The WiiU? Nintendo seems determined to make more dust-collectors

Posted by SonicFire (821 posts) -

Like most dedicated gamers out there, I was waiting in anticipation for Nintendo's E3 press conference. Unfortunately, it was hard to come away from the press briefing feeling anything but confused. The new system, as we learned, is a bit baffling to explain. From what I, Giantbomb, and journalists everywhere can tell, Nintendo seems to be certain only of its controller design. Everything else - from how many controllers it will support, to graphical capability and supported titles - elicits a big "I dunno yet" from everyone at Nintendo. But as details come falling out, piece by piece, it appears that the WiiU will follow firmly in the steps of the original Wii. I do not mean to sound hyperbolic, but it looks to me as though Nintendo is transfixed on selling gimmicks, rather than a dedicated, competitive software platform. 
Will I need a Swiffer for you.. I mean, um, WiiU?


Let me back up a few steps, you know, before anyone takes my head off. I should probably explain that I've been a long-time fan of Nintendo. The SNES remains my all-time favorite system, I still love the N64, and I preferred the Gamecube over the PS2; hell, I even owned a Virtual Boy. Still, Nintendo did manage to lose me with the Wii. I bought the system when it was still flying off shelves, played the marquis titles (Smash Bros., Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, etc.) but then got rid of it when it began collecting dust, with no interesting titles in sight.
 
It's that last point I want to belabor: collecting dust. Nintendo has proven that it can produce decent first-party titles, even if they are retreads of the same 4 or 5 IPs. But the dearth of decent 3rd-party titles made the Wii a relic before its time. The majority of my friends own Wii consoles, and I can safely say that not one of those dozen or so systems have seen use in the last year. The GB editors have also remarked that there haven't been many compelling reasons to get that "blue slot" glowing. There are many reasons for this, but the most fundamental is that the Wii's design eschewed graphical and technical capability for its motion control ambitions. In other words, they emphasized the wiimote over modern graphical capability and control functionality. Now I cannot deny that motion controls have permeated gaming, and for better or worse, are here to stay for all three console giants. However, the fact remains that there is only so much that can be done with waggle controls. Third-party failures and developmental bombs (see for example: The Conduit  ) have shown that it's difficult to make any of these schemes compelling. One might argue that only the Wii Sports titles have made it more than a tack-on feature. Ultimately, it's the focus on "gimmick" that has made the console a wasteland for shovelware, and therefore a dust collector.   
 
In the wake of E3, we learned that WiiU is focusing its efforts on a "new technology" to revolutionize gaming. By beaming game-related information to a touch-screen controller, Nintendo hopes to open up new methods for playing console games. But the question remains, is this going to be compelling over the long-term, or is just another short-lived gimmick? Jeff, Alex, and the GB crew took their experiences with the controller as a positive, saying "hey, these WiiU tech demos seemed cool." But let's look back to last year, when they were saying much the same about the 3DS, with its AR games and nifty tech demos. In the end, these technologies were impressive... for about five minutes. Therein lies my concern - are the "shield pose" and "catch me" demos truly revolutionary experiences, or are they the new equivalent of "face-raiders" and Steel Diver's "parascope view?" In truth, we can't know until after the system has launched and established itself, but there is nothing to suggest a broader experience that will rock our collective worlds. If I was being very cynical (which I am wont to do), I would say that the WiiU looks like a home-console version of the DS: one in which your TV serves as the top screen, with the remote functioning as  the DS' touch screen. Given the new controller screen's lack of multi-touch or capacitive interfacing, the comparison is not entirely unfair. 
 
Still, what has me more alarmed are Miyamoto's recent statements that the WiiU will not strongly outperform the Xbox 360 or the PS3. In the immediate term, this will not be a problem. But as Microsoft and Sony ready their new technologies - for 2013 and beyond - a holiday 2012 release for the WiiU could mean that the console may not have long before it becomes "old tech" again, placing it the same category as the Wii is now. In truth, most of us assumed the WiiU wouldn't be the next evolution of graphical fidelity, but we also assumed that it would have a slight advantage, like the Dreamcast did back in 1999. I realize that Nintendo will still be able to offer HD first-party titles, and these may be fantastic, (even if they're more Mario and Zelda titles). However, are ports (especially late-arriving ports) of 3rd-party titles going to serve as incentives for hardcore gamers to buy for the WiiU? In all seriousness, are gamers - particularly those invested in trophies/achievements and XBL/PSN services - going to choose the Nintendo port, all things being equal? 
 
