Gaming Editorial: Is the Wii U flopping?

wii-u-flopping

For nearly four decades the Nintendo brand has grown to become the biggest video game entertainment powerhouse and a synonymous symbol of video game prestige and market dominance. Nintendo’s Wii U however has left a lot to be desired and the odds are beginning to stack against it. Is Nintendo’s grip on today’s console market slipping?

 

Earlier this month, news had dropped that a top video game retailer in Europe had cut Nintendo’s Wii U prices by £100, which roughly equated to $130 USD. Since then other European retailers have cut the price to help stimulate the Wii U’s lackluster overseas sales. Price drops are a common occurrence in a video game console’s lifespan, but four months after a console’s release? Not so much — especially when the price drop was initiated by the retailers … not the console manufacturers.

Before I go any further I will state that as a video game fan I don’t pledge any allegiance to a particular brand of video game console or company. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are all wonderful companies and I like what they have to offer. If I had it my way I’d own everything they put out that suited my tastes but today’s economy is telling me to keep pinching my pennies. So until I win the lottery I will continue to observe the gaming industry as it shifts into the next generation of home entertainment. I just worry that Nintendo doesn’t stand much of a chance.

The whole point of there being a new console release is to push the current standard of gaming to the next level and the Wii U will not be able to deliver.

If retailers cutting the Wii U’s price just to get the consoles off their shelves wasn’t enough, to add further insult to injury it was announced at last week’s Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) that the new Unreal Engine 4 and Frostbite 3 game engine technology will not be made available for Nintendo’s Wii U. The whole point of there being a new console release is to push the current standard of gaming to the next level. I hate to say it but this is definitive proof that the Wii U will not be able to deliver. Why should I buy a console that’s on par with the current standard of video game technology while the PS4 and the next Xbox will support future technology?

Part of Nintendo’s problem has been their Achilles heel — their lack of strong third party support. It doesn’t make sense to for a gamer in today’s economy to drop the cash on a console that doesn’t have a steady stream of games coming out for it. Nintendo’s famously cliché “quality over quantity” rhetoric just won’t work anymore to their defense because gamers will simply gravitate to what’s hot. Games sell consoles. And if a gamer has to wait six months to a year for a decent title to come out, you’re going to have some very unhappy and fed up gamers. And we can only be won over by a Mario or Zelda game so many times before it gets old.

I think the Wii U won’t fare well at this year’s E3. All of the evidence points to a foreseeable flop.

I’ve been told by my Nintendo loyalist colleagues to wait for this summer’s Entertainment Electronics Expo (E3) to see what games Nintendo will announce that will “blow us all away.” But as much as I’d like to see Nintendo offer something new I fear it will only be overshadowed by the PlayStation 4 (we still have yet to see what it even looks like!) and the inevitable announcement of Microsoft’s next Xbox console. I hate to say it but I think the Wii U won’t fare well at this year’s E3. Or this next-generation console battle as well. All of the evidence points to a foreseeable flop.

wii u 3ds Gaming Editorial: Is the Wii U flopping?

I remember when Sega’s Dreamcast console flopped so badly they opted out of the console market altogether and instead turned to creating third party gaming content. Is this in Nintendo’s future? Probably not. I don’t see them giving up that easily. But I do see them being wise enough to know that video game consoles just aren’t their bag anymore; it’s handheld consoles.

Where there is a Pokémon, there is a way!

I think it would be wiser for Nintendo to pull out of the console competition and put their resources into developing their handheld gaming market, where Nintendo’s biggest strength has always been. Imagine a series of gaming tablets designed by Nintendo. I’d get one! Where there is Pokémon, there is a way!

Yes, Nintendo is in trouble. But only in terms of where it stands in this next iteration of the console war. Nintendo has been around since the beginning and I don’t ever see them going away completely. But I do think they seriously need to rethink their strategy.

What are your thoughts?

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Photo Credit: Nintendo

5 Comments on “Gaming Editorial: Is the Wii U flopping?

  1. Ssdly, I do love the Wii U, but it lacks games and features. With media attacks and developers shunning the Wii U, its starting to look like a HD Wii with a projector touch screen/tablet. Also its poularity is really thin and it seems Nintendo is not being serious about this console. The Wii U has a AMD Radeon, withan IBM PowerPC CPU(CPU Simular to X-Box 360….kinda last gen, but a MAJOR inprovemnet), 2gb of ram and a full boost of hd energy. Now see, I do understant why developers skip right over the Wii U, of course its not a step up into the comming next-gen, but strangly, Nintendo is not even conviencing 3-party develoers to develope HD gamesto show the Wii U’s power. There AD’s are still family oriented, but honestly lack representation of the Wii U. Now, dind’nt Nintendo want to grab hardcore games with the console? To me Nintendo needs to sit down and restructure or simply break there traditional boundaries(“how about we all dance on the neeeeew WII U……..as a family”) and start moving to true innovative features, instead of introducing online features introduced by other console makes years ago. Last but not least the ads are wrong, Nintendo literally scoops little kids into there commercials to represent the Wii U with another WTF, 10+ game. (not saying lego city was bad, kinda fun) and whats whats sad is that the camera is only pointing at the tablet, not showing the console at all. So now people think its a accessory to the original Wii. I remeber when Iwata (president of Nintendo) posted Wii U speed fix update comming to the Wii U online and people from everywhere were flocking in asking for more games that were more appealing (some comments sounded desperate). So E3 is coming and I think that if Nintendo just shows off there first party games, FANS and investors and normal consumers will drop the console. WE NEED FEATURES AND GAMES….why, why has Nintendo now turned its back on its fans, is it becuase the first party games support are starting to drop?….I as a fan, am now on that ship.

