The launch of the Wii U and Christmas sounds like a perfect situation for any Nintendo fan. Unfortunately that’s not true for this fan as my love for Nintendo seems to have hit a rough patch…
As a Nintendo fan I should be fidgeting with excitement for November 30th or (to non-Nintendo fans) the launch of Wii U. It signifies a new era in Nintendo gaming, with Nintendo pulling out all the stops to get their console on the radar of any hard-core gamer. However my appeal for the Wii U has dwindled since its announcement to the extent that I will not a Wii U this year and-depending on its performance- perhaps not ever.
So why is this? Well it won’t be everyone’s opinion and to some my reasoning may be a bit off but at the end of the day it’s for my own enjoyment, not just because I should support Nintendo. I have never felt any kind of allegiance to Nintendo; I’ve played their games because I enjoyed them not because I felt the need to keep to the same company.
No, my main reason is that I simply haven’t been enticed by the Wii U since it was first announced. I was excited by the 3DS but I honestly don’t feel the same way for Nintendo’s new home console; it’s almost as if the Wii U is missing some “Nintendo magic”. To be honest when you step back and take a proper view of the Wii U you see that it really isn’t as advanced as it should be. True it is more powerful than a PS3 or Xbox 360 but not nearly enough.
Nintendo seem to be combating the current generation consoles, not the next generation consoles- the market it should be aiming at. While it is nice that the console combines ideas from previous consoles, they are ideas at least five years old. I would have preferred it if Nintendo would have focused on developing a Kinect like motion sensor or a multi-touch screen rather than just use old ideas. That’s another key point, the Gamepad itself. Again I like the idea but in reality it does not seem to have been used effectively yet. It is only a giant 3DS bottom screen with a few extra features and while a touch screen is something new to the console gaming world its uses are-arguably-limited.
There are some good ideas; I like the Black Ops 2 use of the Gamepad as one player uses the Gamepad as a screen and another player uses an alternate controller and the TV screen, but apart from that the screen will just be used as an inventory screen or to control a vehicle. Some uses are absolutely stupid though. Take New Super Mario Bros. U for example in which you use the touch screen to place blocks on the level in order to help other players. I’d hate to get this job when playing with friends and it just seems tacked on to make whatever Nintendo can of the new screen.
This is a familiar problem as an abundant number of Wii titles had useless motion controls added for nothing. You see? Nintendo really aren’t solving old issues. Then I come to my biggest problem: games. Nintendo hasn’t had much luck when it comes to the hardcore gaming market; a problem that they seem to be trying to resolve (albeit in a way I think is not going to work). All the hardcore titles are there: Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, ZombiU, Mass Effect 3 and many more besides. So what is the problem? Well the majority of games are already available on other consoles (in fact two have recently been released) and Nintendo are going to struggle to bring gamers in with games they may already have. Also, where are the Nintendo games? We get New Super Mario Bros U and Pikmin 3, but the latter has been delayed and the former is hardly going to have most gamers excited.
Unfortunately, that’s it! There is a Super Smash Bros game on the way soon, but even Sony is having a stab at that genre of game. Nintendo had a tough job ahead of them when tackling the next generation of games consoles; they needed to make up the ground they lost with the Wii and they needed to take the fight to Sony and Microsoft. So can they do it? From what I can see, no. Nintendo are still trying to please both hardcore and casual gamers, something that leads to their console seeming a bit undercooked.
This doesn’t seem to be a hardcore gamers’ console or a casual gamers’ console, leading me to question quite what Nintendo’s purpose was when designing it. My opinion may change if I actually get to try out the Wii U, but if I (a solid Nintendo fan) am not sure whether to get a one I can’t imagine what other gamers are thinking about it.
That’s not to say Nintendo can’t turn this around, the 3DS had a shaky start but seems to have a very promising future ahead of it, something Nintendo’s new console seems to be lacking.