Nintendo’s Wii U was supposed to be the opening salvo to usher in the next generation of gaming. All it’s really turned out to be is a band-aid on a third-degree burn. Ever since release, the Wii U hasn’t done so good in the console race, even though they’ve begun to pick up momentum as of late, they’re still far away from being even the #2 console. Here, I explain, in my opinion, why I think the Wii U hasn’t been received well by gamers, and consumers in general.
I. Lack of First-Party Games
With the exception of New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U, there haven’t been many first-party games for Nintendo’s flagging console. While games like Mass Effect 3, Call Of Duty: Black Ops II, and Assassin’s Creed III are impressive, there’s one huge flaw in releasing them on Nintendo’s console… most gamers have most likely played them already on other consoles.
So really, what are you getting out of playing them again on the Wii U? Besides new control schemes, not much.
Whilst I’ll give them credit for releasing a Zelda game that does bring some new features specific for the Wii U’s use, it may feel like a re-skinned game to others who have already experienced Wind Waker for Gamecube. Why couldn’t Nintendo take the time to plan out a new experience for their hero Link?
Continuing with the lack of first-party games, where’s the new Super Smash Bros. or Metroid game for their console? Why weren’t they released with the launch lineup? Nintendo fans who bought a Wii U would’ve loved to see these first-party exclusives release with the system. One reason why the Wii was successful, until the crap storm of games that couldn’t utilize the Wii’s revolutionary controls arrived, were their exclusive first-party games, alongside the ability in some games to use the Gamecube controller, especially in a game like Super Smash Bros. Brawl where using the Wii-mote is basically useless.
II. Nintendo’s Image
While Nintendo’s strong suit has been their image of being family-friendly, it’s also been their achilles heel. Somewhere, the Executives of Nintendo are thinking “how can we make our company more kid-friendly, thus driving away our hardcore fans?” Thus I bring out exhibit ‘B’, the game MadWorld for the Wii. While it’s the only M-rated game I can think of that released for the Wii that wasn’t a port of another game like Resident Evil 4, I think Nintendo needed to reach out to its hardcore fans, as well as give anyone a reason over 18 to buy a Wii or Wii U, unless you never played the third-party games that released at launch and didn’t have a PS3 or Xbox 360 to do so.
While the Draconian charge of Microsoft was charging in the last generation against Sony and Nintendo, there’s at least one thing that comes to mind that I think could change Nintendo’s fortune around… and that’s acquiring Mega Man. While it’s a long shot in foresight, acquiring the rights to Mega Man from Capcom is a sound business move. Why not acquire the use of Mega Man, thus bringing in the hardcore fans of the franchise, thus not only benefitting yourselves, but also Capcom’s reputation? People have clamored for another Mega Man game, so why not buy the license to use Mega Man? It’s smart business to do so. Even though the likelihood of Mega Man coming exclusively to Nintendo consoles is slim, fans can look at least look to the future and Bayonetta 2. I’m sorry but the excuse of video games being “only for children” skipped town a long time ago and hasn’t come back. You need to balance the casual market as well as your hardcore audience and that’s something the Wii couldn’t succeed doing.
I think Nintendo has some potential to grow, and can make the Wii U successful, but needs first-party support, as well as a change of face. Maybe the resignation of Reggie Fils-Aime or at least another partner with him that has long-term sense and a vision to bring the hardcore Nintendo audience back, because dropping support on the Wii U sure as hell isn’t the answer. So Nintendo, this ‘pipe bomb’ is for you.
So what about the audience, do you feel the same way I do in that the Wii U has come up short, but has the potential to become a formidable opponent, or are they dead in the water?