The Wii U is Down, But Not Out

These are dark days for gamers and the game industry. Unscrupulous publishers take advantage of paying customers, developers cower in fear of innovation, and Nintendo’s mighty Wii U hasn’t sold as much as predicted.

Wii U

Last month fellow Geek Insider writer Mohseen Lala looked at the facts and suggested that the Wii U was a failure in almost every aspect. His article, titled Is the Wii U a Failure?, proved controversial with Wii U supporters and opponents alike, and quite rightly so. The Wii U is an attractive, user friendly console with great potential to carry on the legacy of the Wii before it.

While the less than favourable sales figures are undeniable, the Wii U cannot be considered a failure so early in the game. Join me in this counter-argument to Mosheen’s article, as I explain why the Wii U make just come out as the victor of this console generation.

The Wii U vs the Xbox 720 and PS4: Graphics isn’t Everything

PS4

Graphically, the Wii U has brought Nintendo up to par with its main competitors, the PS3 and the Xbox 360, with 1080p HD output, expanded online capabilities and services, and better social networking in the Miiverse.

But with the PS4 due to come out at the end of this year and a suspected “Xbox 720” announcement in May, the Wii U will be facing some stiff competition. Or will it?

Mohseen claims that the PS4 and Xbox 360 successor, will dominate the next-generation purely due to impressive hardware specifications that will undoubtedly exceed those of the Wii U. But if the last five years have taught us anything, it’s that graphical prowess will not make or break a console.

The Nintendo DS was released roughly six-months before the graphically superior Sony PSP. The Sony PSP, for all intents and purposes, failed as a handheld console while the Nintendo DS and its several iterations went on to be the best selling handheld console of all time.

The Wii U doesn’t Need High Specifications: History will Repeat Itself

PS Vita

This same trend was almost mirrored in the “competition” between the Nintendo 3DS and the Sony PS Vita. Despite a slow start due to pricing issues, the 3DS has prevailed, whereas the PS Vita still struggles to gain the attention of consumers.

The Nintendo Wii also destroyed its competition last generation despite having graphics that barely exceeded the GameCube before it. Yet, Nintendo capitalised on an untouched corner of the market that Sony and Microsoft had ignored – for example, children, families, the elderly and casual gamers. It’s these customers that Nintendo is still focusing on with the Wii U; customers that are the very opposite of the graphics hungry, “hardcore” gamers Mohseen claims will have the greatest influence in the upcoming console war.

While its foolish to directly compare the Wii U to handheld consoles and to the Wii, Nintendo’s previous successes are grand examples of how judging a piece of technology on its specifications alone is short-sighted. In addition to this, the announcement of the PS4 and its high-end graphics was met by relatively little excitement from the gaming press and gamers, and many gamers are already considering skipping the Xbox 720 due to rumors of it requiring a constant internet connection. Simply put, gamers just don’t care about new consoles as much as they used to. Which brings us to our next point of discussion.

Don’t Single Out the Wii U: The Entire Games Industry is Failing

SimCity

When Capcom puts 600 developers to work on Resident Evil 6, and it fails to impress, you have a problem. When Gearbox deceives its publisher Sega, who in turn deceive their customers with the atrocious Aliens: Colonial Marines, you have a problem. When EA requires an always-on internet connection to play, what is for the most part, the single-player SimCity only to have their servers consistently crash rendering the game unplayable at launch, you have yourself a huge problem.

Gamers are finally starting to distrust the deceitful game publishers that have consistently been offering unimaginative games laden with restrictive Digital Rights Management and expensive DLC schedules. If you need further evidence of publisher money-grabbing, Mohseen helpfully highlights in his article the Wii U’s concerning launch titles, the vast majority of which are nothing more than ports of previously released games.

Not only does this new generation of apathetic gamers care little for tech demos and hypothetical hardware, as proudly displayed by Sony with their PS4, they’re unlikely to pay the high price tag the PS4 and the Xbox 720 will carry. In fact, the new Xbox is suggested to retail at a staggering maximum of $500.

If modern gamers do turn their backs on console gaming, instead taking up mobile and PC gaming, the games industry may very well crash, taking the Wii U with it. However, the WiiU’s lowering price point combined with the still loyal Nintendo fanbase, makes it the most likely to be left standing once the dust settles.

