What's Nintendo's Next Move?

With Wii U on the ropes mere months after its debut and no relief in sight, we can't help but wonder how Nintendo will handle the console's troubled future.

Article by Jeremy Parish, .

Let's face facts: Wii U is in trouble. Hardly anyone has a good feeling about Nintendo's newest console. Not retailers, not third parties, not analysts, and not consumers.

Even Nintendo seems squeamish about it. They've admitted the expanded cost of high-definition development caught them off guard -- which only goes to reinforce the idea that Nintendo functions in a vacuum, seeing as every other developer in the industry came to terms with that reality years ago. This shouldn't have been a surprise. Nevertheless, Nintendo fully expects to lose money on Wii U development for some time to come.

The situation has inspired a gloomy thread of conversation that's woven itself into practically every online discussion of Wii U's future: Namely, that it has no future. For many people, the question hovering over Wii U isn't, "Will Wii U fail?" but rather, "What happens when it it fails?" Will Nintendo go third party, they wonder (because Wii U demonstrates certain parallels to Sega's Dreamcast)? Will Nintendo go out of business, they ask (because the system seems that disastrous)? Or will Nintendo switch to mobile development, they muse (because that 2010-vintage line of thought still has remarkable traction)?

The ghost of Dreamcast hovers over the Wii U. It even had a screen built into its controller....

Personally speaking, I don't see the future in such absolutely dire terms. The Wii U may be badly off course, and I can't imagine it ever being a serious competitor to its incipient rivals Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but I hardly think this is the end of the road for Nintendo. They've screwed up plenty of times, and they've always managed to right the ship.

In looking at Nintendo, it's essential you take the long view: Consider them not just with the perspective of their own history, but with the realization that it's decidedly not an American corporation, doesn't behave like one, and shouldn't be treated as one. Short term gains with little regard for long-term viability; endless cycles of quick hires to capitalize on a momentary uptick in business followed by regretful layoffs months or even weeks later; treating employees as objects, assets to be built up and then cut loose at a moment's notice with no regard for how it affects their lives: Nintendo doesn't operate like that. Both for better and for worse, it's one of the most doggedly Japanese companies in the games industry.

The individuals who created Nintendo's legendary games in the '80s remain with the company three decades later. Nintendo certainly isn't a perfect corporate culture (as I've learned both through books like Game Over and off-the-record anecdotes alike), but it does hold dear a certain kernel of loyalty and long-term thinking intrinsic to traditional Japanese businesses. If you look at the names attached to early arcade and NES games -- Shigeru Miyamoto, Yoshio Sakamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Hajime Tabata, and more -- they're still prominent and active decades later. Name a single other game company for which that's true. Even NCL's president, Satoru Iwata, got his start programming NES games before leaving to work with HAL Laboratories (which quickly became a de facto Nintendo second party), eventually returning to run the show after Hiroshi Yamauchi's retirement. Kind of like Steve Jobs. Nintendo always did have a thing for Apple.

Working with Nintendo is for life. Like the world's happiest crime syndicate. [Image source]

Iwata recently spoke about the company's reluctance to lay off staff in these troubled times for fear it would undermine company morale. If only all executives had such empathy. His reticence certainly doesn't do any good for the company's bottom line in the immediate term, but it does speak to an innate conservative streak that will likely help the company weather this new console's rocky (and potentially brief) life.

Yes, Wii U may very well be doomed, but that doesn't mean the same is true for the company itself. The story might be different if not for the success of the 3DS; but despite the Wii U suffering one of the worst sophomore quarters of any console in history, Nintendo managed to wring a profit out of its most recent quarter, thanks entirely to the booming success of their handheld. Remember when everyone was pumped for "Project Cafe" (as Wii U was originally rumored to be called) and certain the 3DS would die a pathetic death at the hands of mobile gaming? Somehow, things have flipped radically.

The seeds of the turnaround, of course, were sown when Nintendo braced up to how badly it had bungled the 3DS launch, ate some bitter crow, and revamped that system's value proposition by slashing prices and giving early adopters 20 free games. The former sweetened the system's appeal for most gamers, while the latter made amends to their most loyal customers. When the 3DS library began to properly come into its own a few months later, the system was better positioned to entice gamers to buy in.

Some difficult near-term sacrifices transformed 3DS from dud to hit in short order.

So why haven't we seen them make a similar move with Wii U? Nintendo fell on its sword just five months after the 3DS debuted, but we're in month nine of Wii U's life. While the new console has fared far worse than its handheld counterpart, we've seen no sign of contrition or a strategic shift from Nintendo. One possiblity: They may be waiting until next month's Tokyo Game Show. Even though Nintendo has never taken part in Japan's largest trade show, they've increasingly capitalized on the world's eastward focus during the event to make their most significant announcements. News of a potential Wii U overhaul could be mere weeks away.

However, another possibility is that Nintendo simply won't budge on Wii U. Already they're producing the console at a loss, and any further price cuts will only increase the bleeding. Speaking of Dreamcast parallels: That console suffered from the exact same conundrum, which led to Sega's decision to discontinue the Dreamcast early. Had Sega slashed its price to compete with PlayStation 2, the additional loss on each unit sold would have ruined the company. Likewise, Nintendo's managing to eke out a company-wide net profit right now, but if they were to upset the ledger balance by increasing their losses on each Wii U sold, that would no longer be the case. Certainly there's strategic value to be found in increasing market share at a loss; both Microsoft and Sony played that game this past generation. However, that's never been Nintendo's way; and unlike the competition, it doesn't have other divisions to fall back on during the games business' lean times.

In fact, Nintendo may not care to increase Wii U sales right away. Wii's success aside, consoles haven't been Nintendo's breadwinner for nearly 20 years. Once the Game Boy launched -- a system that absolutely embodied Nintendo's preferred strategy of using dated technology to allow them to sell hardware cheap and still profit handsomely -- the company's rock-steady money-earner has been the portable market. While three successive generations of Nintendo consoles performed worse than the last (1986's NES beat 1991's Super NES, which outsold 1996's Nintendo 64, which handily beat 2001's GameCube) and ceded more and more marketshare to rival systems, each generation of Nintendo handhelds has crushed the competition. As N64 reeled and GameCube foundered, Game Boy and GBA quietly kept the company's numbers in the black.

Nintendo's handheld systems have been a consistent earner for nearly 25 years. (Virtual Boy doesn't count, because you had to prop it up on a table to play.)

That being said, we can probably look to GameCube for clues to Nintendo's plans for this generation. Much like Wii U, GameCube inspired many to herald the end of the company's tenure as a first party publisher; prior to this spring, the GameCube generation marked the only time Nintendo's fiscal reports had dipped into the red since it entered the console business. Third parties abandoned GameCube in droves, and its meager selection of exclusives -- notably the so-called "Capcom Five" -- quickly found their way to other platforms.

And yet, the company survived. Nintendo buckled down and produced a slow trickle of top-notch first-party GameCube releases to placate loyal fans, all while they fixed their eyes on the future. Meanwhile, the steady earnings provided by Game Boy Advance kept them solvent long enough to regroup and take a risk on the oddball DS and the Wii. The Wii U situation resembles the GameCube era more than a little, and 3DS is only growing stronger. June's Animal Crossing marked the system's first truly large-scale global hit, and the upcoming global launch of Pokémon X & Y versions is guaranteed to sell millions of units of software (and probably millions of systems, too).

The fact that Nintendo has pushed the Western release of X & Y to the same week as the Japanese launch gives perhaps the surest sign of just how much is riding on its -- and the 3DS's -- success. Japan has always enjoyed at least six or seven months' lead on Pokémon games, but Nintendo desperately needs a Pokémon-sized hit this fall all around the world. Rather than pour their resources into building awareness for Wii U and fighting an uphill battle, Pokémon offers them an easy short-term win while they rethink Wii U.

All hail our lord and savior, Chespin.

