Is The Wii U A Niche Console?

Posted by Colorwind (241 posts) -

Yesterday, I posted a blog where I discussed the Wii U and whether it was a failure. I landed on the thought that Nintendo itself would be fine but the Wii U itself would be a failure. However, I pointed out that I wanted a Wii U. Most of the comments disagreed with me but one brought up the game X that’s being developed by the same studio that made Xenoblade Chronicles. That made me think about the reasons why I want the Wii U and the consoles strengths. So in this post, I’m going to talk about what kind of console the Wii U could be. There are three points I would like to make, same as last time.

  • Nintendo Games

This first point could actually be a negative thing but I have hope because of one game and it’s not even on the Wii U: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. On the last blog, I mentioned how Nintendo games are essentially the same thing over and over now. We’ve heard from a lot of people of how they’re disappointed with the recent Zelda games, how Nintendo is just making the same Mario game over and over, and how franchises like Metroid, Star Fox, and F-Zero are being ignored. Nintendo games aren’t necessarily bad but they’re creatively bankrupt. However, A Link Between Worlds is seriously a wonderful game and while its not an epic game, gameplay is front and center and it’s the most fun I’ve had with a Zelda game since Ocarina of Time.

This makes me hopeful that Nintendo is ready to do something different with their franchises. Maybe the Legend of Zelda game that comes to the Wii U will reflect the lessons learned from ALBW. Maybe the fact that the next Smash Bros is being made by Namco Bandai will make it change for the better. I would love to see a brand new Paper Mario for the Wii U, managing my badges on the touch screen. Ever since New Super Mario Bros Wii, I haven’t been excited for most releases from Nintendo. The only one that comes to mind is Pikmin 3 (which I still want to play). However, ALBW gives me hope that Nintendo is finally ready to change aspects of their franchises and get out of its comfortable rut its been in. And of course, those games will only be on the Wii U.

  • 1080p, 60 FPS

One of the big issues right now with games is whether or not the game is in 1920 by 1080 progressive resolution and whether it runs at 60 frames per second. Several games were not able to do this on the Xbox One where the PS4 was and some were not able to do this on either. Meanwhile, the Wii U does this consistently. I know the graphical quality is nowhere near the quality of the Xbox One and PS4 but what this does show is that games that do run on the Wii U run like a charm and its nice to know that you will at least have a reliable experience when playing a game. You rarely hear about bugs or required patches from Wii U games either.

  • Japanese Titles

This is the biggest strength Nintendo could have. It’s the most potential I see in the console. Coming to the console are games like the aforementioned X, and Bayonetta 2. Nintendo also has a good relationship with Sega, which just acquired Atlus. Even on the 3DS, we have games like Braverly Default coming and the Shin Megami Tensei series has found a nice home on the 3DS. If Nintendo plays their cards right, they could be the console you can get your small, relatively unknown Japanese games on. A drastic change from the N64 days but we could see some weird Japanese games and a bunch of JRPGs.

Last night, I couldn’t get the idea of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, a sequel to that game or a similar game being on the Wii U. Managing your familiars on the touch screen like Pokemon, that beautiful game running at 1080p at 60 FPS, easier switching of your familiars in battle using the touch screen; there are so many improvements. I’ve heard good things about Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the Wii U as well. All these games are not something mainstream audiences or a lot of hardcore players will be attracted to. However, if they were to focus on this and bring in that niche audience, I think it could make the Wii U profitable, if not competitive with the PS4 and Xbone.

For a long time, people say that you buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games, not third party games. However, the Wii U has proven that is not enough. The Wii U is not going to compete with the PS4 and Xbone. The most it can hope for is third place that doesn’t include discontinuation. However, if Nintendo mixes it up with their franchises, showcase how well their games run and dip into the niche Japanese games audience, they can save the Wii U, make it profitable and live comfortably in third place. At that point, it would be like another GameCube, although with a different stable of games. Hell, even like the GameCube, it can still have multiplatform games like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty, so even those who only have a Wii U can still play the biggest mainstream games. I think Nintendo needs to do something like this sooner rather than later or else risk the Wii U truly failing but there is a chance for the Wii U if it accepts that it’s not going to be a major player in the console wars and satisfy its small but loyal audience with niche, Wii U only titles.

