Nintendo is the only company so far to have unveiled its next generation console, dubbed the Wii U. With it, Nintendo promises that the Wii U won’t miss out on multiplatform games, because the hardware will be much closer to what Sony and Microsoft will have to offer.
“We have not successfully kept the momentum of the Wii for about the last two years because third-party publishers have released a smaller number of game titles and Nintendo has also decreased new games for the platform in preparation for the launch of the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U,” said Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, at an annual meeting with shareholders.
Dual screens, double the fun?
Back in 2006 and 2007, it looked as if Nintendo had more or less won this generation’s console war in the beginning. Amongst the constant flaming and fighting on online message boards, no one was willing to accept that Nintendo was on to something good. A whole demographic that was left untouched.
The Wii was designed with someone who games only casually, in mind. The motion controls helped people older and younger than ever before get interested in gaming, instead of being intimidated by the 12-button layout of the modern console controller. And Nintendo made a lot of money.
But the Wii’s hardware’s graphical capabilities couldn’t match that of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. So the Nintendo ended up alienating the core gamer fanbase. As a result, in the last couple of years, Nintendo has failed to bring in expected profits due to the lack of multiplatform games that were only available on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
Nintendo acknowledges that it cannot guarantee that the Wii U will not end up like the Wii when it comes to multiplatform games.
Microsoft and Sony had tried to recreate Nintendo’s success by making their own motion control devices. Sony came up with the PlayStation Move, and Microsoft came up with the Kinect. Neither companies have managed to recapture the success of Nintendo.
Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia commented, “Some of the developers we spoke to indicated to us that the console will have 50% more processing power compared to the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. This is yet to be confirmed by Nintendo.”
Nintendo did little to prove this point at this year’s E3. They had used footage of Xbox 360 and PS3 titles during their press conference.
Mr. Iwata hopes that the Wii U’s innovative GamePad controller with the screen will help the console to be different from what Microsoft or Sony would be doing, and hopes to change the way people think about a gaming console.
“Video game consoles have long been 'parasites' of TV sets at home. In other words, game consoles have used TV sets in a family instead of being equipped with their own screen. However, the Wii U will be the first console free from TV sets, in which you can play the Wii U while someone else is watching TV or you yourself can watch TV while using the Wii U. As you can experience deeper entertainment with both the Wii U GamePad and the TV screen, we would like to enrich it but, at the same time, we hope to furnish it with games you can enjoy only with the Wii U GamePad. […] Furthermore, the Wii U can change the way you use the TV set in your living room, although the Wii U is a video game system in its nature and this is just an added component,” said Satoru Iwata.