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Do you feel that the Wii U deserves the derision? [roundtable]
Jargo's filthy porn thread has no heat, so I'm going to repost and expand this over here.

... as a roundtable.

It's a little strange to me that the Wii U has already acquired the stench of failure, along with all of the webbenfreude that comes with it. Take that, Urban Dictionary! Although I guess it's actually not that strange, since there are a lot of factions in gamedom (Western third-parties, much of the gaming media, 'hardcore gamers') that always seem to be waiting on pins and needles for the Big N to fuck up. Irrational paranoia? Maybe. Regardless, the stigma is unfortunate and somewhat unwarranted. I think that the Wii U hardware/features, in general, are very well executed. The Wii U does what it sets out to do very well (aside from a few technical issues, like the transition times). And the things that it sets out to do (Miiverse, off-TV play, backwards compatibility, asynchronous multiplayer) are pretty neat and progressive in a truly useful way. Of course, very little of that charm can be communicated through words. I think that if more people actually got their hands on the system in a proper environment, they would genuinely enjoy it. It's a neat piece of kit that does feel somewhat like the future, or at least one possible future. (That said, I tried an in-store demo kiosk the other day, and it was pretty terrible. The Gamepad is tethered to the TV by a super-thick, restrictive coiled wire. It really killed the feeling of freedom and just made me want to stop playing. Kind of the same problem that Wii kiosks had.)

The real chink in the system's armor is the third-party support. You've read the articles. You've seen the release schedule. You know what's up. It's like the Wii, except we're not even getting low-budget attempts at innovation anymore. We're just getting ports of varying quality, the occasional multiplatform title, and... nothing. As with the Wii, Western third-parties seem to have made a self-fulfilling prophecy about the system's performance in the market. But, UNLIKE the Wii, the Wii U doesn't have the gonzo sales to attempt to combat that prophecy. Nintendo's only recourse at this point seems to be to publish more and more first- and second-party games. But will that be good enough to attain success. Is there ANY way that Nintendo can get decent support from Western third-parties? The situation in Japan isn't great, either, but at least that has the potential to change. Western support, I'm not so sure about.

Anyway, you've all heard of these things before. But now that more and more (worrying) information has started to leak out about the competing consoles, 'old-fashioned, stuck-in-their-ways' Nintendo is starting to look relatively pro-consumer.

- Full backwards compatibility
- Free internet services, including media streaming
- Used game capability
- Easy expandability
- Tons of truly exclusive software
- Off-TV play
- Day one downloadable retail games

So my question is: Are the people who are gleefully mocking the Wii U right now going to just bend over and take next gen? Will they sacrifice their rights as a consumer in order to play... I dunno, that Star Wars game? Will they keep paying extra for season passes and special editions? Will they pay MS a subscription just to be able to use basic features? Will they allow massive third-party publishers like EA to run the poker table? To slowly exsanguinate them with a constant, steady stream of nickel-and-diming?

I think the answer is... probably.

This rambling mess was brought to you by Nintendo.

It could also easily turned into a similar diatribe about the Vita.

Oh, and also, everyone might just go PC, instead. But probably not.

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Posted: 02/13/13, 22:15:07  - Edited by 
 on: 02/13/13, 22:16:49
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If I had been enamored with my PS3 at the time of the Wii U launch, I would see very little except ZombiU and Mario to pick it up for. So in a way, I don't hold their reservations against them.

But, since I was not enamored with my PS3 and sold it, I was happy to get the aforementioned games and a plethora of other titles not available on the Wii at launch of the Wii U. Now, I get to have my Nintendo cake and eat HD, too. I expect more and more HD Twin snobs will acquiesce and pick up a Wii U when more console exclusives become available (namely, Pikmin 3, Bayonetta 2, and that Fire Emblem/Shin Megami Tensei crossover).
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:33:27
The funny thing is, Fire Emblem was ALREADY online. They just took it right back out again, Spirit Tracks-style.

Sony is definitely doing some pretty admirable, pro-consumer stuff, at least for now. Free online and a paid service that actually adds value. With MS, you pay for value to not be subtracted.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:36:26

I've seen some of the Durango rumors around here, but I don't know what to make of them. Yeah, it sounds possible from the company that brought us Windows 8. But, then, it spread through our community like wildfire largely because it was sort of a Microsoftdooooooomed story. Who knows what the truth really is at this point? Maybe it's all rumors. Maybe we're doing sort of the inverse of what places like IGN do to Nintendo. Every possible bad idea Microsoft might have will be considered likely, until refuted. Not very sporting.

