Going into E3 2011, I continued to tell my friends of how Nintendo would dominate the show. I thought that Nintendo would show a true hardcore console to the world, and that Nintendo would be back on top again next gen. However, Nintendo’s E3 was not everything I wanted it to be, and while I think it still had the best showing, it made and is continuing to make tons of mistakes. Let’s start off from square one. Wii U. It is the absolute worst name for a console that I have ever heard, made even worse from the fact that Nintendo knew people hated the “Wii” name. Some analysts said that they don’t think that a console’s name will have any effect on sales, judging from Wii’s experience. Guess what? They’re wrong.
Those casual gamers that Wii catered to don’t care about the title, but serious gamers do. If Nintendo was serious about recapturing the hardcore audience, I would have expected it to have a better, more hardcore name. But Wii has so much brand power– so much negative brand power, among hardcore gamers, that Nintendo chose again to cater to the casuals rather than the hardcore. Wii is a name that has been synonymous with an underpowered system and casual games, and should have been left behind. If only there was a name that had more power and recognition than Wii. Oh wait, there is! It’s Nintendo. What seems really funny to me is how hardcore the 3DS and even its box look compared to that of Wii. Nintendo’s name isn’t even next to Wii, but it is in full caps next to 3DS. There’s no lower case font, no friendly letters. Why does Nintendo lose its name on its home consoles, and yet continue to keep it on its portables? Whoever markets 3DS should be the person to market Wii U, and suggest a name change. Which of the following sound like a better name than Wii U? “Genesis,” “Dreamcast,” “NINTENDO 64.” Answer? All of them. Until Nintendo leaves the Wii name behind, I don’t know if they can ever capture the hardcore audience. Yes, names matter.
But that would be the easiest thing to change. Next, they should change the shape of the console. It looks almost identical to Wii, except it is slightly larger and has rounded edges similar to the Xbox 360. Again, why the hell would Nintendo make this console nearly identical to Wii? It’s been my understanding in the video game world that if something has a negative reputation, it gets changed. But that must be for everyone else, because Nintendo seems to like to keep things the same. The console even has a sensor bar jack so you can use your Wii remotes and nunchuks. I guess it should since it is a Wii after all. Before we move on, I want to say that I like the tablet controller, and I’m sure it is going to be used for some interesting games. However, I think the triggers should be analog, and not regular buttons, and that the second slide pad should be switched with the buttons. From experience, using 3DS’ control pad is actually kind of painful, so I don’t want the same thing to happen to the tablet controller. That said, I think that Nintendo needs to release a more traditional controller to be used with Wii U. Why not remake and improve the GameCube controller? I hate the Classic Controller Pro, and the return of the GameCube controller would make Smash fans very happy. If I didn’t own a Wii and want to play multiplayer games on my Wii U, do I have to go out and buy a Wii remote and a CCP? I hope not.
By the way, there were rumors that the console may have had similarities in appearance to the Super Nintendo. Obviously they were false, and it’s a shame they were. Many people associate that console with being the greatest ever, but I guess even with that Nintendo still wanted its console to look more like Wii than SNES. I think that Wii is the best console that Nintendo has ever made, but if you didn’t count Virtual Console games, then I might change my mind. As I said, I love my Wii, and the games I have for it. Super Mario Galaxy is not only the best Mario game ever, but is also one of the best games this gen. With Wii, we got a bunch of great first party games, as always. But you know what we didn’t get? Great third party games. Yes, it appears as though Wii U will be getting those games Wii didn’t, but a year or more after they come out on PS3 in some cases, like Batman Arkham City. Sadly, at their conference they only showed poor Wii Sports-esque games with bad graphics. What a way to excite the hardcore audience. But I think that getting third party games on Wii U may be only temporary. I could sit here and complain about Wii U’s power, but I won’t. You see, I believe that Wii shouldn’t be placed in the same gen as PS3 and Xbox 360, but rather with PS2, Xbox and GameCube. It has far more similarities with those consoles than it does with the current consoles. That is why I believe that Wii U is Nintendo’s real seventh-gen console. Wii U is a little more powerful than PS3, and not powerful enough to be considered an eighth-gen console in my book. I don’t understand those people that say that Nintendo is being first to the market in the eighth gen. The reality is it was last to the market with Wii in the sixth gen, and will be last to the market again with Wii U in the current seventh gen. Therefore, Wii U has plenty of power, and will be the most powerful console of the seventh gen. But what does all this mean? It means that the PS4 and next Xbox are going to make Wii U look like Wii does right now because they will be way more powerful than Wii U. We will have great Nintendo games on Wii U, and great third-party games for about two years, then we’ll get nothing, because Wii U probably won’t be able to handle games from the real eighth-gen consoles.
