The Wii U: Game Over Already?

Wii u

Many gaming outlets, including MCV have been reporting price cuts hitting the Wii U, specifically the Premium bundle. Retailers are sitting on a number of unsold consoles, and so begins the price slashing to get them off the shelves and into people’s homes.

Between £40-60 seems to be the saving currently on offer which is a large saving considering it’s length of (or lack of) time on the market. Should we start the funeral proceedings already? Should Nintendo call it quits when it comes to home console development?

Put simply is it game over already for the Wii U?

Nintendo consoles are the home to some of the best first-party titles in the history of videogaming. Mario, Link, Donkey Kong and Samus to name 4 for starters. While the Wii U has a Mario game and a few new IPs it didn’t have the strongest start in life. Nintendo’s conferences building up to the retail release really went to town to prove that the upcoming console had the full support of a large number of game developers. While some of the ‘core’ videogame community were disappointed with re-releases of titles such as Mass Effect 3 and Batman Arkham Asylum it at least proved a small step in the right direction. The announcement of an exclusive Wii U title, Bayonetta 2, was genius, and a leap forward for Nintendo. Bringing a game developed for the market they wanted to win back, a sequel people wanted yet probably wouldn’t have got on any other console.

Bayonetta 2

The return of Bayonetta raised cheers from the gaming community

Ubisoft’s Rayman series is en-route to the Wii U courtesy of Rayman Legends, of which a playable demo has been available via the eShop for some time. An excellent title which understands how to incorporate the Gamepad well. Along with Bayonetta it too made for an excellent exclusive, only it no longer is exclusive to the Wii U. In fact Ubisoft have delayed the title so that it will be released across all major formats later in the year. With so few new titles of note coming in the near future for Nintendo’s home console the delay is a massive blow.

Pikmin 3 is Nintendo’s big Spring release, and while it has a core following I doubt that it’ll have the mass appeal that Nintendo require right now. It’s a cute, fun puzzle title with a strong fanbase, however  I can see a number of consumers getting put off by its slightly complicated exterior (simply not understanding what the game is about). Other Spring titles, including Platinum Game’s The Wonderful 101, while looking fun to play again in my opinion don’t have a mass market appeal. The promise of more third-party support doesn’t seem to be happening, with most of the recent AAA games skipping the Wii U.

wonderful101

The Wonderful 101 has a clean, cartoon-like graphical approach, but will it sell?

With very few releases since launch (with only a couple of titles in the pipeline for the next few months) along with the price cuts it certainly is looking a little bleak.

Going back to my original questions then…is it the end of the Wii U? It may sound like a contradiction based on what I’ve written so far, but no, no it isn’t the end.

E3 2013 is going to massive, mainly due to new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, however I wouldn’t write Nintendo off yet. Aside from the confirmation of a new Zelda and Mario in production (along with a new Smash Brothers) we’ve heard little else about the other key first-party heroes. I’m going to make a prediction that we’ll see major game announcements for the second half of this year and on into next year. OK, it may not be the hardest prediction to make, of course they’ll announce games, but I think a large number of people are under-estimating what Nintendo could announce.

I can easily see Donkey Kong and Metroid getting the Gamepad treatment, while it’s been far too long since we’ve seen a new home console Starfox game. Hopefully the promise of bigger and better content from third-party developers will come true and we’ll start to see less of the lazy ports and more original and exclusive titles, just like Platinum Games Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101. Nintendo have experienced slow-starting console releases before, but they have the imagination and videogame studios/IPs to turn the Wii U into a must-have secondary console, much like how the Wii slotted into households alongside the Xbox 360 and/or the PS3.

starfox

How much longer do we need to wait for Fox McCloud and co to return to our TVs?

The point I’m trying to make here is that you’ve got to have faith in Nintendo. They’ve been creating and innovating for decades. The short-term may not look great but the Wii U still has the power to surprise. Am I foolish? An optimist? Possibly, but the videogame industry needs bright, fun, innovative, creative, polished titles…and no-one creates them like Nintendo.

Don’t let me down Mario & co.

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5 responses to “The Wii U: Game Over Already?

  1. Nintendo really choosed the wrong path, with the Wii u. They thought the same public that bought the first Wii, most casual gamers and parents who, following the trend, gave a Wii to their kids, would just run and get the new Wii u.

    Casual means… casual, unlike a core gamer, that will buy consoles for gaming, casual buy stuff in a precise moment, following a trend, but are too volatile to be taken as a potential buyer. Most of those casual Wii owners will never get the Wii u, for sure, no matter how many games will be available or if they are AAA titles.

    Most people that bought a Wii, also bought a ps3 and/or x360. They know what HD means, they know which features are cool or not, they play online, they watch blurays, they also have HD phones and tablets, they are perfectly aware of what an HD console should be capable of.

