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Is the Wii U really winding down after 2015? [roundtable]
 
I've heard rumblings that some think the writing's on the wall for the Wii U after StarFox Zero. Should we take Nintendo's "close to the chest" approach for this year's E3 as them just being secretive as usual, or do you think they really don't have much more Wii U stuff after this year?

I'm hoping they were just being overly cautious, because the Wii U still feels like a pretty young system. It's only been out for 2 years and 8 months--it should be hitting its stride by this point! By comparison, here's where other Nintendo consoles were after about 2.5 years post-release...

NES: It was 1987. Super Mario Bros. TWO hadn't come out yet, much less Mario 3. Contra 1 wasn't out yet. Zelda 2, Lolo 1, Ninja Turtles 1 were pretty far away. Dr. Mario, Kirby's Adventure, Dragon Warrior 2 and Castlevania 3 weren't even close! Mega Man ONE had just come out.

SNES: It was 1993/early 1994. Super Metroid, Final Fantasy VI, the first DKC, Chrono Trigger, EarthBound, Kirby Super Star were all in the future.

N64: 1999. No Majora's Mask, Perfect Dark, Banjo-Tooie, Paper Mario, Conker, Harvest Moon 64.

GCN: 2004. Hadn't yet gotten...uh, Prime 2 and Resident Evil 4? Okay, GCN's last couple years were pretty lame.

Wii: 2009. A good year that included stuff like Little King's Story and Rune Factory Frontier. On the horizon was Galaxy 2, Red Steel 2, Monster Hunter Tri, GoldenEye, DKC Returns, and Kirby's Epic Yarn. And Other M!


The point is, it's too early for this system to keel over and whimper out! I don't want to see NX in 2016--a four-year cycle is painfully short for new hardware, and I like my Wii U. Do you think the end is approaching for Nintendo's all-too-young system?

I'm still not sure what a roundtable is.

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Posted: 07/09/15, 19:28:01  - Edited by 
 on: 07/09/15, 19:28:18
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Wow, lots of roundtables happening lately!

I think they are just going to announce what in the world the NX is next year. I'm not sold on the thing (whatever it is) actually coming out next year. Probably 2017. Which would make the Wii U's lifespan about five years long. Fairly par for the course.

EDIT: Hey, GCN still had some hitters left after 2004! Baiten Kaitos Origins hadn't come out yet. Or Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. And let's not forget Chibi-Robo!, Battalion Wars or Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. All good stuff! we shall not speak of Odama.
Posted: 07/09/15, 19:34:44  - Edited by 
 on: 07/09/15, 19:38:02
I hope the Wii U doesn't putz out either, obviously.

I try not to read too much, especially those comprised solely of speculation, so I don't have much NX information. Is it at all possible that this will be a 3rd pillar of sorts, and NOT a replacement for the Wii U? I mean, are they just ABANDONING this awesome touch screen? I never want to play a Monster Hunter or MEtroid game without a map in my lap ever again. (AND YOU KNOW WHAT, AND AT THIS STUPID 3DS-LOVING RATE, MAYBE THAT WON'T HAPPEN ANYWAYS, UGHHHHHH)
Posted: 07/09/15, 19:49:33
I'll be pretty disappointed in the Wii U if it is basically going to be done. So far the only game coming out for it that I am 100% sure I want is Zelda. If that is basically the end of the system I will probably wait even longer to get a NX to make sure it has a great library before I jump in.
Posted: 07/09/15, 19:57:15  - Edited by 
 on: 07/09/15, 19:57:50
Yes, but not as dramatically as it seems right now.

I do think 2016 will be a bit lighter than 2015 and 2014 were as more studios move on to NX development (and perhaps back to 3DS as well). SMTxFE and Zelda will be the "big two" for the year, one launching in the summer (SMTxFE is my guess) and the other in the winter. And as always, throughout the year we'll get a skerrick of eShop titles, budget games a la Captain Toad and Kirby's Rainbow Curse, and further DLC expansions for games like Mario Maker, Splatoon, Smash, and possibly Mario Kart.

And I don't expect NX to launch until fall 2017 or later, so I'm expecting (hoping) there will be at least one more big title for Wii U that year as well. But I think that's going to be as barren as Wii's 2012 was.


