Written by Erik Kubik, kube00 Thursday, 07 July 2011 11:00
While listening to a few podcasts last week, I started to think about Nintendo’s Wii U. The concept of the system is cool and I'm glad gamers are getting 1080p and the processing power to play games the 360/PS3 normally gets. But is it enough? Has Nintendo run out of gimmicks? Will the early release of the Wii U hurt Nintendo’s chances to succeed? Some people in the industry seem to think so.
Nintendo is planning to release the Wii U well before the Xbox 720 and the PS4. Smart move, Nintendo you are getting a jump on the competition. However, Nintendo has to come out running on all 6 of its gaming fueled cylidinders to succeed. Don’t get me wrong, I want Nintendo to succeed so I don't have to tell my friends I own a Wii because my wife wanted one.
Concerning the games, if I want the next Call of Duty game on a Nintendo system it is now a viable option with the Nintendo Wii U. Developers will not have to “dumb” down the content like they did for the Wii. But in the long run is this a smart move? The Sega Dreamcast came out in the middle of the generation and by doing this, Sega beat Sony and got their system to gamers first. But the Dreamcast straddled a fine line between generations. When the PS2 was released with its DVD drive, better hardware, and ever expanding game library this spelled the end for the Dreamcast. When the new Microsoft and Sony systems come out, the Wii U may be left in the dust as developers swarm to the new systems and as with the Wii, the developers may feel like they need to dumb down the games to run on the Wii U.
But by coming out early and with decent hardware Nintendo has now opened the doors for 3rd party support of its new system. The big question is, will this 3rd party support stay when the next two Sony and Microsoft systems come out? Only time will tell.
Concerning the use of gimmicks, Nintendo is about innovation with the Wii and 3DS, having something unique. Although this is great, some of us may remember the days of the SNES and NES, where a console company’s reputation was based on the great games they had in their library. As far as gamers know, the Wii U will have a controller with a touch screen. This looks cool, but at the same time I am not sold on just that feature at this time. This touchscreen controller won’t have the same effect as motion controls on the Wii did.
My other big concern is online play. At E3, Nintendo mentioned nothing about this with their new console. This is an area Nintendo has really struggled in. If they can get their pieces in place then viable 1st party titles with online play would be a welcome addition and it would probably help sell some more consoles to the skeptics.
Well, Nintendo, I think you can still create a gaming experience that will wow fans. As long as the pieces fall into place then everyone should be happy. If not, some gamers and developers may throw in the towel.