Jun 07 2012
Well I think itís safe to say at the very least the Wii U wonít end up being another Virtual Boy Incident. However, clearly at this point Nintendo has an uphill battle to face in the next coming months trying to sell gamers on the Wii U and critics alike. But before we get into this long debate on what Nintendo needs to do in order to make the Wii U a big success letís actually take a look at the hardware itself. Below are the hardware specs for the Wii U.
Size: Approximately 1.8 inches high, 10.5 inches deep and 6.8 inches long.
Weight: Approximately 3.41 pounds (1.5 kg).
Appearance: The new console features a compact design that will make it a natural addition to any home entertainment setup.
Wii U Gamepad: The Wii U Gamepad controller removes the traditional barriers between games, players and the TV by creating a second window into the video game world. It incorporates a 6.2-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio LCD touch screen, as well as traditional button controls and two analog sticks. Inputs include a +Control Pad, L/R sticks, L/R stick buttons, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons, ZL/ZR buttons, Power button, HOME button, -/SELECT button, +/START button, and TV CONTROL button. The Gamepad also includes motion control (powered by an accelerometer, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensor), a front-facing camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, rumble features, a sensor bar, an included stylus and support for Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and weighs approximately 1.1 pounds (500 g).
Other Controllers: The Wii U console is capable of supporting two Wii U Gamepads, up to four Wii Remote (or Wii Remote Plus) controllers or Wii U Pro Controllers, and Wii accessories such as the Nunchuk, Classic Controller and Wii Balance Board.
CPU: IBM PowerⓇ-based multi-core processor.
GPU: AMD Radeonô-based High Definition GPU.
Storage: Wii U uses an internal flash memory. It also supports SD memory cards and external USB storage.
Media: Wii U and Wii optical discs.
Video Output: Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Compatible cables include HDMI, Wii D-Terminal, Wii Component Video, Wii RGB, Wii S-Video Stereo AV and Wii AV.
Audio Output: Uses six-channel PCM linear output via HDMIô connector, or analog output via the AV Multi Out connector.
Networking: Wii U can access the Internet via wireless (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) connection. The console features four USB 2.0 connectors Ė two in the front and two in the rear Ė that support Wii LAN Adapters.
Wii Compatibility: Nearly all Wii software and accessories can be used with Wii
Spec wise the Wii U is definitely much more powerful than the Wii, truly this is the system that should have been released years ago when the original Wii Launched. By todayís standards as it stands this is pretty much on par with the PS3 and Xbox 360. In fact, it actually trumps the two systems in the graphical department slightly due to the fact the Wii U is cable of displaying 1080p graphics natively while the Xbox 360 & PS3 canít. But as well all know graphics donít necessarily make a system sell, itís the games and the types of games that sell a system.
In my eyes I can already see the Wii U making the same mistakes that the Wii did in its life cycle. Thereís no doubt that early on the Wii was able to get ahead of Sony & Microsoft due to an affordable price and clever innovation outselling both systems for two years straight. However, as most of us know by the second or third year of the Wiiís lifecycle the system began to collect dust on most of our shelves. The biggest problem with the Wii was the fact it lacked any solid third party support since the beginning of its life cycle.
The games that did eventually come out for the system from third party developers, mostly was shovel ware or piss poor ports of PS2 games such as WWE12, Ghostbusters, Call of Duty, and countless other games whose 360/PS3 counterparts were vastly superior in terms of gameplay and graphics. This forced Nintendo to rely on solid first party titles such as Super Mario Galaxy 2, Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl to tie over Wii owners. Yes all those titles were great and garnered the highest scores for the system on our website but great first party titles were few and far between. The end results was honestly none of us here at the offices used our Wii for the exception of a major first party title launch, after that the system would be boxed up again waiting for a decent game to play on it to be released.
With the Wii Uís impending release upon us, presumably in November just in time for the ďHoliday SeasonĒ weíve already been given a list of games we can expect around launch or during that time for the Wii U. The end result is Iím already getting dťjŗ vu this is the Wii all over again. On that list of games coming out there are two impressive first party titles, New Super Mario Bros. U & Pikmin 3 coming out. The vast majority of remaining titles coming out in that launch window are gimmick games such as Wii U Panorama, Game & Wario, Wii Fit U, and Nintendo Land just to name a few.
Now donít get me wrong despite its initial viewing Nintendo Land actually is pretty fun but I canít see gamers being interested in playing that title for more than a few minutes at a time at best. Well Nintendo apparently is aware of the fact that core gamers have been alienated by them and is trying to regain their trust by releasing some core titles. The Wii U will have core games such as Ninja Gaiden 3, Batman Arkham City, Mass Effect 3, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 coming out for the system at launch. This would be a great lineup to bring core gamers in if it werenít already a year too late.
Thatís right all the core titles coming out for the Wii U during its launch are games youíve already played on The PS3/Xbox 360. Unless youíve only owned a Wii this entire generation these are titles you already have played through, 100% completed, and moved on from already. Thereís no justification for gamers to double dip for these games on the Wii U just for a little new content and motion control/touch screen features. At E3 youíll notice several titles such as Madden NFLí13, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and WWEí13 all games that are currently in development, are conveniently not being released for the Wii U or have been announced to have a Wii U version.
