One of, hopefully, many opinion pieces for you to read, in this one I delve into whether the Wii U is coming to the forefront of gaming, only to be surpassed by newer and better consoles. Enjoy and leave your thoughts in the comments section!
I’ll start this off by talking about what the Wii U is, what it does and what we know about it. I’ll keep this bit short, however. I suspect that some of you may have heard more than enough, for now.
Nintendo’s project is a Wii HD, if you will. It does do more, a lot more. Regular controller based gaming is the core of this machine, so it seems. The controller is similar to what you would imagine a Sixaxis controller and an iPad’s child would be like. A standard controller with accelerometers and a gyroscope, not forgetting a whopping touch screen in the middle. Now I think of it, it’s almost like a DS-HD-XXL.
The unit, the most important part of the machine, feels normal. It’s just a white box (which has a resemblance to the 360 Elite) that plays proprietary format disks that can hold up to 25Gb’s of data. Nothing we haven’t seen before. This is really all we know about it at the moment.
I want to make it clear at this point, that I haven’t had any hands on experience with the Wii U and all I’ve heard from people who have played it, is praise. I don’t want to attack the Wii U unfairly and I’m just writing my opinions on what I have seen of the console, I will be perfectly happy to print this post off and eat it when it is “console champion” In 3-4 years time.
I deliberately compared the Wii U to things we have already seen, things that some of us may own. Do we really need something that’s been done elsewhere? The Wii U is similar in aspects to many different things, bringing all of the best features together and creating something unique and yet, not certain of its identity. I’m not doubting that this could all work perfectly together, it probably will. I’m confused as to why Nintendo feel we need those familiar bits and pieces re-packaged and offered in a new container.
People like new consoles, especially when they have Nintendo plastered all over them. They, Nintendo that is, have always been popular at launch; you only have to remember the launch of the original Wii. Will this outstanding launch performance be? I think it could be. People will watch advertisements for the console and think to themselves “I want to play [insert title here] on the Wii U’s touch screen”; promptly realising that they can play it on their 3DS, maybe even finding a similar product for on the app store, saving their money. For this to be successful and justify its position on the market, they need unique games, something that we need to buy the console to experience.
We are all human and like to save, we wouldn’t buy a black pen if we had a blue pen sat right in front of us, would we?
It would be very different if this was released earlier, maybe if this was the Original Wii. It would be revolutionary; people just hadn’t seen this combination of things together. Tablet computers hadn’t been realised; the Wii U would have held a considerable portion of the market, at least until Apple got into the game with the iPad. Okay, so it’s not technically a tablet computer, but it does a lot of what the gaming tablets can do.
As for augmented reality, the Wii U would destroy the PSEye.
Graphics have been at a steady level for a while now. Back in 2005, HD was the accepted level of gaming definition. Why the Wii didn’t stay behind closed doors and make the jump to a higher level of graphics, we will never know. It does feel like the console is `playing catch up` in the console war. At least it has HD graphics now, and is probably slightly more future proof than the 360 and PS3 because of the higher standard, yet cheaper, components.
What I’ve hypothesised about until now, could be considered unfair; of course the system will perform better compared to older technology, to a degree anyway. Take, for example, the laptop I’m writing this piece on, it would obliterate the first computers made. On the other hand, I want to compare this system to the systems that are already out there, right at this moment.
The PS3 and 360 are two very well established systems. We have been playing them both for 5 and 6 years, respectively. They have their differences and their similarities, too. There is no reason to have both and yet reasons to want both. The key to having a successful console, like Microsoft and Sony have, are the games; you only have to look at some of the older generations to see that games mean a fan-base and consequently unit sales. Take the PS1; it had hundreds of games, they were not the best quality, but it had choice.
Choice was, then, the main determining factor between the PS1 and its rivals, it’s not the same in this day and age, although, it is pretty similar. Call of Duty (and other big multi platform games like Assassins Creed etc) will be one of the biggest deciding factors. Nintendo need to be asking themselves how to win over the core CoD players, they need a unique selling point. How can they make it worth someone’s while to choose a Wii U over the known quantities that are the PS3 or 360?
Hardcore games are generally tested by time, passed down from one generation to the next, something that gamers of all ages will know. Something that your Mum will hate (in the case of Dead Space 2). Unfortunately, time is cruel. Most of the hardcore players have their console, the one that they will stick with for this generation. Had the Wii U been earlier, then I’m almost certain that Call of Duty would have a hardcore following on the Wii U, purely because it can make use of the touch screen as a map or to draw up a mission plan. Nintendo will have to work hard though, it’s not going to be easy to drag people from one platform to another.
Looking into the future is one way we can see if Nintendo made the right choice of using the Wii as to merely reserve a place this generation. A long generation was expected, and, as we reported here, is nearly up. The Playstation 4 is in development and we hear that the Xbox `720` will be joining us soon, our guess: Q3 2013.
The invasion of new consoles will, somewhat, disperse the Wii U owners. People, as with the launch of any console, will trade the older models in. The timing suggests that the Wii U will be anything but new in 2013. It’s quite clear that the Wii U may be fun to play, bring new games and maybe even new Genre’s, it won’t last long. It will almost certainly fall behind the 720 and PS4. Timing really is everything, unfortunately there won’t be much time left on this consoles life after it’s launched. A couple of years earlier and we could have seen many more ideas come to fruition through this piece of kit.