To be fair, this is all speculation on my end. Hell, all of this is speculation, as even Nintendo doesn't know what the WiiU is going to be able to do. But I think its worthwhile to ask whether a console built around another control gimmick (for lack of a better word) and a slight increase in graphical fidelity (over its predecessor) going to be the next big thing? Now I will not be surprised if this thing sells incredibly well, just as the Wii did. Nintendo products have an uncanny ability to sell to broad audiences and demo well on Morning talk shows. I have no way of knowing whether this will be a commercial windfall or financial wipeout. Frankly, I'd be delighted if it was the best thing to ever happen to gaming. But as the E3 buzz settles, I have to wonder, is Nintendo making another dust collector? If so, it's a great thing that Nintendo likes the color white.
#1 Posted by SonicFire (821 posts) -

Like most dedicated gamers out there, I was waiting in anticipation for Nintendo's E3 press conference. Unfortunately, it was hard to come away from the press briefing feeling anything but confused. The new system, as we learned, is a bit baffling to explain. From what I, Giantbomb, and journalists everywhere can tell, Nintendo seems to be certain only of its controller design. Everything else - from how many controllers it will support, to graphical capability and supported titles - elicits a big "I dunno yet" from everyone at Nintendo. But as details come falling out, piece by piece, it appears that the WiiU will follow firmly in the steps of the original Wii. I do not mean to sound hyperbolic, but it looks to me as though Nintendo is transfixed on selling gimmicks, rather than a dedicated, competitive software platform. 
Will I need a Swiffer for you.. I mean, um, WiiU?


Let me back up a few steps, you know, before anyone takes my head off. I should probably explain that I've been a long-time fan of Nintendo. The SNES remains my all-time favorite system, I still love the N64, and I preferred the Gamecube over the PS2; hell, I even owned a Virtual Boy. Still, Nintendo did manage to lose me with the Wii. I bought the system when it was still flying off shelves, played the marquis titles (Smash Bros., Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, etc.) but then got rid of it when it began collecting dust, with no interesting titles in sight.
 
It's that last point I want to belabor: collecting dust. Nintendo has proven that it can produce decent first-party titles, even if they are retreads of the same 4 or 5 IPs. But the dearth of decent 3rd-party titles made the Wii a relic before its time. The majority of my friends own Wii consoles, and I can safely say that not one of those dozen or so systems have seen use in the last year. The GB editors have also remarked that there haven't been many compelling reasons to get that "blue slot" glowing. There are many reasons for this, but the most fundamental is that the Wii's design eschewed graphical and technical capability for its motion control ambitions. In other words, they emphasized the wiimote over modern graphical capability and control functionality. Now I cannot deny that motion controls have permeated gaming, and for better or worse, are here to stay for all three console giants. However, the fact remains that there is only so much that can be done with waggle controls. Third-party failures and developmental bombs (see for example: The Conduit  ) have shown that it's difficult to make any of these schemes compelling. One might argue that only the Wii Sports titles have made it more than a tack-on feature. Ultimately, it's the focus on "gimmick" that has made the console a wasteland for shovelware, and therefore a dust collector.   
 
In the wake of E3, we learned that WiiU is focusing its efforts on a "new technology" to revolutionize gaming. By beaming game-related information to a touch-screen controller, Nintendo hopes to open up new methods for playing console games. But the question remains, is this going to be compelling over the long-term, or is just another short-lived gimmick? Jeff, Alex, and the GB crew took their experiences with the controller as a positive, saying "hey, these WiiU tech demos seemed cool." But let's look back to last year, when they were saying much the same about the 3DS, with its AR games and nifty tech demos. In the end, these technologies were impressive... for about five minutes. Therein lies my concern - are the "shield pose" and "catch me" demos truly revolutionary experiences, or are they the new equivalent of "face-raiders" and Steel Diver's "parascope view?" In truth, we can't know until after the system has launched and established itself, but there is nothing to suggest a broader experience that will rock our collective worlds. If I was being very cynical (which I am wont to do), I would say that the WiiU looks like a home-console version of the DS: one in which your TV serves as the top screen, with the remote functioning as  the DS' touch screen. Given the new controller screen's lack of multi-touch or capacitive interfacing, the comparison is not entirely unfair. 
 
