Is the Wii U Already Boned?

Upon completing my article on the Vita, I finally felt pretty optimistic about a console’s launch. Games. Check. Reasonable price. Check. Interesting functions. Check. Uncharted. Check.

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!

18 thoughts on “Is the Wii U Already Boned?

  1. nintendo is more of a casual gaming company so yes people that rnt gamers will probably not understand it, maybe cause its called a wii u not a new console. nintendo will have a hard time getting out of this mess

    • “Mess” might be a little harsh but maybe not too far off.
      It should have been named something else and not be as compatible with the Wii.
      I’m curious to see how it pans out.

    • Yes I completely agree! I’m not giving a final judgment, just voicing my concerns about probable future issues.
      I’d like to try it out too!

  2. As more information is released excitement will grow for the machine.

    As for the “nubs”, what are you twelve? So they aren’t thumbsticks, boo hoo. Nintendo have introduced more innovative controllers than any other company and people didn’t seem to have any trouble learning to handle them.

    So the screen isn’t multi-touch, look at the DS and 3DS, Nintendo have a lot of experience using resistive screens for gaming and guess what? They have been doing okay with such screens.

    Why do people insist on thinking the Wii U will be janother machine just for “casual” players? Doesn’t it make more sense, from Nintendo’s point of view, to get people to see the machine in a similar way that they view a DVD player? That is it is perfectly capable of playing any genre, casual, family, party, “hardcore” mature or whatever, that the genre is not limited by the machine, even if that was an excuse used about the Wii.

    • I agree that once more info is out, maybe thing will clear up and (hopefully) excitement will build.

      I’ll ignore your “boo hoo” part and say that nubs aren’t innovative and just not as good. Do you prefer the 3DS or PSP nubs over the 360/PS3 sticks? You might, but you’d be in the vast minority.

      Yes the screen a valid point, but mobile gaming is different now. Multi-touch would open the gate for better games, while non-multi-touch tech is older and not as good. Why not take the extra step to evolve?

      I never really said it was only for casuals, but there’s no doubt they’ll market to them. I was just saying Nintendo better not confuse them (even more). Also, I don’t know if casuals will be interested because of the Wii’s waning popularity and how the Kinect/Move have replaced it. Who knows though? Those are just my personal thoughts.

  3. Sorry buddy but people said that about the Wii. The Wii is among the most successful consoles of all time. A move to hardcore while staying with casual = profit. A gimmicky controller can be your only argument because it’d be bull if otherwise haha. You know what I mean right?

    • The Wii was successful as in “made a lot of money” but not nearly as successful as a machine with a bunch of good games. It had some good games, don’t get me wrong, but the consistency made it seem like the system was always barren. Besides Zelda, who actually has played a Wii a lot within the last year or year and a half? Even before then too. You’d pick up your Wii for the game that was out and then let it sit for a long time unplayed.
      The casual people didn’t flock to the Wii as much during the later stages in its cycle (a little bit moved to the Kinect/Move) so would they even be interested in this again?
      I don’t think my arguments are “bull,” as I don’t really think your arguments are either. I’m basing my gut feelings on what I see around me. Maybe it’ll be great but I’m not really seeing it now. We’ll have to wait and see!

      • Since you’re nice about it, you must realize that hardcore lineup + casual = only thing left is the controller…

      • I’ll always be polite and respectful. πŸ™‚
        I want a discussion, not a hostile argument as I don’t mean any ill will.
        Yeah and they do have time to fix the controller and deliver the games.

  4. Quite honestly…even if the new xbox and ps4 come out within the next year and a half, i dont see them leaving Nintendo behind…we’re almost at the peak of graphical performance and i dont see the new xbox or ps4 looking much better than they do now…you reach a certain point where it can only look so real. So having to scale down games for nintendo is a thing of the past. Wether its competing with the 360 or PS3 for now or the next generation of Microsoft and Sony, i believe they will pretty much all be on par with each other…other than the fact that Nintendo will have a tablet controller…Who need HUD anyways? Id rather have it cleaned up on the big screen with all the little stuff on the small one…makes sense to me.

    • I can see what you mean. I did make a little jump assuming that the next Xbox and PS4 will be stronger machines, but since they are releasing after the Wii U, I think that is a safe assumption.
      As for the “it’d be hard to look better,” I could maybe agree with that, but I’ve probably said that before! πŸ˜›
      The touch does sound interesting for a HUD for sure.
      Thanks for the thoughtful and courteous comment! πŸ™‚

  5. I think it is completely wrong to think that we have hit or are even near a graphical peak. I mean, if anyone has seen any vids of BF3 on a PC at max settings, it is pretty damn good and the 360/PS3’s rendition cant even hold a candle to it. Hell, we can’t even have as many players as the game can support on a PC, let alone get to the graphical peak.

    • I agree. I don’t think we’ve hit the graphical ceiling either which is part of the reason I’m a bit worried about the Wii U. I hope it can keep up.

  6. You are another one of the people that think multi-touch displays are “better.” Multi-touch displays are easier to press because they read your finger tips easier (hence the name capacitive). Capacitive screens, like the iPhone’s, is the only type that allows for multi-touch and usually have a longer life as well as clearer displays. However, ever try to use a stylus on one? You can’t, unless the tip is as fat as a finger.

    The 3DS’s screen (and soon Wii U) is resistive which is why you need to press harder usually for it to respond. However, using a stylus is possible and they are actually more accurate on a pixel level when compared to the capacitive screens you call “better.” This is especially true as you get near the edge of the screen. Trying to hit the letters on the digital keyboard of an iPhone near the edges is always a kick in the butt.

    Both screens have their pros and cons, however, since you want to be able to draw with a stylus on the Wii U controller, resistive works best. Not to mention, you most likely won’t need to have multi-touch when real buttons are there as well. Just a heads up.

  7. I think Ninty have got themselves into a real bind. I’ve always preferred the library on Playstation consoles, but always played and enjoyed Ninty consoles as well (as well as PC – never quite been able to justify getting the Xbox/360, as PC had enough of the games on those platforms covered, but the 360 will come, just need the time to play the games on it I’m keen on before I buy it). Which is a long-winded way of saying I like gaming and I don’t favour platforms for anything more than the type/quality of gameplay I provide.

    Now, I’ve been gaming since the early 1980s (started on a Ninty game-and-watch), and the Nintendo Wii is the first console:
    – I’ve ever traded back in again;
    – I’ve ever regretted owning in the first place.

    And I’m not the only one by any means (I’ve got a lot of mates who are gamers who feel the same way). There are a _lot_ of traditional gamers that got stung by the Wii, and Ninty is going to have to do something special to bring them back to the fold. The way it’s going, the Wii U will be the first generation of Ninty Hardware that they’ve _ever_ produced that I have no interest in playing. If I had the choice of someone giving me a Game-and-Watch or a Wii, I’d take the 25+ year old game-and-watch _every_ time. So unlike every other piece of Ninty kit, I’m going to have to be convinced it’s not the Wii all over again before I even go near the thing (unlike the Cube, which I picked up on the strength of the N64 and Ninty’s heritage alone and, unlike the Wii, I still happily own).

    Of course, there are still the Ninty die-hards, as there are for any other brand, but while many, many people had a 360 + Wii or PS3 + Wii this gen, I can see people being more likely to just run with a PS4 or Xbox Loop by itself next gen, unless Ninty can bring something we haven’t seen yet to the party.

    And you’re spot on – as a PSP owner, I can happily support sticks >>>> nubs!

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