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Friday, April 13, 2012

How Will the Wii U Fare?

If you listen to ignorant fanboys harp on about how the Wii has no games and is killing gaming by catering to the casual gamer, you're probably unaware of all the good titles you're missing out on. Let's face it, hating Nintendo has become quite popular over the last three generations of gaming. For the first time in years, Nintendo has managed to reclaim the number one spot and still gamers spew bile. With the coming of the Wii U, it doesn't look like the nay-saying will cease anytime soon.

Nintendo unveiled the Wii U at 2011's E3. At first it was said that the Wii U was more powerful with the PlaySation 3 and Xbox 360. But just recently, some anonymous developers have said that it isn't as powerful as either of the aforementioned current gen rival platforms. Visually stunning powerhouses like Batman: Arkham City have already been announced for the Wii U so the system can't be that under powered. Still, assumptions and speculation are running rampant when in reality, we really don't know anything because one, Nintendo hasn't divulged all of the specs and two, and the system isn't even out yet. Of course this hasn't stopped pundits from saying that Nintendo is doomed.

Let's say the Wii U isn't as powerful as Sony and Microsoft's next systems. Would that really be such a bad thing? The Wii was the least powerful system this generation and it ended up mopping the floor with the PS3 and 360. And in the previous console generation, the PS2, the weakest of the three consoles ended up being the market leader. Having the highest range of specs under the hood doesn't automatically make you a winner. And let's not forget that the Wii was also developed to be cost-friendly. Yeah, its specs couldn't hold a candle to the competition, but because it was essentially two GameCubes under the hood, nearly anyone could afford it. The same could not be said for the 360 and PS3 when they launched. The HD gaming generation is also making the cost of development skyrocket, which is why we're seeing more expensive games, something the gaming populace has not kept quiet about.

Nintendo hardware tends to be on the affordable side, but the company has said that the system won't be cheap. I wonder. Just what does 'not cheap' mean to Nintendo? A friend and I were talking about this a while back and we got to discussing the price of the Wii when it first launched, which was at $250 in America because it came bundled with Wii Sports. Apparently, Nintendo wanted to sell the system for cheaper but due to pressure from retailers, it was launched at the $250 price that it was. So we got to talking and thought that $300-$350 sounds about right for the Wii U. Don't quote me on that, though. The 3DS launched at a price of $250 and this was a huge turn off for many gamers. True the launch lineup was sub par, but when the price was lowered to $170, buying the handheld a lot sooner for me became a no brainer. I think it's safe to say that even if the Wii U "won't be cheap" as Nintendo says, it will still be cheaper than what Sony or Microsoft serves up.

There's talk from Nintendo about winning back the hardcore gamer (even though a selection of hardcore titles was on the Wii, but haters were too busy hating to give notice) and Nintendo has already taken steps to get them back on the Wii with the North American releases of Xenoblade: Chronicles and The Last Story. If games like Arkham City, Assassins Creed III, and Tekken are in the works, I think Nintendo just may make good on their word.

So how will the Wii U Fare? It's way too early to tell. As I've already said, the system isn't even out for us to play yet. But I do know one thing: The Wii U will have games that can only be played on Nintendo's new baby. You will not be able to play Mario, Zelda, Kirby or Metroid on a Sony or Microsoft system. And who knows, there just may be a few killer exclusives that only hit the Wii U. You could end up kicking yourself for not having one. I still don't know about that tablet controller, but I've always been a supporter of Nintendo's consoles and handhelds. Nintendo has been in the game business for a long time and I doubt we can ever truly count them out.

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