The question is, what will their ultimate approach to the console turn out to be? The simple reality of the Wii U is that Nintendo badly misjudged its fundamental strategy with the system's design, and its would-be killer app -- the Game Pad -- has proven to be an anchor around its neck, dragging it to the depths.

It's not hard to see why Nintendo shackled its fortunes to the Game Pad; their greatest successes in the previous generation came from radical new game interfaces. But not every risk pays off, and the Game Pad fails for all the same reasons Wii's remote succeeded. Rather than simplifying the game experience and lowering barriers to accessibility, the Game Pad presents casual players with the industry's most complex interface. Playing Pikmin 3 with a Wii remote and nunchuk reminded me just how fantastic that style of interface can be when done right, and how inelegant the Game Pad is. Worse, the device drastically increases the system's price; that unreasonably high (and seemingly inflexible) price tag can be chalked up to the fact that its controller is practically a separate video game system.

With the Game Pad, Nintendo clearly hoped to confront the tablet market head-on. But they badly misaimed the attempt. Tablets threaten handhelds like the 3DS, not consoles, so Wii U is waging a crucial battle on the wrong battlefield. While the Game Pad may resemble a tablet, it offers little of the convenience of the real thing: There's no multitouch sensitivity, no intuitive gestural shortcuts, and no freedom (it's tethered to a range of about 10 feet from the base console).

At a total cost of $998, the Xbox One/Surface combo really throws Wii U's sticker price into perspective. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 4/Vita combo is a somewhat more reasonable $648 -- and unlike the Game Pad, the Vita works on its own, too. [Correction: Xbox One's SmartGlass works with a range of tablets, meaning the minimum buy-in is roughly comparable to Sony's; roughly twice as much as the Wii U, but considerably less outrageous.]

Both Microsoft and Sony have been quick to jump on Nintendo's bandwagon by imitating the "second screen" concept for their next consoles, but the difference is neither Xbox One nor PlayStation 4 depend on that particular gimmick. There, the second screen is strictly an add-on relying on outside devices. And while Microsoft's approach -- requiring the $500 Xbox One be augmented with an equally expensive Surface device -- makes the Wii U seem like an incredibly good deal, the upshot is that when the reality becomes clear that second screen distractions are ultimately damaging to the core gaming experience, Xbox One and PS4 will work just fine without those tacked-on tablets. Wii U, unfortunately, will still be locked to Game Pad. Too many games require it at this point for Nintendo to be able to sell the base console with Game Pad as an optional peripheral.

So, Nintendo has a few options, but none of them are particularly appealing. Still, none of them can be any worse than its current strategy, which seemingly consists of offering blithe denials of any real trouble and crossing their fingers for a Christmas miracle to happen in what will surely be the most heated holiday season for video games in nearly a decade. Their killer app this fall is a rerelease of a decade-old game in a series whose star has recently lost much of its shine.

My hunch, however -- and this has no scientific basis, so treat it as the speculation it is -- is that Nintendo will treat Wii U much like they did GameCube. They'll continue supporting it, relying on a few high-profile titles to entice fans, but their eye will be on the next generation. Sure, they could make a massive effort to push the console, entice third parties for exclusives, and basically buy their way to something akin to relevance... but again, that's simply not how Nintendo operates. The company has plenty of money in its war chest, but those riches are in place precisely because it's too conservative to buy its way out of tough spots.

Dear Nintendo, if you actually do go the "Wii U = GameCube" route, can we have another Metroid Prime, please? [Image source]

And what of Wii U? Trapped in a tough spot by high cost, low interest, and a meager library, the writing certainly seems to be on the wall for the system. And 3DS won't hold the line forever, especially with hackers eager to break open the system's security measures -- ostensibly to do away with region-locking, though the obvious unspoken subtext is the promotion of piracy, a phenomenon that greatly weakened the DS market in that system's later years. The clock, it seems, is ticking.

Fortunately, Nintendo is often at its best when it's terrified for its life. The doldrums of the GameCube era gave us the inspired Wii remote interface; the looming threat of the Sony PSP resulted in the DS. Throughout Nintendo's entire tenure as a game publisher, they've consistently innovated their way out of tough spots -- a trait going all the way back to Donkey Kong's "Hail Mary" pass, which prevented thousands of unwanted Radarscope cabinets from bankrupting the company by converting them into a beloved masterpiece. The question isn't whether or not Wii U is doomed, but rather, can Nintendo learn from Wii U's troubles to innovate their way back to the top again as they have so many times before? And if so, what form will that innovation take?

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  • Avatar for Farmboy74 #1 Farmboy74 5 years ago
    A interesting article, personally I think the Wii U will go down the GameCube route, with little third party support and Nintendo first party titles for the faithful. The Wii U itself is not a bad machine, but finds itself underpowered compared to what Microsoft and Sony are offering. Maybe it's time didn't rely on Mario so much and try moving forward with new ideas. People who played Nintendo in the NES, SNES & N64 days are now adults and I suspect their taste in games has changed, I know mine have and have moved onto experiences on other machines that Nintendo does not provide.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #2 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    "With Wii U on the ropes mere months after its debut and no relief in sight,"

    Uh it has constant games. Not sure I agree with this take

    ""Their killer app this fall is a rerelease of a decade-old game in a series whose star has recently lost much of its shine" what? I dont understand that,. Mario, dk, zelda have never been as hot a commodity.

    Almost this same set of games turned the 3ds around.

    Will the wii u be number 1? no

    but its a great system now and by the end of its first year will have one of the best libraries ever ( year one)

    The 3ds is also in no danger of major hacking. And hacking actually INCREASED hardware and software sales overall for the DS. I dont see that as a con.

    I might disagree with a lot of the statements in the article and even part of the conclusion but no writer gets me that passionate like Jeremy (that's a compliment)Edited 2 times. Last edited August 2013 by Stealth20k
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #3 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    Deleted August 2013 by Stealth20k
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #4 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    Deleted August 2013 by Stealth20k
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #5 jeremy.parish 5 years ago
    Stealth, if you're going to do your spazzy "respond to specific points by spamming the comments field with multiple responses" thing, use the paragraph annotations. That's what they're for.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #6 jeremy.parish 5 years ago
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #7 jeremy.parish 5 years ago
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #8 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Sorry I erased those comments, I got a bit too excited :)
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  • Avatar for SlimeBeherit #9 SlimeBeherit 5 years ago
    @Stealth20k I think it's a mistake to say the WiiU's situation is the same as the 3DS. The cheaper price point probably did more to help the 3DS than the games that eventually came out. As the article stated, it seems a price drop for the WiiU seems unlikely. Even if it did, It probably wont go down the $199 price point that it needs to be.Plus the appeal of handheld is easier to understand, but even i don't know what the gamepad is good for (seems like nintendo doesn't either, a horn and PIP?!). The larger problem still is most people I encounter don't even know theres a new system out, and those that do, don't care.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #10 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    @SlimeBeherit I didnt imply to mean its exactly the same. Just that it took 3ds over a year to turn around. Shouldnt the Wii U be given the same time? Thats all

    $199? thats the 3ds price. The wii u is fine at the price it is, it needs software.

    Marketing is an issue
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #11 jeremy.parish 5 years ago
    @Stealth20k Yeah, well, the site's iOS bug made my replies look too excited, too. Bleah.

    - The Wii U does not have constant games. Compare its upcoming release list to any other platform, and only Vita looks worse. It's unfortunate but true.
    - The decade-old game is Wind Waker HD. That is Nintendo's big Wii U game this fall. A tweaked port of a 10-year-old game. Not promising.
    - Hacking did NOT do good things for DS, and if you actually think piracy improves the livelihood of a console you're mistaken. Even if hardware sales increase, hardware is low-margin. Software is where the money's at, and people stop buying software when they can steal it.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #12 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    @jeremy.parish I thought you did that to make a point? lol. I thought that was brilliant.

    1) Its year 1. Remember that and look back at other year ones. Its never pretty. This is a pretty good year one, to me anyway. Maybe I am delusional.

