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So... how do you like Wii U's odds now? [roundtable]
 
'Cause it sure seems like Nintendo is poised to prove all the naysayers wrong again. It feels like something's in the air. People seem more than ready to buy a new system, and the price seems to be palatable, at least to the savvy gaming consumer. Pre-orders are selling out incredibly fast, which will build hype and demand to stratospheric levels, especially if mainstream news starts reporting it and hyping up TVii. Even if NintendoLand doesn't have QUITE the viral impact of Wii Sports, it'll slowly reveal its charms, since it's a pack-in to the preferred model. Nintendo is also launching with at least one guaranteed megaton game (which looks to be of incredibly high quality, as well), so that should keep the early adopters happy. The Wii U version of BLOPS 2 might just be the best one, due to the sharper graphics and individually-screened co-op. That game will also get users going online right off the bat.

The launch window lineup doesn't necessarily have the most raw quantity, but I think it shows some breadth in both the family-friendly and not-so-family-friendly categories, and there are some guaranteed hits/future classics mixed in among the dark (Ubisoft) horses. That, along with the building hype, should serve the system well and keep it hard to find, at least until the inevitable post-launch drought. But suppose, just suppose that third-party publishers also see these clear indicators early this time. And suppose that they decide to add Wii U to their multiplatform plans. It could alleviate the usual drought. And if we further suppose that these publishers actually want the money of these savvy, spendthrift early adopters, they could even support the system directly! Or continue making multiplatform PS3/360/PC/Wii U games a bit longer, to the detriment of Microsoft's and Sony's upcoming offerings.

That still seems like a bit of a longshot, if we're talking about American publishers. Their current planned lineup could definitely be better. But for Japanese publishers, green lights and dollar signs should be all they see when they look at the Wii U. Having Monster Hunter and Dragon Quest as honored guests at the inauguration party will make for a pretty good fucking time for all.

Regardless, the short-term success of the system seems all but guaranteed to me right now. You know, this would be a REALLY opportune time to pick up some NTDOY...

Although it already went up, like, 11% in the last three days.

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Posted: 09/16/12, 04:55:40  - Edited by 
 on: 09/16/12, 05:00:34
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I'm pleasantly surprised at the preorder reaction. I agree with others about Wii U doing just fine during the holidays. The next step is keeping those consumers and new ones interested. They've got their work cut out for them. They'll need to court 3rd parties to bring their games even harder than before. Once the competitors release their updated consoles Nintendo will be saturated throughout the market. Smart move with their time table.
Posted: 09/16/12, 15:04:28
Despite the online negativity, I was always high on the chances for the Wii U. Online folks can get myopic, in that 'if I don't like it, then SURELY nobody else liked it, either'. The Wii was the best selling console of last generation, full stop; of course there were going to be millions of people interested in its follow-up.
Posted: 09/16/12, 17:48:55
If we also consider that the more expensive consoles next year and beyond are going to take at least a year to gain steam (as both the PS3 and 360 did), won't Nintendo have a pretty safe couple of years ahead of them? And won't they look pretty attractive to consumers when they have a $300 console vs a $600 one?

I think as the generations go on, won't Nintendo's weaker console start mattering less and less?
Posted: 09/16/12, 18:11:25
@Abdooooo

Pleasantly surprised is how I would put it, too. Really caught me off guard.
Posted: 09/16/12, 18:37:15
I think the Wii U is poised to become the home for a lot of Japanese games, the Bayonetta coup was quite clever. This and the WiiU should he cheaper to develop for than the nextbox and ps4.
Posted: 09/16/12, 19:01:35
So far it seems interest isn't very high in my area. I went to EB Games at opening on the first day of preorders and I was the only person there. Six years ago when the Wii preorders started there were people camping out overnight to secure a preorder, so things seem different this time around.
Posted: 09/16/12, 19:02:10
Is it truly fair though, to predict the success of a console or handheld at launch? Many of the greatest platforms of all time had really mediocre launches. The PS2? The XBox 360? The DS? Did any of these platforms have anything close to a compelling launch?