@Mr_Mustache I really don't see NX being a third pillar. The last thing Nintendo needs right now is another platform to support all on its own. Wii U and 3DS are pretty dry as it is.
Posted: 07/09/15, 21:16:50  - Edited by 
 on: 07/09/15, 21:20:44
Man, I think if they had more coming than Zelda they would've let us know at E3. That would have been the time to do it. I don't understand not buying a Wii U, since there are already a ton of awesome games out for it and more to come, but for people who were planning to wait for the NX despite all that, Nintendo did absolutely nothing at E3 to sell them on the Wii U.

Then again, maybe those people wouldn't buy one anyway, and Nintendo has nothing to lose by not revealing their Wii U holiday 2016 lineup. Still, it seems like if we were getting a new Metroid or Mario or F-Zero or whatever else we still need, we'd at least have some sort of hint about it. It just doesn't feel like anything else is coming. Nintendo told us about the NX in the first place to prove that they weren't ducking out of console game development, but couldn't they have proven that by making a commitment to continue to support the Wii U instead? If they were planning on keeping the Wii U alive for another two or three years, they'd still be championing it. If the Wii U still has life left in it, now's not the time to be secretive about that.

I'm sure in January we'll get a Nintendo Direct that explains everything.
Posted: 07/09/15, 21:20:16
@nate38

Huh. Never heard or seen the word "skerrick" before. Had to look it up to figure out what it meant.

I learned something today!
Posted: 07/09/15, 21:53:51
Well I really hope they don't abandon this system quite yet. I also really hope Star Fox is KILLER although I suspect it will be at best a solid entry. Which would be fine by me, just... we want more sometimes.

The only other really KILLER sounding game we know of is Zelda. And if they move it to NX I'd probably just buy it on NX, which means for all practical purposes it wouldn't be a Wii U game for me.

Releasing a new platform in 2016 would mean a 4 year life cycle, Nintendo's shortest yet (not counting total failures like the Virtual Boy.) And it'd definitely make the Wii U one of the weaker Nintendo platforms for me. It might be smart to just forget the Wii U and move on in some ways, but it also means you're trying to sell the next system when you have a lot of people sort of down on the last one.

Not really sure what the best move would be here.

/EDIT Wait obviously there is another KILLER game, Xenoblade Chronicles X. Still, if that and Star Fox hit in 2015 then 2016 could be emptyyyyyyyyy.
Posted: 07/09/15, 21:57:53  - Edited by 
 on: 07/09/15, 23:15:09
@Zero

I think the best move is to stick it out. Give the Wii U it's full 5 years, and do the best that the company can give it. Nintendo can't just drop the console off after such a short time. SEGA tried that years ago, and now look at them.
Posted: 07/09/15, 22:05:06
@Zero
You're right--I'm not sure if the leg-up that NX would get on an early start would be worth the loss of goodwill from longtime fans who'd feel abandoned.

I think even if the Wii U doesn't have much over the course of 2015 and 2016, they probably wouldn't want to release NX until 2017 just to keep that five-year gap going. Even if it had a dry final year like Wii and GCN before it, it still just LOOKS better to not cut it short.
Posted: 07/09/15, 22:19:46
Who knows.

Nintendo's impossible to predict.
Posted: 07/09/15, 23:01:02
I don't want them to give up on the Wii U yet either but after that E3 presentation one has to wonder. They continually said that E3 was about getting across what they were providing for the next 2015 fiscal year. The lack of Wii U game announcements makes me think they are busy doing other things.
Posted: 07/09/15, 23:02:57
@carlosrox
This is the exact thought I have.

Nintendo's stance on E3 flip flops so much it's nearly impossible to tell. One year we go in getting everything they've got and other years they act like showing anything more than 5 months out is absolute ridiculous and against the laws of nature.

I'm hopeful that Nintendo still has plans for the Wii U throughout 2016, but if the rumors are the NX being much closer than Nintendo wants to let on are true...we could see a full on shift away from the Wii U. Them being so tight lipped on the future of a console that is struggling so is pretty alarming as well. I don't know why they went into E3 with the short term plan when the system's big problem has been long term.
Posted: 07/09/15, 23:08:16
I don't know, but I think their best course of action from a business standpoint depends on what they have in the NX. If they've got something they are confident will appeal to a mass market outside of the gaming community, and possibly even set the world on fire like the Wii, then they should get it out as early as possible. Yea, they might piss of some Wii U owners, but do you really think those guys are going to boycott NX if it's got some feature that everyone is talking about plus the next big Mario and other Nintendo staples?