    2) Were you anti OOT 3DS? I dont remember. Either way that is just 1 title in a much larger holiday software picture that includes Mario, DK, sonic, scribblenauts, ect.

    3) Even after the DS got pirated software still sold at very very high levels. Ok putting that aside, A flashcard for the 3ds did come out BUT its for 3 firmware updates ago, and in order to play the newer games you need to update so its next to worthless. Also it erases the save when you put a new game in. Its not glamorous

    Will the Wii u ever be number 1 in sales? No. Probably never. But am I having fun with it? yes. Will it be a secondary system for most? probably.

    In your first paragraph you spoke of doom and gloomers. They never help the situation. I just dont think we should be so down year 1

    In the end we will probably have to shake hands, and agree to disagree.Edited 3 times. Last edited August 2013 by Stealth20k
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  • Avatar for SlimeBeherit #13 SlimeBeherit 5 years ago
    @Stealth20k I know it's a dramatic price at the same price of one of the 3DS SKU's, but considering people don't have a reason to buy it, the low price point gives them one. It's true the WiiU needs more games, and maybe more importantly different types of games. It's a very interesting fall line up they have. On the one hand, big names like Mario, Donkey Kong, and to a lesser extent Zelda, do a lot to attract the eye of the general public. The problem is they don't even know the WiiU exist. Donkey Kong Returns was a huge success on the Wii, but with the low install base and the general lack of WiiU awareness, I'm skeptical to put it lightly. Secondly, more informed people see this fall and see platformer saturation! I'm exited for the games that are coming out, but for a secondary platform, I think most people are saying "WAITIN' FOR DAT PRICE CUT"
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #14 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    @SlimeBeherit I think people now have a reason to buy it. It does have at least 10 solid titles

    Yes marketing is an issue. But that will be overcome.

    Your view is fine. It balances out my optimism view.
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  • Avatar for sean697 #15 sean697 5 years ago
    I still think it may be a little early to get all Doom and gloom. To me until it has a lot of sytem selling games it's hard to judge whether or not the long term prospects are good. By comparison the Dreamcast had a lot of great games before it failed. It's could just as easily end up being a DS/PSP situation where Nintendo pulled ahead with a flood of great software in the face of superior hardware.

    As far as the screen. It's what I really like about the system. It's my preffered video streamer by far. The second monitor for gameplay functionality gets used often. And the potential as as a smart controller AI are there to be taken advantage of. I think developers just need to sort out what works and what doesn't. Everything so far seems really experimental as a second screen experience. Just hope they stop giving us games where I have to move the screen like a virtual window. It's neat but not a good use of the technology in most games. You have a screen on you controller that can be used on the fly as a programmable video interface where basically anything is possible for input and display and they just need to take advantage of it properly. I would not want to give up my tablet controller.
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  • Avatar for SlimeBeherit #16 SlimeBeherit 5 years ago
    @Stealth20k I bought the ZombiU bundle and I've only bought 2 games :T Suffice to say, i bought the system too early. I'm sure they are saving their marketing bucks for the holiday season.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #17 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    @SlimeBeherit I have 10 plus games now. Sounds like your not satisfied. I have been. Maybe thats the difference. I am not suggesting the Wii u will sell 100 mil units. But if it is fun for me. Its not a doom situation
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  • Avatar for SlimeBeherit #18 SlimeBeherit 5 years ago
    @Stealth20k Whenever Bayonetta 2, Smash or Dragon Quest X come out, then i will be satisfied : )
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  • Avatar for DBPanterA #19 DBPanterA 5 years ago
    Jeremy, I have rad your articles in the past and enjoy your writing style on a topic that gets fueled with emotional responses.

    To those that wonder about the gamepad, I personally believe Nintendo does not know how to use it, they haven't shown it, and they won't. It's analogous to the 3D on the 3DS. However, the greatest thing is the off-TV play for those that share a TV or like me, like to have sports on in the background.

    Realizing Nintendo is a very conservative company, their approach to hand helds, which Japanese culture eats up is spot on. However, they have completely lost their ability to make home consoles for the North American and European markets that are appealing. There needs to be a stronger emphasis on connectivity to the internet (which helps sales on their eShop) as well as on-line play. While I do not expect much 1st party on-line play, they have to give 3rd party developers the tools and resources to provide that environment.
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  • Avatar for DBPanterA #20 DBPanterA 5 years ago
    @SlimeBeherit Only issue is Nintend of America does not advertise in the traditional manner like their competition. Nintendo is actually ahead of the curve by using social media (youtube, facebook, twitter) and their Nintendo Directs. The problem is only those seeking the information find it. I never see televised advertizements for the Wii U. I see the Playstion network commercial everyday on MLB network. By focusing on everyone, it makes marketing the console difficult compared to when you target a certain demographic and advertize on media that the demographic consumes.
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  • Avatar for EuroDarlan #21 EuroDarlan 5 years ago
    The Wii U will eventually have a new HD Zelda, Bayonetta 2, Xenoblade 2, a Retro-made game that isn't another Donkey Kong sidescroller, a few Marios, and a version of Smash Bros that at long last has working online, hopefully. It's not really a question of if it'll be a good system-just when. For the time being, though, you'd be insane to plop down $350 for this thing.
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  • Avatar for Sugoi #22 Sugoi 5 years ago
    @jeremy.parish "Hacking did NOT do good things for DS, and if you actually think piracy improves the livelihood of a console you're mistaken."

    True, but I don't think that piracy eats into sales that strongly either. Most who engage in it aren't likely to buy games normally, and thus don't represent real lost sales.

    As a related topic, Nintendo's decision to keep the 3DS region locked has probably driven more interest towards hacking it than any handheld in recent memory. I know that I'd hack the crap out of my 3ds in a heartbeat to avoid having to deal with the awkwardness of the eshop for games that don't get physical releases in my region.
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  • Avatar for SlimeBeherit #23 SlimeBeherit 5 years ago
    @DBPanterA It would also help if the first televised commercial for WiiU showed the WiiU. You're right though, i saw said commercial online. I never once saw it on TV. Might just be because I don't watch much TV though. Still I do see way more PS4 ads online than i do of the WiiU.
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #24 Captain-Gonru 5 years ago
    The off-screen gameplay didn't get nearly enough mention here. I've sold systems based almost totally on that. Plus, can you really get the full ZombiU or Lego City Undercover experience with any other system?
    And really, let's be honest, Nintendo will be fine. Every third-party dev can "EA" on them and they'll be fine. Because parents will always be ready and eager to buy a Mario game for little Billy or Sally. And that means buying whatever system Nintendo puts out. Scoff all you want at the "kiddie crap", it sells.
    What does Nintendo do next? Release some titles featuring their main franchises over the next few months, while their competitors fight over who's brown shooter is browner. Oh, they're doing that? Cool.
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  • Avatar for Thusian #25 Thusian 5 years ago
    Yeah, the situation is a bummer, especially for guys like me who actually do like their Wii U. See all the ports that nobody plays I am using to catch up on games because Off TV play gives me so much more game time. Also I like local co-op when one of us can play off just the gamepad rather than split screen. That being said the analysis here is spot on I just hope they Gamecube it for the rest of the cycle and I can keep enjoying it.

    I will disagree about the importance you claim they are placing on the HD Wind Waker, I would expect they are banking more on Mario 3D Land, and maybe a few raised eyebrows at stuff like Wonderful 101. Also before my own analysis a question, if Nintendo has made a system exactly like the ones about to come out, would anyone have been excited for it? I expect not.

    I think part of the problem and this goes to the vacuum idea is that they don't see the library the way we do. In Nintendo's eyes the path between here and Christmas is:

    Pikmin, Splinter Cell, Disney Infinity, Skylanders, Rayman, Wonderful 101, Scribblenauts Unmasked, Assassin's Creed, Batman, Watchdogs, Sonic, Wind Waker HD, Call of Duty, Deus Ex, Donkey Kong and Mario 3D Land.

