Not much has been said about the Wii U since Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference last summer. Even the system’s launch date and lineup has been kept quiet, as the company has pushed their newest handle, the Nintendo 3DS, to center stage.
While it could be because the console is still in its infancy, industry guru Michael Pachter questions the kind of affect the Wii U can bring to Nintendo’s sales. Though he thinks the console is ambitious, he points to the tough sell the company may have on its hands.
“It’s a new console, with new controls and architecture, but it’s not quite ‘next’ generation,” he said in an interview with Industry Gamers. “Developers have to contend with differences between the Wii U and current generation consoles, then have to figure out what to do with the controls. The timing is still up in the air, and as far as I know, there are no significant third party exclusives; instead, we’ll see iterations of third party games already on the market, which is unlikely to drive significant hardware sales.”
When first launched in 2006, what the original Wii had going for it was that it was different from any other console on the market. Innovative for its time, the idea of motion control added a new layer of accessibility which broadened the gaming market, creating the casual gamer. Besides that, it came bundled with Wii Sports, a game everyone then used to show their friends and family the capabilities of the system.
In order for the Wii U’s launch to be as successful as Nintendo hopes, they’re going to need two things: a compelling launch-titles, and a competitive price.
Even though its strongest classic launch title was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the Wii’s momentum was good enough to keep the system afloat for several years by releasing the occasional Mario game. However, the company has since grown lazy as a first-party developer, and the Wii has since be overrun with mediocre children’s games and boring shovelware.
For the Wii U, Nintendo will need to step-up their first party titles, as well as lure some high profile third-party developers for a solid launch lineup. They’re going to have to prove that the system is not just more Wii, but a different console that is worth developing for and buying at launch to kickstart its sales.
Though, most importantly, Nintendo is going to need to learn from the mistakes they’ve made with the 3DS release.
Much like the Wii, the DS handheld systems had been incredibility popular and the company believed that they could rely on the success of its predecessor to push the 3DS forward. However, with a high price-point and lackluster launch lineup, the handheld suffered and was forced to endure a price-cut before seeing positive sales.
Nevertheless, there is still so little known about the Wii U, though as seen from Nintendo’s past, it’s difficult to predict a hugely successful launch unless they get their act together.