The Wii U has a Loyal Fanbase: The Importance of Strong 1st Party Titles

Wii U

While its true that the Wii U will miss out on a lot of 3rd party titles that will appear on the PS4 and the Xbox 720, the majority of this so-called “essential” 3rd party support will be provided by the very same AAA title publishers that are putting the games industry on a sure-fire path to crashing. For example, Sega have announced that the Wii U version of Aliens: Colonial Marines has been cancelled. Mohseen claims that Sega “don’t want to port to the Wii U”. I claim that Nintendo have dodged a bullet and are lucky to not have Sega and Gearbox’s abomination of a game associated with the Wii U.

The support of 3rd party developers and publishers is always advised for a healthy game library, Nintendo are by no means dependant on them. Nintendo can and will fall back on their incredibly strong IP to see them through the next generation. New Super Mario Bros. U is the best selling Wii U game (not including pack-in game Nintendo Land), and a Wind Waker remake, Pikmin 3, a new Super Smash Bros title, and what is rumoured to be an open-world Zelda game are on the way. The Wii U’s game library may end up being smaller than its competitors, but as the old phrase goes “quality is better than quantity”.

The Wii U is Far from Broken: A Rocky Start won’t Define Nintendo’s Console

Wii U

The Wii U was met with cries of dissatisfaction from many gamers at launch. Upon turning on the console many were met with a huge, mandatory update that if interrupted, could result in the console bricking. This was a poor move by Nintendo, especially considering that many customers were unable to replace their Wii U’s due to limited supplies, forcing them to return home with a refund. Those fortunate enough to get the console working had to put up with unnecessarily long loading times

It would be silly to defend Nintendo over the initial, inexcusable flaws with the Wii U’s operating system. But worse issues than these affected hundreds of thousands of Xbox 360 and PS3 users with the infamous Red Ring of Death, and Yellow Light of Death for several years after both consoles had been released. Even so, many gamers have remained faithful to their Xbox 360s and PS3s. The same will undoubtedly be true for Wii U owners whose plights will be relieved in future system updates.

The Wii U is Here to Stay: But what do you think?

Wii U

At this point its incredibly difficult to predict whether or not the Wii U will truly succeed; on this both Mohseen and I agree. But in my opinion, the Wii U is here to stay, and while it may not achieve the level of success gained by its predecessor, it will sustain Nintendo throughout the oncoming game industry storm.

But it is you, the gamers, that will ultimately influence the outcome of both the upcoming console war and the potential games industry crash. We’d love to know what you think, so leave us a comment in the section below!

9 Responses

  1. WrenJustinUmlauf

    The Wii U is having a rocky start, but I am still more than pleased with my purchase. The Wii U has also sparked a lot of interest in Indie Developers. I can easily see the eShop starting to fill up with great Indie games, and thatll make 3rd party developers see just how valuable the Wii U is. Unfortunately, with such a huge push in graphics, the Wii U might start to fall back again, but I don’t see that as an excuse to stop development, especially when this is the beginning of a console and we are comparing it to the end of the others.
    Thankfully some developers, like Ubisoft, have seen the potential of the Wii U and are taking advantage of it. It’s only a matter of time until others start to get creative with the Wii U.

    • MegaWestgarth
      MegaWestgarth

      WrenJustinUmlauf I personally think that Nintendo have let the Wii U down a bit by not offering enough first party titles at launch. But once we start seeing Zelda, Pikmin, Smash Bros. and even series like F-Zero and Metroid having Wii U sequels then the Wii U will start selling. There’s still some good 2nd party games on the way such as Bayonetta 2 which, if it’s anything like the first, will be amazing. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Cloud Strife

    I have always been a big Nintendo fan. why? Despite the “kiddy” look of games that everyone complains about, those same “kiddy” games are some of the most enjoyable games i have ever played! Zelda: the Wind Waker, despite the kiddy look had one of the most violent death of gannondorf in ANY Zelda game! The Supposed “hardcore” gamer everyone is catering to, thinks graphics trump story, and have proven them right! look at what’s popular, COD, halo, battlefield…….all FPS games. a rehash of the same play style and essentially same story just a different way to look at it. I have never been a fan of FPS games, i find them boaring, but that’s me. every nintendo first party game continually comes out with a new innovation with every game, and i continue to be impressed. esp when i see that the new xbox is essentially gonna be a small pc running windows 8!