    For most of the avid gamers who don't depend on Off TV the way I do, that list gets dwindled down to.

    Pikmin, Rayman(maybe if you like the Murphy stuff),The Wonderful 101, Scribblenauts, Wind Waker, Sonic, Donkey Kong and then Mario. Account for taste and for some the list does not even include these.

    See the difference? Executives not accounting for the idea that nobody will play the cross platform stuff on Wii U see the lineup as banging. I personally plan to get most of those games for Wii U, but recognize fully that I am in the minority.

    For me, one thing I am interested in, is if the other platforms fairing much better is that much of a certainty. Pre-orders for the U were decent and the Christmas numbers were respectable, it was afterword that it fell off a cliff. I wonder if that was a Nintendo problem, or a recession problem? People are still pretty tight and while I expect all of the platforms to sell over Christmas, I will be curious to see if that is the splurge of a culture that has repressed its spending until the holidays or a sustained resurgence in the game hardware market. Yes I know that 360 and PS3 are selling, but they are much lower buy in. They feel like bigger spends in the recession. Furthermore nobody seems to be questioning Sony's long term health based on the Vita, and as a whole company they have had a very rough go the last few years. I personally think the Recession has played a bigger factor than a lot of companies think, and after Christmas we shall see a)how fast the library rolls out for Next Gen, and b)how much people actually have to spend on it. I expect not much, but for the lively hoods of everyone involved I'll gladly be wrong.

    As for the successor I hope they do the Wii U in reverse, a portable that can stream out to the TV for couch multiplayer or big display via-a tiny puck.

    Again I ultimately agree, even if its a bummer for a guy like me who enjoys the Wii U, but hey dollar for hour I got 230 hours from Monster Hunter alone, so I got mine.Edited August 2013 by Thusian
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  • Avatar for sethmacy91 #26 sethmacy91 5 years ago
    I feel like, and this is purely gut and has little to no scientific value, that Wii U owners are the most die-hard Nintendo freaks. As such, the Wii U should be treated by Nintendo as a specialized product, and its games should cater to that demographic. Which seems to be their strategy with every system since the N64 anyway, so it's not like they'd be ill equipped to handle it.
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  • Avatar for Fanfare #27 Fanfare 5 years ago
    What if Nintendo sticked to the Wii U for the next 3+ years while planning their next home console? I mean, for what i´ts worth, the past generation lasted for so many years that It could mean the opportunity for Nintendo to make a swift transittion in the middle of the other consoles life, while thinking of a new aproach into the market...
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  • Avatar for raymonddwyer49 #28 raymonddwyer49 5 years ago
    That'd be great if they do support like the Gamecube with a trickle of great first party titles, and they seem to be on the right track with good games coming out this fall and next year. I'd certainly get all the enjoyment I need out of the console that way, but the issue is that investors are a lot less patient than I am. As much as Iwata revitalized the company after Yamauchi left, he's still very much part of the old guard. After the success of the Wii, how long will they accept the company sitting on their money before they demand someone to lead that does what they want (and everything fans don't want)?
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  • Avatar for Wellman #29 Wellman 5 years ago
    The Wii U's concept wouldn't be that bad if Nintendo had gone conservative in the Wii U's specs.

    If the system came out the gate with the ability play multi player games with two Gamepads at once locally, its own improved Wii Remotes rather then the same tech rebranded and just more to put it closer to Xbox One and PS4 more people and developers would probably have given it a shot. Instead the conservative nature that made the Wii a miracle proved to make the Wii U come out like a dud.

    I really like the Wii U but I wish Nintendo had tried to do more with the concept then use it as a mask for a system that uses cheaper tech to save costs.
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  • Avatar for dr134 #30 dr134 5 years ago
    I think that one major factor is being overlooked. The gimmick factor.

    A lot of people bought the Wii based on the excitement of a new play style (motion control). After using it for awhile, I grew tired of it and saw it as more of a gimmick than a useful control method. I would venture a guess that more than a few other people had the same experience.

    When I saw the Wii U, I thought: "Wow, a new gimmick. Not going to fall for that one again."

    I enjoyed the Wii (for awhile), but ultimately, I think that these gimmicky control schemes will be a lot like Guitar Hero/Rock Band. Huge for a moment, then almost totally abandoned and ignored.

    It would take a major price cut to make me even think about buying a Wii U.

    On the other hand, think about if they had a console on par with the PS4 and Xbox One. With the Nintendo exclusives, it would fly off the shelves. Why can't Nintendo see this (or why do they choose to ignore it)?
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  • Avatar for manoffeeling #31 manoffeeling 5 years ago
    Good article. I think it's early yet to decide the Wii U's ultimate fate, but if it came to that, WOULD it really be impossible for Nintendo to just drop the tablet and sell the console at a much lower price? It's a cool bit of gadgetry, IMHO, and it would be missed. But to date I don't think there're that many games that absolutely require it (or couldn't be patched to work around its absence maybe?), and there may never be.

    You know, a big deal was made about Sony courting indie game developers, which is cool, but it's funny to think that people are gonna buy this very powerful/expensive piece of hardware to play games that require only a fraction of that power. Make the Wii U the cheapest (by a considerable margin) console out there that happens to be the host for all of Nintendo's latest games, supplemented by a Steam-style store, and people are gonna buy that. It may not be able to play the most cutting edge software, but then, a diminishing number of companies appear to still be in the business of producing that kind of content, anyway.
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #32 scuffpuppies 5 years ago
    I'm not a die hard Nintendo freak, and I bought a Wii U at launch (in the UK too, at UK prices £350/$550). Granted I've owned a Nintendo console since the NES, but I've also owned everything else too.

    Right now I have the PS3,360,and Wii U, having just finished (yesterday) paying off the PS4 and XBO for launch.

    I support the industry, not a platform holder. But this business would be a lot darker without Nintendo in it.

    The Wii U is actually a pretty cool console. But like all console's, the rise and fall of its success is on the software. It's here that Nintendo seriously f**ked up, and I can't see them fixing this any time soon.

    I don't want an HD remaster of a game I still own on the Gamecube. I want the new Zelda. Now. Not 2014/15. Now. In the launch window, as I expected.

    What the Hell were Nintendo doing for the three years prior to launch? It's crazy. I want to support Nintendo and the WiiU, but they themselves are making it bloody hard to do so.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #33 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    Guys below. Specs are irrelevant for system sales
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #34 Captain-Gonru 5 years ago
    @Thusian Great point about the recession. It seems to go unnoticed that every system that launched post-recession has floundered, at least initially. This discussion shoud probably have been saved for post-Xmas, just so there was a more even field on which to judge performance. But, the internet being what it is, someone had to address it now. At least it was someone who can remain somewhat professionally impartial, unlike the fanboys at EGM, for instance.
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  • Avatar for Thusian #35 Thusian 5 years ago
    Deleted August 2013 by Thusian
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  • Avatar for TotalHenshin #36 TotalHenshin 5 years ago
    @Captain Gonru And if the Wii U doesn't do well during Christmas, people will say "Wait until Mario Kart!" and if that doesn't save it, "Wait for Smash Bros!" The truth is you can't wait until more than 2 years into a console's life to start discussing the problems it's facing in those first two years.

    I'm a Wii U owner, I hope the system does better than the GCN. I had a 360 and PS3 (and Wii) this last gen. Not sure I want to pick up a PS4 or XB1 this coming gen.
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  • Avatar for Thusian #37 Thusian 5 years ago
    @TotalHenshin When he was responding to my comment I don't think his intent was to delay until a narrative he likes plays out. He was simply stating that to gauge its relative success or failure against upcoming consoles, you need to wait for those consoles to come out. To see if the pattern of strong Christmas, dead afterword is unique to Nintendo (making the dire situation clearly more dire) or if all of the systems struggle to sell in a mainstream market outside of Christmas (Recession hurting game platform launches) so go easy on the guy.
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  • Avatar for matthewwesley13 #38 matthewwesley13 5 years ago
    I agree with most of your points except one. Nintendo's greatest strength are it's ip's, and once the big time system sellers start to drop, I can imagine that the wii u will start to sell big. On a related note, I strongly doubt that the xbox one or ps4 are going to do as well as people think they are, simply because most of the games coming to those consoles will be multiplatform; and both Sony and Microsoft have a pronounced weakness of first party ip's. The keys to the next console generation will be exclusives and first party ip's, and neither Sony nor Microsoft have made even a fraction of the investment Nintendo has.
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  • Avatar for Wellman #39 Wellman 5 years ago
    @Stealth20k True but specs certainly would have helped sell the system to other developers as something new they can play with (which lets be honest is the driving force with many AAA developers and why many have shied away from Nintendo devices for over years) and better specs allowing for better usage of the Gamepad.

