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Well guys, I hate to ask it, but is the Wii U in trouble? [roundtable]
 
I don't want to be one of those guys.

You know, the guy who says "I used to be the biggest Nintendo fan but their latest system is too [pick one] (kiddie/casual/rehashed)."

I think most of us can agree that Nintendo really needed to bust out some killer Wii U software for E3, and they didn't quite deliver on that front. But fortunately, Microsoft's major mistakes and Sony's responses to it took the heat off Nintendo. But with MS finally eating crow and realizing the problems, the XBone has a decent chance of doing fine this gen. So what we're suddenly left with is Nintendo looking a little shabby by comparison now.

Nintendo's Wii U had kind of a slow launch, but that's par for the course, so I wasn't really worried. Even when Rayman was delayed and third parties were jumping ship, I still wasn't worried. Because Nintendo's systems thrive on first-party software, and even when third-party support was at its worst, we still got some amazing times with the N64 and GameCube. So I always figured, at worst, this is what the Wii U would be if the support wasn't there.

Here's what troubles me, though: the N64 thrived on brand new experiences with 3D worlds, and the GCN thrived on being a significant increase in power from the N64, allowing for some truly ambitious steps forward for a lot of series (Metroid Prime, Wind Waker, SSBM). The Wii U's GamePad should be that trump card...yet nothing Nintendo showed at E3 actually used the thing! Beyond that, it seems like they're pulling their 3DS strategy with the Wii U--new Mario 3D World, new Mario Kart, new DKCR--but with home consoles, people really expect more than that. It doesn't feel like they've really stepped up their game in a significant way, and I think that's pretty troubling for their future.

So what can Nintendo do to turn this around? Are they even capable of bringing next-gen experiences to their platform? I'd say yes, by merit of how great Pikmin 3 is turning out, but it's a tough sell when the rest of their lineup has been another New Super Mario Bros, another Mario 3D Land, a DKC game that barely looks better than Returns, and a slightly-improved Wind Waker port. Nintendo has always marched to the beat of their own drum, but I'm seriously worried that they're becoming out-of-touch with what Nintendo fans want out of their home consoles, which is a first.

Anyway, what do you guys think? How can Nintendo turn this around? Am I overreacting? Sorry to make this place all IGN-y today, but I love this friggin' company and I can't help but be a little nervous about their major game lineup.

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Posted: 06/20/13, 18:34:20  - Edited by 
 on: 06/20/13, 18:34:13
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@NinSage
Are you saying that 3DS is hurting the Wii U? Because the question wasn't if Nintendo was in trouble, it was whether the Wii U by itself was.
Posted: 06/20/13, 20:21:29
@Stephen

Yeah, the Wii had a rather weak start, but it came around. There's the perception that the 3DS had a weak start too, but it also had several strengths to it that the Wii U completely lacks:

1.) Brand-new technology.
2.) New, exclusive games.

Honestly, the 3DS's only real drawback was that Nintendo got a little too greedy with the price. If they priced it at $200 instead of $250, I don't think they would have had to implement an Ambassador Program. Speaking of which...why doesn't Nintendo do that for Wii U?

EDIT:

@DeputyVanHalen

The Wii U is certainly in trouble by itself, but part of the reason is because the 3DS is a thing that exists.
Posted: 06/20/13, 20:23:15  - Edited by 
 on: 06/20/13, 20:24:12
Actually I think price could be their huge advantage, but they need to drop it soon, and Nintendo doesn't seem to want to do that. On the other hand, I think it will sell pretty well this holiday season without a drop, so... maybe next year drop it and get that price advantage? I dunno. I wish they would do it this year, but it seems unlikely. Maybe they will do a sweet holiday bundle instead.

TriforceBun said:
Like, there's no reason a game like SM3DW HAS to be on the Wii U, you know?

See I kind of disagree here. They clearly have been wanting to do a multiplayer 3D Mario game for a long, long time, and this probably makes the most sense for a multiplayer 3D Mario game. If it were just single player, I'd agree, but as a multiplayer game yeah, it should be on the Wii U. And the more "simple" style of the 3D Land / World games is probably better fit for multiplayer than a Galaxy type game would be.

We can probably question whether a multiplayer 3D Mario was necessary at this point, but... that's another discussion. If it is something Nintendo is passionate about though, I'd like to see the results.
Posted: 06/20/13, 20:27:33  - Edited by 
 on: 06/20/13, 20:31:42
I think Nintendo isn't doing a good enough job of justifying the need for this thing or providing variety. I like platformers and all, but exclusive wise, this is far more a platformer box(and most of them 2D at that) than Xbox/PS has ever been a shooter box. The 3Ds is great and all, but not many people want the same games in HD. They want different games for the console than the handheld. It's like the reverse of Sony's problem with the Vita where people wonder why they'd buy another system to play what they can play on their PS3.
Posted: 06/20/13, 20:32:35
I think justifying the need is important. I'm sure the average consumer will look at Mario Kart or DKC and think....this game doesn't look all that different from what I have already. And I think this is more important for the family gamer or the gamer on a budget.

