Wii U Launching Early to Compete With Tablets, Not Consoles

Wii U Launching Early to Compete With Tablets, Not Consoles

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Nintendo doesn't think it's important to have the first console of the next generation.

The next console generation is nigh, and this time Nintendo will be ringing it in with the Wii U, which is expected to launch by the end of 2012. And although rumors abound for the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony, neither company has so much as confirmed its next console's existence. While this means the Wii U is set to gain a big lead, Sony has stated that it doesn't think being first is important. Whether or not Sony's assertion was a case of sour grapes, Nintendo happens to agree. Speaking to Gamasutra in an interview, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata flatly stated that "being first in the next generation race is not important at all."

So why does the company not bide its time more, and let hardware get cheaper? Iwata claimed that the Wii U's imminent launch is necessary because of the current state of consumer technology. Unlike at the Wii's launch, HDTVs are now a common feature in homes. More importantly, tablet gaming is gaining a lot of steam, but hasn't yet become cheaply available. Presumably, the Wii U will be cheaper than Apple's popular-yet-pricey iPad, and that will give gamers a cheaper, dedicated alternative to standalone tablets.

Iwata also expects the impending launch to boost Nintendo's bottom line, as the company recently posted its first-ever year loss for the fiscal year of 2011. "Our intention is to return to profitability after just one year of losing money," he explained, attributing the downturn partly to the rocky launch of the 3DS. The handheld originally sold poorly due to its high launch price, forcing Nintendo to drastically cut the price and sell it at a significant loss. Iwata pointed out that the 3DS is already cheaper for Nintendo to produce, which alleviates some of the financial pressure on the company. But a big event like a successful home console launch would certainly help bring Nintendo's numbers back into the black.

In order to help ensure that successful launch, Nintendo plans to apply the lessons it learned from the 3DS to the Wii U. Iwata recognized that the price of the new console will be "one of the most important elements" of the launch. This echoes Iwata's previous assurances that the Wii U price will be "reasonable," although it has yet to be announced. Don't hold your breath for the announcement, though - according to Iwata's statements in a recent investor meeting, both the release date and the price won't be revealed until fall.

Source: Gamasutra

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Excessively negative comments, start your engines...

frankly, i'm looking forward to them trying make it work, more than anything else...seeing as apple has been slow to capitalize on their customer base in the gaming area (which of course has been changing since job's...departure), nintendo could have a shot at the space

ofc, if they keep pricing games like they do now (at the very least, overvaluing really short games), it's hard to believe that at their level of hardware (can they compete graphically with ipad 3?) that they'll be able to convince people to buy in, unless they offer a compelling array of quality titles right off the bat

nintendo has the chance to prove that its quality over quantity philosophy can be effectively put to use, but we will have to see if they are up to the task, or at the very least, can get those third party developers giving it a decent shot rather than just phoning it in again

What I don't understand is why doesn't Nintendo basically nip what Ouya is doing right now? They have a tablet, they probably could license the Android engine to run all those games and basically BE the console that can play tablet games at home. You get the best of both worlds and the controller is already set up.

I wata believe him but we all know that's not true.

As a facebook commenter pointed out, They're not launching early, they're about 7 years too late.

So much for trying to appeal to the hardcore gamers.

Ok, right off the bat, I thought the Wii U tablet can't be taken away from the system and still play games. Did I misunderstand that or something?
How exactly is the Wii gamepad supposed to compete with other tablets when it is not portable? Isn't that the entire point of a tablet, to be like a laptop but small enough to carry in your hands as you travel?

