Wii U – A Console for Gamers
As many of you know, in a one hour conference, Microsoft revealed the new Xbox One to the world. Boasting of all new improved hardware, features and games, the Xbox One is positioned to take over the living room. The curious thing about the Xbox One is that very fact, it’s poised to take over the living room. In their attempts to create an all-in-one media device, Microsoft announced a console that seamlessly integrates your cable box, videos, music, apps, sports and TV shows. Oh, and it also plays games.
There in lies the problem, it appears the Xbox One is much more of a TV box than a games console. You can start your TV with voice commands, you can use swiping motions to change channels, you can see fantasy sports related info during live sports games and there is even a new live action Halo series coming out. The Xbox One has successfully transitioned from a games console offering specific multi-media related features to a multi-media console offering specific gaming related features. During the last few years, Microsoft has done a great job turning the Xbox 360 into a console for the core gamer and for those who truly enjoy gaming. Unfortunately, it looks like Microsoft has now turned their back on those who made the Xbox 360 so successful, the gamers.
Shortly after the Xbox One reveal, forums, blogs and Twitter were all overflowing with people voicing their negative opinions about Microsoft’s new console. It seems like everyone from gamers to developers are having time justifying these issues they have with the Xbox One:
- The games shown weren’t graphically impressive. The EA footage was actually pre-rendered and sub par at that.
- Although you can play single player games offline, you must connect to the internet at least once every 24 hours.
- No one really knows what Microsoft’s used game policy is.
- There is no backwards compatibility
- Xbox live still costs money. That means you still have to pay to watch Netflix and use other popular apps
- The console includes Kinect which will most likely drive the price up.
- You can not transfer your digital purchases from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One.
- Every game must be installed before playing.
- The console is extremely US centric and many of the features, at launch or ever, won’t work or won’t even matter to the rest of the world.
- There is very little variety in games. The biggest games will be shooters and sports games.
- No focus on indie developers
Prior to this conference, I was expecting that at least during the E3 presentation, Microsoft would pander to indies in some way. They remain the only platform which prevents self-publishing. I wouldn’t expect anything other than just talk from them, but I was expecting them to address indies nonetheless. However, after this, I could see them leaving indies out completely. After all, they have their eye on the average consumer, not the core gamer. Average consumers aren’t as versed in the ‘indie’ game scene. – Brian Provinciano, Vblank Entertainment
We think it’s interesting that Microsoft is taking the Xbox away from gaming as its core business, but it was sort of weird watching this event go down. We did see some indie developers in the opening video, so there obviously is an indie strategy somewhere, but I don’t think we know a thing about Xbox One and gaming – they still have to show their hand with regards to that at E3. The whole presentation felt sort of awkward, but the D-pad looks really nice. Sadly, at this point the thing we’re looking forward to most for the Xbox One is Skype on our TV. – Rami Ismail, Vlambeer
This is quite a large list of negative complaints and several of those complaints are very important to gamers. While the Xbox One does look like it will be an excellent device for media and TV consumption, it almost seems as if Microsoft has gone out of their way to alienate gamers. On the other hand, Nintendo has positioned the Wii U to specifically be a gamer’s console. When comparing the list of Xbox One negative complaints to the Wii U, we can see that the Wii U addresses a large majority of those complains:
- Although the Wii U will not be as graphically impressive as the Xbox One, Wii U games will still look very nice.
- There is no required internet connection.
- You can play used games on the Wii U.
- There is backwards compatibility with the Wii (also let’s not forget the virtual console).
- The online multiplayer is free.
- The Wii U has a reasonable entry price.
- You can transfer your digital purchases from the Wii.
- You don’t have to install games before playing.
- The Wii U does not alienate the rest of the world.
- Nintendo has some of the most creative and innovative games.
- Nintendo is actively trying to help indie developers build games for the Wii U.
After the announcement of the Xbox One, it looks like Nintendo has the opportunity to gain a large market share of gamers. Unfortunately, Nintendo will be unsuccessful in attracting a large audience if they continue on the path they have been traveling down. It’s no secret Nintendo has made many mistakes with Wii U but it’s time they stop dropping the ball and do everything they can to turn the Wii U’s perception around. Now is the perfect time for Nintendo to fix three key areas of their Wii U Strategy. In my opinion, if Nintendo fixes these issues the Wii U will sell more units than the Xbox One and potentially sell just as many or more units than the PS4.
Multiplayer gaming and the online aspects of the Wii U work, but that’s just it, they barely get by through the sole fact that they actually work. Nintendo desperately needs to improve their online quality by offering a single user account to their customers and tying their online purchases and activity to that account. Nintendo also needs to start pushing online multiplayer and including a very high quality multiplayer option in games that could benefit from multiplayer. I realize Nintendo wants to focus on co-op gameplay and multiplayer gaming with people who are in the same room. That’s great and I hope they continue to push for that type of gameplay, but they also need to realize online gaming is one of the greatest features they are holding back.
Release New IPs
After E3, I have a feeling Nintendo fans will be very excited for the future of the Wii U. We know Nintendo is going to announce some heavy hitters during E3 and we also know the fall should be a very exciting time for Wii U owners. The problem is, the lack of variety. Nintendo has amazing franchises and amazing IPs but they need to expand and create new IPs. I love 3D Mario games, Mario Kart and Zelda more than the next guy, but the tried and true franchises need to be accompanied by fresh new IPs. We know Nintendo has the talent and the ability to create amazing games, they need to utilize that talent by creating new characters, new worlds and new experiences.
Get More Third Party Support
The classic Nintendo curse, no third party support. I truly believe Nintendo could make great strides by branching out and creating a mature first person shooter and publishing their own realistic sports games. Be that as it may, they still need minimal third party support. That’s not to say we should count out their highly talents second party developers and games such as The Wonderful 101, but the Wii U and Nintendo also need those third party heavy hitters. I believe Nintendo acknowledges their need and I do think they are trying to gain some third party support. Ubisoft has a positive outlook on the Wii U and we know games such as Watch_Dogs, Batman Arkham’s Origins and Assassin’s Creed 4 will be coming to the Wii U. Those games are great but Nintendo needs to make sure those third party games aren’t watered down ports lacking DLC.
After the Xbox One announcement, the games industry is even more exciting and confusing. No one really knows what Sony’s stance on used games and always online will be, the Xbox One is no longer a games console and the Wii U is suffering from poor sales numbers and perception. Hopefully, E3 will answer some of the questions many gamers are asking about the future of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.