In fact when going around booth by booth for game demos from third party developers you wonít find any titles even being ported over to the Wii U. When asked if thereís any plans for a Wii U version, they answer the question saying ďcurrently not at this timeĒ. Itís safe to say this is the Wii all over again, third party developers are skeptical and not willing to take a chance on developing for the Wii U. Without third party support weíll be stuck with ďcoreĒ ports of games on the PS3/360 from the past years instead of getting some of the new big named titles that are currently in development.
Perhaps developers arenít developing for the Wii U due to the fact the system is already outdated for their next gen projects? One canít help but feel like the Wii U is a system that should have been released 4-6 years ago and its successor should be the one weíre talking about now.
Price is Important:
Over the course of the last three days the biggest concern on everyoneís mind is how much is the Wii U going to cost? On paper the Wii U Gamepad literally cost about the price of a Nintendo 3DS just based on its specs. In fact the touch screen feature on the controller itself is like a mini tablet. Weíre looking at the very least $100-$125 just on the controller alone. Based on the hardware itself weíre looking at on average around the $200-$300 estimate. Itís safe to say the Wii Uís price tag will be around $300-$399 perhaps theyíll try to release it for $349.99 in order to reach some middle ground.
The biggest issue with this price tag or anything in this range is it doesnít really justify a purchase. Why would any core gamer spend that estimated amount on a system where youíre only going to be playing a few casual games and ports of titles you already have owned for a year? Price will affect the Wii Uís future greatly. I donít see even the casual market like a retirement home buying something that expensive. Most casual gamers never owned a PS3/Xbox 360 due to it being just too expensive. I find it hard to believe the Wii U can justify such an expensive purchase especially with the state of the economy currently.
What does Nintendo need to do?
Everyone is in agreement that Nintendo had a terrible E3 Press conference it started out great and they slowly started to go downhill. The buzz for the system among professionals has been mostly negative, the buzz for core gamers (who purchase the most games yearly) has been negative, the only praise the system has gotten is from die hard Nintendo loyalist and casual gamers who think the concept is fun but have no clue on how expensive this system might turn out to be. So this brings us to an important question. What does Nintendo need to do in order to gain the trust/interest of everyone theyíre marketing this system to?
First off we need to see a price for the system, once we see a price I think most of the anxiety people are having regarding not knowing how much itíll cost will vanish. If Nintendo is somehow able to put this system out in the $249.99-$299.99 range I can see it doing extremely well perhaps even better than the 360/PS3 for the next year or so. But that brings us to another issue Nintendo has to hope Sony or Microsoft donít announce next gen systems next year that trump the Wii U in terms of power and graphic capabilities. If not theyíre going to suffer the fate that the Dreamcast did going up against the PS2 by coming out way too early.
The second thing Nintendo needs to do, come Tokyo Game Show, is show off some new core titles. They need to show press and gamers alike that yes they have fan favorite core titles from the past year on the system but also have core titles that are currently in development for the other consoles. Most importantly they need to show off original core titles that make it worth owning the system. At the moment the most impressive and only truly original core title weíve seen coming out for the Wii U is ZombiU.
The third thing Nintendo needs to do, which should be obvious to them at this point is have killer exclusive titles. Exclusives sell people on a system, if you have a killer exclusive that you canít get on another system youíre pretty much guaranteed to make money. Nintendo needs to show off some killer exclusive titles. They need to show us a Zelda game in the future or that Smash Bros game which they confirmed is in development. Nintendo claims the reason they didnít show off titles like that are because they wanted to focus on launch titles but we need to see what the future has in store for the Wii U not only the present. Gamers in this day and age want to know that a system has a bright future beyond launch before making a purchase.
On the subject of killer exclusives I think itís time Nintendo actually tried to make new killer exclusives as oppose to just relying on their existing franchises. Donít get me wrong games like Zelda, Mario, and Smash Bros are great. But there are only so many times you can rehash a concept before gamers become wary of them. Itís time Nintendo created some fresh new faces and franchises to help support their system. I think perhaps they even need to follow in the trend of Kid Icarus Uprising by bringing back a franchise we havenít seen in awhile. Earthbound comes to mind, its way over due for a sequel.
I honestly at this junction donít see the Nintendo Wii U doing well, it has some great hardware and I like the concept of the Wii U Gamepad. But thereís just not enough quality titles coming out at launch or quality titles we know about coming in the future, to really justify a purchase. Games like Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Arkham City are great but again itís far too late to be pushing titles weíve all owned for a year already. Casual gamers have Nintendo Land to look forward to but most core gamers donít see a title like that warranting a purchase.
Iím hoping Nintendo realizes the negative buzz the system is creating at the moment and gets to work on wowing us at Tokyo Game Show but clearly Nintendo is making the same mistakes that the Wii did. I can already see that third party developers are not interested in developing for the system. Which spells disaster for Nintendo, I for one will not buy another Nintendo system only to have it collect dust. Nintendo needs to sell me and everyone else on the Wii U and quite frankly at the moment they havenít sold anyone outside of the diehard loyalist on it.
Feel free to voice your opinions about the Wii U in the comments section below.