Wii U's Woes


Wii U Woes

It’s no secret that the Wii U isn’t doing so hot. Currently there are 3.9 million Wii U consoles on home shelves. No where near the level of Wii’s sold within it’s first year. However, it’s still an ok number. I say that because I’m an optimist. A believer that Nintendo can turn the situation around. They’ve done it before, they can do it again.

Before I get into my rant, I’d like to point out that Nintendo will not be going out of business anytime soon. Let’s face it, the are selling the #1 portable gaming device of all time, and that machine is selling hard. Nintendo could very well drop out of the console market, which they won’t do, and still be profitable solely on the 3DS/2DS. So, drop those notions immediately.

What I am here to discuss is my opinion on the Wii U and what Nintendo needs to do, and what Nintendo needs to stop doing, to increase sales of the device. I’m by no means an industry analyst, but I am a gaming expert. I play them daily, I read about the daily, and I would write about them daily but I’m too busy doing the other two things.

miiverse logo

The Wii U is a solid console, you might not believe it, but it is. The games look pretty. The menu and interface is simple, and easy to navigate. The MiiVerse is interesting, but needs serious integration with Twitter/Facebook to become relevant. The backward compatibility is a standout feature that no other console at the moment is offering. The GamePad is an excellent addition to gaming. However, too few third parties see meaningful ways to utilize the second touch screen. What’s sad about this, is it’s the same argument that was used when the DS was announced in 2003. This device went on to sell more than 153 million units in it’s lifetime. Third parties have a hard time seeing the innovation offered by the second touch screen, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. While the GamePad battery is short lived, the packaged charging wire is over 10 feet long and should be more than sufficient for anyone to reach an open outlet for emergency charging during playtime. The biggest shortcoming is the power of the console. This will prevent heavy hitters like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear from debuting on the console, however it doesn’t mean we won’t see other amazing games come to fruition. Graphics aren’t everything, and some of the best games on the market aren’t graphical power houses.

The Wii U is a mess at the moment. We have a well built console, with some really great concepts. However we have a lack of support from 3rd parties, and in some aspects 1st party. We also still have a lack of significant software to justify the purchase, and there’s the issue on where the console might be in the next year.

WiiU SmashBros

What’s great about Nintendo is that they’re really an open book when it comes to their business. They aren’t hiding anything. In fact, just a few weeks ago we were told that a New Zelda game for Wii U will be announced at E3 2014. Sadly we don’t know when this game might come out, but we do know that Nintendo has no intention on dropping off its support of the console. Every month we’re treated to a Nintendo Direct with Satoru Iwata and friends, where they discuss what will be coming for Nintendo’s consoles in the near, and far, future. Nothing is a secret with the company, and that’s because they want us to know that no matter what, they have Wii U’s back. Nintendo is fully aware that people are afraid to pick up the console that might be dead as soon as November 15ht, and that’s why they keep reassuring us that new games are on the way.

Well, that’s another issue. Nintendo has been reassuring us that games are on the way for nearly a year now. Since the release of the console in November of 2012, there’s been a shortage of must buys for the Wii U. Most of these issues were due to delays, and cancellations. Two significant hits against the Wii U were the delay of Pikmin, from February to August, and Rayman Legends from February to September. These were games that sold me early on. They weren’t the reason to buy the console, but they were justifications for early adoption. They were the “I got this, and I’ve bought nothing since launch day” purchases. The delay hurt the sales of those games immensely. It damaged the credibility of the console, and it’s still reeling from that. Wii U went from a standard 2 month gap in games early on, to a frightening 9 month drought without anything meaningful to purchase.

pikmin 3

Again, Nintendo has been aware of this. They’ve been working frantically to bring some meaningful games to the console. Since August we’ve received Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends(which is now multiplatform, and still underperforming for UbiSofts standards), Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, and Wii U Party. Nintendo also dropped the price by $50 in the US and Europe and has seen a significant increase in sales. But the numbers aren’t nearly where Nintendo wants them to be. Before Christmas Nintendo will also release Super Mario 3D World, and Wii Fit U. While I don’t see Wii Fit U doing much, a new proper Mario game should help round out the lineup of games. Nintendo also has Donkey Kong, delayed from October to February, coming next year along with Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., and some other third party exclusives like Monoliths “X”, and Platinum’s Bayonetta.