What are they even thinking?

mad825:
So much for trying to appeal to the hardcore gamers.

well, even microsoft and sony have been moving towards overall home entertainment rather than just the hardcore playerbase, and on some level, they're moving away from having those game experiences as their focus

fact is, they may be dedicated gamers, but they can't hold up the industry by themselves anymore, due to the ratio of company size to customer base, so the companies not going to focus on them specifically...it's just that casual gamers aren't as vocal about their interests, so if something doesn't appeal to them, they don't go up to the company and demand that they get their due, they just move on to something else

for nintendo, that means providing tablet gaming experiences (from the home, where it can benefit from the extra processing power of the machine in addition to the tablet) because they're trying to tap into new trends and explore them. that was the motivation behind 3d. will it work for them? maybe not as much as the wii did. will they give it a shot? certainly.

even though you can't support the direction they go with, at the very least, you can understand what drives them to do these things. perhaps not every idea is a success, but each idea brings the potential to add a new aspect to gaming that perhaps would have been left unnoticed otherwise. we sit here now, thinking "this is good enough" but we never know...dual sticks was never taken into serious consideration until it went mainstream, and now that's all that everybody ever talks about

Tenmar:
What I don't understand is why doesn't Nintendo basically nip what Ouya is doing right now? They have a tablet, they probably could license the Android engine to run all those games and basically BE the console that can play tablet games at home. You get the best of both worlds and the controller is already set up.

Nintendo, and others, see the Ouya as utilizes a price destruction style of marketing. The games on the iPhone and Android are sub par compared to the gaming market at large, but they run the risk of changing the perception of what a game should cost. The contraction in the market from that could kill every major gaming company out there.

medv4380:

Tenmar:
What I don't understand is why doesn't Nintendo basically nip what Ouya is doing right now? They have a tablet, they probably could license the Android engine to run all those games and basically BE the console that can play tablet games at home. You get the best of both worlds and the controller is already set up.

Nintendo, and others, see the Ouya as utilizes a price destruction style of marketing. The games on the iPhone and Android are sub par compared to the gaming market at large, but they run the risk of changing the perception of what a game should cost. The contraction in the market from that could kill every major gaming company out there.

The funny thing is, they're actually doing the same thing anyway, because the 3DS now has those games, and demos of their upcoming games anyway, so the only real question here is if Nintendo is willing to work with somebody else without having the majority of oversight and weight in decision making, or if they want to use a platform that supports hacking

it's the overall open philosophy that runs against nintendo's old school establishment, which focuses on quality control over freedom

Presumably, the Wii U will be cheaper than Apple's popular-yet-pricey iPad, and that will give gamers a cheaper, dedicated alternative to standalone tablets.

I should hope so, iPads are stupid expensive. It's amazing what people will pay for a name.

OT: I don't know why everyone is all negative about the WiiU. If it does well, we all benefit. If not, then it's because they couldn't make a product that people are interested in. I am gonna get one when it has enough good games for it.

One thing that Iwata likes to avoid I notice is that price is not the only element behind the 3DS's initial sales. There wasn't a whole lot of games available till well after launch. If there isn't at least 3 games I want for a system, I don't get it. That is why I never bought a 360. Most of the games I wanted to play were on the PS3, as well as multiple exclusives I really wanted. The price tag was definitely a factor, but not as a big a factor as the game library on release. So far though, the game library on release isn't looking special to me.

I get the suspicion the first round of customers will be the ones beta testing this thing.

That's actually pretty smart from a business perspective. If they wait, it just means more people doing casual gaming on tablets and less likely to buy a WII U

why didnt they make the thing a handheld then? I get the impresison the tablet controller can;t be taken away from the console

Is he implying that I can take my Wii U controller with me AND still plays games on it like a ipad?

The the the damn Wii U controller is confined to the house so people will still use something else (and the chance of it being a 3DS is slim beyond Nintendo faithful) to get by and there are other tablets that are better (and cheaper) than that over hyped ipad that can provide the same amount of entertainment for FREE

No one seems prepared OR interested to jump to the Next Generation consoles and are devloping in secret to make the graphics gap large enough for gamers to say "well the difference is obvious so its not worth buying for the wii U if its multiplatform and on a better powered console WHICH will have longer support in its console lifetime?"

They will suceed in their 1st party games and probably the 3rd party one too for a measly TWO years then what?

ace_of_something:
I get the suspicion the first round of customers will be the ones beta testing this thing.

yea. I will wait a while before getting one then

mad825:
So much for trying to appeal to the hardcore gamers.

