This is speculative. And Ill keep it as free from snark as possible. And youve got every right to disagree. So please, go ahead and do so.
The Wii U will sell.
There, I said it. It will sell out in Targets ,Gamestops, Walmarts and Best Buys. For months leading to and following the holidays, it will top the charts of Amazon wish lists. Hardcore gamers will no doubt have plunked their hard earned money down for a pre-order, with wistful dreams of new Zelda games to be designed around the use of its lovely looking tablet controller dancing through their imagination. Map manipulation? Perhaps inventory control? Who is to say what they(those wonderful little entertainment pixies at Nintendo) have in store for the future of interactivity? Only time will tell. And truthfully from one person who scoffed long and hard at the success of the Wii(and the abuse of many adored mascots, much to my dismay), I look forward to what comes down the pipeline.
I also wish the company luck in their never ending endeavor to capture the hearts and imaginations of the millions of diehards out there. Reason being, from my perspective, they need them the most this generation, or they risk losing steam rather quickly.
Nintendo has to put the big boy pants on because this isn’t the “blue ocean” market that made critics eat crow last generation with the Wii.
Nintendo’s 1st party titles is where the company soars, but the two big guns they have blazing are another New Super Mario Bros. style sidescroller and a mini game collection called Nintendoland. Now, despite the snickering behind the Wii’s back about their must have app(Wii Sports) basically being a minigame collection/trial for how the Wiimote should work, it set the once gaming-neutral casual market on fire. People who hadn’t purchased a console since the Atari found reason enough in this premise to put down the $249.99 just so they could pantomime tennis and bowling with their grandparents. Don’t get me wrong, Nintendo broke down a lot of barriers for the good of the game industry with this. It was at least a decade before I had seen my own mother pick up anything resembling a controller in attempt to play any type of videogame. They had captured the group Reggie Fils-aime had talked about in his 2006 DICE “Blue Ocean” keynote speech with a tech demo. As time has gone on though, those that so lovingly adhered to the Wii’s warning of being sure to tightly strap the Wiimote to ones wrist, have grown tired of the system. Those that were the great boon to the sales of the Wii have move on. While a neat pass time for a couple months, those who came out of gaming neutrality have returned to their dormant state. Those that still partake in gaming do so now from their tablet or Iphone. I acknowledge the fact that being the new kid on the block when it comes to the console scene will help a lot. There will always be kids clamoring for the hot new console, but the people that will be spearheading the bulk of the long term sales will be the the devout. The people that put down the cash for the pre-orders. The ones that stand in line for a midnight launch. Those are the people that Nintendo really need to focus on capturing again.
Just like the kid showing up in a years old fashion to school, the Wii showed up on the scene with hardware that was outdated. The Xbox 360 wouldn’t be released for another week, but hardware specs had proven that the Wii’s horsepower paled in comparison. The Wii U’s release smacks of the same kind of situation. Nintendo, playing catch up, is putting out a system with hardware that compares to the current generation, as well as a slew of current gen titles (Assassins Creed 3, Batman: Arkham City) that they are gussying up with Wii U controller gimmicks. Arkham City: Armored Edition was showcased at the this past years E3, carrying with it a very infomercial salesmen “But wait there’s more!” plea for attention from the crowd. 3rd party titles have always struggled on Nintendo systems, and despite the number of titles that will appear on the Wii U, I cant help but feel like they are experiences that would be better on current gen systems, not to mention that people will already have had them on this current roster of consoles. While I have to say I’m part of the minority with multiple consoles, my take is that early adopters typically are as well. They have the cash on hand to pre-order and are just crazy enough stand outside in the cold for a midnight launch. And if that is the case, do they really want to play through Batman again even with the new controls? My guess is probably not.
There a plenty of arguments to be had over the Wii U and its success or failure. To me the failure to recognize the shift in whose playing what and hoping to ride off the good will of the Wii success alone is a huge risk. I think the new controller is awesome and has an enormous amount of potential for how players interact with games beyond a simple map or inventory navigation tool. Time will only tell though. Heres to hoping!
What do you guys have to say?