    Heck, normally Nintendo showcases software that uses their controllers better and in almost a year none of their main titles even require it. Whether it is Nintendo cheaping out on hardware or Nintendo cheaping out on game development, it is all on Nintendo why the Wii U is doing bad.
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  • Avatar for Silveresque-Bullet #40 Silveresque-Bullet 5 years ago
    Between a rock and a hard place would be an understatement. You highlight the pros and cons well.

    I think in the end Nintendo will just let Wii U die a slow death, and PS3/PS4/360/Xbox One will do the rest of damage. Its really on a crash diet of few games to enjoy and Nintendo don't make things much easier.
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  • Avatar for curryking3 #41 curryking3 5 years ago
    Great article, Mr. Parish :)
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  • Avatar for Silveresque-Bullet #42 Silveresque-Bullet 5 years ago
    I do agree with SlimeBeherit.

    Nintendo's hand held success has always been its own thing and shouldn't be compared to what's going on with Wii U. Two different side of the Nintendo golden coin.

    While Nintendo watch WIi U die, they'll be preparing a new Pokemon game somewhere. The combination of Pokemon and their handhelds is what has kept them anchored all these years, with the home console stuff as an extra distraction, IMO. Why else would Nintendo be so cavalier about home consoles and not getting into a tech race? Probably because they'd rather focus on handhelds, which for them are cheaper to make, lower tech and can be sold for less. Only problem with such a theory is that it again pushes third parties away with its low tech, thus only so much third party stuff.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #43 Stealth20k 5 years ago
    @Wellman No, they really havent "as something new they can play with"

    PC's are already superior to the ps4 and one. They always will be. In fact next to them PS4 is pretty weak
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  • Avatar for adamscottprenger78 #44 adamscottprenger78 5 years ago
    If they keep making games for it people will keep buying it. That is what they need to do.
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  • Avatar for docexe #45 docexe 5 years ago
    Great article, Jeremy, very insightful and spot on. Honestly, I think we will need to judge the situation with the Wii U after Christmas to determine if it can truly be called dead, but in the meantime the situation is certainly incredibly gloom and Nintendo has certainly made a lot of costly mistakes.

    Now, Nintendo won’t be doomed if the Wii U fails, but if they don’t manage to improve sales it will be more difficult for them to recover. As I see it, the best strategy for them right now would be something similar to what they did with the Gamecube: Increase the sales of the console to a degree were at least they are no longer losing money on it, release 1st party quality software to keep their fanbase interested, and based on that and the financial liquidity of their handheld business (which will keep thriving for at least a couple more of years) keep on until they can release their next console, hopefully with a different and better strategy.

    As to what they could do next, Iwata said that they don’t have plans to develop “a combination of handheld and console in a single device” when they announced the merging of their hardware divisions. But as@Thusian and other people have mentioned here, I think that’s exactly what they should do.

    You mentioned that tablets are not a threat for home consoles but rather for handhelds, that’s true in the present and will keep that way for, I presume, at least 5 years more. But while tablets certainly don’t pose a serious threat to consoles right now, some tech and business analysis have predicted that they might do so in the future, they only need three things: Their processing power to get on par with home consoles (might happen in a few more years given the advancements in miniaturization of microprocessors), a standardized twin sticks controller interface (Apple recently announced this for their own mobile devices, who knows if something like that is possible at all in the Android enviroment), the possibility of streaming content to the TV seamlessly (there have been some advancements on this front like Air Play, but as far as I know, the application is still limited and not flawless yet). That’s pretty much the reason why people keep predicting that Apple will enter with full force in the gaming space, with a combination of the iPad, iOS and Apple TV.

    At times it looks like Nintendo anticipated those trends and tried to take advantage of them, as the Wii U indeed seems like an intermediate state in that process, but the entire thing got hampered mostly due to limited technology, price concerns and Nintendo’s own conservative nature. But honestly, the idea of being able to play AAA scale games in a portable anywhere, then carry on with your game on the TV once you get home sounds actually very neat. So hopefully, Nintendo will keep experimenting on this and leverage the technology they have developed for the Wii to offer that combination of handheld and home console.
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  • Avatar for Stoim #46 Stoim 5 years ago
    Another fantastic and informed piece. Thank you!

    I also wonder if, perhaps, the anti-tablet strategy might have been mitigated somewhat if they put some effort into unifying their platforms. Perhaps that's on the way, who knows. But the segregation of Wii U's and 3DS's functionality seems to do more to strike at the Wii U's weaknesses. More virtual console, cross-platform virtual console? Unified eShops and MiiVerse? I really don't know, of course.

    I do think it's just plain odd, though, that there have been and will be more firmware updates that let you return to the Wii U's home menu more quickly, yet there's no such transition on the 3DS at all. This, despite the Wii U's vastly superior hardware specs. What's the deal with that? More Nintendo strangeness.
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  • Avatar for cullenlea33 #47 cullenlea33 5 years ago
    I think Nintendo needs to do this: flip the industry on its head by pooling most of its resources into an awesome handheld device. ie: incredible graphics, two screens, no 3D, two thumbsticks, haswell-like battery life, multi-touch screen. Make the most badass handheld device ever and have all of the first parties develop for it. On the back end, have a small hook up (the size of an Apple TV) that connects to your TV. Once you return home with your handheld you can stream any of your games to the television.
    Things seem to be pointing in this direction with the unification of handheld and console creation.
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  • Avatar for joshuasortino #48 joshuasortino 5 years ago
    I really hope Nintendo can position itself as innovative industry leader again. However, I think their days are numbered.
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #49 Captain-Gonru 5 years ago
    @TotalHenshin Like Thusian said, I'm only interested in making this discussion when the playing field is a bit more level. Comparisons being made right now between the Wii U's first year and the 360's, for instance, seem to me to be unbalanced, due to the drastic economic differences surrounding their respective launch windows. My point, as was Thusian's I believe, is that in the current economic climate, ANY new console might flounder. If, in three months, XBox One and PS4 are blowing away sales records, I'll be the first to look at the Wii U numbers more sceptically. Until then, though, let's see what ACTUALLY happens, instead of spinning predictions.
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  • Avatar for abuele #50 abuele 5 years ago
    Great article, I´ve recently soaked myself in all this Wii U drama. It is very easy to plunge your finger down the bullet wound and say, Nintendo now you´re in pain. But the company is still around and after 30+ years in the interactive media market, they've proven their plans are always looking for the long run.

    I shunned Nintendo since the Gamecube days, but nevertheless I gave my nephew several Gamecube games as presents. I never got out of touch of Nintendo´s offer, even though I never played the games until latter.

    As a company, after the Gamecube, they proved to withstand problems, and take them as opportunities, now the market is overflowing with offerings and saturation for interactive entretainment, and we only have 24 hours in a day.

    I am an early 3DS adopter, and a happy one, since I bought my DS in 2006, the only logical way for portable gaming was Nintendo next iteration.