    The Wii u, even with the touch controller, remains a relatively weak console, compared to 7 yo consoles like the current x360 or ps3. Ports like mass effect 3 or batman looked much less good than on the current consoles, and first party games like zombiU didn’t look and played that great, either, and the result was thousands of average reviews and scores. The upcoming The last of us, on ps3, should play and look many times better than the zombiU, and that’s a 7yo console. We can’t even dare comparing the Wii u to the ps4 or x720, the features and graphical leap are just enormous.

    I wish Nintendo had released a standard controller for the Wii u. Maybe that touch controller costs like 50-80$ or even more, to Nintendo. With about 100$, they could have used a much better CPU and GPU, and have 4gb of ram, instead of 2. I’m sure if consumers could choose between a Wii u 2-3 times more powerful that the current version and a touch controller, I think they would prefer more power, for much better overall and looking games. That touch controller may bring some innovation to the table, but I would rather have much more better looking games. 10 years ago, graphics could be average, and they actually were average, the most important was the story, ideas, innovation, gameplay, etc. Today, in 2013, unlike what fans may say, graphics do matter. Story and gameplay are important, but with all the processing power we have, there is no reasons so a game looks bad, with bad graphics, blurry textures, screen tearing, aliasing, etc. People got used to HD graphics, and they want them in their games. Gamers that already own a ps3 or x360, there’s no chance they will grab a Wii u, for playing Mario, when beasts like the ps4 will be available, in a few months.

    I really think Nintendo is in a real tough position. They barely sold consoles during Christmas, and are selling really bad, even in japan, even the Nintendo guys are surprised with the Wii u low sales.

    Maybe there are great titles coming for the Wii u, but will those titles sell dozens million consoles, when they get released? Will those games gather all the attention, when consumers are waiting for the next E3 , where we will see amazing ps4 gameplay videos, where Microsoft will announce its x720, when people will be looking towards the ps4?

    The few third party studios that offered support to Nintendo Wii u , most are giving up, many upcoming games for the ps3 and x360 won’t even see the light, on the Wii u. If Nintendo thinks they can rely solely on their Mario,karts,monsters,Zelda’s and super smash bros titles, in 2013, well, they are wrong.
    If these titles were available when the Wii u launched, Nintendo would have gained such a momentum, they would have sold 20-30 million consoles at the end of 2013. But no, these games won’t be available before a long time. And by that time, people will be spending their money on a ps4 or x720, that’s where people are going to spend their hard earned money, next Christmas. Unfortunately, it will be a little to late for Nintendo. Sure, they will still sell millions Wii u, with the upcoming titles, but its not enough to stop Sony and Microsoft momentum.

    Also, many many Wii were bought by people that wanted to hack it and play downloaded games, for free. A non-hacked console will always have smaller sales most people I know bought the wii and the x360 solely to hack it and play games at no cost.

    If the Wii u sales continue that low, like 40’000 or less, in one week, in japan, games won’t be released. And a console, with only a couple of games available, even the biggest fans won’t accept paying +400$ for it.

    Nintendo fans will throw me knives, and will say its too early, that great games are coming, and the Wii u haven’t shown its full potential.maybe not full, but I wonder if studios will get 20-30% more power, with future releases, and even 30% more power won’t be enough to make games like god of war, uncharted, the last of us or halo4. Its simply not possible. And we aren’t even talking about a ps4 or x720, that will be just insane.

    If fans didn’t buy the Wii u, who will? When? In 6-9-12 months, when other Wii u games get released, along with huge ps4 games?

    Long post, sorry. But I like to explain things, and not just throw packs of words 🙂

  2. Last generation Nintendo virtually invented the fitness genre in games, initiated motion inteactive sports, created a new standard in console first person point-aim n shoot (cant believe ppl still use dual analogue, will be funny watching ps4 shootes and even 720 shooters on dual analogue). And basically led Sony n M’soft.
    They’re current systems lack a little processing power, but its partly the devs fault for making lazy games for Wii and even WiiU
    Think about Rogue Squadron at Gamecube launch, then try and think of another 3rd party game on Wii that matched its production values.
    WiiU will come good, they have 6 months breathing space. And when PS4 and 720 hit, WiiU will get more credit then. Right now WiiU is enduring launch hurdles while the competition just lives off hype. When PS4/720 launch, ppl will not afford them and WiiU will make a lot more sense

  3. Nintendo revolutionised gaming with the GB, GB advance and SNES. It scored well with Wii, changing the way we play games and get the family involved but rested on it. The 3Ds was a gimmick giving people migraines and tried to release a WiiU or Wii 1.2 as I see it with little success. The world has changed since the wii was launched and Nintendo needed to bring its A game, the Wii-u is the equivalent of being on i’m a celeb whilst the others are at the baftas.

  4. I felt that the WiiU would be a gimmick and wasn’t very fussed about it…until we actually bought one. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the touch controller feels natural to me – but that may be because I’m usually sat with a tablet in my lap anyway. I see a lot of potential for it, especially for immersion in games. Whether anyone will try to tap in to that potential is another story. I thought it worked well as a gameplay mechanic in ZombiU and WATCH_DOGS looks promising, so I have my fingers crossed for some imaginative implementations in the next few years.

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