If Microsoft really is going that closed system direction, and if they're smart - and I have to believe they are - they'll simply copy Steam and bring it to next gen hardware. That could be a success for them. I don't think we should count them out in a case like that. That's my basic position.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:41:20
Anand said:
The funny thing is, Fire Emblem was ALREADY online. They just took it right back out again, Spirit Tracks-style.

Sony is definitely doing some pretty admirable, pro-consumer stuff, at least for now. Free online and a paid service that actually adds value. With MS, you pay for value to not be subtracted.

You know, I think you're trying to say Sony is doing consumers a solid, but to me it seems like Sony is doing the exact same thing as Microsoft for charging for their premium service. Of course, there is a HUGE difference on the lower end of the spectrum, where Sony charges nothing.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:43:26
kriswright said:
I dunno. How much derision is the Wii U actually getting? The only semi-professional guy I listen to about video games anymore is Gui and he called the Wii U launch something like "The greatest launch lineup for a Nintendo console ever". So, as far as I'm concerned, the Wii U is getting nothing but glowing praise.

Have you ever been on the Internet?
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:46:07
Sure, they're rumors, but Sony and MS rumors often turn out to be true. And the thread is based on the supposition that they are.

The Steam comparison is interesting. There are certainly similarities, but there are also differences, such as the subscription fee and emphasis on general entertainment media. I dunno. It seems that there are about 10,000 devices that are joining 'the fight for the living room'. Steambox, Ouya, that nVidia thing, Roku, Apple TV, Slingbox, Smart TVs, Durango, Orbis, Wii U, etc., etc. It'll definitely be interesting to see how it all shakes out. I kind of can't believe that MS has gotten so much mileage out of the streaming stuff so far, considering that there are so many alternatives for that stuff. And the water will only get redder from this point forward.

I dunno, man. PlayStation Plus seems pretty attractive to me (from the outside, since I don't even have a PS3 or a Vita). Sony essentially gives you the license to play tons of games for free, as long as you have the service, in addition to offering steep weekly discounts. If I had PS+ (and a PS3), I don't think I'd ever buy a retail game. I'd just wait for them to drift downstream. I mean, demos alone consume most of my 360 time. What if they were actual full games?!
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:48:17  - Edited by 
 on: 02/13/13, 23:52:01
I think we need to step back and realize that the Wii U is still in its launch period. The Wii U will be fine come fall, and every rumor we're hearing about the Orbis & Durango right now is just that: a rumor. We'll know more about what Sony is doing next week, and what Microsoft has planned in the near future I'm sure.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:48:41

I'm just admitting that I don't read any other sites anymore. It was more of a joke than a serious comment. I'm sure, according to the internet, the Wii U was a failure starting all the way back in 2007.

anon_mastermind said:
Do casuals buy consoles based on power or brand names, or do they buy console because of the games? You know the answer. Also consider that the PS4/Xbox3 will show the smallest ever leap in graphical advancement over their predecessors. I don't think the Wii U being underpowered will bite it as hard as it did the Wii, but that remains to be seen. What I'm saying is, for Wii U to be a runaway success, it needs another Wii Sports type game. Nintendo Land isn't it, unfortunately, even if it is a better game than Wii Sports ever was. I hope Nintendo has something up their sleeve, but I fear not. After all, the 3DS has much less casual appeal than the DS had, and Wii U seems on track for the same type of sentiment versus the Wii.

They buy the console because of the games, of course. Which was my point. Or, more to the point, they buy a console because of their expectations about what games will be available in the future. They aren't soothsayers. They don't know what's in store for a new console. They just have hopes and expectations. Like we do, right now, with all these new, untested consoles to choose from.

The underpowering of the Wii wasn't a problem because ZOMG TEH GRAFIX. It was a problem because most popular third-party games couldn't be ported to it. My Dad, for instance, would have played the crap out of Red Dead Redemption had it been available. But it never came to his Wii and there weren't any great alternatives to it. So he played Blazing Angels instead, hated it, and never picked up his Wiimote again. He grumbled to me about it at Christmas, even. "I bought that and I never play the damn thing." True story. Another satisfied customer.

