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Wii-U Woes
by Josh Bycer on 04/02/13 02:02:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


The Wii-U since launch has been struggling to find a place in the console market. With the next generation of consoles on the way, today's post examines the issues that have hurt Nintendo's latest console.

Reprinted from my site: Game-Wisdom

The Wii-U has been hit by hard times lately, as C-Net reported that the console only sold around 57,000 units in the month of January, making it one of the worse showings for a console.

Looking at the future there isn't much to go on with the Wii-U, with slim pickings and not much from Nintendo with official release dates. There has been a lot of doom and gloom thrown around at the Wii-U, from people speculating that Nintendo is going to drop out of the hardware market.

The one question that is on everyone's mind is: What happened to the Wii-U?

Wii U

Changing the Game:

To understand why the Wii-U is having so much trouble now, we need to look back at the Wii. Nintendo for the entire GameCube generation was always behind the other consoles. One of the main reasons was that the GameCube was not a popular system for third party development. The unconventional control scheme compared to the PS2 and Xbox, coupled with Nintendo's past interactions with third party developers were big blows to the Gamecube's success.

In order for Nintendo to compete with the next generation they had to either match the other two, or go completely in a different direction to stand out. As we all know, they did the latter, with the motion based control system of the Wii.

The Wii from a technological standpoint was behind the PS3 and 360 and Nintendo knew that. They decided to aim for a more casual market with a simplified control scheme.

Nintendo wanted to tap into the growing market of parents and casual gamers who want to play video games, but were too intimidated by complicated control schemes and expensive games.

Nintendo got what they wanted: Gamers both new and old were attracted to the possibilities of the new control scheme, and publishers had a huge audience to create games exclusive to the system.

Unfortunately for every step forward Nintendo made with building a casual fan-base, they lost their core and hard core audience. As time went on, we saw less titles being aimed to explore the new control scheme and more shovel ware titles.

What also hurt the Wii with the core market was that the system lacked the majority of popular third party titles as developers did not want to convert their designs to a completely different system.

Nintendo did not seem to care, with more first party titles aimed at casual gamers like Wii-Sports Resort and Wii-Music. They even fought against porting Xenoblade Chronicles which was my favorite game of 2012.

Nintendo's casual gamer gold mine remained strong for the majority of the Wii's lifespan and Nintendo was sure of themselves that the Wii-U was going to hit big again... except it didn't.

The Fickle Casual Scene:

The Wii-U was supposed to be Nintendo's way of having their cake and eating it too: With a system powerful enough to run modern hardcore games, while keeping the simplified control scheme for casual gamers.

Right off the bat Nintendo did not get the core gamer audience, as they were burned once with the lack of support on the Wii and did not want to be fooled again. Looking at the Wii U library so far, there have only been a small number of games confirmed that could be considered for the core audience (Zombi-U, Mario Bros U, Bayonetta and Monster Hunter for example.)

Nintendo trying to bank on convincing gamers to buy their version of popular third party titles was foolish at best. I think it’s safe to assume that anyone who wanted to play Batman Arkham City would have done so already. Even Rayman Legends which was supposed to be one of the Wii-U's big titles has already been confirmed for the other platforms.

Once again Nintendo finds itself in a position where if given the choice between platforms to buy a third party game, they are considered last place.

That leaves us with the casual audience: that giant market that made the Wii famous overnight. The problem is that Nintendo has learned the same lesson that social game companies like Zynga have found out: Casual gamers are a fickle bunch.

Casual gamers do not buy or play as many games as core gamers and more importantly, don't have brand loyalty like core gamers do. On one of the Game-Wisdom podcasts we talked about this and how Casual gamers don't buy as many games.

The second they see something they like on a different game, they will move on and forget about the previous one. Or if they are still enjoying the original, it doesn't make sense for them to spend money on an upgraded version.

That last point is a big one, as the Wii-U's upgraded price of $300-$350 (based on the version,) was a huge difference compared to the Wii's $250 price tag. For many casual fans, they are still playing Wii-Sports or some other party game when the time comes and have no reason to buy a new system.