Like others have said, it's all going to come down to next year - I think the best predictor for how the WiiU will do will be in its 2013 software lineup. Nintendo has a HUGE opportunity to make a splash next year as other consoles (possibly) start to wind down. 2013 is a very important year for Nintendo to put out a lot of quality first party content, and secure third party exclusives. Maybe that, if anything, is the reason why the launch window to some is a little meh. Holiday 2012 is not the important year for Nintendo - 2013 is.
Posted: 09/16/12, 19:09:11
@Deerock69

That doesn't necessarily mean much in the long run. The PS3 is going to end up selling half of what the PS2 did. And starting with the NES, every Nintendo home console sold less than the one before it until the Wii. I think it's borderline impossible for Nintendo to make a system that's straight up unsuccessful at this point, but I don't know that the Wii U is in the position to be as disruptive as the Wii was. It'll do fine regardless of whether or not it hangs with the Wii, though.

Pre orders mean nothing. The 3DS has never been hard to find and it's trending in a positive direction after a gimpy launch. The PS3 had a pre-order rush and couldn't sustain itself through the generation. Besides, nobody is good at predicting things in the long run. A few years back it was not uncommon to speculate that the Wii would outsell the PS2, and it's clear that's never going to come close to happening now.

To the question in the OP, I don't think any of the new info is sufficient to change my mind at all. I think the Wii U is going to do well, that the big third parties are going to continue to focus the bulk of their effort on the next gen MS system and that Sony's financial troubles are going to make the PS4 an interesting console to watch.

PogueSquadron said:
Is it truly fair though, to predict the success of a console or handheld at launch? Many of the greatest platforms of all time had really mediocre launches. The PS2? The XBox 360? The DS? Did any of these platforms have anything close to a compelling launch?

Like others have said, it's all going to come down to next year - I think the best predictor for how the WiiU will do will be in its 2013 software lineup. Nintendo has a HUGE opportunity to make a splash next year as other consoles (possibly) start to wind down. 2013 is a very important year for Nintendo to put out a lot of quality first party content, and secure third party exclusives. Maybe that, if anything, is the reason why the launch window to some is a little meh. Holiday 2012 is not the important year for Nintendo - 2013 is.

Exactly. Launches mean very little absent data. Knowing that things are selling out without knowing the numbers they were working with makes everything we "know" almost completely irrelevant. Couple that with launches, generally, not being indicative of a whole lot? Yeah, my mind hasn't changed.
Posted: 09/16/12, 19:11:58  - Edited by 
 on: 09/16/12, 19:13:36
It's true there are no guarantees on brand loyalty from gen to gen, but if the Wii U did sell half of what the Wii did it would still be twice as popular as the GameCube.

PS3 burned it's audience by being $600. By being late to the party. By starting weak and losing most of its exclusives. None of that is true for the Wii.

The Wii U will have its own challenges; the fact that the Wii fizzled out in terms of support before its successor arrived, the fact that the massmarket gamer is distracted by their phone, the fact that the Wii U's unique selling point is not so media friendly.

And yet it is still affordable, it's the first new console for six years and it has a great many exclusive and original experiences. It'll do fine. And although most of the doomtalk revolves around the arrival of the PS4, Xbox3, I actually think that's when the Wii U will start to prove its value. The library will grow and the price will come down, meanwhile Sony and Microsoft will either arrive too expensive or with less of a technical leap than core gamers want or the massmarket can even see.
Posted: 09/16/12, 19:23:43  - Edited by 
 on: 09/16/12, 19:28:35
@PogueSquadron
Another important thing to consider is what publishers ASSUME will happen before the gen even starts. Like, even though the PS2 had a so-so launch, all of the pubs were already on board, due to the success of the PS1, so it didn't matter. Same for the PS3. It is possible that publishers have already laid all of their bets on the PS4/Durango, but are they really going to leave that Wii money on the table AGAIN? Maybe. But at least the Wii U has a head start. So supporting it makes sense for a while. Next Christmas, it'll have a large install base, a mature (not 'mature') library, and some guaranteed big first-party sellers. Wait, that last thing might be a negative for third-parties. Whatever.
Posted: 09/16/12, 21:04:49
Some of these seem a little obvious, but I think the biggest questions that will determine the Wii U's future - other than what the competitors actually release and when - are these:

1) Will casual Wii-owners be interested in the Wii U at all? Personally, I sense a feeling of buyer's remorse from some of the people I know who bought the Wii. This breaks my heart as a Nintendo fan (and Wii fan) but I see where they're coming from. My best friend, who bought a Wii after playing Wii Sports and eventually sold it, told me the other day that Nintendo just didn't bring any games out for the system. He wanted more games like Wii Sports and he didn't feel he got them. Is this a widespread attitude? I don't know. But I think it's a fair point, for a certain kind of gamer. And they're not a small number of the Wii's original fanbase. My dad bought a Wii, for instance, but I don't think he's happy with that purchase, today. If he ever gets a Wii U, I'll be stunned. This is very different from the PS1 to PS2 changeover. It reminds me much more of the Genesis to Saturn one.

