Wii U: Half-Step or Jump Start?

Wii U: Half-Step or Jump Start?

Nintendo has to tread carefully if it's going to turn the Wii U into the next big console.

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I don't know if this is an example of "hater gonna hate", or "fan to the rescue"

but the thing is that these console generations are by and large both a good, and bad thing. they are a good thing in that they act as a marking stone of the level of technology, but by being these marking stones they also hold themselves to specific limitations that unless you retool the setup mid term, but still let it have the same name (XBox360-slim) you also pigeon hole developers into a standardization that can at points be limiting.
it is also be a bad thing in that direct competitors generally see a direct divide in market share that if the difference in that divide is great enough can deem what is supposed to be a great success into a mediocrity, or disaster because it is releasing/launching/premiering beside something that has so much more, or even the same level of potential success is more likely to be drowned out.

besides one of the reasons to directly discount the third entry of the market analysis is that the market analysis models are much more easily read/considered when there is only 2 things being analyzed, and everything else is deemed an outlier because market analysis has to measure outcomes, actions, reactions, and market effects of the market, and if there are more then 2 things in that analysis it can become more guesswork then statistics already is.

Hmmm.. can't say I agree with a lot of this article (woah, big surprise there!). There's some stuff in particular that I think is particularly off base. Hey-ho, it's j-e-f-f-e-r-s off to defend Nintendo on the Escapist once again:

While Microsoft and Sony have not made any formal announcements, many analysts and industry-watchers are expecting to hear word on the next generation sometime next year. We've even heard some purportedly leaked (and predictably impressive) specifications for the new systems. When they launch, Nintendo's latest console will be comparatively underpowered.

The latest rumoured specs for both consoles have been decidedly middle of the road. Sony is allegedly using an AMD A10 APU for the PS4, while Microsoft is focusing more on including Kinect 2 tech built into their new console, rather than bunging in high-end hardware. While there's no doubt that they probably will be more powerful than the Wii U, it seems more and more likely (going by the rumours) that the SonySoft machines aren't going to be a huge step upwards in terms of power, and are actually going to be pretty average by todays tech standards. I highly doubt it's going to be a PS3/Wii situation again, and more an Xbox/PS2 situation. And the PS2 ended up doing pretty well regardless...

But this isn't the first time a company has positioned itself between generations. It's not even the first time Nintendo has done it.

This statement completely misrepresents what the term 'generation' means when applied to consoles. Generation has never been used to refer to technology, only time period. The Wii was as much a next-gen system when it came out as the 360 and PS3, given that it came out during the 7th (ie, current) generation. Trying to define console generations based on tech rather than time is a misguided endeavour. After the SNES/Megadrive era, the Playstation and N64 were both seen as next-gen systems, despite the former having about half the power of the latter.

The Wii U is a next-gen system. It is Nintendo's new console, and the first one released for the 8th generation of consoles. Trying to argue that it's current gen simply doesn't hold water, considering that Nintendo's current-gen console is the Wii.

Also, the article seems to be inconsistent on the following point:

But horsepower can only account for so much of a console's success.

...

Raw power is no substitute for developers' ease-of-use, especially as equally matched consoles loom overhead.

Seems to imply that power isn't as important as ease of programming. But then:

The Wii U hasn't received many developer complaints, but it faces the overshadowing problem two-fold. It will probably be outmatched only a year or two into its lifespan, and isn't particularly power-intensive in the first place.

Either horsepower is a factor, or it isn't. If it's not an issue, then it doesn't matter whether the other next-gen systems are much more powerful or not. If it does matter, then how does that explain the overwhelming success of the Wii, the PS2, the DS, and the PS1, all consoles which were underpowered compared to their competitors, yet managed to outsell them at an embarrassing rate.

As for developers, the Wii U hasn't just not received many complaints. Developers have come out and outright stated how easy the console is to develop for. When it comes to wooing developers for support, ease of development is always the clincher, not raw power. Hence why the PS2 and PS1 were able to so drastically outsell their rivals.

"If, however, Nintendo tries to compete with Sony or Microsoft on the core gaming experience, they are unlikely to succeed."

I know this is a quote, but it's still worth addressing. Based on the evidence, it doesn't even look like Microsoft's going to stick with core gaming for much longer. They've still got Halo and Gears Of War, but apart from that they seem to be trying to sell the 360 more as a Social Media/Kinect machine than a 'core' gaming console. Need I remind you of their last two E3 showings? Or the above mentioned rumours about the Nextbox having integrated Kinect 2?