I have no idea if the Wii U will be in that same position, but what I mean in bringing it up is that people who were burned on the Wii aren't going to double dip on the Wii U. They're going to do research first. They'll go where the games are. Or simply abstain. Is that a sizable portion of the old market? I don't know. I really don't. And I don't pretend to know. But every time I bring it up I get lectured about "games not graphics" and stuff like that. As if my Dad's experience (or my friend Pradeep's similar experience. Or my friend Scott's similar experience.) doesn't count because of some vague philosophical reason that only people who post on video game forums can even begin to understand.

In other words... Nintendo's failures over the last few years of the Wii's life are what's hurting the Wii U right now. They can turn it around, but they haven't demonstrated how they're going to do it yet. That's my primary opinion on where the Wii U is right now.

Everyone asks whether the Wii U will be Nintendo's Dreamcast. Certainly not. Nintendo is not going to die off because of the Wii U. I agree with Jargon that it might be back to Gamecube territory, but there will be a Nintendo console after this one.

So I don't worry that it'll turn into the Dreamcast.

I have darker worries.

I worry it could be Nintendo's Saturn.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:03:35  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/13, 00:06:34
No, I don't think it deserves most of the criticism it gets. It's already been talked about so I won't get into that, but that said, I do think some criticism is valid, it just gets lost in the deluge of negativity. The poor online infrastructure is one, it's still lacking compared to the competition. I also don't think the system has launched with a game that really proves why the GamePad is necessary, Nintendo have not done a good job in justifying it. Other than that though, the system is fine, and I definitely don't think we're looking at another GameCube here, at least in term of sales.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:06:24

The notion that developers want Nintendo to fail or out of the hardware game is bizarre. I have no idea where you're coming from with that. Especially since most developers that don't have 1st or 2nd party loyalty develop games for Nintendo platforms. You'd need to do some impressive mental gymnastics to conceive a scenario in which companies are spending money on software development with the purpose of undermining a hardware manufacturer... Weird.


The 3DS/Vita scenario is kind of apples/oranges as it pertains to the home console market. Nintendo has never "lost" a handheld generation, but they've been humbled a few times as it pertains to home consoles. Aside from that, until the Wii came out, every Nintendo home console (let's forget about the Color TV Game) sold significantly less than the one that proceeded it, starting with the NES > SNES transition. I don't think it's unreasonable to wonder about the extent to which:

1) That trend was actually reversed
2) The market disruption that the Wii achieved can be replicated

I do think there's a difference between the stereotypical "DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED" internet lament and wondering about the extent to which the Wii U can be as successful as the Wii was.


I think we're overstating some problems, here.

Content thin games that need DLC to flesh them out don't really happen with on-disc releases on the home consoles all that often, and when they do, they get roasted. Besides, stuff like NSMB 2 show that Nintendo is willing to jump on that train, too. Sony and PC games have free online gaming.

So... I don't know. Not to suggest that Nintendo offers nothing unique or compelling; they absolutely do.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:06:37  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/13, 00:09:47
Nope. Durango requires internet for games to work, this is no longer rumor. Two verified insiders on gaf confirmed it (I've seen one).
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:08:26

You could be right. I admit I haven't looked into it much other than "it costs money". So, right off the bat, nothing on PS+ is free. I often wonder how much I ACTUALLY save at Costco, for example, as opposed to just going to a Super Wal-Mart; after all, I don't pay Wal-Mart an annual $55.00 cover charge for the privilege of shopping there. :/
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:11:13

Ick, really? That's not good...Microsoft has to realize how much gamers hated that crap in Diablo III. To tie that to an entire system? Yikes...
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:13:20

I'm curious about the extent to which "online to play a game" means a persistent connection or a Steam style authentication system.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:15:25
Saturn, lol. Please tell me that was a joke

Anyways, yeah I guess the third party problem is still lingering over Nintendo's head all these years later. Seems nothing can be done though, remember even on Gamecube with discs and equivalent power, there were still third parties that avoided the lunchbox. Hopefully Nintendo can secure some more niche IPs like Bayonetta, from devs who don't want to spend millions on game development just to push more particle physics and polygons.

I don't think the Wii name is tarnished, but I do agree that Nintendo dropped the ball in 2011 and 2012 for Wii. There was only so much they could do though without 3rd parties on board; transitioning to the next gen is difficult, and even almost 2 years after the reveal we haven't seen some of the supposed launch games.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:15:38
@kriswright I'm definitely in agreement that it needs to be utilized more. Not having Mario or Nintendo Land online at launch was silly. And I'm kind of afraid that some higher up at Nintendo has it in their mind that Miiverse being in every game means every game has "online" so they can stop worrying about other ways to do online, and no one is afraid to tell him what a dumb viewpoint this is. But that might just be me projecting things onto Nintendo.

