I’ve never been a “hardcore” gamer, so when the Nintendo Wii was released back in 2006 I felt that I had a system of my own since I was never quite motivated to get an Xbox or PS 2 and always felt a stubborn loyalty to Nintendo, to this day I still have a SNES in my room at the ready for some good ol’ 16 bit action. Now we’re here in the future 20XX and the Wii U has been announced, priced, demoed and hailed as the latest and greatest way to occupy your thumbs and eyeballs, BUT, why does it seem so make or break for Nintendo that the Wii U succeeds?
We all got our first glimpse of the Wii U at E3 2011, there was a touch screen, video of a people chatting via gamepad, touting of HD graphics, the throwing of ninja stars from gamepad tp TV screen, and slight air of desperation. It’s as if Reggie Fils-Aime wanted to start shouting “WE SWEAR, THIS IS GOING TO BE REALLY AWESOME!”.
Maybe it started somewhere 2010 when Nintendo started losing it’s share of the market first to Xbox 360 and then would be dead last in market share with PS3 dominating 45% by 2012. Maybe it really hit when the 3DS sales were stagnant from the word Go because a lackluster launch lineup, really, who was clamoring for the underwater action of Steeldiver, I considered myself lucky Super Street Fighter IV was available and the 3DS was backwards compatible, and the price of $250 at launch didn’t help anything. Then came the this years first annual loss of 43 billion-yen, 531 million dollars.
Being the optimist I see the innovations of the Wii U and innovating how video games are played is a speciality of Nintendo’s. Nintendo introduces motion control with the Wii Remote, PS3 brings out Playstation Move. Nintendo announces the Wii U Gamepad with built in screen that adds controls off the TV and into your hand, Microsoft announces Smart Glass for the Xbox 360. Nintendo is even attempting to make the Gamepad the focus of the living room with Nintendo TVii which will act as your channel guide, Tivo control and all around universal remote. Even as of typing this article most if not all stores are out of pre-orders for the Wii U. We have a long way to go between now and November 18th, the launch date for the Wii U in North America, not to mention the upcoming holiday season. I guess the worst case scenario here is Nintendo goes the way of Sega and becomes a software maker/portable gaming company which is already facing stiffer competition thanks to smartphones and casual smartphone games. Only time will tell if Nintendo has the power, wisdom, and courage to survive in the very competitive world of video games.