The Wii certainly proved that a supposedly underpowered console can be a breakout hit by distinguishing itself from its competitors

The Wii continued a trend that has held through since the PS1, for both consoles and handheld consoles. It didn't prove anything, it simply reinforced a trend that's been happening since the mid-90s. This shouldn't still be surprising people. The idea of 'underpowered' consoles underperforming hasn't been true since the SNES days...

The WiiU has sort of a built in problem which at the same time is semi a benefit. It's that fancy distinguishing game pad controller. That is ultimately the core of the system. It is what will allow for some really cutting edge new gameplay. It is fun. But the only ones that will really be doing anything with it will be Nintendo themselves. The problem for 3rd party developers is portability. Right now it is fairly easy for them to move games between XBox 360 and PS3 and market to both. Yeah there are differences, but at heart the control schemes and information presented to the player are similar and have direct point to point correlations. So a game developed for one can easily be developed and released on both. Exclusives are business deals, not tech boundries.

Now with the WiiU Nintendo can at least play a bit in that area (see CoD BO2), but at the expense of their core primary hardware feature. If you take away the game pad, the rest of the hardware, while impressive by Nintendo standards, is so marhinally improved over an XBox 360 or PS3 as to effectively be the same thing. So outside of Mario and Zelda games, most players will be effectively playing the same games on the same console that they have been doing for years, and have been seeking to move away from.

Add to this the lack of any sort of real storage on the WiiU and there may be some issues down the road. I also still think that Apple is a wildcard in all of this that no one is looking at or thinking about. Remember one of Job's last dreams was the totally unifying perfect Apple TV. Apple has some limited experience in the games arena. They have a lot of really interesting tech that could easily be adapted or combined to make a very compelling game system. What would be the appeal of a WiiU, if suddenly your iTunes started allowing streaming HD AAA games direct to your TV and controlled with your actual iPad? Does anyone doubt that Apple actually could do this by next christmas?

I only know one person who's going to buy a Wii U and its literally because he has money to blow and wants the new Super Smash Bros. People like me on the other hand can't afford all the consoles and I can't spend money on a system that will probably be abandoned in a few years because it can't keep up. I love Metroid and Zeld and the like but I also like Elder Scrolls and Bioshock so sorry Nintendo

I honestly don't get it how can people say they won't buy Nintendo consoles because graphics won't be able to keep up with other consoles, if that's the case buy a PC.

PC + Wii (Wii U now) is the best combination possible and I can't see otherwise. 360 and Ps3 exclusives are few and not very good compared do Nintendo ones, so Nintendo wins on exclusive games, and then PC has most games that are on 360 and PS3, this generation the only good game I can remember that only came out on PS3 and 360 was Red Dead Redemption, not to mention PC is best for shooters.

I have a top PC that can play games on high and can use the Wii to play awesome exclusives or games with a unique gameplay (Goldeneye on Wii rocked, and wii sports resort wouldn't be that fun with classic controller). I own a PS3 but the only game I play there a lot is Fifa12, I also played older Assassin's Creeds, but the last two entries I chose to get them for PC and use a 360 controller, so right now I don't need a PS3 console and won't need a Ps4 or next box if they keep doing the same thing. (same console with better graphics, in this case won't be much better than Wii u).

True, they can use power not to make better graphics, but to make better and bigger worlds and AI. But they failed doing that in this generation, why should I believe they're going to do that in the one that's coming?

If consoles were still easy to turn on and play like my sweet N64 I'd understand, but fact is PS3 is almost as slow and not user friendly as a PC, so that advantage is lost.

I'm not sure if people understand Nintendo's strategy for the last 30 years. First they don't follow the Razor and Blade Market Theory that other manufactures have followed. They don't plan on selling their system at a huge loss in hopes that it'll sell enough games to make up for it. The Wii U is the first Nintendo console to start with this pattern, but then I'd argue that selling at a loss so that selling 1 game covers that loss isn't selling at a loss. The 3DS is only selling at a loss after its poor opening, but not by much or for very long since the parts come to only 100$. The Problem MS and Sony have is that if they don't sell enough games then they could destroy their company. Sony's credit is now rated as Junk, and MS, thought it looks like a beast, had its first loss and Win8 is... lets say disappointing. If MS starts to barely make money on Windows and Office they won't be able to subsidize another RROD disaster like they did with the 360. Part of the reason Nintendo is in a strong position right now is because of the mistakes with the PS3 and 360. The "Great Leap Forward", Mao Style, has proven to be a disaster. It's put both of them on shaky financial ground. Nintendo's Strategy Guide is a, Conservative, lets make a MODEST profit even if a competitor starts to "Beat" us we will live, and not Die Atari Style.

