Note: [All opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of GamerXChange]
Nintendo’s new console started off decent enough, only to see record low units sold in North America in January. I definitely wouldn’t count Nintendo out of anything, the Wii U has a ton of potential and Nintendo tends to get the most out of their own hardware and are constant innovators in the industry. With all of that said, I feel like enough time has passed that we can judge what Nintendo has done right, wrong and what they can do to improve the Wii U’s fortunes in the future.
The Nintendo Direct videos are something that Nintendo has really developed recently, and the way that they can share what is on the horizon really interests people. This might seem minor to some, but I would have loved Microsoft and Sony to come out every month and do something similar. They respond to consumers questions and show off new software and applications, it really is a brilliant way to reach out to fans and Nintendo hardware owners.
The Wii U hardware itself is really quite interesting, it’s sleek and compact and has a real nice look and feel about it. The games being on a larger disc format like BluRay will really help developers take advantage of it and enable Nintendo to get quality first and third-party support. The Gamepad isn’t cumbersome like I originally thought, and the Pro Controller is great for gamer’s who are looking for a more traditional gaming experience. The fact that the Wii controller is backwards compatible along with Wii games makes the Wii U that much more of a value.
The Mii Verse is very inventive and it shows that Nintendo was very serious about the Wii U launching with a functioning and interesting online system. The first time you play through a game and struggle and it asks you if you want to post to the Mii Verse for help, it really helps make the whole idea clear. All the different communities for the games and apps really work and are a lot of fun to use. It might not be equal to Xbox Live, but it is a huge improvement over previous online attempts from Nintendo. I absolutely cannot wait to see what the future holds for Nintendo’s online network.
Third party support was supposed to be a strong suit for Nintendo this generation, after lackluster support since the Super Nintendo days we thought things would be different, and to an extent they are. Still, Nintendo hasn’t done what is necessary to get games that are on current consoles like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, how can they convince developers to do so once the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 are out? It was nice that Nintendo got ports of games that were out on competing platforms six months ago, but Nintendo hasn’t done anything to procure some of the biggest titles set to come out this year, where are the Bioshocks, Tomb Raiders, GTA’s and Destiny? Nintendo needs these games to compete and to show that they are serious.
The launch lineup for the Wii U looked impressive on paper, we were all impressed with Pikmen 3, The Wonderful 101 and Rayman Legends. The problem with the games that were shown off is that none of them were launch titles, and that means that Wii U owners have a serious drought in games for a console they just shelled out $350 for. They should have planned better for this emergency. The main reason the Wii U isn’t selling well right now is because there is a serious lack of titles. There just wasn’t a killer application that had people clamoring to buy a Wii U, I believe Nintendo overestimated how people would react to New Super Mario Bro’s U, that game is not a killer app, it is fun and a good game, but considering the Wii’s version and 3DS version are both great, that franchise might be a little tapped out. When you consider that Nintendo’s first party studios haven’t done much with the Wii the last few years, you’d figure they would have been geared up and ready with some killer games for the Wii U’s launch.
Advertising has not been the Wii U’s friend thus far, the only commercials I’ve seen show families and dub step, but not actual games or features. If this console was a clear message to the so-called core gamer, why not advertise it as such? I think over the past five years or so, Microsoft is the only company that properly advertises their games and products in a way that reaches the most consumers. Nintendo needs to get their act together when it comes to advertising.
How Nintendo can improve the Wii U
Introducing an Achievement system will go a long way in gathering core gamer’s, it’s easy to sit and say things like that don’t matter, but I very clearly remember the complaints going Sony’s way when the PS3 didn’t launch with an Achievement system, it was also something that was a big selling point for a lot of people with the PlayStation Vita. Third parties already do these for Sony and Microsoft, it wouldn’t take much for it to be implemented into Wii U games as well. I know it has to be one of the main complaints for Wii U owners and potential owners, it is always nice to have some acknowledgment when you beat a game.
Show us the games! While the Wii U might not be as powerful as the next outings by Sony and Microsoft, it isn’t a slouch in the graphics department, the problem is that they haven’t taken advantage of the hardware, we saw an amazing tech demo of Zelda the other year and we need to see more games like that. A 3D Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Starfox, Smash Bro’s and Mario Kart will do wonders for Nintendo. In the short-term, they should definitely remaster some older games and put them out as HD remakes, I know some people who were interested in a Wii U when they heard Wind Waker was getting a remake. Releasing some remakes would be a great short-term solution and would help push sales until these new AAA first party titles can be released.
Even if Nintendo has to pay to get games like GTA5 on the Wii U they need to do that, you have to spend money to make money and Nintendo needs third-party support in the worst way. It is unbelievable to think that the Wii U isn’t getting some of the huge third-party games coming out this year, Nintendo needs to do a better job of attracting those developers, no matter what it takes.
In the end this isn’t a doom article, I don’t believe that Nintendo is in any danger of dropping out of the console business, they are in a totally different situation than Sega was, Nintendo has consumer confidence, Sega didn’t with the Dreamcast. Three months into a consoles life is hardly enough time to cast final judgment, Nintendo is smart and survived and thrived when the industry went south in the 1980′s, I believe they can compete, but the Wii U obviously wont capture people’s attention the way the Wii did.
What would you like to see Nintendo do to turn the Wii U around? Sound off in the comment section below.