The Wii is the most successful home console Nintendo has ever produced, selling over 100 million units in its lifetime and igniting an immersive technology arms race that is only now reaching its zenith.
It’s chief innovation was of course the Wii Remote, or Wiimote: the wand-like motion controller that uses light sensors and inertial sensors to translate movement into input. But what really sold the Wii was Wii Sports: a small collection of addictive sports-based mini-games designed to get people used to using the Wiimote.
Who didn’t love Wii Bowling – if only for a little while? Who didn’t make little Mii versions of a hated boss or colleague and then beat the shit out of them in Wii Boxing? The appeal of Wii Sports was that it required almost no explanation: you don’t need to know anything about videogames to know how to roll a ball or throw a punch. Sure, the Wiimote wasn't super accurate, but it was close enough for broad, repetitive gestures like a golf- or tennis-swing.
There's a lesson here for Sony and Microsoft (and Oculus and Valve and etc.): technology by itself is never enough. Without a killer app to demonstrate their strengths to the mainstream, PlayStation VR and Hololens will be dead in the water.