Ever since the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were released, there’s been an ongoing discussion about the Wii U and whether or not it has failed. This discussion isn’t anything new, as it’s been really the talk about the consoles for a majority of 2013. I even wrote an article for the site I work for, Gaming Precision, about the third party problems the Wii U has. However, the end of the year is upon us, Nintendo has made some moves in an attempt to make the Wii U more worthwhile, and I want to convey my current thoughts on the Wii U in 2013. There are three common complaints and points about the console I want to address and will use those as stepping off points. This blog will also be about Nintendo as the two are intrinsically linked.
- Nintendo will go out of business because the Wii U isn’t selling.
Nintendo is NOT going to go out of business because the 3DS is selling very well. Also, they have excess money from the original Wii and its 100,000 sales worldwide. Now having said that, the Wii U is losing Nintendo money. Whatever money Nintendo is making from the 3DS, some of it has to go towards the Wii U, which is currently selling at a loss to the company and will not even making its projected sales for the year. So the current state of Nintendo is safe because the 3DS is selling well enough to sustain the company, not to mention the money it has from before. However, how long Nintendo will keep sinking money in what is a losing endeavor.
- It’s too early to call the Wii U a failure.
Unfortunately, it’s NOT too early to call the Wii U a failure. A majority of consoles have their future success determined within the first year of its release. The Sega Saturn was buried here in the United States after consumers decided to go with the cheaper Sony PlayStation months later. The Sega Dreamcast, despite its quality, went under within a year of the Sony PlayStation 2’s release despite a year head start because Sony was able to convince everyone the PS2 was worth the wait. The only excuse I can think if is the 16-bit era when the Genesis came to sell just as much as the SNES after being on the market for two years when the SNES was released.
The best way to compare this would be to the 3DS, which had a very rough start. However, by the 3DS’ one year anniversary, it had made a comeback and public opinion about the handheld was changing (also the general public started to realize that the 3DS wasn’t just another DS). Nintendo has failed to do this with the Wii U. Despite releasing a good Zelda remake (Wind Waker HD), and a good Mario game (3D World), the public and gaming audience is uninterested and it’s because of the similarities to the 3DS. Nintendo already tried this (Wind Waker HD = Ocarina of Time 3D, 3D Land = 3D World) and the public wants something different. Even me, a hardcore gamer, is not really interested in Super Mario 3D World despite hearing that it’s a great game because I don’t believe it anymore. I’ve played 3D Land, New Mario 2, Wii, and the original and they were all the same game. Competent but the same.
Nintendo isn’t doing anything different enough to make a case for the Wii U as a system that does something the 3DS, DS, Wii or anything before it can do. Another Mario game in the vein of the New series won’t work, nor will an HD remake of a Zelda game. We need a Mario game that is an evolution for the series in the way Super Mario 64 was to the N64 and Super Mario Galaxy was for the Wii, not in the same vein as those games but what they did for the series. We also need a Zelda that is a brand new world and has no direct connection to the other games in the series. We also need a Mario Kart game that has more than just racing on the ceiling. However, since we’re not getting that and we didn’t get that within the console’s first year, the Wii U’s fate may be sealed.
- The Wii U has good games.
Yes. Yes it does. The Wii U has good games. The TurboGrafx-16 also had good games. The Sega Saturn had good games as well. Hell, the Sega Dreamcast continues to have good games as independent developers make games like Dux and Gunlord. So what’s the problem? People always say that software (games) drives the hardware (console). If you don’t have the software, the hardware will fail. Well, the Wii U has got some great games. Batman Arkham City, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Assassin’s Creed III and IV, Rayman Legends, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2, just to name a few. There’s even smaller indie titles like Mutant Mudds, Little Inferno, Trine 2, Edge, and Bit Trip Runner 2. All of these are awesome games and one everyone should play. So WTF?
All of the games I listed are on other consoles as well. Even Rayman Legends, which was originally billed as a Wii U exclusive, wound up being released on everything you can think of. What the Wii U lacks is interesting exclusive titles. So what that means is it needs games that are A)exclusive, B)good, and C)different. The Wii U currently has 22 exclusives. Half of those are party game nonsense like SING Party or exercise games like Wii Fit U. Six or so of the games are titles like the aforementioned Super Mario 3D World, Wind Waker HD or Lego City Undercover that are fun but don’t do anything different that could be enjoyed on the Wii. Finally, there’s Sonic Lost World, ZombiU and The Wonderful 101 that are different but not that great. Perhaps good but not great. That leaves me with Pikmin 3. Now are you going to buy a Wii U for Pikmin 3? No. And neither than anyone else. If you have a Wii U and ONLY a Wii U, you’ll get a good amount of enjoyment out of it. Otherwise, there’s no real reason to pick one up.
Now, to wrap up, I want to make this clear: I want to buy a Wii U. I’m a hardcore gamer who works for a gaming journalism website so on both a personal and professional level, I want one. That being said, I don’t think the Wii U is going to last until the next generation. I think Nintendo will ultimately pull the plug on the Wii U soon and develop another console to last the rest of this generation. I give the Wii U another two years. By the middle of next year, it’ll be clear to Nintendo that the Wii U is a failure and they’ll start developing another console. The Wii U will be discontinued at the end of 2015 and we’ll see a new Nintendo console either at the end of 2015 or in 2016. My guess is they’ll try to just be a console for children and they’ll just play to their strengths, forgetting the hardcore audience in the process. Mario games will become easier, Zelda games will have 100 tutorials and franchises like Metroid and Fire Emblem will be forgotten. The console (maybe the Wii 3) will probably be similar to the Wii U but with a kiddie like design (like the Nintendo 2DS) focus again on motion control and simplicity. Nintendo will essentially become the maker of a “my first console” system.