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Published on June 10th, 2012 | by simeon


Some Potential Red Flags Have Developed Around The WII U

During my recent coverage at the 2012 E3 Expo in Los Angeles, I like many others in attendance have tons of questions about the new console from Nintendo. The Wii U promises bigger and better gaming experiences that are currently available on the Wii but I have to ask myself if the console is too little too late and if there are larger problems ahead.

While the system will allow greater graphics and capabilities based on what I’ve seen it is not up to the graphical standards of the existing consoles from Microsoft and Sony. They can put all the tech specs they want up, but I have seen the games, and seen the console in action and from what I see, it is lacking compared to the others and even if on par for some games, does not offer that much more.

While it is impressive that gamers will be able to play titles such as Aliens: Colonial Marines and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition I noted that I will also be able to play those on the existing systems and without any discernible graphical or gameplay benefit I would have to ask myself why I’d want to play it on Wii U you much less shell out money for the system.

Of course there will be exclusive titles such as new Mario, Luigi, and Zelda games as well as exercise titles such as Wii Fit U. That being said, I struggle to see the draw as despite sharper graphics Mario is still at its heart a 2-D side scrolling game. I spent the better part of two hours exploring the Nintendo booth as well as the coverage we did during the press conference.

Time and time again I kept getting the impression that I have already seen it and played it with each title they’ve presented. I hope I’m wrong about this is nothing would make me happier than for the console to be the next evolution in gaming but I have to say there’ve been several red flags raised about.

During a meeting with a third-party developer, they confided to me that Nintendo has kept changing the specs on the controller for the new system. They said this has caused them design issues as it makes it difficult for them to get finalize product completed in time for the planned ship date of the consul this fall.

Another concern that they shared with me was that with the monitor embedded into the controller the potential for damage is much greater than with a standard controller. They gave me the scenario of a child dropping the controller and cracking the screen. Should this happen and with the potential of controls being in short supply at launch, they said you could see several units being returned to retailers and without a steady supply of replacement product available increasing consumer frustrations.

Nintendo has always been an innovator but ever since the we you it is appeared to me that they are desperately playing catch up. It reminds me very much of the American automobile industry that for decades ignored what the customers wanted and simply told them what they wanted. Only when the industry took gigantic hits from consumers started to buy Japanese and German-made vehicles whose manufacturers were asking consumers what they wanted to see in a car and producing vehicles based on the feedback did the US automobile industry change its practices.

Nintendo seems to me to simply be telling gamers here it is, buy it, you’ll love it. Rather than taking into account that people want cutting-edge graphics, network gameplay and social interactivity, streaming content including movies, and above all cutting-edge games that are interactive experiences.

While I’m sure the console so big at its launch from tech heads demanding the latest and greatest, the real truth will be with long-term sales as the 3DS sold will initially but quickly leveled off to the point that Nintendo had to lower the price of the unit in order to generate sales and maintain their market lead.

The 3DS is a nice unit, but stacked up against the PS Vita it comes up short in technical aspects and features. . Nintendo has never been one for cutting edge tech, but they are still playing catch up. The Wii was underwhelming and and the Wii U appears to be underpowered compared to the next generation of consoles coming from Microsoft and Sony as what has been displayed shows it as just on par or below graphically with what is already on the market. The proof is in the pudding and all the tech specs in the world do not matter if the on screen graphics do not blow people away and I have yet to see anuthing close to the graphics of Uncharted and Halo 4 with this system. With new consoles on the way, I can see no reason to buy a Wii U as you can already get a better system performance for less money from the consoles that are currently on the market.

Sure issues have always surrounded new console launches. Microsoft had Red Reg of Death issues for over a year after launch, and Sony was plaqued by a lack of must have exclusives for their first couple of years. The big issue is that Nintendo had a chance to set a new standard in gaming and once again appears to have given gamers more of the same, just with a slightly more powerful package.

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