    Nintendo will not disappear from the making hardware market, as Sega did, they will follow or create a path to move forward and succeed not inmediatelly but in five or maybe ten years from now. We will be playing and complaining of the same old games we learned to love. From the hand holding in their games, and the tweaks and small placement of some of he iterations in their lineups.
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  • Avatar for rosemo #51 rosemo 5 years ago
    @cullenlea33 I was talking to my brother-in-law about five months ago about Nintendo and predicted almost exactly the same thing. I think pooling their resources into one platform that serves as one device for gaming would be awesome. We shall see...
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  • Avatar for kdognumba1 #52 kdognumba1 5 years ago
    This is a good article and brings up some valid points. I do want to point out some differences in comparison when comparing the experience of Wii U to what you can get from XB1 and PS4 and the comparison with Wii U to Dreamcast.

    Wii U does come with the Wii U pad, yes, a mandatory peripheral that the entire user base will have, the same way the XB1 will come with the Kinect. This, in essence, means all games designed for the system will be much more likely to take advantage of these pieces of hardware which will lead to innovative designs by designers who normally wouldn't take the chance on making games for hardware within hardware.

    A good example is in the previous generation with Kinect, PS Move, and Wii Motion Plus & Wii Balance Board, very few designers took advantage of these peripherals. Rarely were these optional input methods, even less so for games based around them, despite them all opening up possibilities for unique and awesome experiences.

    Wii U won't have this problem with the gamepad, neither will XB1 with Kinect. PS4 however will likely see the same amount of support for the new PS Eye and Move as PS3 did. Wii U also has a distinct advantage here though as Wii U also comes with a sensor bar and is BC with all Wiimotes (usually both kinds but always Wii Motion Plus enabled).

    The next point I wanted to make is the fact that Wii U's price for the over all experience, for me, is drastically cheaper then getting the similar over all experience on either other new system and imo is a bit more practical. Let me elaborate.

    When I bought my Wii U, I knew full well what I was getting into. I knew the hardware wasn't going to blow me away but all of my Wiimotes and nunchucks work, as does all my Wii software seeing as it's backwards compatible. What this means is I get the tablet like input that doubles as a controller AND the motion controls from my Wii motes for no extra charge. To go a little bit further, this means I don't have to buy any separate devices to get the full experience, nor do I have to be interrupted mid gameplay by putting down my controller to interact with the world through touch as it will be on the device that's already in my hands. This all happens for $350 for me ($300 at the cheapest for others like me) before tax.

    Looking at XB1, they have the Kinect bundled with the system but the touch features are through smart glass which will require a separate mobile device. Luckily iPhone 3GS is supported, which means I already have a smart glass device. Because XB1 has Kinect included, the total price is $500 before tax.

    Looking at PS4, it's not like XB1 or Wii U with the peripherals bundled, everything is separate. While the touch input is its own stand alone device, a dedicated game portable at that, I don't own it. Luckily it was dropped to $200 but that's a lot more then the $5 I payed for my iPhone 3GS. With that said, it can double as a controller AND I don't need a data plan to use it. This however doesn't factor in the fact that motion is completely separate requiring separate purchases for each part. While I owned a PS3 I didn't own a Move, the same way I didn't own a Kinect, the same way I didn't get any Wii Motion Plus remotes/attachments till 2012 when I saw them bundled with games for less then $20. What this means is I have to buy the new camera for $60, Move Wands for $50, and Navigation Controls for $30. If I want full 4 player motion controls and touch input to go along with my PS4, at standard retail prices with no tax, I'm looking at $930.

    Of course, I've heard Sony will have a Smart Glass like service on mobile, which will take away the need for a $200 purchase to get the touch features but it will offer the same disconnect of putting down my controller to pick up a separate device that Smart Glass has and will actually take away certain features that I get from the Wii U experience that would only properly be emulated through PS Vita integration with PS4.

    The last and final point that I wanted to make is the comparison to the Sega Dreamcast. Dreamcast is, by all accounts, my favorite system of all time. It was ahead of its time with its focus on online gameplay and dared to be very different with crazy off the wall titles in a time where we started seeing the beginning of series's becoming Maddenized. The system also had an insanely good launch line up. It also had, literally, the most awesome memory cards ever devised.

    While the Wii U isn't the complete opposite of this as it focuses way more online then its predecessors and has a screen within its controller akin to the Dreamcasts VMU's, that's about where the similarities stop. The Wii U's launch line up had maybe 3 or 4 exclusives with the bulk of the games being mostly ports (similar to the soon to be XB1 and PS4 launches) , while the exclusives we've seen so far have been awesome they haven't been the completely random off the wall games we saw on Dreamcast, and the Wii U, unlike the Dreamcast, is not something that blew everything else out of the water when it launched. The difference between Soul Calibur and the entire PS1 and N64 library are like night and day. Lets be honest here, even most of the first year PS2 titles didn't look as good as Soul Calibur on Dreamcast.

    The other elephant in the room is Sega Dreamcast's US team IS the Xbox team. The entire North American Dreamcast team left Sega to join Microsoft instead of Microsoft buying Sega the way everybody, including Sega, thought they were going to. This is also the reason why Dreamcast died and Sega went 3rd party, they got screwed. Nintendo however has a very loyal staff and in return they are incredibly loyal to their staff. This is how they turned the 3DS around, despite a bad situation that was incredibly similar to the Wii U's. This is also why I'm confident that they'll be able to turn the Wii U around.Edited August 2013 by kdognumba1
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  • Avatar for IcyRaiN #53 IcyRaiN 5 years ago
    @kdognumba1 "This, in essence, means all games designed for the system will be much more likely to take advantage of these pieces of hardware which will lead to innovative designs by designers who normally wouldn't take the chance on making games for hardware within hardware."

    This just isn't true. The Wii was innovative hardware, and how many great, innovative 3rd party titles did we get? Very, very few. Frankly, we maybe saw like one or two great 3rd party games a year at best.

    I would also disagree that the Wii U experience is much cheaper than the PS4/Xbox One. Sure, a 2nd screen experience is going to cost quite a bit extra if you want to purchase a Vita and/or Tablet for Smart Glass. But at the same time, the sheer number of peripherals needed for the full Wii/Wii U experience has really surprised me. I bought a Wii U at launch, wanting to play Mario and Rayman, and for $350, you only get the GamePad. A single Wii U Pro controller costs what, like $50? I don't personally own any Wii controllers from the previous generation, so that's another $40-50 once you add in the nun-chuck. Considering that the PS4, being an actual "next gen" system is only $50 more expensive, I wouldn't say the Wii U really offers that much value; especially when you start to look at online functionality and 3rd party support.
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  • Avatar for abuele #54 abuele 5 years ago
    I had to come back to this article just to refresh my memory of the comments and after ready the most recent article on this matter.
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  • Avatar for cullenlea33 #55 cullenlea33 5 years ago
    @rosemo Yeah, tbh, I think that a fantastic handheld has to be their next move. Full back catalogue with virtual console, two analogue sticks, etc. etc. Plus with Nintendo's propensity for add-ons you could just hook up a receiver onto your tv through hdmi. When you get home, you can broadcast your game onto the TV and use the handheld as a "gamepad." Gaming everywhere. Plus, with all first parties focusing on one system, you could have a non-stop stream of content. It would be awesome and completely differentiate Nintendo from its competitors.
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  • Avatar for #56 4 years ago
    Know what Kinect has in common with Nintendo? People who buy it and then go on and on spouting about all the future potencial it has for innovation....that never comes.
    Far as consoles go, Nintendo got lucky with Wii, somehow conning non-gamers to get one. But you can't fool people twice.
    They make inferior consoles next to the competition, simple as that. Add to that making games that are appealing to only kids and adults still into kid style things, I don't know why anyone would be surprised they're slowly dying in anything outside of handhelds.
    Nintendo died for me as a customer from N64 on. Anyone still thinking WiiU isn't going to discontinue within another year, year and a half max, is in some serious denial.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #57 brionfoulke91 4 years ago They make "inferior" consoles only in terms of graphical power, which is not all that important. The strength of a system's library of games is what matters, and although the Wii-U started out lacking in that area it is now stronger than the competition at least.

