Guest Post: Is Nintendo Making a Mistake with the Wii U?

When my friend Robert isn't causing trouble as his alias the Mad Blogger, he's writing some more serious and far more interesting stuff.  Here's an example -- his commentary on Nintendo's next video game console, the Wii U.  Here's what Rob has to say (with my comments interspersed where appropriate):

This year marks the final year of the Wii for Nintendo. Next year, Nintendo is going to release the Wii U (better named P.U.). This is a huge mistake for Nintendo. Here is why.

1. Nintendo is getting away from what works. Why I love the Wii is that you can actually get a great workout while having fun playing games. No other system today has motion controls that are as responsive as the Wii.

(Note from Nick: I have to agree here.  Even though I'm a PlayStation3 fan, the PS3 Move is a poor mirror version of the Wii.  The Move is cumbersome and not as fluid as the Nintendo system.  My daughter basically uses the Move controller as a pretend-microphone.)

My family loves this console because when they bowl, they really bowl, and feel sore afterward. The next version of the Wii (the Wii U) is going to have a tablet and be more of a typical game console. So, there will be fewer games where kids are moving, and more game where kids are sitting. To me, what made the Wii successful was its desire to break away from this video game mindset. They seem to be regressing, in a panicky move to try to boost sales.

(Note from Nick: To be fair, there is some innovation with the Wii U -- it has a tablet controller that's touchscreen, so you can play by looking at both the TV monitor like a standard video game console or by playing it like a portable device.  As a tablet, it seems innovative, possibly a true next step in gaming, but as a traditional home video game system, the tablet control seems too unwieldy, and as Robert says, it limits mobility, regressing from the strides that the original Wii had made to get gamers off their butts and on their feet.)

2. Nintendo will suffer even worse, financially. They already are. Nobody is purchasing Wii consoles right now. Why would they? Why would you spend $150 when the next version of the console is coming out next year?

(Note from Nick: The PS3 seems to be in the same boat.  Although it's still a great system, the Sony Network hacking scandal and the rumors of the next generation PlayStation 4 possibly hitting the market soon have both made some consumers wary of purchasing a new video game console at this time.)

Also, because the focus of games is shifting to a sit-down mode (my term of people who play video games, rather than experience them), people are purchasing far fewer games. After the Wii U is released, there will be an initial spike in sales, but the diverse markets who love the Wii (for example, senior citizens) will have no interest in playing games in sit-down mode. This will have a negative impact on sales.

3. Nintendo never utilized the power of the Wii. With each successive year, the games were getting better and more interactive. Wii Fit Plus was a huge upgrade over Wii Fit, and Wii Sports Resort was even better than Wii Sports (I loved all of these games). Punch Out for the Wii was fantastic, and NBA Jam was even better. Dino Strike was the ultimate in first-person shooter games, ala Jurassic park style, only without the mindless gore and profanity. Up until 2010, the games were getting slicker and more sophisticated. Rather than reinvent a new system, more of a development effort should have gone into creating even better games.

(Note from Nick: Totally agree.  The current generation of game systems seems to still be full of potential, a lot of it still untapped.  They're Internet ready and have superior graphics and gameplay.  It seems to me that they can still accomodate far greater games.  The focus, as Rob says, should be on the software, not the hardware.  Why tinker with what isn't broken?  Maybe the next generation of consoles might offer some amazing 3D graphics, like the handheld Nintendo 3DS, but is that three-dimensional gimmick enough to warrant investing in a whole new system?)

Unlike other consoles in the past, the Wii had so much untapped potential. It is a shame that Nintendo is choosing the easy way out, instead of using what works. Their reverse route from the bold approach of the Wii will hurt them.


There you have it.  We shall see soon enough if Robert's prediction holds true or if the Wii U defies the naysayers and takes the gaming world by storm.


Anonymous said…
Wow, who is this person? This has to be the best post I ever read on here. He sounds like someone who is intelligent and I get where he is coming from.
Anonymous said…
The Wii U will still utilize the Wii remotes. It's not just a tablet.
Nick said…
Right, but unless you're Doctor Octopus, it will be difficult to use both the tablet control and the traditional Wii controls. Note the controls on the Wii U tablet pad -- combined with the touch screen, that will likely be the primary method that gamers will be using. More sedentary, less mobility.