Unfortunately since Nintendo only makes games, they have to sell their consoles at a profit, so they can’t take a hit the way Sony and Microsoft can. But the problem is that even though Wii U will be the most powerful console this gen, no one is going to use the extra power in a third party game. It will use the same engine as 360 and PS3 games and look just as good, and that’s it. The other consoles have the known hardcore audience and Wii U won’t– at least not right off the bat. Plus, what reason will I have to wait a year for Arkham City on Wii U? The controller alone is not enough. What Wii U third-party games need is exclusive content. Hopefully Wii U will get Soul Calibur V, and if it does, want to know a little secret that would make Wii U’s version the best selling one? Put Link in it again, and add Marth or Ike. I know it is really hard to come up with ideas like that, so it probably won’t happen, but if Nintendo wants to bring the hardcore back, that’s how to do it. It needs to let other companies use its characters. Despite the PS2 outselling the GameCube more than 3-1, Soul Calibur II sold the best on the Cube thanks to Link, and Nintendo shouldn’t forget that. But if Dead or Alive: Dimensions is any indication, they already have. The new DOA is selling quite poorly here in America, and it is Nintendo’s fault. They let Team Ninja make a Metroid stage, but not include Samus as a playable character? What were they thinking?! Samus alone probably would have allowed the game to break the 1 million mark. Now it will struggle to sell at all. It’s stuff like this that makes me think that Nintendo can never recapture the hardcore market.
How much will Wii U cost? No more than $299. To compete with the other consoles in this gen, Nintendo needs a competitive price. PS3 now sells for $299, and by the time Wii U launches, it may be $249. Wii U is more powerful, so it should be more expensive, but I think anything over $299 would be a major mistake. Yeah, the controller is expensive, but the console’s tech is old and there’s no getting around it. A console in the realm of the PS3 should be priced appropriately. Not only that, but with Nintendo allowing the Wii to wither and die, it needs Wii U to be released as fast as possible. I’m predicting a spring 2012 release. The longer it takes for this console to hit the market, the harder it will be for it to be successful.
Have you heard that Nintendo has learned from its mistakes online? Well, apparently that was a lie. While the opening of the eShop was fantastic, and the service itself is great (besides charging tax), it looked like Nintendo was on the right track. I figured we’d get three or more games every week, just like Wii’s Virtual Console did in the beginning, and that after a few years the releases would trickle down to one a week. Boy, was I wrong. The first eShop week gave us one Game Boy game. One. I guess if they only give us one a week we’re guaranteed to have a Virtual Console game every week, since most Wii weeks go by without a new Virtual Console release. True, Wii got Mega Man 5, but let’s face it. The first real eShop week was very disappointing. At E3 we also learned that Nintendo was working with third parties to give them the type of online network that they want, then Iwata goes around and reverses the comment saying that Nintendo will do things its own way, and that they want third parties to work with what Nintendo does.
This whole thing has been very confusing to me. I’ll get a Wii U (and I’m glad it doesn’t have a DVD or Blu-Ray player to keep price down, since I have a PS3), but I have no idea how things will actually turn out for the console. Nintendo has to know that PS4 is on the horizon, but maybe that means we’ll just have a Wii U successor sooner rather than later. Maybe Wii U will only have a four-year life span. Who knows? From the looks of things, Nintendo has learned from some mistakes, but not from others. There still is time to fix things, but time will tell if Nintendo actually does. All I can say is that for Wii U to even have a chance of selling well, it needs to launch as soon as possible, with as much time separating its launch from that of PS4, along with some must-have exclusives that aren’t ports of games that are over a year old.