Wii U? Why not?

 

Yep, that’s a console all right…

Whilst the telephonically-inclined are constantly refreshing their browser of choice on Wednesday in a desperate attempt to pre-order the new iPhone, those of us whose gadget yearnings extend beyond the kingdom that Steve Jobs built will be eagerly following Nintendo’s various websites, as the Japanese innovation factory announces a release date for their Wii U system.

Or the Wii 2.5′ to those more cynical observers underwhelmed by the console’s purported specs and games line-up.

Other half watching TV? Continue your game on this tablet controller.

Slightly rejigged versions of Batman: Arkham City, Mass Effect 3“, & “Ninja Gaiden 3are due alongside the next Assassin’s Creed“, “New Super Mario Bros U”, “Pikmin 3 and the mysterious motion-control fest , “Avengers: Battle for Earth” will vie for your attention this Holiday season amongst 3o or so launch window games.

It might be rubbish shovelware, or family-friendly genius, but who wouldn’t want an “Avengers” title on their system this year.

I’m always up for a new video games system – new hotness incoming! – but I’m not inclined to jump on board this particular hype train.

For one thing  – and this is key – the price of early adoption is frequently prohibitive.   It’s early enough in a console’s life cycle that production costs haven’t reduced and any business worth their stock exchange listing is going to want to give their new piece of sexy consumer electronics kit a price tag which reflects its newness, desirability and perceived cool status.  With games systems, unless you have a tattoo of Master Chief or proudly self-declare yourself as a devout Sony fan boy/girl, getting a console on the day that it hits the streets is going to leave you out of pocket, stuck with a bunch of rushed-to-market games and loudly cursing your consumer electronics overlords for  being suckered by the PR blitz once more.

I picked up my Xbox and PS3 a good few years into their life cycle – my briefly-owned Wii some time after that – and didn’t regret the financially-motivated decision to wait awhile until decent games made their debut, online services were sorted out and I had an idea what I was buying into.

The half-this-gen, half-next-gen nature of the Wii U makes me more likely to bide my time with it, if I ever pick up one at all.  As much as I love Mario and Samus, I’ve not seen anything yet from the demo footage so far shown of the system which tells me that this is anything other than a bridge between the Wii and what Nintendo come up with after seeing how the Xbox 720 and PS4 have shaken up gaming with their next disruptive iterative offerings.

Oddly enough, the Wii U really feels like a reaction rather than a singular design statement – and probably should have been with us earlier than it is – a system which can give Miyamoto-designed whimsy and blast-em-up military shooter action with a supportive suite of online services and the usual HD bells and whistles perhaps has a better chance than most at appealing to each sector of the lucrative family gaming market.

Establishing the message that your new system can handle the same fist-pumping, knuckle-dragging Bro Shooters as the other games consoles might drag in gamers for whom Nintendo is just greasy kid’s stuff but I’m not sure that they can get over the company’s image as the safe system for family gamers – and a lot of Ninty’s core audience would run a mile rather than play “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield”.

So, who is the Wii U for exactly?

 

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11 Comments

Filed under Blogs, Gaming, Geekery

11 responses to “Wii U? Why not?

  1. Bosstiger

    Reblogged this on Gigable – Tech Blog.

  2. Now that pricing was announced I’m more curious. I tend to get game systems at or around launch but I’m very weary about the longevity of the Wii U. I do really want to play Pikmin 3, though…

  3. hoovesfg

    Impression I get is Wii U is trying to keep the party game vibe while drawing in some of the core gamers to boot it’s reputation – they’ve already made Bayonetta 2 a Wii U exclusive.
    Who knows. :)

    • Yes – if there was one announcement that I wasn’t expecting from the Nintendo Direct conference, it was Wii U exclusive “Bayonetta 2″.

      Vote of confidence in the franchise or is somebody at Nintendo in starkers, hair-wielding witches?

  4. I’m sold on a WiiU. I was quite happy with my Wii which I still use occasionally (need my Zelda fix ;) ) and there are some great games for it that didn’t get much publicity.

    Nintendo looks to be taking a step in the right direction on this one with a focus on 3rd party devs. That Bayonetta was a big deal for me and completely solidified my want of the system. I’m also very interested on how it is going to work with it’s entertainment hub features. I think it has much potential to trump MS’s Smart Glass is they make the right steps.
    I’m more about good gameplay over graphics, so as long as Nintendo keeps up with the quality of their 1st party games and 3rd party keep making original content for it, I am more than satisfied. TBH, when the next xbox and ps come out, I’m seriously considering using the money I will be saving for them and building a gaming PC instead. Both have let me down recently by failing to give me a reason to take a different route like Nintendo has. Bravo for Nintendo. And I think that the launch price is fair (will still be waiting till more games come out before I buy one, namely a Zelda game)

    • Yes, every time that I read something about Microsoft’s efforts to emphasise the Kinect/Apps/Media side of their Xbox service, I begin to wonder whether it’s worth giving a company who seem to be forgetting the games part of the equation continued patronage.

      Nintendo, if they do nothing else in the next gen, will have an intriguing and singular take on combining games, online and services for gamers. That’s a given.

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