The price too. I don't think a lot of people want to pay $350 for what essentially looks like games they already own.
Posted: 06/20/13, 20:51:07
@Zero
I was just listening to Radio Free Nintendo coverage and TYP said exactly that: "why do we need another 4 player Mario game when we already have a 4 player Mario game?"

If it was online I could see more of a justification, but since it's probably going to not be online considering Nintendo's track record, I honestly don't see the point. From my point of view as a single player guy I just recently played 3D Land on the 3DS and I simply don't need to play it again so soon, I felt the same way about NSMBU, and heck Mario Kart 8, and shit even Donkey Kong! Everything Nintendo is showing right now is already on the 3DS! (well not Pikmin, that's still the one console exclusive franchise they've got).
Posted: 06/20/13, 20:54:03
@deathly_hallows 3D multiplayer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nah I get your point, but I'm pretty excited. 3D World plays a lot differently than the 2D Mario games do and I will definitely get to play some multiplayer.
Posted: 06/20/13, 20:56:42
@Zero
Yeah it's true they are very different and if it's half as good as the 3DS game it will be amazing, especially if they work their graphical magic and ohhhh that music! It's going to be a lot more exciting than NSMB. But still... it's no Galaxy 3, and I really feel like that's what Nintendo needs, it needs a BIG GUN, a mainline Mario, Metroid, or Zelda.
Posted: 06/20/13, 21:01:57
If you're talking about what the Wii U needs then first you have to look at how much more popular in sales 3D Land is compared to the Galaxy games.
Posted: 06/20/13, 21:20:00
@deathly_hallows @Infinitywave I see both sides though, because a game selling a bunch isn't necessarily going to bring in new types of gamers if it is perceived as being too similar to what already exists. Also, the Galaxy games get the "core" gamer, whatever that is, excited.
Posted: 06/20/13, 21:21:43
Infinitywave said:
If you're talking about what the Wii U needs then first you have to look at how much more popular in sales 3D Land is compared to the Galaxy games.

I guess it doesn't seem all that simple to me though. SM3DL had a number of different factors going for it--first big 3DS Mario, a new type of gameplay, tempered expectations because of a handheld, etc. I think Nintendo is looking at its sales in too literal a way, thinking "Well, let's just make another one of those and we'll be fine!" SM3DW is bringing with it a whole different set of expectations, such as being the first 3D HD Mario, a higher price point, and following very closely to what's now an established template (of a 3DS game, no less). I think the situation is noticeably different than the one with 3DL.
Posted: 06/20/13, 21:26:00  - Edited by 
 on: 06/20/13, 21:26:15
3DS eating into Wii U sales? Good one, lol. If anything the Wii being in every household is eating in to Wii U sales. People just don't see a reason to upgrade yet. The games will help with this issue.

@GameDadGrant
The 3DS exclusive games were nothing special, and the first good batch of games was comprised of two n64 ports. The price drop and Mario/Mario Kart saved 3DS.
You and I may love the ambassador program, but Nintendo still lost faith in early adopters of Nintendo hardware with that move. 10 NES and 10 GBA games don't cover the 80 dollar price difference, not one bit. Nintendo will avoid AT ALL COSTS having to run another ambassador program, it would be a terrible move for the company.
Posted: 06/20/13, 21:48:07  - Edited by 
 on: 06/20/13, 21:48:55
First of all, Matthew 6:27.

Beyond that, though, I really don't think there's anything to be even a little bit nervous about. First of all Nintendo has an obscene amount of money, and unlike some other companies, they are VERY smart with it. Second of all, "fun games" as far as I can tell are not going out of style, so more money is on the way.

New Super Mario Brothers Wii U sold nearly 2 million copies. On a system that really kind of limped out of the gate. How many developers would cut off their own left arm to make a game that did those numbers? Answer: Almost all of them. So take a breath because Nintendo is juuuuuuust fine. Mario Kart will ignite a HUGE number of sales (game and console) to casual/part time gamers. Smash Bros. will pull HUGE numbers to the more full-time and long-time gaming market. Two games that will probably toss another 4, 5 million sales into the pot, and both coming in about a year or less. That's not including Zelda, Donkey Kong, and the new Wii Fit. Now maybe that's not what you want, but here's what that gets you: More time. More time for Nintendo to tinker with new innovative ideas (like NintendoLand, or Pikmin, or whatever is the next Chibi Robo). If you go a full generation with no innovation, then maybe there's cause for concern. We just STARTED this gen, though. And Nintendo is stable enough to give them time to tinker.

Tinkering takes time.

When the big guns for Nintendo (Mario/Kart/Smash, Zelda) start floundering (aka less than 500,000 sales or something) then maybe you can start to find a tiny space in the corner of your mind for concern. MAYBE. Even then it's probably not worth it to take up even that much room. For now, though, you've got NOTHING to be concerned about on the Nintendo front. From the 3DS to the lineup they have coming August-Dec. they are going to be A-OK.

