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.
Slightly rejigged versions of “Batman: Arkham City“, “Mass Effect 3“, & “Ninja Gaiden 3” are 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.
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?
- Wii U Reconfirmed To Launch This Holiday Season In Europe (mynintendonews.com)
- Farewell to the Wii, A Great Gaming System After All (kotaku.com)
- ‘Mass Effect 3′ Wii U Developer Working On Two More Games For The Console (multiplayerblog.mtv.com)
- What Can Nintendo Say to Sell You on the Wii U’s Launch? (noplatform.wordpress.com)