#1 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (267 posts) -

I bought a wii u a few weeks ago, and I've been having a lot of fun with it. But I really just wanted a box to play nintendo games on since I prefer to play most stuff on my PC. Right now the PS4 and Xbox One haven't grabbed me because none of their exclusives look all that promising. I'm probably an edge case, though. Nintendo needs to stop relying on people like me to sell their systems and focus on a wider appeal (but not so wide as the Wii)

#2 Posted by Druminator (1678 posts) -

I've actually been really turned off by a lot of games lately, mostly the big name blockbuster style games that seem to be popping up left and right. Nothing on the new consoles even sparks an interest in me, it seems like the same old things with better graphics honestly, shooters and sports titles out the ass. Over the last couple of years I've found myself becoming more drawn to indie games and arcade titles that draw me back to the earlier days of gaming when I was a kid. Recently I've been considering getting a Wii now that there is a huge catalog of games I can play that I never got around to. As for the Wii U, it doesn't really have anything of interest for me yet. The 3DS seems to have a much better selection than the Wii U. I would love to see a new Metroid and more than anything a Pokemon MMO, but not MMO style because I hate that, just leave the formula we're familiar with but allow many people to be in the world and fight Pokemon.

#3 Posted by AlexW00d (6274 posts) -

It's not niche it just sold like shit.

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#4 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (267 posts) -

@druminator: are you me

Seriously though, you may as well get a wii u if you're thinking about a wii - I know it's a few hundred more but then you're future proof as far as further nintendo consoles goes.

#5 Posted by axialcartographer (5 posts) -

It's having really rough start, but it will improve. The people calling for Nintendo to exit the console business are silly, as it would take several catastrophic failures (and the Wii U is not one of them) to cause that.

#6 Posted by DarthOrange (3861 posts) -

All these games are not something mainstream audiences or a lot of hardcore players will be attracted to.

Who are hardcore players? What are they like?

#7 Posted by Hosstile17 (763 posts) -

I would say that the Wii U is a mainstream product with niche appeal. As a Wii U owner, i can agree that Nintendo is supplying quality games for the system. But, their multiplatform releases are sparse and usually lesser quality than its current gen competition.

Your point of 60fps 1080p gameplay is hyperbolic to say the least. It has 1080p 60fps games on it. But, most ports and graphically intensive games on the system are upscaled and don't sport quality framerates.

It does have Japanese support. But, it still lacks content. You would hope that they would have announced a Persona 5 port or Ni No Kuni port. It just lacks the breadth of content to make it have wide appeal. It isn't a bad console. But, it is struggling.

#8 Posted by Chaser324 (6516 posts) -

In comparison to the extremely broad audience that that the Wii appealed to, it's definitely niche. Brand confusion and marketing issues aside, the greater complexity in the primary input mechanism is just not going to bring in the "non-gamers" that were brought in by stuff like Wii Sports and Wii Fit.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, the seemingly evergreen fanbase of Nintendo diehards are also maybe not supporting the Wii U to the same degree that they did to carry the GameCube and N64.

I know that personally, I've owned every Nintendo console and handheld, most of them purchased at launch, and I don't currently have a Wii U or any plans to get one in the near future.

Moderator
#9 Edited by Zekhariah (697 posts) -

The niche Japanese game are, in terms of home console, were locked into PS2 for a long time and will probably transition to PS4 after the PS3 run is over.

In terms of owning a Wii U, my issue is that, while it has some good games, the hardware is very poor. Load times and operating system behavior are difficult to work around. User interface is very unpleasant (Gamepad face buttons are not horizontally off-set from sticks enough, face buttons to small, poor triggers, loose analog sticks), and the resistive touch screen is a tech item I was past using years ago. 1080p does not really occur on the console (e.g. new super mario bros U is 720p even), but that is really less of a concern than how backward it feels. With the more modern elements seemingly poorly tacked on through long loading times.