    Nintendo consoles also have the huge advantage of having Nintendo's exclusive first party games. If you own a PS4 or X-Bone there's no real reason to own the other one, but there's plenty of reason to own Wii-U as your second console.
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #58 Funny_Colour_Blue 4 years ago
    ....So many comments!

    I am confused! Is this an old article slightly revised for December 2013?

    I wanted to get a Wii U as it's the only console that still legitimately supports S-video. The PS3 while nice, outside of 2 or 3 games never had a good enough library of games to justify owning a PS3, let alone upgrading to an HD television set.

    this HD era of gaming has made game development particularly troublesome. I know Jeremy mentioned in a previous article of a way to combat this. But I can't help but wonder if the market will simply bottom out as game developers naturally navigate away to less expensive, low entry platforms.

    I remember in the late 90s, with the 32X, Sega Saturn, N64 and numerous other platforms coming out, It was very difficult to find a game console that still offered the same amount of depth in quality and breadth in library as generations prior. So our family ended up eventually settling on the Playstation because it offered that same amount of variety as seen on the SNES or Genesis, but slightly more;

    There was that sense of familiarity, but minus the baggage from the N64's catridge/controller or the Saturn's high price tag and dual core processors - it was the same, but different and a much cheaper alternative.

    It'll be interesting to see what comes out of the following years. Perhaps this is the year portables finally "catch up and over take consoles"? It sounds absolutely absurd but stranger things have happened.

    Eitherway, something has to change.Edited 2 times. Last edited December 2013 by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for Critical_Hit #59 Critical_Hit 4 years ago
    " which only goes to reinforce the idea that Nintendo functions in a vacuum..." lol. Ahhh, Jeremy. I missed you buddy. I forgot how refreshing it was to hear from a knowledgeable journalist, with a great memory of the past few decades of this industry, who notices such things. WAY TOO MANY VOICES are merely saying, "they pulled the 3DS out of a nosedive - never count Nintendo out!" and then walking away from this conversation. When there's so much more they've yet to acknowledge. I love you USGamer :)

    At any rate, I'm tired of bashing Nintendo because their old-skool, VERY Japanese attitude of "We can do everything ourselves" and "This is what applies to us, so we don't need to pay attention to anything else" are annoying as shit. HOWEVER, I will say that the Wii U would probably get a nice healthy bump up from a 3DS Player. A modern equivalent to the Super Game Boy, or the Gamecube Game Boy Player. The 3DS is popular, too many Nintendo teams aren't calibrated to HD game development, and too few franchises are deemed worth enough of receiving a proper HD production any way -- you could argue that Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3 and DKC: Tropical Freeze aren't even. That they're just higher-res Wii games, from a technical standpoint (I would). So a 3DS Player would make sense for consumers, as it would be nice to play the games they like (Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, Luigi's Mansion) on the bigger screen, and for them. As they would have less to worry about when it comes to divvying up development resources. If Intelligent Systems makes another 3DS Paper Mario game, the Wii U gets a Paper Mario game too, and they could market it as such. Not to mention, they could mask the lack of 3rd party support by pushing the 3rd party software on the 3DS as a software library for the Wii U too. And if given the choice between playing some overblown Tetsuya Nomura mess of a Final Fantasy game, or Bravely Default, I know I'd rather just play Bravely Default on my HDTV.

    3DS Player wouldn't fix all the problems they face. And I like seeing them struggle, because it's about time they received the message to change the way they think and peek outside of their little bubble world occasionally. That they're not perfect, and that there IS stuff out there that could greatly improve their products if they just showed some interest in learning it. Big corporations tend not to get the message until their wallet is hurting, so I'm really hoping this is healthy for Nintendo. I don't want them to run away from learning some netcode again, as it really should've been in Mario 3D World and it's dumb they're still using the old, "It's better locally" excuse. Sure it is, but the option is necessary because it's a big world and friends & family move away. Insomniac said the same thing about Ratchet: All 4 One, but included an online mode regardless because they're NOT Luddites. Nintendo needs a swift kick in the pants. The Wii U should be that kick - if that's it's legacy, than so be it.

    They also need to finally acknowledge that their dumb uber-casual & octogenarian fanbases that once snapped up the Wii en masse have long since moved onto smartphone time-wasters and dying, respectively.
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  • Avatar for thunderking #60 thunderking 4 years ago
    the point is,you either cling to hard core gaming fans to boost your sales or try casual gaming as your strong point. each of these have their own weak points, you can not ignore them by just chanting "we bring games to casual gamers"! while hardcore gaming has its own promises it has its own flaws: you have to be ahead of your competetors in graphics and game play and you must have a strong story nad in the mean while pray that things beyond your usual measures go smoothly and invest heavily on advertisements to force a boost in your sales. on the other side casual gaming is much like tv shows;you miss the rankings and you are gone! in that respect you can not invest of fan communities because this time you are judged on the run and since you are hardware dependent and that hardware is way below the competition you are on the brink of the fall. last time nintendo did outsmart its rivals by innovations in controlers and its appeal for curious crowd and ofcourse clung to our nostalgia by games we all know quite well. this time round the hype about controlers are gone and a new rival has arisen! mobile gaming and this timethey are not hardware dependent and they now how to keep the ratings. unless nintendo finds a new trick it is a gonner!
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #61 CK20XX 4 years ago
    I'm kinda waiting for Super Smash Brothers 4 and Bayonetta 2 to come out. Then I'll know if I should be worried about the Wii-U's death or not. I can understand why people are in shock as they witness the Wii-U's lack of success so far sitting in sharp contrast to the Wii's, but it's important to note that the Wii was sort of an artificial success in the first place. It did appeal to a new kind of audience, but Nintendo learned that said audience has no sense of loyalty and is too easily distracted by the latest shiny novelties, which is a big part of why Nintendo's rallying cry with the Wii-U has been "we want our old audience back".

    Course, it'll be ironic if the old audience they get is their Game Cube audience, which is what seems to be happening so far.

    Even so though, I'm not worried about Nintendo. I've always felt that they haven't and still aren't doing enough to attract big name third party developers, but all the rumors of an industry crash have put a lot of those houses, like Capcom, EA, and Square Enix, on deathwatch. It would be an amazing coincidence if those big names cease to exist in a few years, leaving indies, the kind of developers that Nintendo has been trying to court instead, as the only third party developers that matter anymore.
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  • Avatar for Y7748837 #62 Y7748837 4 years ago
    @CK20XX How can you say "Wii was sort of an artificial success in the first place" with a straight face when that "artificial success" earned them buckets of money? That massive savings account they must've built up over the Wii years is going to have to count for something in the lean years ahead.
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  • Avatar for bigdsweetz #63 bigdsweetz 4 years ago
    Tell you what. If they could get someone to release MegaMan and another good Metroid game on the Wii U, I'd be all over that. Honestly, the only reason I don't have one is because I'm expecting the price to drop. There is NOTHING on the Wii U that makes me want to purchase the console. Smash Bro's doesn't do it for me. Better yet, if they release another Mario RPG I'd buy two. Ok, seriously though there really isn't anything on the Wii U that makes me want to purchase it which is my bottom line. Yeah, Nintendo has a ton of good content, but nothing that makes me want to play it now.

    *and now the Nintendo fan boys will hunt me down...
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #64 CK20XX 4 years ago
    I can say that the Wii was an artificial success because its success didn't last. A genuine success isn't one-off; all those profits Nintendo earned from the Wii have ended up being an anomaly instead of consistent into the Wii-U's life. In the end, the Wii was not the start of a great Nintendo resurgence and it didn't really help them mend relationships with third party developers either. Instead, Nintendo seems to have quickly dropped down to about where they were before they launched the Wii. They came, they innovated, they conquered, they ended up back at the drawing board.
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  • Avatar for DiscordInc #65 DiscordInc 4 years ago
    @CK20XX No, I'd say that the Wii was an absolute success for Nintendo. Not only did they sell a ton of hardware, but it sold a lot of software too.

