Has Nintendo Already Become An Afterthought In the Next Generation Battle

As our Deluxe Edition of the Wii U sits idle on our console shelf, I have to ask myself if the system today is not one of the biggest disappointments ever for new entertainment system. Things become so bad that previously announced titles such as Aliens: Colonial Marines may not even release for the system at all despite being touted as one of the launch titles. As we wait for the upcoming slate of releases which will hopefully reinvigorate the system I found myself asking if the Wii U is destined to replace the infamous GameCube is the biggest disappointment in Nintendo history.

The GameCube is cited by many that we have spoken to as the one Nintendo console that people did not bother to purchase. When asked for reasons, they cited better performance on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox systems as well as a lack of any real must own titles for the system. Even hard-core Nintendo fans were hard-pressed to show a lot of love for the system and its disappointment led the way to the innovations of then Wii that jumpstarted Nintendo solidly back into the home entertainment picture.

The new system has been met with lower-than-expected sales as well as a less than enthusiastic response from those early purchasers of the system. I myself was not overly impressed with the system when I first saw it at E3 in 2011, but repeated exposure to the system as well as hands-on time with it prior to launch, convince me that perhaps this is a good system for entertaining guests and Nintendo exclusives.

My disappointment with ZombiU aside, the only game that I found myself really enjoying is the new super Mario Brothers, and that quickly became stale after about 10 hours of gameplay. My wife and I found Little Big Planet 2, and Little Big Planet Karting to give us better gameplay experience than what we’ve seen to date from the Wii U. I am anxiously awaiting their upcoming games including new entries into the Zelda, Mario Kart, and hopefully Starfox franchises, but with both Microsoft and Sony preparing to launch their new consoles, I worry that Nintendo could find themselves being overlooked very quickly by gamers who might already have abandoned the Nintendo ship for good.

While it is still early in the life of the console, Nintendo needs to step up fast and ensure that this holiday season will offer a greater range of options further new system or I fear that the WIII U will be making a rapid slide into obscurity in 2014 from gamers who eagerly embrace the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

Aside from new games that gamers actually want to play, Nintendo can take advantage of a competitive price point that needs to be lower to attract gamers. If the rumors are true that the next Call of Duty title is being designed only for PCs and next-generation consoles, Nintendo needs to ensure that the Wii U is part of those plans. Gamers are not going to accept watered-down versions of games that graphically cannot compete with the other systems, and do not offer the same online or in game experience that they can get elsewhere. Exclusive titles can only go so far but they are the drawing points for any system.

While there is still time for Nintendo to turn it around, I believe the upcoming holiday season will be the make or break time frame for Nintendo as they cannot afford to become an afterthought in the next generation discussion which I believe they are rapidly in danger of becoming.

SKNR Cover - March 2013
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