Still, what has me more alarmed are Miyamoto's recent statements that the WiiU will not strongly outperform the Xbox 360 or the PS3. In the immediate term, this will not be a problem. But as Microsoft and Sony ready their new technologies - for 2013 and beyond - a holiday 2012 release for the WiiU could mean that the console may not have long before it becomes "old tech" again, placing it the same category as the Wii is now. In truth, most of us assumed the WiiU wouldn't be the next evolution of graphical fidelity, but we also assumed that it would have a slight advantage, like the Dreamcast did back in 1999. I realize that Nintendo will still be able to offer HD first-party titles, and these may be fantastic, (even if they're more Mario and Zelda titles). However, are ports (especially late-arriving ports) of 3rd-party titles going to serve as incentives for hardcore gamers to buy for the WiiU? In all seriousness, are gamers - particularly those invested in trophies/achievements and XBL/PSN services - going to choose the Nintendo port, all things being equal? 
 
To be fair, this is all speculation on my end. Hell, all of this is speculation, as even Nintendo doesn't know what the WiiU is going to be able to do. But I think its worthwhile to ask whether a console built around another control gimmick (for lack of a better word) and a slight increase in graphical fidelity (over its predecessor) going to be the next big thing? Now I will not be surprised if this thing sells incredibly well, just as the Wii did. Nintendo products have an uncanny ability to sell to broad audiences and demo well on Morning talk shows. I have no way of knowing whether this will be a commercial windfall or financial wipeout. Frankly, I'd be delighted if it was the best thing to ever happen to gaming. But as the E3 buzz settles, I have to wonder, is Nintendo making another dust collector? If so, it's a great thing that Nintendo likes the color white.
#2 Edited by sreya92 (193 posts) -

Posting so that you don't have a 1 post topic 
 
Edit: I actually read it now and I totally agree. Honestly their console doesn't really seem to offer anything revolutionary to gaming. The whole ipad thing does not enhance gaming to me at all. That said, it's only logical that I'd pick the higher performance, traditionally console platform that presumably the Xbox 720 or PS4 will be...or eventually get a gaming pc

#3 Posted by SonicFire (821 posts) -

@sreya92
 
Thanks, and I'm with you. 
 
I meant to edit this, but the announcement that the Smash Bros. Game didn't actually exist kinda fans the flames that Nintendo doesn't know what it's doing yet.

#4 Posted by Revenant86 (156 posts) -
@SonicFire
 
i think that your absolutley right, but nintendo is a smart company. they'll figure it out. have faith
#5 Posted by SonicFire (821 posts) -
@Revenant86 said:
@SonicFire:   i think that your absolutley right, but nintendo is a smart company. they'll figure it out. have faith

 
You know, I don't doubt that they will figure out how to sell a ton of consoles. What I wonder is whether they're going to sell one that I'll want to play for more than a week. I really, really hope so.  
 
They're definitely going to have to figure out how to build an online community for that to be possible though.
#6 Edited by Kjellm87 (1728 posts) -

The Wii, what can I say, I think Nintendo had the right idea. Nintendo can't afford 6 years selling consoles at loss, you know. It was to the point to if they should continue pleasing the core-audience they had to get money from another target-group as well since making games now is expensive as hell.

It sold, and it was the big thing, Nintendo made family games so they could get money to make Zelda, Mario and all that without too much pressure, what is not to love.

Now the problem was: Even though it does have a decent selection of exclusive games for those who dig deep, Nintendo played it a little too safe with the hardware in case the Wii wouldn't become a hit, so they could recover. Porting games was hard for 3rd party people, and shovel ware followed it like Ps2 before it.