  3. MichaelHasbun

    I don’t know about “failure”. Irrelevant seems to be a better word. I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who owns one. Heck, I can’t find anyone who’s heard of it, much less is interested in it…

  4. barry

    There’s so many things wrong with the Wii U it’s hard to know where to begin. I mean the name first of all, as far as a casual gamer is concerned the Wii U might just be to the Wii what the DSi is to the DS, a minor upgrade. The online system is still behind the competition. And why on earth wouldn’t they make Nintendo Land playable online? 
    And I don’t buy the argument about Nintendo’s strong first party I.P’s anymore either, the audience for those games is shrinking, kids who have grown up playing CoD and Halo, don’t give a shit about Zelda or Pikmin, I mean even Mario is starting to look tired. Time was every new Mario game release was a big deal, but Nintendo have gone back to that well too often recently and the last Mario DS game and the Wii U one have gotten a pretty lukewarm response, I know the Wii U one is the top seller on the system, but that is a system with NO games.
     Normally if you want to make money from games consoles you have to sell games, Nintendo did especially well last time out with the Wii because they sold people old tech for more than it was worth and actually made money on the consoles themselves. I can’t see that being the case with the Wii U, not with that gamepad. The big multiplat next gen games either aren’t going to be ported to the Wii U, or they’ll be so obviously inferior that they’ll be the last choice for anyone buying those titles.
    Are the millions of casual gamers who bought a Wii, really going to see the Wii U and race out to buy one, when like the rest of us they haven’t touched their Wii in god knows how long? I mean what’s the big selling point for the Wii U? The Wii had the motion controls that let people who found control pads intimidating, play games without having to worry about that. But the Wii U has a control pad, a huge one and what exactly is the benefit of the new controller? Oh you can play games on it instead of the T.V, great. That right there is their biggest problem, when you see someone using the new gamepad, it’s not immediately clear how it makes playing games different. It was so easy for them with the Wii controller, all you had to do was see someone playing any of the Wii sports games and you could see how it worked and why it was fun.
    I say all this as someone who will eventually buy a Wii U because I want to play Zombie U and Monster Hunter. But I also bought a Dreamcast and a Gamecube.

  5. TheViper4Life

    I didn’t even read this whole article, I stopped at “The Wii crushed it’s competition last gen”. Lets get one thing straight…you want to go on and on about about graphics don’t matter, but guess what? Sales don’t mean everything either. The Wii crushed the competition in sales ONLY! It failed miserably in the replayability department. Nintendo even said themselves that some outrageous percentage of Wii consumers stopped playing the console within 2-3 months of purchase, in other words…more people bought the system, but more people also stopped playing that system. I know I was one of them…I haven’t touched my Wii in almost 3 years, it’s a fancy paperweight. So still saying that the Wii won the console war is outrageous.

    • MegaWestgarth
      MegaWestgarth

      TheViper4LifeThank you for making such a bold comment without even reading the entirety of my article.
      If high sales and popularity doesn’t determine the success of a console, what does? Last generation was hardly a console war at all as the only two companies that were competing for the same market were Sony and Microsoft. In fact, Nintendo secured their own market and reaped the benefits, resulting in both Microsoft and Sony essentially copying the Wii’s motion based controls with the Kinect and Move respectively.
      Again, if dominating the market, gaining high sales, and becoming possibly the most popular non-handheld console of all time as well as having your competition copy you isn’t the definition of success, what is?

  6. MarvelMan

    THE WII U SUCKS O.k. Sorry I don’t like To be Mean but all the new Games are for Wii U And now LEGO Marvel Is Only on That STUPID SYSTEM I’ve Waited Forever for that Game To come out only to find it on Wii U Couldn’t The Creators think of Kids That can’t buy new systems WHAT THE HECK WORLD

  7. TheViper4Life

    MegaWestgarth TheViper4Life Sorry it took me so long to see this, just got a random E-Mail about it. 
    But since when did sales numbers determine the console war winner? Last gen only, apparently. The console war isn’t based on sales figures or what market has what…it’s about what console is the most popular by the masses…and the Wii’s sales numbers aside, the replay-ability fall off of the console determined it was number 3 in the console war. That’s how it’s always been…being “console war winner” is like an unofficial trophy to the most popular console of that generation…which, sadly, goes to the 360 (I’m a PS3 guy). 
    If the PS4 sells the most this gen, but by the end of it the masses prefer the XB1…then the XB1 wins gen 8. Sales just mean people bought the console expecting one thing, and they got another…just like the Wii.

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