Atari founder Bushnell 'baffled' by Wii U

Industry veteran thinks Nintendo's new system "will not be a big success"

Nolan Bushnell, the games industry veteran who kick-started the home console movement four decades ago, has pulled no punches in estimating the Wii U's long-term commercial viability.


"I actually am baffled by it," Bushnell told The New York Times.

"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."

Bushnell went on to suggest that the Wii U, which effectively has opened the eighth generation of games consoles, could be one of the last home systems ever.

"It feels like the end of an era to me," he said.

Nintendo has a reputation for consistently outperforming expectations with consoles that become surprise success stories. The DS and Wii were both criticised from all sides before going on to leading in their markets.

Due in part to supply constraints and encouraging demand, it is widely expected that the Wii U will sell out across Europe, the US and Japan by Christmas. Nintendo expects to sell 5.5 million Wii U units before April 2013 - a sales feat that, if achieved, would be as fast the Wii's launch.

Bushnell became a BAFTA fellow in 2009 for his contributions to the industry.