2) Where's the temperature on the standard hardcore audience? Has the G4 Generation finally boxed out Nintendo? That is, has Nintendo finally fallen so far behind that they can't catch up with teenagers/early-twentysomethings? The generation that grew up playing Halo and God of War, rather than Mario and Zelda... are they lost to Nintendo forever? And, if so, are we moving to an era when Nintendo really is only for us old guys and our kids? And, if that's so, what does that mean for Wii U sales? The shrill Bayonetta 2 reactions, while expected in the usual console war way, seem to have different tone than usual, to me. It was still Us vs. Them, but there also seemed to be a fire in the belly I hadn't expected. They sounded like heavy metal fans spilling ire on pop music. In other words, it's more than just a preference on where they want to spend their money. It's a lifestyle choice. Even as a big time SEGA fanboy, I never said Nintendo "doesn't make real games" or that releasing games on the SNES was "a sellout move". This is relatively new to me. Has 5-10 years of media chastisement actually raised a generation of Nintendo-haters? How deep do the Us vs. Them wells go? I wonder.

3) What do the pre-orders really mean? The Gamecube was the fastest selling system up to that time, after all. Nintendo fans are lifers. We're going to be there for the Wii U. But who comes after us?

4) Who is the Wii U really for? That's my big question. I look at it and I think, "They're not designing it with me in mind". Which is fine. They're under no obligation to think about me. But who IS it for, then? My opinion: Families. All this talk about it being more hardcore focused? BS. That Gamepad is there to give Mom something to do when junior is playing Mario. The question of the hour is whether families are going to get the Wii U Fever or not. After the long, slow death of the Wii, I rather doubt it.

5) What happens in Japan? On that, I have no insight. But if Japan chooses the Wii U over the next Sony product, then we could still be in Nintendo heaven, even if it falls behind in the West.

6) Third party reactions. Ports of old games won't cut the mustard. There will need to be superior versions of new games to even prick the ears of current 360 or PS3 owners. Will that happen? Ha. I wouldn't bet on it.

I want to add, I hope I'm wrong. I don't like being a Ninten-doomsayer. But I'm still not feeling it. In fact, the pricing scheme and paltry features announced at the Sept 13 Nintendo Direct actually make me less optimistic. And no one was more optimistic than me about the Wii.
Posted: 09/16/12, 21:33:20  - Edited by 
 on: 09/16/12, 21:41:38
@Anand
I think for Durango we're going to see 2 skus, something like:

Basic - 32GB memory stick - Kinect 2 - 1 controller - $299.00
Deluxe - 500GB Hard Drive - Kinect 2 - 1 controller - headset - 1 month XBL - $399.00

That's not exactly undercutting Nintendo, but it is offering a superior console (specs wise) for the same amount of money. If that happens I think Nintendo will be in trouble unless they respond with a price cut.

Of course if Durango costs like $499 or something, then I think there will be enough of a difference where Wii U still seems like the better value, especially considering by next fall something like Metroid Rebirth or Super Mario Universe may be out!

@kriswright
I'm really surprised at the $299 price point for WiiU, I thought for sure they'd hit that family-friendly $249 number...
Posted: 09/16/12, 21:38:38  - Edited by 
 on: 09/16/12, 21:40:56
Me too. Including Nintendoland. So, for me, it's really about 100 dollars more than I was expecting. It's 3DS all over again, imho.
Posted: 09/16/12, 21:47:05
@deathly_hallows

Metroid games and 3D Marios are the equivalent of preaching to the choir. They don't sell systems the same way that Wii Sports, New Super Mario Bros. or Mario Kart did, Metroid games in particular.

@kriswright

Agreed on the price.

And I still don't know who the target audience for Nintendoland is. It looks like a weird mashup of Nintendo, Little Big Planet and an acid trip. Not that the concept isn't cool; it has style. But I cannot imagine the masses that gravitated to Wii Fit, Wii Sports, and Mario Kart are going to look at Nintendo land and do anything other than cock an eyebrow.
Posted: 09/16/12, 22:07:52
Personally not going to get it at launch ( =( ), only because I have my senior project for college due by semester's end. I don't want any distractions. I'm gonna pick it up Christmas - Early Jan. if I can, though.