And now the Wii-U, it may not become as popular, but Nintendo want to expand the Wii idea, and it seems promising so far, Sega, Valve, the La-Noire dudes and some other guys has taken interest, Friend-codes apparently gone, Miyamoto just said that Zelda-HD is indeed in works. And even if it is slightly above PS3 (though Miyamoto did contradict Iwata and a bunch of 3rd party people with that statement) it should be enough for most people in this day and age as two generation in row has proven. I don't doubt Ps4 and Next-box could be more powerful, but I also doubt Sony and Ms want to go back to selling at loss for awhile, considering the hack, Kinect and all that.

#7 Posted by Pezen (1606 posts) -

Regarding dust-collecting, I think the problem as a whole is more regarding their plans of attack. Are the wii-generation going to adapt to playing on "regular" control inputs with the new controller and will (as brought up on the bombcast) the lack of more than one of these controllers per system be a deterrent for most core gamers. Is their newfound market going to follow them or stick with the wii and will they attract core gamers with the notion that they're still the port-to console and that most current gen core games will be a year off on that console? Personally, I think the whole thing seems less planned out than the Wii did, which I was actually sort of curious about after the announcement. But this I was instantly skeptical about.

#8 Posted by SonicFire (821 posts) -
@Kjellm87
 
Thanks for your comments. I think you make some valid points, and I do think that from a financial perspective, Nintendo really won with the Wii. This I will not dispute; yet I have not head of a serious gamer (not saying there isn't one, but just that I don't know one) who considers the Wii their gaming hub. I feel like the Wii-U is headed that way.  Granted, much is in flux right now, but there are three ways to build a core audience on the console -  build a system that can outperform the competition, build an online infrastructure that feels like "home base," or create and support a new experience that also has a library of games to support it. 
 
I'm not feeling any of the above as of yet, but I do hope to be wrong.
#9 Posted by loopy_101 (287 posts) -
The Wii U's  third party line-up consists almost entirely of ports. My Xbox 360 and PS3 could happily play Ninja Gaiden 3, Darksiders 2, Batman Akrham City, etc, etc. It is for that very reason alone that I lack alot of interest in picking a Wii U up.
#10 Posted by RJay_64 (631 posts) -

Now that I think of it, isn't the Wii U controller the same concept as what was used in The Legend of Zelda The Four Swords? lol

#11 Edited by mariokart64fan (366 posts) -

the wii u wil suceed people are just crazy to think it wont, price it right and it will fly like hot cakes on a hot summer day its got every thing but the kitchen sink,

so saying itll flop you might as well quit gaming because it has done everything except virtual reality!

i dont see how sony and ms will combat the wii u controller, i mean look at it , it has standard controls , it has touch controls and motion , and the wii u is compatible with all wii accessories and controllers saving people lots of money that normally would be incured by buying 4 new controllers per console ,

thats one advantage sony threw away with ps3 and one advantage microsoft never had ,

also sony has already gone on record to say they wont waste money on a powerful console again like this gen so nintendo has nothing to worry about ,

if microsoft is stupid enough to pull a power card like sony did this gen and nintendo did the previous 2 gens ,

they will end up 3rd , its a fact! power has never made that particular console sell , genesis any one, gamecube/xbox , both of those struggled last gen ,

ps3 this gen , its all in the history , power has never been the selling factor

and this is why i think you all are calling shots based off biased fanboyism before looking up facts,

and we know nothing but sonys comments about power of ps4 , and how they do not want to release it any time soon same for ms , they are riding kenict out ,

that was their choice now they will live with it you cant rewrite the past , unless you got some time machine , i say they are both dead in the water by the time they release their consoles one will be third one will be 2nd but again none will be in segas position

its absurb to think that

sega went third party because of failure after failure after failure after failure nintendo failing a few times wont hurt , especally coming off this gen in fact nintendo made money each gen so i dont think they will be in segas spot any time soon , as long as 3ds gets pokemon we all know that has wiius back shoulld any thing possibly happen to it and nintendo will be back again to fight some more who knows they may pull all the stops next time

but idont think wii u is going to fall , maybe not sell as good as wii , but i dont think it will sell bad either ,as for the ports all consoles have launched w more ports see xbox 360 ps3 wii lol ds 3ds

#12 Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish (1727 posts) -
@mariokart64fan

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.