With E3 less than a month away talk about the Wii U's numerous hurdles is at an all time high. It needs massive and innovative first and third party support, the Nintendo Network needs explaining and there needs to be some degree of competition with the App store and services such as Steam. But is there perhaps a bigger problem, one that people may not have considered?
The Wii was this generation's most successful console and the majority of that success came because of its massive appeal. Of course plenty of the Nintendo faithful bought it but so did millions of others. Many of these were young people who weren't yet teenagers, or older people who were well into their retirement. It was this market that gave the Wii it's massive success. The problem that this creates, the real problem facing Nintendo, is that these people won't care about the Wii U.
For example, my partner's 12 year old sister, who is well aware of what the Wii U is, simply isn't interested. She loves the Wii and isn't planning on getting rid of it for a new console anytime soon. She is a casual gamer, she doesn't care about staying up to date with games and consoles, she just wants to play games that she finds fun. On the other end of the spectrum I know a retired couple who use the Wii for things such as Wii Fit and Wii Sports, they won't buy a Wii U because they already have the games that they want. The same goes for my brother and his wife, who use the Wii for party games, they have no reason to want the Wii U, it has nothing to offer them other than unnecessary expense.
What this means is that, before they reach any other hurdles, Nintendo are hamstrung by the fact that millions of customers will not buy their next console. This means that when they try to attract new audiences they will have to start by filling the gap left by the casual consumers of this generation who don't want the Wii U, and then build up from there. In effect where originally they may have wanted to attract, for argument's sake, 35 million non-Nintendo fans they now have to attract closer to 70 million. Even for Nintendo this could be too high a hurdle to jump over.
Of course only time will tell as to how big the effect of this will be, and Nintendo may find some genius way of getting around the problem. But of all the problems facing the Wii U, this could easily be its biggest.