This generation of home games consoles is nearing an end. Sony and Microsoft are surely both working on successors to the PS3 and Xbox 360 respectively, even though neither will admit to it. While they likely won’t show their hands until 2013 or later, Nintendo has already officially announced its next-gen effort. And it’s called the Wii U.
The question is whether the Wii U will succeed or fail. There are several reasons to argue for and against Nintendo’s new hardware. And I am personally very torn on whether the Wii U will continue on the obvious commercial success of the original Wii or fail in a similar way to the GameCube. This calls for two articles, one arguing the case for (this one) and one arguing the case against (coming up next time).
The Wii U was unveiled on June 7, 2011 by Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime during Nintendo’s keynote at that year’s E3. If it is released in time for the start of the 2012 holiday season as promised then it will be the first console of the eighth generation. But that’s a big IF at this point in time, with reports suggesting Nintendo is struggling to bring all the various elements together in time for that launch period.
Regardless of any delays, part of me still thinks the Wii U will turn out to be a hugely-successful console. Below are four reasons I think the Wii U will succeed…
1. First To Market
Even with delays it’s almost guaranteed the Wii U will be the first of the next-gen consoles to launch. Nintendo would have to go into complete meltdown for Sony and/or Microsoft to unveil and launch their next games hardware in the meantime. Which means Nintendo will be first to market, and that could be crucial.
Gamers always want the next big thing. And if the Wii U is intriguing enough for gamers to covet one then being first to market will help Nintendo immensely. They may well be happy with their PS3 or Xbox 360, but that won’t stop them wanting to buy into the newest system available. Assuming they don’t hate Nintendo in some elemental way. Which some do.
2. Cheap & Cheerful
The Wii would not have sold in the numbers it did do (95 million and counting) if it hadn’t been as cheap as it was. Nintendo launched it for an affordable price and cut the price as soon as it could warrant doing so. This despite demand meaning used consoles were changing hands for more than the retail price for a period of time.
We don’t yet know what the Wii U will cost, but I strongly suspect it will be cheap, even with one tablet controller included in the price. Nintendo knows that once it has persuaded people to purchase the hardware they will then spend money on more controllers and games. And unlike its competitors, Nintendo owns most of the studios making games for its consoles, which is where it makes the serious money.
Remember too that the Wii U is to be fully backwards compatible, with all Wii games and peripherals such as the Wii Fit Board working with the new hardware. That will save gamers upgrading from the original Wii some serious cash. And give them another reason to make the switch.
3. Gameplay, Gameplay, Gameplay
Nintendo has always focused on just one aspect of gaming – the actual gameplay. It has eschewed lush visuals in the quest to deliver the best gaming experience to its fans. Prior to the Wii it achieved this by delivering innovative games that immersed the player into a new world. The Wii then utilized the motion-control Wii Remote to deliver that on a new level.
This approach means Nintendo has been scorned, and oft mocked, by serious gamers. The hardcore, as they like to be known. Complaints about the cartoonish graphics and childish characters are delivered from all corners. But those who understand Nintendo adore these very elements.
That core belief in gameplay above all else means Nintendo is never chasing its own tail in terms of employing the latest tech. Each game is what it is, either enjoy it or don’t enjoy it, the choice is yours.
4. It’s Nintendo!
The Wii U will succeed because it’s Nintendo. Plain and simple. Nintendo rarely misses a beat, rarely puts a foot wrong, and rarely does some other tired soundbites I cannot think of right now.
Nintendo surely wouldn’t throw away all of the progress it has made with the original Wii over the past few years by releasing a failure. Failure is not an option. Just look at Sega (and the woefully-underrated Dreamcast) for evidence of that.
Obviously this is just half the story, and there are also four reasons I think the Wii U will fail (which we’ll get into next time).
Are you excited at the prospect of a new Nintendo games console? Did you succumb to the joys of the original Wii and feel that more of the same (with a new control system) would be a good enough reason to upgrade? Or are you a PS3 or Xbox advocate and will wait to see what Sony and Microsoft do next before committing. Let us know in the comments section below.