First Party Titles Won’t Save The Wii U
The opinions expressed in this piece do not reflect how Dual Pixels feels about the Wii U as a whole. They reflect the opinions of the author. That’s it.
Since the launch on November 18th, 2012, I have been the owner of a Nintendo Wii U. I have been a bored, frustrated, and satisfied owner. I was bored when playing the launch titles things didn’t pick up again until March and April, and then there were no good games until August. I was frustrated when games didn’t have Pro Controller support early on. I was satisfied when Nintendo made great first party titles such as Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, and The Wonderful 101 (Nintendo owns the copyrights, thus making it first party). At this point in time, the Wii U hasn’t had much of a success story. In this piece I will list the major faults of the Nintendo Wii U, and why first party titles can’t fix the damage inflicted by said faults.
A lot of my friends who like video games say that the problem with the Wii U is that it failed to appeal to the common gamer in two ways. The console itself, and it’s lineup. The console appears to be childish with its animations and user characters. Their comments refer to Miiverse, Mii WaraWara, and the first party titles such as Mario. I disagree with every aspect of this point of view. Nintendo isn’t trying to appeal to the mainstream gamer, but they are trying to be inviting to the mainstream gamer by having things such as the Pro Controller and having “mainstream games” allows the common gamer to take joy in the Wii U. The problem with the Wii U is that that there hasn’t been many good titles besides its first party ones. A deeper explanation can be found from an excerpt in my article titled “The Wii U One Year Later: The Sweet Moves and Fatal Mistakes”
After about one month of playing the launch lineup, I stopped playing. Games like Assassins Creed III and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had already been out so I didn’t play those again. It wasn’t until March when things started to pick up again with titles such as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and in April with Injustice: Gods Among Us. Then it didn’t pick up again until August with the release of Pikmin 3 and Disney Infinity, which led the fun until mid-September. Wonderful 101 came out on September 15th, and that led the fun up until mid-October. Batman: Arkham Origins came out on October 25th, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag came out on October 29th, and Call of Duty: Ghosts came out on November 5th. The whole point of me listing all these tiles is to show that things have only started to pick up about a year later.
Now to give Nintendo some credit, consoles usually take time to pick up after its launch. Despite this, the time that the Wii U starts to pick up might be too late. The PS4 and Xbox One are launching now. All the media attention, hype, and coverage is all aimed towards those two consoles. So even though the Wii U is improving, its not going to get as much attention as it may deserve.
Nintendo only appeals to a certain audience. I am not in anyway saying that its wrong, it’s just true. Nintendo needs to make it clear that the Wii U is worth the money to this limited audience, especially during the first six months of a console’s lifetime. I am not saying that the Wii U isn’t going to do well because in it’s first year it hasn’t done so hot. Look at the PlayStation 3, things took a year to pick up; however, the PlayStation 4 appeals to the common gamer so it has a huge advantage.
Next problem, the launch date. The Wii U launched without a lot of publicity, and a year before the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This was a huge mistake. As you saw, there was a lot of media attention and coverage on the “console wars”. So much that a lot of people don’t know of the Wii U’s existence, or think it is an extra peripheral to the Wii. A survey in November showed that only one percent of gamers had an interest of receiving a Wii U this holiday season. You can read more about that by clicking here. Now lets start talking about the first party titles.
For people like me who are still in school, August is a pretty depressing month. At any point in the month you are doing one of the following things things: Bored, Dreading going back to school, 0r going back to school. In this past August (August ’13), I was bored, and dreading going back to school. I thought maybe my PlayStation Vita could save me from boredom, but then I realized the level of insanity of that thought. It was August 4th and I decided to head to my local game store. I picked up Pikmin 3.
I had never had a gaming experience like this before. The graphics were stunning, the gaming was very entertaining, and I loved it. The whole time that I was playing I kept thinking to myself, this is the kind of game that could sell a console. Now Pikmin 3 appeals only to the Nintendo audience and children, same with Super Mario 3D World. Super Smash Bros. is an amazing game and I can’t take anything away from that. That game will bring appeal to the Wii U and might even sell the console.
As you can see the Wii U has a lot to offer now, but it has a lot of problems. It has had a slow year, and it only appeals to a select audience. But most importantly, the Xbox One and PS4 are in the spotlight. Although of gamers were willing to get the Wii as a second console, it may not be the same this time around. The PS4 and Xbox One are expensive devices and the economy isn’t being very friendly for a lot of people. After saving up $400 or $500 to get a PS4 or Xbox One, people may shy away from another multi hundred dollar price tag. Especially if that pricetag is for a device that may not offer that competing devices offer. Nintendo knows how to make games, no one can deny that. But with all of these cons that the Wii U is faced with, these first party titles will not save the console.
Update January 5th, 2014: After discussion with some friends of mine who like Nintendo, and some thought pondering, I decided to add the following. While first party titles may not save the Wii U directly, it will definitely stimulate the console and bring attention. It may very well attract the attention of third party developers and inspire them to invest in the Wii U. So in the end third party titles will be needed to save the Wii U, but first party titles will not save the console alone. I do not in anyway go back on my prediction that first party titles will not save the Wii U. Credit to the members of Nintendo 3DS fan group StreetPass NYC for helping me to arrive to this revelation.
Do you agree with me? Do you think that what I am saying is outright stupid? Let me know in the comments.