The Wii was a FailureWell, not to everyone it was. Nintendo certainly enjoyed what it accomplished with the Wii, with 87 million units sold to date, and tens of millions of software sold. No, the Wii was certainly a success for the ones who created it, However, anyone and everyone else suffered under the rule of Nintendo. (Disclaimer: stereotyping [and opinions] ahoy, as that's really the only method I have of trying to look at the bigger picture)
First off, us. I think many here would agree that the Wii is less than appealing to those who play games on a regular basis. Many rejected the thought of waving one's arms around as a method of controlling a game, and those who didn't found the catalogue criminally underwhelming. Largely only those of us that felt they had to keep up with Mario and Link's adventures bought in, and that would include myself. Those who did this were probably filled with regret once they realized that they'd only be treated to an infrequent trickle of these games amongst a sea of mediocrity. They begrudgingly enjoyed their complimentary Wii Sports, but they continued to pine for something that really appealed. Hope was stoked by occasional titles like Mad World and Red Steel 2, but quickly extinguished by the realization that these games or the way you interact with them still remain just not very fun.
Secondly, there was them. Those who saw Wii Sports on Good Morning America or Oprah and thought to themselves, "Hey, that looks real fun!". They happen to see one in Wal-mart one day and pick it up for their kids, on request or otherwise. These folks enjoy their Wii for a week, the kids perhaps a few months, and move on, barely aware that there are more then 5 games for the thing. They've either gained what they thought they would gain from it and are satisfied, or feel burned by falling for a gimmick.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the developers. The ones who make the games. After struggling against the restrictions imposed by the technology in vain, they acquiesce and get the handle on the best way to utilize the capabilities of the Wii. So they make their games. However, there's a big black hole that their time and effort falls in to. No one buys the games. Why? 'We' were gone, only 'They' remained. So they understandably adjust their strategy and target the demographic that was present. But a problem was presented in that 'those' people would never hear of their game, and even if they did are not likely to buy it over something that is much worse. All this amounted to making a quality Wii game a much higher risk then a quality 360 or PS3 game. Those that were aimed at winning 'us' back were met with ambivalence, with Red Steel 2 only selling half a million copies.The only developers that found success on the Wii were the ones willing to work in penny trading: Majesco, Hudson, Ubisoft. Putting out small, inexpensive games to fill store shelves as fast and consistently as they can. Because of these issues, the Wii was quickly abandoned by the third party, a simply amazing phenomenon considering that the Wii still leaves it's competition in the dust in terms of hardware sales.
The U may Continue this TraditionWith the Wii U, Nintendo is aiming for the midpoint in order to capture both audiences equally. Sounds like a great strategy, but I've noticed things that may condemn it to the same fate as it's predecessor. Or worse.
Right off the bat, the Wii U does not have the same wow-factor that the Wii had. It's pretty safe to say that families are probably not going to rush out and buy them, unless prompted by their children. Nintendo has instantly lost a huge percentage of that crowd by making the console so iterative yet incompatible. That demographic is largely ruled out, so instead they are forced to turn back to us.
The first thing I thought when I saw that new controller was "How are they going to make that fun?". If the original Wii wasn't covered in so much snake oil and confusion I would have asked the same thing. What could one possibly do with a controller with a tablet interface, a front facing camera, IR sensors, and accelerometers? The answer is, of course, a million and one incredibly shallow things. The examples that Nintendo showed in their press conference were a small sampling of those things. Throwing shurikens, playing board games, assassinating mii's, etc. These are not games, these are applications. 'We' do not want applications, 'We' want games. And without that, what is left of the Wii U? Nothing that I don't already have. Well, except special inventory management in Darksiders 2, but I'll live.
When they first showed the original Wii, I was optimistic. "Oh, what excellent technology! Some very creative people will make something very smart that I'll love!". That never happened, and never will. They have trolled the creative depths for years now and come up with nothing better than Wii Sports Resort, all of it ending up on a spectrum between "gimmicky" and "a ps2 game on a bad controller". With the Wii U, this metric has simply changed to "gimmicky" and "a 360 game". It's telling to me that Nintendo usually only has a smattering of it's own technology present in it's own games. It shows that they know traditional games allow for so much more than their tech can provide by itself. So why would 'We' want a U?
But that is simply my own logic as to why the Wii U is probably going to be useless to you. It's still admittedly a great big question mark as to what the general adoption rate will be, but I think things like "The Wii U is an 'inbetween' system," and "We still fucking hate motion controls" will dissuade many of 'Us'. And as I've shown, the Wii cannot do without us, especially not this time round. If we don't pick up and support the Wii U, third party support will drop like a rock for wont of sales and the only ones that will profit in the end will be, once again, Nintendo, garnering sales from two demographics that are at odds with each other.
This is all undoubtedly pre-mature, but I felt like writing it anyway. Not even sure if it even makes sense any more, it's getting late here. The paragraphs are beginning to swim in my vision. Anyway, any reasons that you're excited to pay money for the Wii U? Please share them.