My article was satirical on a few concerns that many gamers see as what is wrong with the Wii U. It was put out a year before the other next-gen consoles, so by default it's going to be less powerful. But it's not being advertised as smartly. Many people who were grabbed by the Wii are confused, thinking it's simply a tablet add-on for the original. Manufacturers are backing out, companies like EA are simply saying they don't plan on putting out certain titles on Wii U. Many "hit titles" that sell Nintendo systems aren't even coming for quite a while. Even our own Erik Kubik wrote an article a month and a half ago showing his concern that the Wii U is already dead. Even though the PS4 looks like a powerhouse and the Next Xbox is only bound to compare equally to the PS4, there are many reasons that I feel that the Wii U still has a chance at being one of the big contenders, and that Nintendo will be in business as long as there are consoles.
First off is the pricing of the Wii U. Yes, it will be less powerful than the other consoles, but this also means that it will be cheaper than the others. With a year under it's belt, the Wii U may even get to see a price drop just as the new systems come out. There is a lot of power touted in the new systems. I see them running $500 minimum. I don't think Sony will make the mistake of releasing a $600 console again, but they can't take a complete bath in selling units. Now, with the elite Wii U selling at $350, imagine if they drop $50 to $100, and the casual gamer can pick up a system at $200. Plain and simple, Nintendo will have the casual market again this holiday season, because a casual gamer will know they can get a decent experience for much cheaper. Nintendo also strives for creativity that often draws in a casual player. Some of the greatest steps in gaming, down to the way a traditional D-Pad is made, boil down to adventurous attempts by Nintendo. We wouldn't have the Wii U and 3DS without the attempts made by the Virtual Boy or the Power Glove. These strides are often the thing that can get you to turn a non-gamer into a casual one because it's simply FUN to play the games!
Those casual gamers, by the way. The hardcore Nintendo Nerds have already purchased their system, but the casual market Nintendo cornered last time around? They're fine with their Wiis, and they will be fine so long as stores have supply. It'll be a while before they burn through what they can play on the Wii. So, next holiday season, these casual people are going to see a year's worth of releases for the Wii U they can peruse to get a better tailored experience. The ports everyone is mocking of flagship titles of the previous generation could be quite the boon for Nintendo as well. If they market to the casual crowd, who have heard of these big-budget games, they can now get them with a more intuitive (or at least "cooler" to the non-gamer crowd) interface. I know I missed out on DeusEx Human Revolution this time around, and the ultimate version is coming to the Wii U. It is definitely tempting me to pick it up.
The simple/intuitive manifesto for the original Wii has translated over to the Wii U as well. The tablet makes me feel like I'm running smartphone/iPad apps, with their square tile item selection menu and such. It really feels comfortable to those who know their way around a tablet device. And while some people say "why would I want that when I can do all this stuff on my phone and not be tethered to a box at my television?" I see "hey, I can run a Netflix app on a dedicated tablet that I won't have to worry about getting a call in the middle of!" I've priced tablets; if you want a modern one, you'll be spending as much if not more than you would on a Wii U, and you won't get the flagship titles.
And the flagship titles! When Nintendo puts out a system, you KNOW there will be certain titles that will end up deserving the Nintendo Seal of Quality. There will be a Mario game worth playing. A Zelda that will bowl you over. These games have staying power, too. Until the advent of digital downloads of games I already own on the Wii, I kept an original NES handy and ready to plug in at any time to go back and play Mario 1. I still have easy access to my N64 until someone straightens out the Goldeneye licensing for a true port. Simply put, Nintendo knows how to put out good games. The Wii U will have some great titles that are guaranteed to sell systems, and would be good enough on their own to buy a used system and game, even if you don't ever see another title for the system you'd ever enjoy. Microsoft and Sony are getting better each generation at dropping titles you could play and remember forever, but Nintendo has it down to a science. I remember as a child always saying I was going to "play Nintendo" even after I got a Genesis, and this is mirrored in today's game releases. If Sony puts out a platformer, it's compared to Mario. Microsoft wants to make a multiplayer brawler? Compare it to Super Smash Brothers. New ideas like Lego City Undercover and budding "forever" IPs like Rayman Legends (even though this one is going multiplatform) are definitely making me proud to own a Wii U.
Nintendo does a great job in finding a balance between innovation and it's legacy. They will take adventurous strides that, whether approved by the "core' or not, are fun to play. They will look back on their history and stick with things that work, fun IPs that will stand the test of time. The Wii U stands to be the most affordable system of the next generation, and Nintendo's creativity will ensure there's always something on their system that you simply can't have on a Sony or Microsoft console.