Any Nintendo system will always look under-powered to a system that is selling for the same price at a 200$ loss, but if you fail, selling at a loss can destroy you. You can even appear to win, but if you don't sell enough games you still lose. I'd be more worried that Sony and MS could die because of this last generation, and other financial difficulties.

faefrost:
The WiiU has sort of a built in problem which at the same time is semi a benefit. It's that fancy distinguishing game pad controller. That is ultimately the core of the system. It is what will allow for some really cutting edge new gameplay. It is fun. But the only ones that will really be doing anything with it will be Nintendo themselves. The problem for 3rd party developers is portability. Right now it is fairly easy for them to move games between XBox 360 and PS3 and market to both. Yeah there are differences, but at heart the control schemes and information presented to the player are similar and have direct point to point correlations. So a game developed for one can easily be developed and released on both. Exclusives are business deals, not tech boundries.

Now with the WiiU Nintendo can at least play a bit in that area (see CoD BO2), but at the expense of their core primary hardware feature. If you take away the game pad, the rest of the hardware, while impressive by Nintendo standards, is so marhinally improved over an XBox 360 or PS3 as to effectively be the same thing. So outside of Mario and Zelda games, most players will be effectively playing the same games on the same console that they have been doing for years, and have been seeking to move away from.

Add to this the lack of any sort of real storage on the WiiU and there may be some issues down the road. I also still think that Apple is a wildcard in all of this that no one is looking at or thinking about. Remember one of Job's last dreams was the totally unifying perfect Apple TV. Apple has some limited experience in the games arena. They have a lot of really interesting tech that could easily be adapted or combined to make a very compelling game system. What would be the appeal of a WiiU, if suddenly your iTunes started allowing streaming HD AAA games direct to your TV and controlled with your actual iPad? Does anyone doubt that Apple actually could do this by next christmas?

so your points are:
"people won't develop for the WiiU because I have to now figure out what to do with a second screen" look at the DS how many games are for that.
"many games will just abandon the gamepad because it's hard and then they are essentially playing on one of the other game consoles that are comparable." No currently due to pipeline, and graphical power the WiiU is better the the current systems, and most developers are actually looking the other direction by figuring out how to integrate gamepad into games (granted I hope that it is not a gimmick, and if you try and bring that up then I will just through a Kinnect, and six-axis in your face)
"there is no internal storage" ok, you get partial credit, but you also miss the point that the only reason you are expected to want that storage is for downloadable "small" games, and updates, and you forgot that you can take any external hard drive (which are cheap), and plug it in. meaning you don't have to deal with proprietary bull shit, and still won't have to deal with a system that has to do potentially 30minutes to 2hours of updates every time you get a new/borrowed game.
"apple will be coming out with a system at any time now because Steve Jobs said it was a dream" you know what else Steve Jobs has said "we are not interested in a tablet market" "the IPad is the perfect size you wouldn't want anything smaller" "this phone will revolutionize the way people make phone calls" you know what every one of those statements have been false: they did release the IPad, and the IPadMini, and the IPhone was used less as a phone then anything else by a large portion of the customer that they put out the Itouch; so just because Steve Jobs said something I would believe Patcher more.

gardian06:

so your points are:
"people won't develop for the WiiU because I have to now figure out what to do with a second screen" look at the DS how many games are for that.
"many games will just abandon the gamepad because it's hard and then they are essentially playing on one of the other game consoles that are comparable." No currently due to pipeline, and graphical power the WiiU is better the the current systems, and most developers are actually looking the other direction by figuring out how to integrate gamepad into games (granted I hope that it is not a gimmick, and if you try and bring that up then I will just through a Kinnect, and six-axis in your face)

I read it as more - 3rd part developers who are making a single game to be sold across multiple platform may find it impractical in trying to incorporate the WiiU's main feature.

I imagine the WiiU's low end 'power' will also add to this, as many developers are waiting for the 'next gen' systems to support their more power intensive games.
So trying to make a game designed for play on a modern computer equivalent, then work on a system comparatively several years old is a bit of a hamstring.

medv4380:
I'm not sure if people understand Nintendo's strategy for the last 30 years. First they don't follow the Razor and Blade Market Theory that other manufactures have followed. They don't plan on selling their system at a huge loss in hopes that it'll sell enough games to make up for it. The Wii U is the first Nintendo console to start with this pattern, but then I'd argue that selling at a loss so that selling 1 game covers that loss isn't selling at a loss. The 3DS is only selling at a loss after its poor opening, but not by much or for very long since the parts come to only 100$. The Problem MS and Sony have is that if they don't sell enough games then they could destroy their company. Sony's credit is now rated as Junk, and MS, thought it looks like a beast, had its first loss and Win8 is... lets say disappointing. If MS starts to barely make money on Windows and Office they won't be able to subsidize another RROD disaster like they did with the 360. Part of the reason Nintendo is in a strong position right now is because of the mistakes with the PS3 and 360. The "Great Leap Forward", Mao Style, has proven to be a disaster. It's put both of them on shaky financial ground. Nintendo's Strategy Guide is a, Conservative, lets make a MODEST profit even if a competitor starts to "Beat" us we will live, and not Die Atari Style.