To me, since I do not have enough time to play close to all the worthwhile stuff on the platforms I own, it becomes difficult to play games on poor hardware (if I cared about off-screen lay more that may change). That makes purchasing hardware for exclusives a bit beside the point. But sales wise, I kind of think Nintendo deserves to stop playing in the home console market. Purchasing yet another console that is very similar, except sharply inferior, to other options at a slightly lower price tag is not a value to me. Especially when adding a decent amount of external storage to a wii U ends up being a ~$100 extra cost anyway. So from a downloadable user prospective it is price equivalent to a PS4 (except for free online..... but very few games support online on wii U).

So far Super Mario World (the SNES one) is my favorite thing I've played on it. I've not used mine in 8 months, will probably take it out for the new 3D mario soonish, and put in away for another year or so until X or w/e comes out.

#10 Posted by Colorwind (241 posts) -

@darthorange: You just really don't like the phrase "hardcore gamers" do you?

#11 Edited by believer258 (11895 posts) -

@colorwind said:

@darthorange: You just really don't like the phrase "hardcore gamers" do you?

It's kind of a non-phrase. OK, it has its uses when separating people who really know their gaming stuff from people who just play Call of Duty and sports games on rainy days, but it doesn't mean a whole lot beyond that.

EDIT: It's also a pretty silly-sounding phrase and often comes with connotations of lacking social skills, achievement, and other interests, when it's entirely possible to be really into video games and also really into hanging out with friends, playing music, history, books, etc.

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#12 Posted by Scullinator (513 posts) -

First we had "Should I get a Wii U?", then we had "Has the Wii U failed?" (both in the WiiU forums) and now "Is the Wii U a niche console?" , you should just go and get a Wii U already.

#13 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@colorwind said:

@darthorange: You just really don't like the phrase "hardcore gamers" do you?

It's kind of a non-phrase. OK, it has its uses when separating people who really know their gaming stuff from people who just play Call of Duty and sports games on rainy days, but it doesn't mean a whole lot beyond that.

EDIT: It's also a pretty silly-sounding phrase and often comes with connotations of lacking social skills, achievement, and other interests, when it's entirely possible to be really into video games and also really into hanging out with friends, playing music, history, books, etc.

Hardcore or core gamer is a pretty normal term in this industry. It is used to determine a group of the market. And publishers as well as developers using this term a lot.

#14 Posted by ryanwhom (290 posts) -

They're making a profit and are in no danger. Hardcore gamers aren't necessary for a console to succeed anymore and the butt pain from that fact will never heal.

#15 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

@ryanwhom said:

They're making a profit and are in no danger. Hardcore gamers aren't necessary for a console to succeed anymore and the butt pain from that fact will never heal.

They haven't made a profit in their reports since last year or so.

#16 Edited by believer258 (11895 posts) -

@darji said:

@believer258 said:

@colorwind said:

@darthorange: You just really don't like the phrase "hardcore gamers" do you?

It's kind of a non-phrase. OK, it has its uses when separating people who really know their gaming stuff from people who just play Call of Duty and sports games on rainy days, but it doesn't mean a whole lot beyond that.

EDIT: It's also a pretty silly-sounding phrase and often comes with connotations of lacking social skills, achievement, and other interests, when it's entirely possible to be really into video games and also really into hanging out with friends, playing music, history, books, etc.

Hardcore or core gamer is a pretty normal term in this industry. It is used to determine a group of the market. And publishers as well as developers using this term a lot.

The term is far too broad to be really useful in defining "a group of the market". I've been playing JRPG's and racing games recently. That's completely different from someone who plays shooters and RTS's all the time. Neither of us are looking at the same games on the shelf at the store, or obsessively watching the same trailers over and over again. Yet both of us would fit under the term "hardcore gamer" as companies use it. Companies would then take that term and try to advertise the same game to us even though only one of us might like it, or maybe it doesn't even appeal to either of us.

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