    Sure it didn't lead to a new era of Nintendo dominance in the market, but that doesn't take away from what they achieved with the Wii.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #66 CK20XX 4 years ago
    @DiscordInc I would agree, except for the sudden dropoff after the Wii ran its course. At least some of its momentum should have carried over. Instead it's like its target audience just went "Oh well, that was fun" and went off to do something else. That Nintendo managed to hit that moving target at all, in fact, when no one else has been able to since, makes the Wii seem kinda like a happy accident in retrospect.

    You can point to the piles of money Nintendo made, but that doesn't really matter because a safety net like that is something you install with the intention of never using it. If you're an acrobat and you keep falling off the high wire into the net below, it means you're a bad acrobat. If you're a company and you have to keep taking money from the war chest you built up with past successes, it means you're a bad company.

    You need to be able to see long term instead of short term, then you'll see that the Wii's success exists in a sort of vacuum state, meaning it may not have been all that great a thing for everyone involved after all.
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  • Avatar for DiscordInc #67 DiscordInc 4 years ago
    @CK20XX There's definitely a dropoff for Nintendo after the Wii, but that was due to Nintendo themselves bungling the transition.

    I will agree that even during high points of the Wii era things weren't entirely golden. Sure Nintendo sold a lot of software on it, but they were pretty much the only one. You just need to look at a list of the top selling Wii games on Wikipedia or Amazon to see that very few third party games made it big.

    If there is a real tragedy to the Wii it's that no one really knew how to take advantage of the audience. There were some good games on there that didn't seem to get any advertising since publishers assumed they would sell themselves on the Wii.

    Plus I remember a lot of people (including Nintendo themselves I believe) that thought the Wii would be the successor to the PS2 for a lot of smaller developers that couldn't afford to make the jump to the HD era. Instead it seems like they all went to portable or downloadable.

    The simple fact is the Wii was a very successful system for Nintendo and that success did not carry over to the Wii U. Because of that it is easy to look back at the Wii and think it's not all it was cracked up to be, but it's not like this is a unique situation. By all rights the PS3 is an absolute failure compared to what the PS2 did, but do one is trying to tear down the PS2's legacy (though I will freely admit that system's legacy is a lot stronger than the Wii's).
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  • Avatar for metalangel #68 metalangel 4 years ago
    I remember a similar doom-prophecy article in Edge about the original Xbox waaaay back in 2001. Oh no, it's dead on arrival, they said. It wasn't true, but it made for good headlines.

    As for the Wii-U, it didn't need to exist yet. There was no reason for it. It doesn't do anything amazing or new or exciting. Plus, Nintendo successfully drove away a lot of its hardcore demographic with the shovelware laden Wii only to find that a lot of that casual money was people buying just it and a balance board. Now they come back with their tail between their legs and a slightly improved version of the same system and the hardcore find it difficulty to care.

    I don't care. I have a 3DS.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #69 Stealth20k 4 years ago
    "With Wii U on the ropes mere months after its debut and no relief in sight"


    Now I remember. This article is somewhat old.Edited December 2013 by Stealth20k
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #70 CK20XX 4 years ago
    @DiscordInc Yeah, exactly. Even when the Wii was at its best, it was somewhat dubious. That's what I'm getting at! It was like that throughout its entire life!

    And the reason no one knew how to take advantage of the audience was because it was a fad audience. Now that the Wii is dead, they've gone elsewhere, and it's unlikely anyone will ever capture them again, even though a lot of companies seem determined to try. The Wii's audience was interested in toys more than video games, which is why the toy-like games on iOS and other platforms are what ended up drawing them in.

    And what of the Wii's legacy? How did it improve games and the industry? All we learned from it is that motion controls are not as precise as controller-based inputs, and the people who love motion controls don't overlap much with the people who love video games. It led to the creation of the Playstation Move, which Sony soon forgot about, and the Kinect, which is a universally despised peripheral. Motion controls have been resigned to supplementary status, best employed when built into traditional controllers or when not used at all unless you're playing a game specifically built around them, like Metroid Prime 3.

    Hence the artificial success. You can't make that same claim for the PS2, despite its embarrassing launch that foreshadowed the PS3's failure, because as you correctly state, its legacy is a lot stronger than the Wii's.
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  • Avatar for landocal67 #71 landocal67 4 years ago
    Here is Nintendo's next move. Add an HDMI out to the 3DS or 3DSi or whatever. BAM problem solved.
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  • Avatar for SargeSmash #72 SargeSmash 4 years ago
    @CK20XX: You may call that artificial, but it's the devs' fault for not utilizing the controls better. Of course, you can't expect them to change overnight, either, I suppose. However, despite my preference for traditional controls, I must acknowledge that the next big leap in gaming is going to have to come from control interfaces.

    Despite the presence of all the party games, there were plenty of hardcore entries from Nintendo. I'd probably even argue that the Wii first-party games were better than those of the Gamecube. Not getting hardcore third-party games was certainly a problem, but that exodus started on the Gamecube, and I'm not sure there was anything they were going to do to bring them back. They did what they had to do to stay relevant, and I have to respect 'em for the risk they took, because it could have flopped horribly.

    @metalangel: "Slight" improvement? Even if we use the conservative estimate of the Wii U being equal to a PS3/360, that's a significant power jump from the Wii.

    Full disclosure, I just jumped onboard, and am very much enjoying the Wii U. It's a nice piece of kit, for sure, and I have a feeling Mario Kart and Smash Bros. will give it legs. Super Mario 3D World is absolutely incredible right now, though!Edited 2 times. Last edited January 2014 by SargeSmash
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  • Avatar for DiscordInc #73 DiscordInc 4 years ago
    @CK20XX I'd argue that developers and gamers dismissed motion controls too hastily. Sure, it's no fun playing a traditional game with tacked on motion controls, but they're great for games designed around them. Like the article says, Pikmin 3 is a joy to play with the Wiimote and nunchuk. Even just navigating menus is better with the Wiimote than the gamepad, except for the parts that don't support it for dumb reasons.

    Also, the downfall of motion controls has less to do with Nintendo and more to do with publishers like EA and Ubisoft making shovelware party games that cluttered the shelves and kept people from noticing the actual good Wii games.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #74 CK20XX 4 years ago
    @DiscordInc Those are very good points, such that I can't help but feel that you agree with my main point even though you say you don't. Either way though, it's been a pleasure to fanwank with you about this.

    Still though, motion control focus has just not proven to be a sustainable strategy for one reason or another. It's great that the Wii set the world on fire with it for a while, but it was such a short while that it's ended up feeling like something of a shame and a waste. Ironically, the Wii should have gone further and perhaps innovated more to preserve the momentum it built up. That, and Nintendo shouldn't have botched the Wii-U's launch with the high price and few games, but I still feel that's only part of the story, and anyone who focuses solely on that is missing arguably more important lessons that should be learned.
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  • Avatar for DiscordInc #75 DiscordInc 4 years ago
    @CK20XX Well I think we both agree that the Wii was a massive success that Nintendo failed to follow up on with the Wii U, and that even during the Wii's heyday it still never really delivered on some of its promises.

    Where we seem to disagree on is whether in retrospect those facts make the Wii a failure. Which is okay, and I debating with you did help me think more about the Wii's legacy than I have in a long time.

    Nintendo definitely should not have downplayed motion controls for the Wii U's release. I think they were so concerned with trying to lure over core gamers that they didn't think about marketing it to the casual's they gained during the Wii-era. It's obvious that they're trying to get back the casual audience with the new Wii Sports and Wii Fit, but that sort of stuff should have been there from the beginning. Granted that's far from their only problem with the Wii U, but it's definitely emblematic of how they missed the mark.
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  • Avatar for bugmenot666 #76 bugmenot666 4 years ago
    @Farmboy74 Moving forward with "New ideas?"

    No, nintendo dosen't do stupid generic FPS games.
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  • Avatar for usama-khatri #77 usama-khatri A year ago
  • Avatar for usama-khatri #78 usama-khatri A year ago