So, Nintendo held a press conference last night/early morning that detailed the WiiU’s launch details. What we were shown was a solid launch date, a pricing structure for the two SKUs, and a few new titles to hype us up. But does Nintendo have what it takes to have lightning striking gamers homes once again?
The WiiU has been lauded as a glorified upgrade to the Wii, by most, than an actual “new” console. Essentially gaming’s iPhone logic: newer features, same basic setup, not overly expensive, etc. Now this isn’t bad, in fact, it’s great!
It means Nintendo is taking charge, showing Microsoft/Sony they need to be looking at what Nintendo are doing and preparing themselves for their next launch. But, Nintendo are still a bit behind the times when it comes to rally delivering good, not shovelware, third party support for their last couple consoles.
Now before you say, “But Curtis, Activision is launching Black Ops 2, and Sega has Bayonetta 2 exclusively, on WiiU!” And I hear you, I’ve been waiting for an HD Monster Hunter, so my body is ready. But if I recall correctly, the Wii had relatively strong third party support at the start too; until those games weren’t what were pushing the system off the shelves and those same companies went to the “easy money” answer with casual titles.
Now Dylan’s going to say something about Nintendo publishing Bayonetta 2, and while that means “they’re paying Sega for Bayonetta 2 to be on WiiU”, that means they’re paying Sega for Bayonetta 2 to be on WiiU! It’s not the first time Nintendo has paid to publish a game for their systems, but I honestly see it as their only way of getting Bayonetta 2 on their console. And call me crazy, but I’ll buy five copies of Bayonetta 2 if it’s not eventually ported to PS3 or 360 by the next holiday after its WiiU release (quote me on that!).
As for first party games like the Zelda’s Mario’s, and the like, of course Nintendo will be in charge of making sure their titles are top notch. The newest first party titles will be the same as Wii’s: all of the titles will be the shining example of how the console can be utilized, but don’t be surprised if third party development follows that for a while before cutting costs/corners and the shovelware starts and resumes.
Nintendo’s teams will be the only ones utilizing the WiiU to its full potential. Just for the record, I would love to be wrong about all of what I’ve said above, but I know I’m probably on the nose for a lot of it. If I’m wrong about a lot of this I won’t be grumpy and bitter, I’ll be the happiest gamer in the world! It means Nintendo are actually paying attention to what most of us have already observed: they’re incapable of doing the same thing again with a similar gimmick and expect us all (and their main target, the casual market) fall for it again.
I’m stoked the WiiU is a thing, and pushing new titles and ideas out the door. I think some of us are being a bit eager with what they’ve shown us so far. There’s still very little online talk, and quite frankly, Nintendo cannot stay in the dark about that service, if it even exists of course. I don’t hate Nintendo, I love Nintendo; Nintendo are the company that got me into gaming and have kept me happy for a long time. The WiiU just hasn’t lit that same fire under me yet. I don’t want to see Nintendo failing. That would hurt too much, but I also see they are hurting at the moment and while they’re not in late-N64/early (well mostly all of) Gamecube’s financial issues, if the WiiU’s not a repeat of the Wii, they just might be right back there.
With a little over two months and Tokyo Game Show still to come, Nintendo have a healthy amount of time to sell me on their latest idea, but their hill of sale is pretty steep at the moment! Here’s to them being able to conquer it and sell me a console.
Yesterday, we saw the Nintendo we’ve wanted – a Nintendo willing to take risks on a questionable franchise, a Nintendo who knows how to price things within reason, a Nintendo who makes the best of a controversial gimmick. Rather than dismiss WiiU as a simple iPhone upgrade, I see it as much more of a farsighted Nintendo, hoping to go neck-and-neck with Sony and Microsoft after being dismissed as a “kiddie console”.
On the point about third-party software, it never was that strong on Wii. Red Steel was hyped, but it was a new property. Nintendo is actually taking charge with quality, and in some cases, exclusive, third party content. Bayonetta 2 being a WiiU exclusive, published by Nintendo, is a questionable move, but speaks volumes to cynical gamers who are quick to brush off Nintendo.
Black Ops 2 looks to be a launch game, and instead of a stripped down version, looks to be the complete experience. With games like Mass Effect 3 and Arkham City in the pipe, it’s clear that third party support will remain part of WiiU’s lineup. That’s the thing – we haven’t even seen glimpses of the new (3D) Mario, Zelda or Metroid titles, some of the most renowned games on every Nintendo system. Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, both Mario Galaxies, and Metroid Prime Trilogy are some of the best games Nintendo has put out in decades, and I’m excited to see what they’ll do with the next entries with the WiiU.
I’m not completely sold on the WiiU just yet. They were very skimpy on details of how online works. If it’s anything more annoying than the 3DS friend code system, then that’s a disappointment. But, they’ve made clear the storage situation – you can use flash drives. A genius idea, if you ask me. Why limit storage to proprietary formats (Microsoft). I think gamers are being way too cynical toward the WiiU. It’s at a fair price, they’re being open with the third party games, and they look to avoid the pitfalls that plagued the Wii after a couple years post-launch. I think it’s too early to dismiss it outright.