Nintendo’s facing an unfortunate chicken-and-egg problem. Developers won’t devote the time to making their Wii U games sing unless a lot of people buy the console, and plenty of shoppers will skip over the console unless the games are great. Nintendo can’t rely on its lead-in, either: Wii sales have plummeted in the last year, falling at a much faster rate than its even-older Xbox and PlayStation competitors. The novelty factor of the Wii may have worn off, as customers demand more media features and a better gaming experience — Nintendo has to prove once again that it’s a real competitor.
I don’t know which future awaits the Wii U. But until it’s obvious, I’m not buying one.
But the best thing we can say about the Wii U, that it will have a strong first-party presence, is also its biggest problem. We are cautious and indeed, somewhat pessimistic, about what the future holds for Nintendo’s new system. With Microsoft and Sony expect to announce new, significantly more powerful systems within the next six months, Nintendo has only a short amount of time to establish the Wii U. We are concerned about its ability to be more than a box for Nintendo first-party releases. Nintendo has always delivered on that, but it’s promised more, and that’s what we expect.
Nintendo promised consumers a modern HD gaming console, and the Wii U — what’s there of it thus far — delivers on that promise. Games look gorgeous (HD Mario!), the risky controller is another successful control innovation and there’s a ton of promise on the horizon. What’s missing, sadly, is a huge part of the puzzle — so huge, in fact, that it’s impossible for us to pass judgment on the whole package just yet.
Seems like a real “wait and see” scenario with the Wii U. With next-gen consoles coming next year from Sony and Microsoft, that’s not the situation Nintendo needs to find itself in.