The Wii U is now out in the wild, having been released in North America on Nov. 18, coming to Europe and Australia on Nov. 30, and finally Japan on Dec. 8. This is the first of the next-gen consoles, with Sony and Microsoft expected to follow suit and release their own next-gen machines in 2013.
The Wii U isn’t intended to be competition to the forthcoming consoles though, with Nintendo setting its own agenda and forging its own path into the future. Just as with the original Wii, this is a gamble. The first one paid off in a big way, with Nintendo selling 90 million units of the Wii hardware around the world. The question of whether the Wii U will pull off a similar feat was the subject of last week’s We Ask You column. The results of which are below.
What Do You Think Of The Nintendo Wii U?
We asked you, What Do You Think Of The Nintendo Wii U? The response was, well, let’s not beat around the bush here, woeful. I take the blame for this poor showing, as I suspect people want to actually use the Wii U for themselves before they commit an opinion on the device to paper. Or in this case, the comments section of a technology website.
The people who did take the time and trouble to comment — and I thank every one of them — gave responses that were as varied as they could be. Some don’t want to know, being perfectly satisfied continuing to play consoles from previous generations, while others are eager to get their hands on a Wii U. I suspect most won’t be tempted until the better games start arriving though, as the Wii U currently has a pitiful line-up of software.
Nintendo has rallied against the idea that next-gen means improved visuals and nothing else. In effect the company has set itself against its competitors (who are arguably all about the visuals) and instead focused on the game-playing experience. The Wii introduced motion control; the Wii U keeps that in place while also adding a tablet controller into the mix. But for that to work the games are going to be all-important.
Comment Of The Week
Comment Of The Week goes to Scutterman, who, as well as the respect of myself and hopefully everybody reading this, receives 150 points to use for MakeUseOf Rewards. His comment (posted below) as well as his follow-up point (posted in a separate quote) raise some great points. In particular I enjoyed his assertion that Nintendo is trying to please too many people — casuals and the hardcore — which is surely a hiding to nothing.
I’m not going to comment on whether it will succeed or fail as a console, but there are several aspects of the release I think have been handled wrongly.
Firstly, from my understanding, Nintendo is trying to get back into the hardcore market. From the fact that they kept their specs very quiet….it seems the specs can just about beat the specs of the current generation hardcore consoles. This doesn’t bode well considering that the current generation is on it’s way out. I know that specs don’t mean everything, but a lot of gamers believe they do.
Another thing is that they are making a standard game controller, which makes a lot of sense and I’m happy to see. But they got the name wrong. By calling it the “Pro” pad, they are essentially saying that the pad controller and the standard Wii controller are for casual games or novelty use.
Where the Wii struggles is attracting the hardcore developers. Since there isn’t yet the optimisations to the console and game engines that current generation consoles have, I think the Wii U will still have a hard time attracting serious games.
As a console in general, they released it at the right time. Right before Christmas and at least a year before it has any competition. But unless it gets the good games fast, it’ll be ignored by the hardcore gamers and their lead will only mean a financial success.
I think Nintendo is trying to do too much. They yearn for the days when they were a contender in the hardcore market, but that was a long time ago. They can’t risk selling two different consoles, so they try to force a “hardcore” market into their existing console. They are walking the line between cheap and fun for their current market, and the power and features of a new market. It’s never going to stand up to the hardcore-first of the contenders.
We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.