I'm a little disappointed, though...the games (launch window) are looking great, but Nintendo could have definitely made a more noticeable improvement on the hardware as compared to PS360 and priced it similarly. I don't have any hard facts for this, but considering the price of the tablet controller, Nintendo really could have came out hitting hard with a Dreamcast type situation (and actually succeeded), and if they were really going for the hardcore sector once again, I'm really surprised they didn't pony up for better hardware. Banking on the tablet controller to make people not care so much about the hardware being not that much better is even more of a risk than the DS and Wii, imo.

I can see one situation occurring that people predicted for the Wii (that didn't happen in the end) actually taking place for the Wii U. A lot of people predicted that with a forced motion controlled system, developers would be forced to make 3rd party exclusives in a way. With the Wii selling boatloads, a lot of us expected for 3rd parties to cash in and make some nice games (exclusives) for the system. We all know what happened unfortunately. Now with the Wii U and a more traditional controller (also Nintendo chasing Bayonetta, Monster Hunter, etc), I can see developers coming to the Wii U like we thought they would with Wii. One more reason I can think of for this is that the PS360 level of hardware has definitely hit more of a plateau of awesome graphics. While the PS4 and 720 will have amazing graphics, I can see the general population being more OK with sticking with the level of graphics the Wii U, 360, and PS3 produce for a longer time...this has a lot to do with the ever increasing production costs of making games for better hardware. Hopefully we will see a lot more resurrected franchises on the Wii U because of the lower production costs (already beginning with Bayonetta 2?).

We'll see. I'm definitely in, though.
Posted: 09/16/12, 22:38:37  - Edited by 
 on: 09/16/12, 22:46:17
@Kal-El814

I'm really struggling with that on Nintendoland. My best answer is probably that Nintendoland is for guys like us to play with our kids. That's the audience I can see that'll really embrace it. But that's a small audience - certainly smaller than the universal Wii Sports crowd. Still, I always assumed Ninty was going to at least try to sell it to that Wii Sports audience, so the decision to not pack it in the smaller SKU really seems head-scratching.

And I don't care what anyone else says, the art style's a mess.
Posted: 09/16/12, 23:43:29  - Edited by 
 on: 09/16/12, 23:44:51
Every Nintendo system sells out at launch, even the 3DS did. Half the people who pre-orderd are going to sell it on eBay. I was never worried about the launch, it's when the competition comes out with new systems that things get dicey. Since we know virtually nothing about those systems, how well the Wii U will do in the long term is a huge mystery right now.
Posted: 09/16/12, 23:50:44
I'm with those who are saying the initial launch will sell out, and then it's up in the air what will happen from that point forward. For me, personally, this launch has more games than I've ever anticipated wanting from a launch. I already see myself purchasing ten games for sure. So I really hope they keep up the momentum with some big title teases, and have something up their sleeves for when the other two big guys release their consoles.

Edit: Forgot to say that I'm also really excited for and on board with the asymmetric gameplay idea. It's a new way to get those people who aren't totally comfortable playing games to join in. But it can also add depth to more hardcore games. I can see my mom getting into Mario now with the whole adding platforms on the gamepad strategy, for example. It's all a nice evolution of what the Wii set out to do, IMO. I jus wish Nintendo could communicate it better, because I know personally I didn't really grasp it (but was interested in it), but now I'm super excited for it. Hopefully there will be some clear and convincing marketing.
Posted: 09/17/12, 00:33:53  - Edited by 
 on: 09/17/12, 00:44:37
It's not going to be a success on the level of the original Wii... I think that's just stating the obvious. Nintendoland is no Wii Sports, and a tablet controller is not as strong, surprising, or appealing of a gimmick as motion.

I don't think Nintendo ever really has to worry so long as they continue to release fun, quality software though.
Posted: 09/17/12, 01:30:53  - Edited by 
 on: 09/17/12, 01:31:26
Hinph said:
It's not going to be a success on the level of the original Wii... I think that's just stating the obvious. Nintendoland is no Wii Sports, and a tablet controller is not as strong, surprising, or appealing of a gimmick as motion.

I don't think Nintendo ever really has to worry so long as they continue to release fun, quality software though.

This is the exact reason I feel Nintendo should have tried to be the "Dreamcast" of this generation. Powerful enough to still get decent ports from PS4 and 720 but cheap enough (guess..but Nintendo could pull it off if they could pull GCN off with a profit) to still make a profit at ~350.

Oh well, the tablet controller will be freakin' fun.
Posted: 09/17/12, 02:03:29
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