On the other hand, if it's just trying to win back more video game fans, then I don't see a lot of urgency in releasing it. Focus on getting more good games out for Wii U that could lead to more "Wii U is the best system no one owns" articles that were popping up quite a bit earlier this year. Keep your loyal fans happy and try to keep a positive vibe going for people who don't have a Wii U but aren't anti-Nintendo. And for the NX, get those specs as powerful as they can be within the pricepoint you're planning so that maybe you can get some third party ports as those systems get older (an easier architecture would of course be a big help for that as well).
Posted: 07/10/15, 02:05:59
I'm not sure if there's much "blue ocean" left after the Wii broke into that market and mobile kind of cleaned up the rest. But I guess it's possible that they can find a fresh new angle to capture lightning in a bottle again.

I still have no idea what they're going to do with 3rd-parties. The Wii U actually had some pretty solid ports at launch--granted, they were a few months late, but there were still a few highly-regarded games that landed on the system and didn't do all that great with sales. It feels like 3rd-parties are completely married to the idea of putting out AAA-style releases on non-Nintendo systems and won't budge from that. And even if they did, would Nintendo owners bite? I own Nintendo system BECAUSE I'm not interested in games like Gears of War and Destiny. It's a bit of a catch-22.
Posted: 07/10/15, 02:17:59
@Jargon

The dream is that they will have a new idea that has mass appeal, including gamers (god, I hate that word). Most people seem to be stuck on this idea that whatever gimmick they have planned can only mean more expanded audience experiences, but why couldn't a new technology also be used to enhance traditional games? This company has had plenty of those good ideas in the past, and practically every feature on a modern game controller was either invented or at least standardized by Nintendo with the exception of analog triggers and clickable analog sticks.

Coming up with such a good idea isn't easy, of course. I personally have no idea what the NX can do to excite people, but I hope Nintendo does.

Whenever I see somebody demanding that Nintendo stop trying to do new things and release something just like the competition, I can't help but feel... really? That's it? We're all done here, then? Pack it up and stop trying to come up with new ideas, everybody!
Posted: 07/10/15, 02:18:08  - Edited by 
 on: 07/10/15, 02:25:40
@Hinph

That's a good point--Nintendo could potentially introduce some new control mechanism that's a clear upgrade from what we had before, and/or ushers in a new style of gameplay with lots of potential (a la Mario 64). Or even something akin to the DS's touch screen. It's tough to do in this day and age, either way.

The GCN didn't start the analogue triggers though?
Posted: 07/10/15, 02:27:37
@TriforceBun

I don't know of a case before Dreamcast, but I could be wrong. Gamecube has those awesome clickable triggers, though, and Valve is actually bringing them back on the Steam controller. Speaking of which, I think they are onto something with those tactile touchpads. I personally think a tactile touchpad should replace the right analog stick because it's even more accurate for camera control and aiming... gives mouse-like input... and who knows what else. Great idea, really.
Posted: 07/10/15, 02:31:59
@TriforceBun

Even if more people are now going after that casual gaming market, it doesn't mean that Nintendo couldn't release something new that gets its attention in a big way. If mobile games had happened to become big before Wii, I don't think that would have done anything to stop people from wanting to play Wii Sports, it's a completely different kind of experience. And really, the way music and dance games have fallen out of favor, there's not much new coming out in terms of party game experiences at the moment. I see an opportunity for sure.

@Hinph

Yea, most people seem to think that the 360 controller, aside from any d-pad limitations, is perfect and nothing will ever improve on it. That stance will inevitably look silly decades from now.
Posted: 07/10/15, 02:38:41
@Jargon

Yeah. If you ask me, people should be demanding more innovation from Sony and Microsoft... not demanding that Nintendo stop trying. It really gets my goat.
Posted: 07/10/15, 02:41:38
@Hinph
I just looked it up and that touchpad is indeed a neat solution. I'm not sure why Steam and the PlayStation controllers insist on putting the analogue stick in the secondary (lower) position though. So weird to me.

@Jargon
That's true, party games have fallen on the back-burner this gen.
Posted: 07/10/15, 02:42:45
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