I guess I just don't see this is an issue of free versus pay, because everyone but Microsoft does online for free. The fact that Nintendo ignores it a lot is just Nintendo being Nintendo, and I imagine a paid Nintendo online system would be a freaking disaster... because they would still ignore it a lot, and people would be paying for online and going nuts every time it didn't appear in a big Nintendo game.

Whatever the case I play my Nintendo games online more than my Sony ones, so I guess if you say to me "which would you rather have, Nintendo online or Microsoft online?" my answer is clear... Nintendo, because that is where the games I want to play online are. But if Nintendo had something like Microsoft's online, with the same kind of support, would I think it is better than the current free online? I dunno. I'd probably still just mostly use it for Nintendo Land, Smash Brothers, and Mario Kart, and then wonder why I'm paying $50 a year to occasionally play 3 games. But at least I'd get to mess around with more games, even if they didn't stick with me for very long. Pikmin 3 online would be fun for a bit.

I think for a "casual" online gamer such as myself, not paying for it is the only way to go. I just hope Nintendo can get something closer to the Sony system someday.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:16:16
@anon_mastermind One problem was that GameCube discs were about 1/3rd the size of PS2 and Xbox, so larger games couldn't really work on GameCube. The GameCube combined some of the worst aspects of cartridges and discs.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:25:16
Certainly everything we've heard about the next Xbox has been very bad news, and most of that information has been confirmed as factual (at least as of right now) by believable sources. There's a backlash brewing against Microsoft, but on the whole people doubt things can go as badly as we're hearing. Negative information is resisted.

Conversely, the original Wii was derided from the start by the wider media and a certain brand of core gamer and the only thing stopping it from being full-on doom and gloom were the amazing sales figures. Wii U doesn't have that cushion and so here it is, all of the pent up anti-Wii sentiments are coming out. Positive information is resisted. Information like the recent Nintendo Direct, like the inevitable sequels to Nintendo's industry dominating titles last gen, like their proven history of delivering creative games, is quickly swept under the carpet. Nope, I don't believe that's deserved but given the way the gaming media communicates with its favorite demographic, it's only to be expected.

The future of the Wii U is bright. Not just for the informed fans like us who already have a good list of anticipated titles, but in the industry as a whole. There are challenges - its name is too much like the Wii, but its USP and early line-up of games are completely different. People who loved motion controls and Wii Sports aren't jumping onboard because the Wii U doesn't offer that. Meanwhile the actual innovation of the system is clouded by the name and the terrible marketting.

Buyers simply aren't being offered what made them buy the Wii, and they aren't clearly being sold on what would make them buy a Wii U.

It's a mess right now, but more familiar propostions are coming for Wii owners; Wii Fit U, a new Mario Kart. And along with a new wave of much more assured and compelling Wii U software there will be a more aspirational, urgent and clear marketting push that will get the message across about all of the new features.

Wii U's sales will gain momentum and with that the derision will die down. Especially when two $400+ machines go head to head this holiday season and demonstrate that consoles sales just aren't so easy to make these days.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:34:11  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/13, 00:38:44

Here's my case for the Saturn thing. And, to be sure, my tongue is somewhat in cheek. But there are real parallels.

Genesis/Wii: Both explode on the scene, generating a huge amount of excitement from gamers and taking the hype out of the previous market leader. They both succeed, for a time. But, as the generation continues, both start sucking wind. They try to rectify this by making add ons available that expand what their console can do. Both mostly fail, as the adoption rates never quite catch up. Both end up dying a premature death, mostly because they're unable to compete with their powerhouse competition.

Saturn/Wii U: Skepticism surrounds their launch. Is this a new console or yet another add-on? Will the software problems that plagued the final years of the previous console continue on the new one? What's with the strange architecture that prevents easy porting of games? And where are the third parties?

Now, obviously, the Saturn had other problems that Nintendo doesn't have. So it's really not a super serious worry. The Wii U will be more successful than the Saturn in whatever case. But my position is that the problems the Saturn had at launch were partly caused by the problems the Genesis had in the later part of its life. That's what I worry about for the Wii U. Can it establish it's own identity in the marketplace? I think it's a fair question to ask right now. But time will tell.
Posted: 02/14/13, 00:36:11

Posted: 02/14/13, 00:39:02
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