Wii U
While having a new Mario game at launch was a good way to get people excited, Nintendo has got to show more to convince core gamers to come back.

Looking at everything mentioned it's sadly no surprised that the Wii-U is not flying off store shelves.

Nintendo wanted to make a system that appealed to both their core and casual fan base, and instead made something that doesn't appeal to either.

To further drive the nail in the coffin, the Wii-U spec wise compares to the PS3 and 360. But as everyone knows, the PS4 and rumored 720 are right around the corner. Again, this leaves a Nintendo console in the worse possible place for third party ports and more importantly, about a generation behind in terms of technology.

Putting Nintendo in a tricky spot and making the next move a tough one. If they keep with the Wii-U they will once again have to fight for exclusive games and try to convince third party developers to make quality games for it.

The problem with this option is that Nintendo is currently facing a catch 22 in terms of game development. If they want core gamers to return to the console, they need to have more first and third party games for it. But to do so would hurt their casual image which the system was marketed towards and where the remaining third party games are largely aimed at.

They would need exclusive third party games that are designed solely to function on the Wii-U, requiring additional time and money that would be risky for third party developers to put all their eggs in one basket.

The other option that would be better for the long run but kill Nintendo now would be to scrap the Wii-U and try to create a platform closer to the supposed specs of the Ps4 and 720 and try to attract the core gamers again. However Nintendo hasn't scrapped a system since the Virtual Boy fiasco and I doubt they would readily throw so much time and money out the window.

If Nintendo wants core gamers to get excited about the Wii-U, they need to start showing us games made for advanced gamers that could not be replicated on any other platform: Where the unique control scheme is not a gimmick for co-op play but integral to the experience.

However the question if such a thing would be possible is up in the air at the moment and Nintendo had better start answering it soon.

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John Flush
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- Original comment deleted -

In fair response to Dave, he is right, my thought wasn't very well laid out. I avoid anyone else having to read it.

I think the real core of what I have been trying to say is even with the core audience, Nintendo has a hard time getting anyone to stick to their franchises except for those that are avid Nintendo fans. Sure the core always come back every so often, because that's what we do - try to own every console and play every game that sounds interesting / gets lots of buzz - this just might be the gen of Nintendo people skip out on waiting for the next big update to the franchises.

Dave Bellinger
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This comment's a little odd, you seem to have wedged yourself into a vague description that the author gave of a type of audience member, and then proclaimed how wrong the description is.

In any case, "same problems" is subjective, perhaps they weren't considered problems in the first place and thus weren't fixed for that reason? "Upgrading" is a fickle mistress, I think we all can recognize the discrepancy between SMB 1 and SMB 2, vs. SMB "Lost Levels" (aka 2 in Japan.) This isn't a new conflict, and you're never going to please everybody. As long as a reasonable decision is made, I don't think there's a real "problem".

The line you quoted from the author might be more easily understandable if you relate the Wii to a microwave for the "Casual" audience, in the sense that few people would bother replacing their microwave if they're still getting use out of it. If you weren't getting "use" out of you Wii, I don't think this statement was meant to represent you.

As turnabout is fair play, I'm also going to have to disagree with your statement that "Every core gamer was once casual", this is certainly not true for me, or my nieces and nephew, all of whom were glued to the television at first sight of video games, I think many others have had similar memories/experiences.

Dino Subijano
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Great article, but I still have faith in the Wii U. I think that the next generation of games belongs to the PC. There are some games in the PS3 and Xbox 360 library that are available in the PC, with mostly better graphics. If PS4 and 720 are headed for the same direction, then I don't think people are inclined to invest in consoles when a PC will do the job. Consoles have to offer something that a PC cannot. Wii U has that possibility with 2 things, its franchises (Zelda, Metroid, SMB, etc.) and its unique control schemes (motion based and touch based).

Ujn Hunter
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I disagree... I've only recently started playing PC games again (hadn't played since the mid 90's) but only because I have a decent machine and the games only cost $1-5 on Steam. I still prefer playing on consoles because consoles do one major thing that no PC can, play games exactly as they were designed on every system... you don't have to mess about with what settings will allow your game to run well and still look decent... it just works right out of the gate.

