The Nintendo Wii was an amazing console. It revolutionized gaming, opening the console experience to the masses, because if you could do something in real life, chances are you could do it on the Wii thanks to its user-friendly motion controls. While the Wii found itself the target of a great deal of criticism throughout its launch for being gimmicky (among other things, covered below), looking back many have rescinded their claims, now seeing the logic and beauty behind this device.
Thus, when Nintendo announced the Wii U, there was apprehension to write it off too early. Maybe the Wii U is appealing to another unforeseen audience? Maybe people just don’t get its design? However, after the Nintendo press conference and now that the Wii U is scheduled to release this November, the time for pulling punches has come to an end.
Of course it is far too early to judge this device, but it should be noted that there are some serious questions that need to be raised about Nintendo’s latest console. As great as the Wii was, it was all but forgotten by third-party developers like EA and Ubisoft, offered no online experience and found its technology lagging behind the competitors. With what we’ve seen from Nintendo’s Wii U, it appears that the beloved developer’s new console is doomed to repeat its predecessor’s mistakes.
Here are some things you should consider before purchasing the Wii U:
Fake Next Gen: Released into Obsolescence
Obviously there is no question that the Wii U is more powerful than the Xbox 360 and PS3, but the question is; does that matter? In the same context, the PS3 is more powerful than the Xbox 360, but the PS3′s superior processing power hardly ever shows, because third-party developers have to make games that can be played across all platforms. You are eventually left with titles that play similarly on the Xbox 360 and PS3 disregarding the processing power. So even though the Wii U may be more powerful than its counterparts it will not matter if developers are simply porting over the same titles, as the enhancements will be negligible.
From what we have seen so far (image to the right), the Wii U does not currently look any better than its counterparts. In fact, in some instances it even looks worse. To be fair, this is normal for a console in its early stages, as game developers are still learning how to code for the device. This is something that would normally be overlooked, but it’s hard to disregard this in the case of the Wii U.
That’s because, currently, the Wii U is competing against the Xbox 360 and PS3, but when Microsoft and Sony release their next generation consoles; where will the Wii U find itself? While the next generation Sony and Microsoft consoles are still purely speculative, both have been rumored to be considerably more powerful than Wii U, and even worse there has been mentions of release dates as early as 2013.
If these rumors prove to be true, the Wii U is racing towards obsolescence. While the current technology divide between the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U is negligible, chances are that the divide between the Wii U and the other next generation consoles will be far more drastic. Consumers can expect a gaming landscape that mirrored the previous generation, in which the Xbox 360 and PS3 often received similar gaming titles, while the Wii often found itself with sloppier ports.
The Lack of Identity: Who is the Wii U Made for?
The Wii U lacks identity, and it’s a real problem. If the Wii U was another machine simply made for the casual audience, its relatively unimpressive specs could be overlooked, but it’s not. The Wii U is supposedly a machine for all of us; but is it really even made for any of us?
The great thing about the Wii was its interactive nature. There was no bar of entry as gamers and non-gamers alike could pick up the Wii-mote and play, but the new control and overall design of the Wii U moves away from that. The larger touchscreen gamepad forces a more standard sedentary style of play, which is fine, but also alienates a large portion of causal gamers who loved simply swinging around the Wii-mote.
On the other hand the current design choices are questionable for any hardcore gamers, limited specs aside. In a world where online gaming is the norm, Nintendo has yet to show off the online functions of the Wii U; there are also serious memory deficiencies, as the standard device only offers 8GB of memory, which is barely suitable for a smartphone these days. Gamers who use their consoles as a hub of all forms of entertainment (which Nintendo is pushing with the Wii U as evident by TVii) will find the lack of memory even in the deluxe 32 GB version unacceptable. It should be mentioned though, that the Wii U will support expandable storage, meaning gamers will be able to attach up to 3TB of external memory, though of course gamers will be responsible for purchasing that in addition to the new console.
Not Set In Stone
Current problems like the limited storage and lack of information regarding Wii U multiplayer may be fixed when more information is released…hopefully. For instance, Nintendo could turn to cloud storage on the Wii U, though capacities and costs could be a hindrance to adoption.
As it stands, hardcore gamers that are looking for the next big gaming console are better off waiting to see what Sony and Microsoft produce. Casual gamers that are looking for off-beat fun experiences will be better served looking to the mobile market, or the bargain bin filled with discounted Wii titles.
But Nintendo still has time until launch, and it may have some tricks up its sleeve, or at least some more details. Besides, if you are a Nintendo fan no amount of skepticism will keep you from this machine, and nor should it. While the hardware of the Nintendo Wii U may be in question, one thing is for certain, Nintendo will continue to make great and unique first-party games featuring Mario, Samus, Donkey Kong, and Link, games that even hard-core gamers will enjoy.