When I first heard about Nintendo's new console I was sceptical to say the least, there is a saying in the industry that the first company to release a new console for the next generation has lost the current generation war. It seems strange after how many of those little white boxes Nintendo has sold that this would be defeat for them, after all the natural life span of past consoles have been around 5 to 6 years and then we see a new iteration. But usually there is a clear graphical leap that signals the start of the new generation, with the PC being the forefront and with no PC games at the moment out that really showcase what the future holds we've seen no clear indication when or if Sony or Microsoft are going to make their big push for new hardware. So why should Nintendo make the plunge now? Like I said earlier I was sceptical when I heard of the new console from Nintendo, I only go back to Wii for Zelda, other big franchises for Nintendo have never given me as much enjoyment as the Zelda games have but they still have appeal to many who play on Nintendo consoles and have been brought up on them. To me it smelled of desperation from Nintendo to try and grab back the Core market which they conceded to Sony and Microsoft who have begun to dominate the space with both vying for as much exclusive or timed exclusive content from the third parties who develop the massive blockbuster titles we see year in year out making hundreds of millions of dollars for themselves and the console makers.
At E3 we saw the unveiling of the Wii U, terrible naming aside I was very impressed with the console or should I say with the Controller, it was clear that Nintendo was trying to hide the console hardware and have us focus on the what we'll be playing it with. They showed at the press conference a lot of tech demo's of what the controller was capable of and how the Wii U will still be using the Wii motes and Wii Fitness board with the new console which is great, it means I don't have to spend £40 on a new controller for the damn thing. But it got me thinking is Nintendo going to start taking a Handheld style approach to console gaming with them systematically upgrading the hardware every few years (like they have with the Nintendo DS as we've seen them do the DS, then DSi and then the 3DS) rather than make giant leaps from one generation to the next. You could argue they've already begun this as the Wii wasn't the giant leap from the GameCube graphics wise, what it was instead was a new way to play with games with the introduction of motion controlled gaming at the forefront, with the new Controller it again opens up new ways to play games on the console with motion control not left abandoned but included and mixed with this new device, it will also allow for DS style experiences that we see on Nintendo's handheld with a touch screen and stylus on the new controller and also with it having the analogue sticks, shoulder and trigger buttons, the device can be used as an ordinary controller for playing games so it offers a wide mix for a wide market of consumers. A lot will depend on Sony and Microsoft to see how they approach their next consoles and whether they will take a giant leap in the next generation as reports at the moment suggest the Wii U will have hardware comparable to the PS3 and Xbox 360. If the hardware leap by Sony and Microsoft isn't a vast leap than it may be possible for developers to develop games up from the Wii U to their new consoles like how at this point in time developers use the Xbox 360 as a base point, if it is the usual giant leap we get from predecessor to successor will developers stick around and continue to support the Wii U once Nintendo's competition have a big enough install base or will we see them begin to leave and pledge their support back to the others. Time is are only answer and with rumours that Sony and Microsoft could be unveiling and possibly launching their new consoles between 2013 and 2014 is that enough time for Nintendo to make the Wii U a success?
Sure the Wii U looks cool and I will probably buy it just for Zelda but is it smart for Nintendo to take this risk early in the hope of breaking back into the Core market? I'm not too sure, it's clear that Sony and Microsoft in particular are beginning to make a push for Nintendo's casual install base with Move and Kinect, but with a window of 2 years and consoles that will have been established house old products for 8(PS3) and 9(X360) years by 2014, will Nintendo be able to make this Wii U-turn and bring back the Core to their console or will the Wii U suffer the same fate as the Dreamcast?
So guys let me hear your thoughts on the Wii U am I being too harsh on the thing? Do you think Nintendo can win the Core back? Am I just a conspiracy theorist for Video Games? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!