Any Nintendo system will always look under-powered to a system that is selling for the same price at a 200$ loss, but if you fail, selling at a loss can destroy you. You can even appear to win, but if you don't sell enough games you still lose. I'd be more worried that Sony and MS could die because of this last generation, and other financial difficulties.

Yeah, Nintendo is probably the smartest of the three console makers and they're one of the smartest devs. They know there's no point in brute force as they couldn't afford and instead go for a tangential evolution. The kind of path Sony and Microsoft are going down mind end up destroying them due to the increasingly irresponsible behavior of a lot of designers and companies.

PC + Nintendo

Winning combination in the late 80s, winning combination in the early 90s, winning combination today. You can add a "+ other" to that equation (currently it is iPod/Phone or Android), but PC + Nintendo hasn't ever led me astray.

Don't get me wrong, PS3 and 360 are both impressive machines, but right now the 360 is only ever used with the Kinect and the PS3 runs Netflix. Everything I want to play I can get on PC or from Nintendo.

llubtoille:

gardian06:

so your points are:
"people won't develop for the WiiU because I have to now figure out what to do with a second screen" look at the DS how many games are for that.
"many games will just abandon the gamepad because it's hard and then they are essentially playing on one of the other game consoles that are comparable." No currently due to pipeline, and graphical power the WiiU is better the the current systems, and most developers are actually looking the other direction by figuring out how to integrate gamepad into games (granted I hope that it is not a gimmick, and if you try and bring that up then I will just through a Kinnect, and six-axis in your face)

I read it as more - 3rd part developers who are making a single game to be sold across multiple platform may find it impractical in trying to incorporate the WiiU's main feature.

I imagine the WiiU's low end 'power' will also add to this, as many developers are waiting for the 'next gen' systems to support their more power intensive games.
So trying to make a game designed for play on a modern computer equivalent, then work on a system comparatively several years old is a bit of a hamstring.

Isn't that the exact reason why Nintendo made the Pro gamepad? If a developer decides to ditch the tablet controller, they can just port the game with practically the same controls. The pro pad is a comfortable bastard child of the xbox and GC controller.

And by doing so, they have more resources left for the game, which will allow them to look/play better than the ports. The WiiU is a lot stronger than the current gen systems. The problem is that rendering stuff 2 times and streaming some shit to the tablet takes a lot of power.

My main fear of the WiiU is that many developer won't choose the easy way out but will use the controller in a bad way (yo, tap the screen fast to do some random action that could have been done by pressing a button). IIRC, Wii games required some motion control simply because the wiimote didn't have enough buttons. The tablet controller and the pro controller have the same amount of buttons as the regular 360 controller. So this time developer don't have to use the tablet if they don't have any good ideas.

PoolCleaningRobot:
I only know one person who's going to buy a Wii U and its literally because he has money to blow and wants the new Super Smash Bros. People like me on the other hand can't afford all the consoles and I can't spend money on a system that will probably be abandoned in a few years because it can't keep up. I love Metroid and Zeld and the like but I also like Elder Scrolls and Bioshock so sorry Nintendo

It won't be left behind in a few years. That is asinine to think that. The Wii was far less of a power-house and yet it still did insanely well. Having actually played and looked at the core of the Wii U, it will be just fine with the New Xbox/PlayStation. Graphics aren't everything, good games are. As long as Nintendo doesn't frighten off Third-Party Sources, they shouldn't have any issues.

BiH-Kira:

llubtoille:

gardian06:

so your points are:
"people won't develop for the WiiU because I have to now figure out what to do with a second screen" look at the DS how many games are for that.
"many games will just abandon the gamepad because it's hard and then they are essentially playing on one of the other game consoles that are comparable." No currently due to pipeline, and graphical power the WiiU is better the the current systems, and most developers are actually looking the other direction by figuring out how to integrate gamepad into games (granted I hope that it is not a gimmick, and if you try and bring that up then I will just through a Kinnect, and six-axis in your face)

I read it as more - 3rd part developers who are making a single game to be sold across multiple platform may find it impractical in trying to incorporate the WiiU's main feature.

