Then it dawned on me; there are two consoles supposedly launching this year. The other being the Wii U, Nintendo’s newest piece of hardware.
Details are sparse and excitement is even more thin from the community and press. What is this thing? Why will I want it? Do I even want it? I hate to say it, but it’s not looking good for this eventual Nintendo release.
Thick clouds of confusion surround the console in just about every way. Is this a supplement to my existing, dust-laden Wii? Or is it something completely new? The naming system, while not completely terrible (or I’m just used to it) doesn’t lend it any favors. While walking through the room while Good Morning America was on, I had noticed the anchors describing it as a “new attachment for your Wii with a touchscreen.” My palm met my face, knowing GMA had just added to the confusion for the housewives across America. It didn’t only affect non-gaming related press. I remember G4 having some confusion around its announcement on 2011’s E3. Nintendo is going to really have to drill it home that this is a new thing.
Let’s all look at that controller. It’s definitely unique, I’ll give it that, but it doesn’t look plausible. Finally two sticks! Oh wait, those are nubs. Freakin’ nubs. They were passable for the portable systems, but a home system? How are those going to be better than sticks?
The touch screen is also a point of contention. Not being multi-touch is a kiss of death as multi-touch is a key component of most touch gaming. Also, during one of the more recent Rebel FM podcasts, former 1Up staff member and gaming veteran Matt Chandronait got some hands-on and with the device at CES 2012 and had some colorful words saying something along the lines of it “felt like a fucking Mattel toy.” Not good or surprising given the controller’s disappointing tech.
Matt’s words also mirror what almost everyone else is thinking of the system. It’s hard to find anyone talking about it, let alone a soul who is actually stoked for it. We don’t really have any games to be excited for on the system. A logo was shown for a Super Smash Bros. game along with a Zelda demo of a game that may or may not come out. Great…? Don’t worry folks, Batman: Arkham City is coming out for it, only a year or so after its original launch. Finally having third-party support is great for Nintendo, but when it’s “here are some old games,” it’s hard to get excited.
It might be just old games because the Wii U is coming at changing point in the console’s life cycles. With the Xbox 360 blowing out the candles for its seventh birthday this year and the PS3 turning six, it wouldn’t be far off to guess that the successors to these platforms are getting somewhat prepped for release. Rumors are already circulating about E3 being a time to finally reveal these systems, leaving the Wii U in an odd place. These new systems will hypothetically be faster and stronger, leaving Nintendo (once again) behind in the tech race. It might be okay for a year or so, but when games really start to push the next Xbox and PS4, where does that leave the Wii U in terms of getting third-party games? Will they be scaled down just to fit the platform? Or will they just not be available? Neither is good for the Wii U.
Despite everything I’ve said, this is not a smear article against the Wii U or Nintendo. In fact, I hope in a year I eat some crow and write a “Guys, I Was Totally Wrong on That Wii U Thing” article. E3 is definitely a chance to clear the water and make good on all of these issues, but, as of now, my criticisms stand. Even with all of these concerns, it’ll still have those signature Nintendo franchises, meaning it will be a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid machine. It’s just a shame that signs point to it being that (and maybe less) yet again.
Do you agree with me or do you think my worries are just overly cautious? Let me know in the comments below!