Why I’m Worried about the Wii U
Nintendo’s releasing a new console this year, with HD and all the games people loved on the Xbox 360 and PS3 as well! Hooray, isn’t that awesome?
Well, I’m not really too excited for it. From what I’ve seen and heard so far, while the concept and the unique controller idea shows promise, I have this fear Nintendo’s going to completely screw up the console’s launch this year and just throw away their chances of success. But before people completely crucify me for going against ‘public opinion’ on the internet, here’s why I’m not sure the Wii U will do well, and why I’m not currently interested in it.
One reason is that I don’t honestly think the Wii U should be released this year. Sure the idea of releasing a new Nintendo home console with a level of power more similar to that on competitor systems was an okay idea, and I really am looking forward to Super Smash Bros 4, but the fact of the matter is that it’s being released too close to the initial announcement.
Seriously, we’ve got what, about a year and a half between the console’s announcement and it’s projected release date? That just seems too little considering how much of an upgrade the console is supposed to be compared to the Wii (in comparison, why the Wii only took about a year to be released after it’s announcement, it was nearly identical to the Gamecube as far as tech power goes).
It always worries me because it doesn’t seem Nintendo has left enough time available to make some good games to go with the console’s launch later this year. Really, what could they possibly have ready for the console’s launch line up?
Zelda? Probably not, Skyward Sword only came out in November, and your average Zelda game takes many years to make.
The type of game shown above won’t be finished in just a year…
Super Smash Bros? Development has only started this year, and the games up to now have taken at least three years from announcement to final release.
A 3D Mario game? Super Mario 3D Land only came out in November, and I really doubt they’ll have one finished in under a year. Especially with HD graphics and all the extra effects and fancy orchestrated music these games usually come with. This wasn’t exactly the kind of ‘available in months’ affair:
Super Mario Galaxy missed the Wii launch by a whole year.
Mario Kart? They tried that, and we got Mario Kart 7. And while Mario Kart 7 is a great game, it still felt extremely rushed to the point the game had to be patched to fix online and stop everyone abusing glitch shortcuts in Wuhu Mountain Loop, Island Loop and Bowser Castle 1. Don’t think Nintendo are going to make that mistake again and try and have the Wii U game out as an ‘act of emergency’.
So that already counts out quite a lot of big Nintendo franchises, doesn’t it? We’ll be getting a 2D Mario platformer, which is definitely a good thing, but I fear that the New Super Mario Bros sequel will also be rushed. Really, it’s always taken the team behind these games a good two or three years to make just one game, and Nintendo expects both New Super Mario Bros Mii and New Super Mario Bros 2 ready and out the door this November?
This leaves us with two things. One, Retro Studios has finished their new project and it’s a launch title for the system. If so, great news! I’ll be looking forward to Metroid Prime HD, or their own take on Zelda or that magic Metroid and Star Fox crossover people were talking about! But again, Retro seems like hardly a studio to rush games into development and try and get them done as quickly as possible, so I’m not confident their latest project will get any more than a trailer shown off for it.
There’s also Pikmin, but give me a break. It’s a good series, but it doesn’t sell consoles on it’s own. Sells a few million, but so does Wario Land, and the last time Nintendo tried to focus on that we got the Virtual Boy. No, I don’t think Pikmin has quite the mainstream appeal Nintendo needs to sell their new console.
This then makes me think Nintendo are trying to sell the Wii U based on third party games and ‘interesting’ tech. Problem is, normal people don’t buy video game consoles based on the technology they use, they buy them for games. Maybe the types of hipsters who fawn over Apple products and constantly think about how ‘cool’ they are because they buy lots of new gadgets for the sake of owning them might, but they didn’t exactly make the 3DS sell by the ton until the likes of Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 came out.
But why would anyone buy the Wii U for third party games? Oh yay, you get to try the same games already out on the Xbox 360 and PS3, except with a fancy new tablet controller. Batman Arkham City is a great game, but it’s already out for consoles people already own. Assassin’s Creed might be cool, but it’s coming out for all the other systems at the same time as the Wii U anyway. There’s nothing exclusive Nintendo are offering if they’re relying on third parties, and I think this could be setting them up for failure.
If Nintendo thinks such games will sell the Wii U, they must have really had high hopes for Steel Diver. What a massive success that was!
Indeed, let me say something to Nintendo as a whole that they don’t seem to get. You are not Sony or Microsoft. Third parties don’t like you much, and if you rely on them for your next console, you are doomed to fail. Heck, even if they did absolutely adore Nintendo and want to make a ton of games on each of their consoles (and as the Wii/Gamecube/Nintendo 64 proves, they generally don’t), there’s no practical reason for them to support the Wii U’s launch if there’s no Nintendo made games ready at launch to guarantee the system an audience. It’s why so many new attempts at video game consoles die quickly, people don’t want to make games for consoles that don’t yet have an audience or any guaranteed way of getting one.
It’s a bit like the problem many forums on the internet face. No one will join a forum that the admins/owners/staff don’t post on/try and keep active, because few people want to just talk to themselves and try and get some site they have no connection with active when they could just go somewhere with an actual community. That’s what it’s like for video game publishers too, why release all your games on a ‘dead’ system or one just starting out when you can release them on one with an existing userbase and get far better sales? Nintendo needs to lead the way with the Wii U and have at least three or four rock solid first party games available on launch.
Heck, look at it from a user point of view. If you had the choice between spending about $400 on a Wii U and Batman Arkham City or just $40 for the Xbox 360 version, what do you think most people would choose? Exactly.
What worries me about the Wii U is that it seems like Nintendo aren’t trying to have software available for it at launch, and seem like they’re making the original 3DS mistake of relying on third parties to make their own console popular for them. I don’t want this to be the case, heck I really want to start buying Nintendo’s consoles on launch day again. But it seems like nothing I’m interested in will be a Wii U launch title, meaning my interest in the console is low and my money better spent on some more 3DS games.
Does anyone else feel the same way about the Wii U?