It's a console. There hasn't been a hardcore console gamer since the SNES.

Here's another lesson Nintendo should have learned from the 3DS. A lack of interesting launch titles amounts to fuck-all and they should have held off longer to get better games to draw us in. I think the Wii had a similar problem with lackluster launch games (aside from maybe Zelda) and it didn't have the big hits until later in the first year. But the WiiU's only real games are Pikmin and AssCreed3(5). No Zelda mentioned. No Mario. No StarFox. No DK. No Pokemon. No F-Zero. Nothing. I'm not against them spreading out their main franchises, but not having ANY of them seems like a waste (especially with there not having been a new StarFox or F-Zero since early Gamecube era).

My prediction is while the WiiU will be interesting and might even do good, I expect the hardware to not live up to the expectations it was given. For example, the Wii was supposed to be the innovation of motion controls. but those motion controls were unresponsive at times and just not good at others. It took more than a year to get an attachment to make it work better, which should have been incorporated into the console from the start. My guess is that the WiiU will be more of that. And you know why it'll sell? Because there will be a new Mario, a new Zelda, and a new Metroid all down the road.

I'd also argue that unless the WiiU can keep the company float financially and win some respect that Nintendo desperately needs from frustrated fans, developers, critics, and others, this will be the company's last console and they either drop or go the route of Sega and just do software. I wouldn't want that, but in these past few years, they've made a lot of dumb mistakes and ideas that only show they care about money and don't care about customers in the way that say Valve or Blizzard or even volition care. but now I feel like I'm on too long a tangent and will just stop here.

Alright, alright. I'll refrain from adding more negative comments because...well, that's just too easy.

How about an actual release date? And a price tag? You know, Nintendo says they want to release the WiiU before the year ends but uhh...there's only 6 months left. I'm sure they're gonna try and launch it during Xmas because of the fact that everyone spends the most at that time of the year but at least give people the chance to know how much they gotta start saving and by when should they have it ready.

I'm not buying that thing. Hell, no. But you know, sometimes I wonder if Nintendo's even trying to be taken seriously. It's just one mistake after another.

You can't chase the tablet crowd and the hardcore gamers at the same time. I think Nintendo is clueless and are just saying anything they think will be "good news" since most news about the WiiU has been bad.

Deviate:

mad825:
So much for trying to appeal to the hardcore gamers.

It's a console. There hasn't been a hardcore console gamer since the SNES.

Correction: it's a hand-held console. Sorry, but many people would disagree on that point, just because it's old skool doesn't make it any more worthy.

mad825:

Deviate:

mad825:
So much for trying to appeal to the hardcore gamers.

It's a console. There hasn't been a hardcore console gamer since the SNES.

Correction: it's a hand-held console. Sorry, but many people would disagree on that point, just because it's old skool doesn't make it any more worthy.

It's not about old-school making it more worthy. It's about how there hasn't been worthy consoles (handheld or otherwise) since then. PCs have consistently and without fail trounced all the consoles coming out after it and the 'hardcore' gamer tag does not belong near said casual products.

Deviate:

It's not about old-school making it more worthy. It's about how there hasn't been worthy consoles (handheld or otherwise) since then. PCs have consistently and without fail trounced all the consoles coming out after it and the 'hardcore' gamer tag does not belong near said casual products.

Eh, cheap. The PC isn't even a console.

The Xbox did a good job appealing to the hardcore audience and so did the N64.

mad825:

Deviate:

It's not about old-school making it more worthy. It's about how there hasn't been worthy consoles (handheld or otherwise) since then. PCs have consistently and without fail trounced all the consoles coming out after it and the 'hardcore' gamer tag does not belong near said casual products.

Eh, cheap. The PC isn't even a console.

The Xbox did a good job appealing to the hardcore audience and so did the N64.

"The Hardcore audience"? Yeah, no. The Xbox, N64 and the rest that came have never gotten near any kind of hardcore audience. Console gamers are casual gamers, pretty much by default. And yeah, the PC is not a console and hardcore gamers wouldn't have it any other way.

 

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