Posted: 06/20/13, 21:51:57  - Edited by 
 on: 06/20/13, 21:54:15
-JKR- said:

New Super Mario Brothers Wii U sold nearly 2 million copies. On a system that really kind of limped out of the gate. How many developers would cut off their own left arm to make a game that did those numbers? Answer: Almost all of them.

Not Square or Capcom. But yeah, even Sony would be glad to see one of their games made by anyone other than Naughty Dog get those numbers again.
Posted: 06/20/13, 21:59:22
@DeputyVanHalen

whooooaaaaa, why would anyone think 3DS was eating into Wii U sales? hellz no.

I brought up 3DS because a little over a year ago everyone was like "3DS is d000000med!! Nintendo magic is gone!! Tablets/smartphones have hella totes made dedicated gaming handhelds a thing of the past!!!!111!!1!!1!"

... fast forward a little bit, add in a dash of patience, and the 3DS is like the healthiest platform on the market. So, y'know.... maybe Nintendo newest platform will also be ok.......... again....
Posted: 06/20/13, 22:00:18
@NinSage
Makes sense. I just wasn't sure what you meant originally. I just don't think they can do it with rehashes of what they did on the 3DS like they seem to think they can.
Posted: 06/20/13, 22:02:55
Couldn't have said it better, Matt. Completely agree about everything you said.

This fall I don't think I'm going to take the dive into the other two consoles just yet, so I'll be happy with my Wii U, playing at least one new game a month for it. And this despite Wonderful 101 being the only truly "new" game experience for it this fall.

I say that as a current (and very disappointed) Wii U owner, who will finally be happy with it come the fall. But they aren't showing much to sell it to people who don't already own one.
Posted: 06/20/13, 22:13:36
Nintendo could "not" sell another Wii U console and they'd still be fine. They got so much money that I read they put "experiments" out in the market just to see if they would sell (IE: the Wii and the DS). If the Wii U doesn't work out, they could just go on and put out another more powerful console to compete with the PS4/Xne.
Posted: 06/20/13, 22:37:44
There are degrees of success, and I see the Wii U achieving sales of 50-60 million in its lifetime. It's not Wii level sales, but it should ensure a healthy profit for Nintendo.

- The Wii's 3rd party support was dire in absolute terms, but the Wii U's 3rd party support is weak only in relative terms. For the next couple of years the console will still be getting 3rd party games that we could only have dreamed of on the Wii. During the that time the console will also see the benefits of the Unity deal too.
- This Christmas should be the tipping point for wanting to get a Wii U. I've thought for a while the idea of a killer app is archaic. It is more about a library of software, services and the right price. If Nintendo can drop the price by the end of the year, that combined with a strong and varied library of software should help sales catch fire.

The situation is similar to what the 3DS suffered through (but worse admittedly) - a main hardware feature that alone is not enough to sell the console, and a software drought. This was solved by dropping the price and making more games. If Nintendo can do the same, they'll be fine. But there's fine, and there's great.
Posted: 06/20/13, 23:10:27
@-JKR-

James 3:1.

anon_mastermind said:
3DS eating into Wii U sales?

NinSage said:
whooooaaaaa, why would anyone think 3DS was eating into Wii U sales?

Here's the Hard Truth. A lot of the games on Wii U can be experience on 3DS. For cheaper, and on a system many already own. What's the point of buying a Wii U when I can get my 3D Super Mario and Mario Kart fix on the portable? Most people don't see the point. Wii U needs games to really stand out from what is already out there. Hopefully, games like Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101 and...uh....something else...will do that for the system. Bayonetta 2, I guess? Maybe?

anon_mastermind said:
The 3DS exclusive games were nothing special, and the first good batch of games was comprised of two n64 ports.


What? I loved my launch 3DS games (Ridge Racer, Pilotwings, Ghost Recon, Street Fighter) - I had a blast with them. And I know many others that did, too. Playing online in Dead or Alive Dimensions was freakin' sweet too, as was The Mercenaries 3D. Not to mention all the brand-new StreetPass stuff, which really opened up a whole new way to "play" portable games. Also...to be clear? The N64 games you reference are not ports - they are remakes. Highly desired remakes.

anon_mastermind said:
The price drop and Mario/Mario Kart saved 3DS.

THIS we agree on. I mean, the 3DS shouldn't have been priced as high as it was to begin with, but oh well. But the thing here is, both Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 were either entirely new, or were different enough to feel new. With both Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8, these games look and feel a bit too familiar to really stand out. It's kind of the same problem people had with NEW Super Mario Bros. U - it was just "more of the same" - especially considering that game launched mere months after NEW Super Mario Bros. 2.

And yeah, an Ambassador Program might be a terrible decision for the company, but....I still want one!
Posted: 06/20/13, 23:52:26
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