to the N64 and Playstation.

    • Nintenlord

      You mad?? It lost against the super nes :P

  • MrAllOverIt

    “I actually am baffled by it. I don’t think it’s going to be a big success.”
    “These things will continue to sputter along, but I really don’t think they’ll be of major import ever again. It feels like the end of an era to me.”

    Says the asshat who nearly destroyed the video game industry singlehandedly. This man needs to shut his mouth and show some respect. Nintendo brought us back from the brink of destruction that He and all those other 70s console morons created. Think about how the video game world would be now if Nintendo hadn’t come out with the Famicom all those years ago. They did it on their own. So, sit back, shut up, and say”THANK YOU” Thank you Iwata. Thank you Miyamoto. Thank you Nintendo. You guys are amazing.

  • Kingas of the Pingas

    E.T. sucked. End of.

  • Christian

    The founder of Atari is jealous.

  • metroidfusion2

    The nintendo hate has been huge everywhere and I’m sure it will keep coming but nintendo will always be successful so none of it matters

  • verymetal

    This is coming from the guy that destroyed console gaming with Atari. How does his opinion even matter?

  • Wii UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

    This guy is crazy the wii u has all ready sold thousands. I live in a small town and almost everyone in town has one or preorded one.
    LONG LIVE NINTENDO!!!!!!!!

  • Mystermiguel

    im sorry ATARI?”cough” jaguar “cough” Lythx “cough” “cough” atari5200. cant wait for your next 1080p console. I hear its going to have TWO buttons

  • BIG BROWN LOG ON THE FIRE

    ” Bushnell hasn’t been directly involved in the video game business for many years ”

    What an impressive resume’ you have in an attempt to stay relevant! Troll Nintendo consoles..

  • Schizza

    Way to change the original article into a fluff piece of potential wii u bashing… Welcome to WiiU Daily, the MOST biased web site on the internet!!

    After reading the source article. It’s clear you have taken his comments out of context…

    He is speaking about all game systems in general.

    I always know it’s a slow news day for this site when they post trolling articles such as this.

    Now for the rest of you mindless followers… proceed to down vote me.

    • Linskarmo

      You are partially right. The second quote is misleading. But the first quote is a clear-cut and dry vote of un-confidence in the Wii U.

    • D2K

      I think you should worry less about getting down-voted and more about getting the facts straight. The title of the article is correct because he literally said those words.

      Granted, the second comments was not a ‘direct’ shot at Nintendo, but a shot and all three companies including Nintendo stating that only core gamers are going to buy consoles from now on. The comment was as follows…..

      “The bigger question is what the future holds for any of the major game systems, including new ones that Sony and Microsoft are expected to release next year. Echoing other industry veterans, Mr. Bushnell says that consoles are already delivering remarkable graphics and that few but the most hard-core players will be willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a new game box.”

      ……That doesn’t make it any better. That makes his comments even MORE stupid. Mobile gaming has been hot for years, and yet sales have continued to be strong on all three current-gen platforms. Mobile gaming is not a “or” it is an “and”.

      People already have smart devices and laptops for regular everyday uses and just happen to have games on them as well. That isn’t going to stop them from buying a Wii U, PS4, or 720 just like it hasn’t stopped them from buying a Wii, PS3, or 360. Mobile gaming and console gaming are a completely different experience. The only thing that mobile gaming has done that effects console gaming is that because it is much cheaper to develop for, 3rd parties are migrating more towards mobile games and apps rather than console games.

      That actually would work more to Nintendo’s favor because to the low-cost and ease to develop on the Wii U. It also will work in the favor of Ouya which already will be compatible with current Android and OnLive software. So we may see one of the big three take a bow in this next generation, but highly unlikely it would be Nintendo. They have outlasted everyone including Atari for nearly 40 years. If there is going to be a fatality in the next-gen my bet is on Sony because of the huge financial problems they have.

      Maybe they cherry-picked a little-bit on this topic, but you did too. The fact that Wii U Daily posts ANYTHING about Michael Pachter is proof that this is not a Nintendo fanboy troll site. This site is plenty balanced enough.

  • Josh

    He’s still mad his Atari Jaguar wasn’t a big hit!

  • link 5

    What a dumb ass

  • FireRed

    he’s been jelly ever since the NES

  • D2K

    Yeah, because with the Wii (5th best-selling console of all time with 97 million units and counting) and the DS (2nd best-selling console of all time with 152 million units and counting) clearly Nintendo’s momentum is ‘slowing down’.

    *epic facepalm*

    I guess since Pachter is recanting a lot of his negative forecast for the Wii U and actually predicting success for the Wii U, some other character has to take his place.

    It really brings up profound questions as to the infrastructure of business and success in America. If morons like this can actually be a successful businessman at one point there isn’t any reason why everyone on this board should say that they cannot achieve their goals.

    If you ever are in a down point in your life and feel like you can’t quite get it done, just look for comments from boneheads like this. That’ll give you all the confidence you need.

  • RodSF4

    I believe he should be more baffled that when he said the same thing for Wii, it turned out for the better.

    Or better yet, maybe he’s just saying it, so that the Wii U will be also successful.

  • Naktendo

    I disagree with what he said, but do you think he means the end of his world? I mean the end of the world? Since supposely 2012 is our last year, according to the Mayans. o_0 So it’s Nintendo last system if the world does end, but Nah.. Go Nintendo!!!

  • The Plague

    Like so many other losers, if you can’t get attention because of your own success talk about the Wii U and that will; get you the desired attention.

  • Retro

    This is from a guy whose system after system failed. Atari 5200/7800 Atari ST, Atari Lynx, Atari Jaguar. Shall I go on????

