You’re Going To Make Me Stick Up For The Wii U, Aren’t You?
Setting out to write for a gaming site, everyone’s got subjects they’d rather not deal with. I’ve got a friend who handles this conundrum by simply not writing anything at all, but I choose to just steer clear of subjects that may ruffle some feathers.
However, it seems the time has come for me to try and articulate some thoughts about the Wii U. I don’t think I’m about to shock anyone, but there seems to be a staggering amount of looking at dots, with few people wanting to actually connect them.
I want to make my stance clear upfront: I don’t think you should ever bet against Nintendo. Their systems are reliable, and while their first-party titles may not be to everyone’s liking, it’s hard to argue that they aren’t technically outstanding. That said, what in the bloody hell is Nintendo actually doing with the Wii U?
Firstly, I think the price warrants another look. But to do that, we’ll have to take a peek over the Wii U’s shoulder and look at the 3DS.
Nintendo’s price drop on the 3DS occurred in August 2011, right in time for the holidays. While I don’t think anyone would rule out a price cut for the Wii U, it is currently only May, and there will be no price drop anytime soon.
Even though some people (read: Americans) have still been slower to latch onto the 3DS, Nintendo still has not gone on the defensive about the system. The last three months have seen the release of the system’s most anticipated titles: Luigi’s Mansion 2, Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Etrian Odyseey IV, for example. And many people were quick to say, “Those titles are great, but what do they have past that? Nothing!”
But again, Nintendo was still not on the defensive. Why? We found out a couple of weeks ago at a Nintendo Direct. They knew they were sitting on the Western release of Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, and a sequel to A Link to the Past. For the 3DS, it seems that Nintendo always has something tucked in their back pocket.
Turning our attention back to the Wii U, Nintendo seems wholly unconcerned with its current state. Similar to the 3DS, maybe Nintendo just knows it’s sitting on something amazing that we haven’t even seen yet. Nintendo is being a little cagey with sales expectations, which has certainly pleased the nay-sayers, but its stance on the console (for example, the refusal to adjust the price) indicates that the interest is in the long tail on the Wii U. It really looks like Nintendo is just taking their time with it, casually tossing things into the mix as they go to see if they stick.
“Let’s try, oh, I don’t know… Famicom’s turning 30, right? Let’s try making some games thirty cents just to see if we can get people online.”
“Who wants to see if people will buy Super Mario World on this thing!?”
“Wouldn’t people crap their jammies if this is where we finally released Mother 2!!?”
Looking at things from the skeptical side, sure, these are just bones we’re being tossed while we wait for proper Wii U games (if there are any hahaha), but they’re bones that long-time Nintendo fans are guaranteed to love. It simply doesn’t matter if you’re a Nintendo fan or not–there’s only going to be one place where you can buy Super Mario Bros. 2 and Earthbound.
And what about when the other new consoles launch? Could the Wii U face obsolescence? Nope, not in the least. While different people want different things out of their consoles, Nintendo has got a slight edge to work with.
Those simply looking for a powerhouse gaming machine are likely to lean towards the PlayStation 4. However, the Wii U could easily find its place for those looking for the all-in-one streaming media machine.
The Wii U will have been available for roughly a year by the time other “next-gen” consoles see the light of day, which gives Nintendo an edge in terms of mind share. If Microsoft’s next console really does force users to have a Kinect installed (or is always-online), families could choose the Wii U simply due to ease of use. It’s extraordinarily easy to set up (seriously, you haven’t experienced technological advancement until you’ve set up the Wii U as a TV remote), and has all the standards in one place–including your favourite television shows.
Nintendo’s newest entry into the console war isn’t a runaway hit. But Nintendo seems to be looking at the long term investment here, and both the recent updates and upcoming Virtual Console titles show Nintendo is willing to listen to what players want. And more importantly, it shows they’re willing to deliver.