The lineup looks to be more worthwhile by the end of 2014, however, that’s 2 years after release and we’re still missing some heavy hitters to bring in more “core” gamers. I feel that a few other games NEED to be announced by the time E3 2014 rolls around if Nintendo wishes to make a significant dent with the Wii U. Those titles are:

– Star Fox – The long running series has been MIA since the terrible GameCube adventure style games. What we need is an open world(galaxy?) space combat game. Explore the galaxy, discover new planets, and shoot things in space. It needs to be exciting, and it needs to drop all gimmicks, like leaving the ship. Bringing tanks back, like in Star Fox 64, would be more then welcome in certain planet exploration missions, as would a persistent upgrade system to increase the abilities and power of your fighter. The GamePad also needs to be utilized properly, such as displaying your allies health bars and video feeds, freeing up clutter from the game HUD. This game would welcome casuals, and core players alike. Just, again, LEAVE THE GIMMICKS OUT!

NONE OF THIS!

NONE OF THIS!

– Metroid – Of course we need a new entry in the Metroid series. And while the series is known for it’s roots in a sprawling complex built of rooms and puzzles, I feel that it’s would be best to take inspiration from the Prime games while mixing in a little. . . absurdity. Bring back the First Person Perspective. Remember, FPS = First Person Sells. Amp up the action, and give Samus a new array of weaponry. Energy blasters and missiles just aren’t enough. Take a page out of the Ratchet and Clank book and give Samus some crazy weapons that can obliterate foes. Bombs, mines, flame throwers, lasers, rockets, ice beams, anything to change it up! You also want an optional exploration system built in. Allow the game to be completed within 8-10 hours with minimal exploration, for those looking to just trudge through the campaign. For everyone else, open the world up. Give us side areas with secrets, and upgrades, and more weapons. Use the GamePad to assist in exploration, or for an interactive map. Just none of that scanning crap again. Separate the exploration and the combat. You can throw in a random sub boss every now and then during exploration, but do not make me fight corridor after corridor of enemies while in secret tombs. Also, as with Star Fox, SPACE. Open it up. Let us fly to new planets, and explore new areas. Make that aspect interesting, and exciting. But don’t keep it as open as Star Fox’s open galaxy. Keep it somewhere in the realm of Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time.

This + Crazy weapons + Space Exploration=GOLD

This + Crazy weapons + Space Exploration = GOLD

– POKEMON – I know the excuse. I know the aversion. But seriously, as a last ditch effort to save the Wii U, Nintendo needs to make this happen. If nothing else will save the Wii U, like innovation and interesting games, Pokemon will. There are of course rules for this. NO POKEMON STADIUM COPIES. NO POKEMON SHOVELWARE. You know what would save the day? A proper Pokemon game. Incorporate all 6 billion species of Pokemon. Utilize every Pokemon region, ever. Allow the player to choose which region they want to start at. Give the player a new Pokedex for each region, and new starter at each region. Don’t unlock a Global until all Elite 4 champions are defeated. At that Point, unlock a WHOLE NEW REGION WITH NEW POKEMON. You want to take it a step further and guarantee money forever? DLC regions. Start with a new region for Wii U, unlock old ones with DLC or new game versions. NFC POKEMON. Seriously, Pokemon Skylanders will win. Just do it right. No gimmicks, just an instant unlock of cool Pokemon that locks to your Nintendo Account so you can’t share the NFC figure with everyone.

HD Pokemon. 'Nuff Said!

HD Pokemon. ‘Nuff Said!

Ok, I’ve ranted a lot here, but these are 3 games that I believe could help save the Wii U. I know Nintendo knows it, I’m sure they’re just holding off till E3. At least, I hope they are.

There’s just one more thing that needs to happen. Nintendo needs a new Marketing team. One that understands how to get people’s attention and inform them that A: The Wii U is new, B: It’s awesome, and C: It’s not going anywhere. Instead we get crap like last years giant wall of cubes commercial, and now this crap with Wayne Brady. You know where your marketing budget is going wrong? Hiring celebrities to market your games, instead of just marketing your games. Here, watch these commercials. Laugh at the second one, which is pretty decent. Then complain about them in the official comments on YouTube so Nintendo gets the idea where they went wrong.

Ok, enough out of me. I believe in this console. I know Nintendo believes in this console. Nintendo just needs to show everyone they believe in this console, and release my 3 dream games, to get everyone on board. Tell us what you think about the Wii U and it’s Woes in the comments below! Do you think theres something else that can be done to save the Wii U?

is not a boss.

You can Email Eric or follow Eric on Twitter @EricSweeten or Facebook

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