  • Alex

    He Ran Atari in the 80′s Into the ground, Nuff said

  • TheShmow

    “I’m completely baffled by these new-fangled toys, why all those buttons? However, I’m sure E.T. will be a success on it. We have already produced 20 Million E.T. cartridges for the Wii U.”

  • KISS_ARMY_74

    Ummmmmm yeah….. and the JAGUAR was such a great console :/ Now that was an epic fail!

  • Cloudkill87

    Wow technology really accelerated passed this guy’s understanding of it.

    I wonder if he’s even got a mobile phone or smartphone? Maybe they baffle him too for being too mysterious and not powered by the ever mighty and impossible to beat 6502 CPU :S

    He got it wrong once enough said! He’s an idiot so no one should listen to him I think he’s brains gone he needs a replacement 6502.

  • Josh_gold

    lol, some people just don’t know what brilliance looks like when they see it!

  • indirect76

    Everybody relax. He was asked about the Wii U and he gave his opinion. He’s not actively on a campaign to destroy Nintendo.

  • TheDavyStar

    It’ll be fine, look at its pre-orders for one. In the UK pre-orders aren’t running out and they’re really successful. This is for a reason.

  • 7Down

    I actually respect his opinion, I mean c’mon he has some experience unlike most people who judge Nintendo and WiiU, he isn’t making up lies or saying that it would suck.

    But this still doesn’t mean that he would be right, some people are afraid of change, I think his point is that gaming is starting to go too far and isn’t the same anymore, getting too complicated.

    But who knows, I’m not too worried until someone wants us to wear some virtual glasses or something like that.

  • DerikGotro64

    We are living in a generation of jaded and miserable individuals: individuals that know too much and think they know too much, to the point where if anything new, exciting and innovative comes out, they are quick to judge and dismiss it before its true potential can be realized. Individuals that say they know what they want, but can’t make up their minds. Individuals that are so miserable that they don’t know weither tant to go back or go forward. Individuals that are not just hard to please, but they just don’t want to be pleased.

    I think people who say that the nintendo U “isn’t next gen” or “is half a gen” are either jaded from this gen that anything considered “next gen” wouldnt be good enough for them or they’ve been miserable with nintendo for so long that nothing will be like their “glory days”. I dunno, I cant waste my time arguing with people online. Either you like it or don’t. Personally, I’m pretty hyped cuz we havent seen anything yet. They WILL deliver in the months and years to come. I honestly don’t care which way the wind is blowing online if you know what I mean. Other opinions dont mean anything to me when it comes to gaming. I read a mario review and it said something about visuals and sound not being good enough. What-the-fuck-Ever. I dont like people shittin on my fun, so I dont want to here it.

    The Nintendo U is the start of the next-gen as far as setting new standards in gameplay. People expecting some sort of monumental leap between console generations these days need to start being realistic. We’ll never have the jump from Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario World again. And we’ll definitely never have the jump from Super Mario World to Super Mario 64 again.

    I have made the decision that for the next gen of consoles, I’m going with the nintendo U as my primary console. I do not plan on buying both the ps4 and xbox720. (Maybe the 720 so my gf can play new halo and fable. )I think that the wii/ps3/360 gen has gone on too long with everything from fps rip-offs to spoiled fanbrats, crappy party games, DLC overkill and excessive triple-A titles that have been milked to death. At first it seemed like a good idea that the revolution, ps3 and xbox360 would last as long as 6 to 10 yrs. In reality, by the 5th year, all three systems and developers alike have burned out their engines. Imo, this gen has been the most excessive yet. With the Nintendo U, I think the industry and communities can have a clean slate.

    I know for a fact a lot of gamers will hate on this, but a lot of gamers will run with this for years, even when the ps4 and xbox720 come out, or if they are all too jaded and too miserable by all the consoles, they’ll just say fuckit and go with PCs or just stop playing all together. Video games are suppose to be about having fun, having fun times and reliving memories and making new ones. Those who take it to extremes need to stop acting ignorant and arrogant and start being realistic and take under consideration that there’s more to life than video games and choosing video games over responsibilities as an adult does not add inches to your “joystick”.

    We are living in a generation of jaded and miserable individuals. If they can’t be helped, don’t bother helping. If they wanna stay living the way they want, let evolution pass them by, like I have.

    I rest my case.

  • AnesthesiaGamer

    Totally agree with the 5 paragraph rant guy.
    Every word.

    Also my original comment was going to be:

    Guy makes Atari. Atari fails. His response “videogames are dead. Nobody wants consoles. I’m baffled by all this”

  • AnesthesiaGamer

    Add me on WiiU!
    As I promised…. Nintendonetwork ID = AnesthesiaGamer

    • Superstick

      Ok I’ll add you I guess. :/

  • marioU

    Atari was destroyed by old Nintendo. that’s why he is so mad. poor memories for him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alvinjoseph.santos Alvin Joseph R. Santos

    Says the guy who’s own company failed…

  • http://twitter.com/TunaAtasoy Tuna Atasoy

    Well, he was baffled with the Wii too…

  • Elem187

    I appreciate his comments and hold him in high regard, but he is dead wrong…. The users who buy these systems are completely happy with the system….

    When I first saw the console and the gamepad screen I thought it was gimmicky, but after using it for a couple weeks now I can’t imagine living with a system that doesn’t have this feature. Pressing a few buttons and sending the game to my gamepad so I can leave the room if need be or the wife can watch tv (Which she inconveniently wants to do as soon as I start to play a game).

    Considering he said the same thing about the original wii speaks volumes as the install base was massive. And Nintendo pretty much did that entire install base predicated almost entirely on one game. Wii sports, most specifically bowling and tennis in Wii sports. As soon as people even tried the system once at a friends house they ran out and bought one.