I imagine the WiiU's low end 'power' will also add to this, as many developers are waiting for the 'next gen' systems to support their more power intensive games.
So trying to make a game designed for play on a modern computer equivalent, then work on a system comparatively several years old is a bit of a hamstring.

Isn't that the exact reason why Nintendo made the Pro gamepad? If a developer decides to ditch the tablet controller, they can just port the game with practically the same controls. The pro pad is a comfortable bastard child of the xbox and GC controller.

And by doing so, they have more resources left for the game, which will allow them to look/play better than the ports. The WiiU is a lot stronger than the current gen systems. The problem is that rendering stuff 2 times and streaming some shit to the tablet takes a lot of power.

My main fear of the WiiU is that many developer won't choose the easy way out but will use the controller in a bad way (yo, tap the screen fast to do some random action that could have been done by pressing a button). IIRC, Wii games required some motion control simply because the wiimote didn't have enough buttons. The tablet controller and the pro controller have the same amount of buttons as the regular 360 controller. So this time developer don't have to use the tablet if they don't have any good ideas.

My guess is that the tablet will be mainly used for inventory management, map management, quick select of weapons, or just as a Menu for a paused game. Look at Aliens: Colonial Marines. They are mainly using the tablet as a Motion detector which works very well for the core of the gameplay. It doesn't need to be used for everything and can largely be forgotten. Some developers have developed games specifically with the Pro Controller in mind, Ninja Giaden 3 is one such example.

orangeapples:
PC + Nintendo

Winning combination in the late 80s, winning combination in the early 90s, winning combination today. You can add a "+ other" to that equation (currently it is iPod/Phone or Android), but PC + Nintendo hasn't ever led me astray.

Don't get me wrong, PS3 and 360 are both impressive machines, but right now the 360 is only ever used with the Kinect and the PS3 runs Netflix. Everything I want to play I can get on PC or from Nintendo.

I had this same realization a while back.

Once I got a steam account I didn't turn my 360 on again until a friend let me borrow AC3.

So that's the entire span of time between Viva Pinata 2 and AC3, I don't care to do the math >.>...

I forget how amazingly loud that console is.

not the biggest fan of steam

anyways on topic, generation means time not what they can do

by that logic people shorter than their father or weaker are the previous generation, that makes no bloody sense

Funny thing is, the Wiimote-nunchuck controls might end up being more useful for ports than the gamepad. I saw the guys from Video Games Awesome try out Black Ops II with it, and it looked like it actually could be an improvement over dual analogs as a first-person control scheme if it's handled properly, which Treyarch went out of their way to do. For every developer who's waiting anxiously for next-gen graphics tech to catch up with their vision, there are probably several who are dreading the higher expectations and extra work involved in making even better looking stuff than they are now. Those people will probably be just fine making scalable games that the Wii U can still handle, and maybe even putting some effort into showing off what the "nunchuck gun" can do for action games.

Wow. Lotta big posts here.

I just want to say, I keep forgetting that the Wii U is out now. Not even sure if I believe that it is.

Can I just say before anything, I liked the wii. They few good games there were on it (red steel 2, No more heroes 1 and 2, metroid prime 3, and of course zeldas) I enjoyed more than any other I played this generation.

But yes the wii u. My main issue with it is difficulty just to be what it wants to be. It seems to have decided to be all the consoles. If nintendo can sit down and figure out a game plan we have a winner. But they've gone for the accessibility option as always. I'll still probably pick one up, just cos you know. It's nintendo. It's gonna have awesome first party games the other two just never have anymore. That and no matter what they make, nintendo always makes their consoles to be fun.

And at the end of the day, graphically, we ain't gonna get much better guys. I don't think this next race will be about hardware. I think this next race is gonna be about who can talk best with everyone else. Just my opinion though.

Kind of an odd article. The comparison to old consoles seems rather pointless, because the industry has completely changed since those days. Adding those historical comparisons doesn't clarify anything, it just muddies the waters.

I'm just waiting to see how this plays out. The game industry just seems rife with stagnation and recycled ideas, and I can't see it keeping this same trend for another decade. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.

Soon, though, we're gonna be asking for something else than CoD and graphics-intensive hardware. ... Hopefully.

Anoni Mus:
SNIP

Ninja'd. Nintendo + PC = victory. Nintendo's really the only party that provides something PCs can't already do better.

Nintendo will do well this generation as long as they have strong software support, a GUI that can compete with smart tvs, having an upgradeable web browser and a smart controller design, which, so far, looks pretty cutting edge.

 

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