With Nintendo's recent press event our editors have put their heads together and thought about the future of the Wii U. Ever wonder what this years launch of the Nintendo Wii U will be like? How about what games will be coming out for the platform a year from now? Will the platform even make it five years? That's what our editors are here for and today we will start with our predictions about the upcoming launch of the Wii U.
The Wii U will launch for $300 on November 18th, if the rumors are any indication (and after Apple’s iPhone event, I am more likely to believe said rumors). Software sales show that people are really tired of the current generation. Because of that, I believe that families as well as some gaming enthusiasts will flock to the Wii U when it launches at least a year ahead of Microsoft and Sony’s offerings. People want something new and different. The biggest hurdle that Nintendo has to clear until then is explaining the Wii U to average consumers. Post-E3, several news outlets still thought it was an accessory for the Wii rather than a new console. Once casuals and gaming die-hards alike are aware that a new console from Nintendo is launching this year (still kind of hard to imagine, isn’t it?), they will be excited.
The fact is, this overlong console generation has given Nintendo a slow, easy pitch right over home plate. I am confident that Nintendo will have a successful launch, but maintaining those numbers is another story.
The base Nintendo Wii U SKU (console, one tablet controller) will sell for $250. Nintendo stumbled out of the gate with the pricing for the 3DS so I don’t see them making the same mistake here, especially for a console that had two underwhelming debuts. Because Nintendo wants to attract the core and casual gamer this time around, they’re going to need a price that is attractive to both groups. Let’s be honest here: the Wii U is, once again, going to be a “companion” system so curious PS3 or Xbox 360 owners with money to spend are going to want a decent price (in the event that the console fails and becomes a worthless novelty). That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo throws out a couple bundle options.
As for launch titles, we’ll see Rayman Legends and ZombieU come out on launch day, but everything else will fall within a three to six month launch window.
I don’t think the Wii U is going to sell as well as people think. In 2006, The Wii took the world by storm because, like the iPhone, it just made sense. So the audience that loved the Wii- I don’t think they’re going to be interested in the Wii U. And the other audience, the people that play more hardcore games, aren’t really going to jump on the Wii U bandwagon. I mean, why spend $300 to play games that came out last year?
Sure you could look at the mad success of the Ouya Kickstarter and think that people just want new consoles. And you’d be right to an extent. But with only 64,000 units sold, the Ouya is not exactly a booming success when compared to major consoles. Now, I know that a console on Kickstarter can’t be compared to a mainstream console, but my point is that I don’t think people want another console without the promise of something really revolutionary. Sure the Gamepad is cool, but I don’t think it will ever be used in a revolutionary way.
It’s hard to imagine that in a couple of months Nintendo will be releasing their newest home console. It was only a few years ago consumers were scrounging their local electronic stores in search of a Nintendo Wii for the holidays. Remember the Wii Sports and Wii Fit craze? How quickly things can change in this industry. Only a few years later Nintendo is yet again trying to reinvent itself and have Mom and Dad run out to buy a new console for their kids this holiday.
Although many of our counterparts in the industry believe that the Nintendo Wii U will be an utter failure out of the gate; I tend to disagree. Nintendo could not have picked a better time to release its Wii U console. Combine that with a launch lineup that although not perfect is dense enough to give consumers plenty of choice this holiday season. Combine that with the utter drought that is new consoles and I think Nintendo will do just fine with both casual consumers and core gamers.
The original Wii wasn’t a big hitter when it first came out, but an innovative new control scheme allowed more than just ‘hardcore’ gamers take notice. The Wii U seems to be trying to do the same this time around, by blending the financially successful Wii with the a more dedicated hardcore system. The touch screen tablet controller is relatable in the modern technological climate with everyone owning iPads and Android tablets and familiar with this style of interaction. This will most likely garner interest from those who have the disposable income and owned the previous Nintendo console but aren’t dedicated gamers. Most non-gamers will be weary and hold off until they know if it is worth buying through word of mouth.
For the ‘hardcore’ however it will come down to whether the release titles interest you. Most, will have already played a large share of the ports from the current consoles, with ZombieU and New Super Mario Bros. U needing to entice more than they probably can. NintendoLand, similar to Wii Sports, will hopefully entertain as well as inform consumers about the features of and how to control the Wii U. Overall, I think it may be a slow and steady start, with many having a ‘wait and see’ approach.
So that's our writers thoughts on the launch of the Wii U. Curious what is to come in a year or even five years? Come back tomorrow to find out!
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.