It's hard to believe that the Wii U will be releasing in the United States in a little over a month. So far our staff has made predictions on the Wii U Launch, One Year Post Launch, and now is looking at the Wii U Five Years Down the Road. Will the Wii U rule the world? Or will it be collecting dust in an unknown box in your garage?
Five years from now, I hope Nintendo has already announced another console. This console generation has proven that, well, the generations need to be shorter. Game production budgets are skyrocketing, while sales are plummeting an average of 20% year-over-year. This has been great for indie games, but has hurt the console AAA market. That’s a whole other article entirely, though.
At the risk of sounding a lot like the Ghost of Christmas Future, Nintendo will once again find themselves stuck on the sidelines as Microsoft’s and Sony’s new consoles dominate the gaming landscape once again. The Wii U needs to have a lasting appeal that’s based solely on new, innovative and original software, not ports. I really don’t want to see the Wii U drowning under the sea of boring, unimaginative shovelware crap that the Wii was synonymous for. If given the choice of new technology or the latest annual release of Call of Duty on Xbox 720 or PlayStation 4, gamers are going to stick with what they already have because, ultimately, that’s where their friends are.
Prove me wrong, Nintendo! Please!
In five years, there isn’t going to be a Wii U. Sure it will still exist but it won’t be pushed and it won’t be marketed because the tech will be horribly out-of-date and the games will be dumbed-down ports. Nintendo has struggled for years with quality third-party support and that’s not going to change. Given the success of the 3DS and the rapidly advancing handheld technology, this may very well be Nintendo’s last home console. Actually, I’m pretty sure it is.
Short term I see the Wii U doing fine, its long term that I think everyone has concerns. My guess is the Wii U platform will be relatively successful its first three years and begin to struggle when we start to see both new touch technology as well as the new graphics technology flourish on other platforms. Similar to what Nintendo did with the Wii Motion Plus I do think that Nintendo will come out with an upgraded gamepad by Year 3 and will use this new gamepad for its first party titles until the end of year five.
Unlike Sony who has put its foot down on the long platform life cycles I think this generation has shown that gamers want new tech and Nintendo will deliver. Whether it be with an upgrade to the original Wii concept of motion gaming or if its into a new space unknown to us now. I do believe the Wii U’s life cycle is around five years and it is at this point Nintendo will have a decision to make. Either continue in the hardware market or push into becoming a video game publisher. The decision might look very different in five years depending on the cost of development and hardware manufacturing.
It is unlikely that we will see much out of Nintendo in its first party efforts besides a trickle of their most well known franchises. A single Zelda, Mario or Metroid, similar to was seen from the Wii. The 5 year on tech, would be 12 old tech, (if you were to compare it to the 360 or PS3, which Nintendo have stated it is the equivalent of, which many consider to be ‘dated’ now, as we eagerly await the release of the next Microsoft and Sony consoles) will be showing their extreme age, as much as the Wii did when it was released in comparison to the Playstation 2 and Xbox.
Only innovative titles could keep the Wii U afloat at this point and it seems more likely to happen than with the previous Nintendo console. Thanks in no small part to the oversaturation of tablet hardware being released, developers should, hopefully by the five year mark, know how to create more interesting experiences, combining tablet style with the ‘classic’ controller gameplay.
That marks the conclusion of our three part series on the future of the Wii U. If you missed our Wii U Launch and One Year Post Launch predictions please make sure to go back and check them out. Also feel free to comment on the article and let us know what you think of the Wii U will be.
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.