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  2. Er nintendo has only had home console dominance recently with the original wii, both gamecube and n64 failed to set the world on fire though obviously they retain handheld dominance. And a lot of news has gone into this gdc game engine stuff claiming that dice says frostbite 3 doesnt support wii-u and thats not true is it. They said they dont have the resources to make a wii u port at the minute, very different to epic’s UE4 statement. That being said nintendo need to move to get more console exclusives from 3rd parties and the Wii U’s future rides on E3 this year. Nintendo have a balancing act to perform none of the other console dev’s have to, with first party software being the reason most people buy Nintendo consoles, 3rd parties have to pay to be on a platform which doesn’t sell as well as the competitors and make software to compete with the single most influential and beloved ip’s in the business, not many can do it and find it profitable. So nintendo’s problem is that Nintendo are too good.

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  3. What do I think?

    Nintendo doomsaying has become sort of a tradition each console generation and it’s never been more rampant. Nintendo will be fine, the Wii U won’t be as successful as the Wii but it will be more successful than the Gamecube. It’s going to follow the curve of the 3DS, disappointing sales until some console-shipping first party games land. Third party games have never sold Nintendo consoles, faltering third party support for the Wii U isn’t a devastating blow…it’s par for the course.

    I think that Microsoft and Sony are in trouble this generation because of Cost and Exclusivity. Basically it boils down to, “If a console costs as much as a PC, why not go for the PC if all of the console’s best titles are available in superior versions for the PC?”

    I think that the Wii U will comfortably inhabit the space between the OUYA and the Sony/Microsoft consoles.

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  4. nintendo opt out of console development? No way. They have more money in the bank than both sony and microsofts gaming sectors combined. Actually if the lost considerable amounts every year they will last till around 2075 until they would do a “sega”, that is a fact.

    Microsoft has no japanese market for the xbox and that is hitting them hard at the moment. as well as the RROD and paid online arguments.

    Sony? The PS vitanic has kicked them in the face. A better console than the 3ds? Yes, but hardly any notable games in it’s library and a high price point. Sony had to sell their headquarters in order to pay off losses.

    E3 this year will be strong for nintendo:

    Smash Bros
    Mario Kart
    New 3D mario game
    New star fox game
    New IP from miyamoto
    Wind Waker HD

    ALL on Wii U. Ubisoft will be releasing most if not all of it’s triple A titles on the console and kickstarter projects are arriving by the dozen every week for indie development on the console due to nintendo framework.

    The console will have a low price points by the time the “next-next” gen consoles release, turning the heads of many consumers towards a familiar yet new device with a large game library by that time.

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    • @MarioWalrus – I respectfully disagree with most of what you wrote.

      “Actually if the lost considerable amounts every year they will last till around 2075 until they would do a “sega”, that is a fact.”

      Sadly, no, it’s not. That is purely speculation. To even state that Nintendo will still be making consoles in 2075 is a wild guess at best.

      “Microsoft has no japanese market for the xbox and that is hitting them hard at the moment. as well as the RROD and paid online arguments.”

      The RROD issue is far to played out. People continue to point to this as a negative for M$ but it’s largely been handled and isn’t an issue with the newer console releases. This has been the case for 2 years and counting now. I agree with the Japanese market comment, but the paid online arguments are….. what, exactly? Xbox live is a service that many, many people are willing to pay for – at last check it was the best selling online service.

      “E3 this year will be strong for nintendo:

      Smash Bros
      Mario Kart
      New 3D mario game
      New star fox game
      New IP from miyamoto
      Wind Waker HD”

      I look at these titles and for me, it’s a big YAWN. All of these games have been done before and are tired and old. Will they be good? Probably. Will they be good enough for people to buy Wii-U just to play a revamped/rehashed/HD version of a game they’re already familiar with? My guess is probably not. There’s nothing inspiring or exciting here.

      “Ubisoft will be releasing most if not all of it’s triple A titles on the console and kickstarter projects are arriving by the dozen every week for indie development on the console due to nintendo framework.”

      Ubisoft titles, sadly, will likely be non-exclusives. Remember Rayman:Origins and how excited folks were about that? Ubisoft titles also drop in price quickly and while they are fun to play, can hardly be considered a huge asset for Nintendo. Ubi is hedging their bets and developing content for the Wii-U so they can hit all markets.

      “The console will have a low price points by the time the “next-next” gen consoles release, turning the heads of many consumers towards a familiar yet new device with a large game library by that time.”

      Perhaps. I hope this is the case. Even a large game library doesn’t mean jack without some quality (read: new) games that get people interested in the system.

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