Well first off, the name. I actually like it, Will U. Rolls off the tongue well and keeps the Wii brand, keeping that sense of involvement for everyone that the original Wii did so well. From here on though I’m kinda less impressed with what I’ve seen so far of Nintendo’s next ‘next generation’ console.
From what has been released and of what I’ve seen so far its all about that controller, similar story to last time round with the ‘Wiimote‘ but as with the console in general (see below) it seems to be a bit confused. The Wiimote had a very clear design and purpose, it looked like a magic wand and worked like a magic wand. You wave it at the screen and your character or actions are translated into the game, the face buttons were laid out so you could easily reach them with your thumb and index finger. This brings me to that new ‘controller’, my view is that it appears to be Nintendo’s attempt at combining the Wiimote from its last console with a conventional game pad, this is where I think it all goes wrong.
To be blunt, I don’t think it suits anyone. I can’t see the ‘hardcore’ fans/gamers wanting to use a tablet/ipad style device to play call of duty on (thats presuming 3rd party game like the COD franchise get good ports to the Wii U) instead of using a conventional Xbox or PS3 pad. Drawing on my experience with the original PSP, after about 10 minutes of game time I always felt my thumbs would get cramp due to the position of the small analogue stick in relation the to shoulder buttons and looking at the Wii U’s controller I fear the same could be a problem. Now for the casual gamers, The Wii’s simplicity enabled it to get your nan off the sofa like no other gaming machine ever has (though I don’t think any other has tried). All she had to do was wave the wand and press one button and she could be bowling turkeys like she was back in the good old days. Not anymore though, now your giving her a big flashy rectangle. In my opinion I think it will be too complex for the older generation that were able to enjoy the Wii, my reasoning; the same reason why lots of older people don’t have computers let alone a tablet (some do I know, but I’m sure its the minority). With a new screen and more visible buttons I think it will scare off the older generation leaving predominantly the 7 to 14 age range left. Old enough to think “oh man … COOL!” at this new controller but not old enough to have discovered Call of Duty or Gears of War (I’ve watched the allegiance switch happen first hand).
Don’t think I completely hate the controller, its great that a company is trying to push the industry forward with new innovative idea which have never been done before. The added ability to have secondary information on the bottom screen could work wonders for RPG games if implemented well. I just think that this controller may be a step in the wrong direction as a general gaming controller.
The console in general. The actual brains in the box looks cool, sleek design with the white finish now synonymous with the Wii brand. The power of this machine will be key, everything is a bit shady at present and no one really knows how good it will be, will it be better than a 360 or the PS3, this remains to be seen but this is also where I think another rocky road for Nintendo lies. Just like the controller I think the Wii U is heading for a middle ground, stuck somewhere between the casual and hardcore gamer. To appeal to more ‘hardcore’ gamers the Wii U needs to be able to run the same versions of games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Fifa, PES and many other multi platform games that the PS3 and Xbox does. This should be a given. If Ninitendo’s machine can’t provide a close call on mutli platforms then its doomed, I don’t think this will happen though as I’m sure its more than capable of it. With that said, the Wii U is and never was going to push the graphical boundaries but should it? With rumors that Microsoft might announce a new Xbox at next years E3, there will more than likely be a new console, Whether its PS3 or 360 (more likey Xbox) within the next 2 years in my opinion. If the Wii U has only got the 360/PS3 standard in graphics now; a console later than the rest, when the new Xbox (720?) is released the Wii U will look no better than the original Wii. Who is going to want to play COD (apologies for over using this as an example, I’m not even a fan) on an underpowered machine with a awkward controller? Nintendo have tried to bring their console inline with the current graphical standard but why? not long after its released (upon release of new Microsoft/Sony Machine) it will once again be at the bottom of the pile. Nintendo got it right with the original Wii, No one cared about the graphics because it was all about the Wiimote and motion control, people didn’t expect to be playing multi platform games. Now though Nintendo are bragging about 1080p and competing with the PS3 and Xbox 360, that’s like developing a new machine gun while everyone else is making plasma rifles. I think Nintendo should of stuck with more of a motion control vibe and keep the graphics, not on the hush hush but not make it a big deal OR they should have gone the whole hog and focused on the graphical element.
Overall i think Nintendo have completely missed their audience or aimed the console at no one in particular. This is why I think it is in a bad situation.
1: The controller is too awkward to make FPS and ‘hardcore’ gamers want to put down their PS3 and 360 pads and jump ship.
2: The graphics wont be impressive enough to win over graphics lovers like myself. If they were stunningly brilliant you might be able to get used to the controller.
3: The graphics will be out of date possibly within 1 or 2 years of the consoles release.
4: I believe older people wont take to this Wii like some did its predecessor.
5: Are we going to see any new IP’s? or are we stuck with more Zelda/Mario/Smash Bros remakes?
These are my five main reasons why I think this Wii; the U will not be as successful as its predecessor. I could go into games but I think that is unnecessary for now :p
N.B. I don’t hate Nintendo before anyone thinks this is a complete anti Nintendo rant. I own a DS and am a great lover of some of Nintendo’s first party titles. This is just, as the title says my 2 cent on how I think the Wii U will go down.