Not to mention not having to support one of thousands of different controllers that someone might be trying to use on the PC. Nothing worse than the game telling me to hit the "Q" key when I'm using an Xbox 360 controller. Super annoying.

Chris Melby
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@Ujn Hunter,

The irony of your post, especially your comment about the 'Q' key. If only you had come back to PCs earlier, you wouldn't have said this, not at all. :)

Since you're only recently returning to PCs, let me fill you in on the past 6 years: There have been a TON of lazy ports from console eccentric developers -- I call them the PS2 inspired generation -- that had absolutely no-clue, nor could not be bothered to support anything but a gamepad. So these ports had tacked on mouse controls -- if even that, horrible UIs, dumbed-down gameplay, and lots of times an "Xbox button" would be shown on the screen intstead of the keyboard button that needed to be pressed; there's way more to this, so your complaint about the 'Q' key actualy made me happy, becuse that's progress.

Your comment on having to support thousands of different controllers is a gross exacteration, when one consdiders that with USB we have HID devices and there's popluar controller like MS's Xbox gamepad -- which has built in support on Windows. Developers in the nineties had no problems supporting multilple inputs prior to HID and things are way easier now, at least from my perspective.

Most PC gamers use a mouse and keyboard btw, so going back to your comment about playing a game exactly as it was intended -- well, on the PC it's safe to say that most of us like playing games with these inputs... I personlly own lots of different inputs -- not thousands, becuase I'm not going to use a gamepad nor a keyboard as the primary control on a flight-sim or racing sim. So depending on the game I'll either use my mouse/keyboard, one of my gamepads, my racing-wheel, my HOTAS setup, or my arcade sticks, or some other input that makes the experience better. These are things we generally don't get on consoles, because some think we should shoe-horn every freaking game onto a gamepad.

I'm personaly with Dino. I like the PC for most games as its open platform allows for a much better experience IMO, but will also buy a Wii U this year, as it's a Nintendo -- so something unique.

Ujn Hunter
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@Chris Melby

My point about the "Q" key and the different controllers was that it is extremely frustrating for a game to tell you to press something that has nothing to do with your input device. I'm not playing the game with a Keyboard, I would never play a game with a Keyboard. The point about the different controllers was that a console only has to support one (or two?) different controllers that still probably use all the same buttons so that never becomes an issue. It just works. It's great that you enjoy playing PC games with your Keyboard and enjoy tweaking all sorts of settings to get your games to run properly before you can play them... but this is why consoles are considered the go to gaming devices for many people and will always have a place amongst the PC.

Chris Melby
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@Ujn Hunter,

The platform being a console, or a PC, does not excuse bad practices by a developer, and neither is the devoid of it -- look at Orange Box on the PS3 as just one example.

I can't feel any sympathy for your frustration about the Q-key, when us PC guys have been getting the shaft from the ignorant/lazy developers out there that couldn't be bothered to properly support the PC with their shoddy console-ports

I'm at the stance that if a developer supports an input in their game -- so states so up front, they should account for it. Most developers do now days, Capcom's games know when I have a gamepad plugged in and properly switch out the coresponding art.

I enjoy tweaking a game if the "option" is avalble and it makes my gaming experience better -- which for games like Skyrim, options made a big difference for the better.

Settings are optional and now days most PC ports have pretty much the same limited UIs as their console counterpart. I can't think of any game outside of my flight-sims that requires I tweak the setting to make the game run that's any more complicated than what's required on a console, can you? Pretty much everything has been streamlined.

I agree with your comment about consoles having their place amongst PCs, which is why I game on consoles, PCs, tablets, etc... My point, was game with the platform and input that's best at hand. Consoles have their obvious advantages do to their streamling, but this is also their biggest detrement -- as not every thing should be shoe-horned into one way -- and it's something that has had an adverse effect on PCs.

Tyler Lovemark
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As a longtime Nintendo fan, I usually buy the consoles because they tend to have the most exclusives that I want. Many Xbox and Playstation games I am interested in are available on PC. For the few that aren't, that's what I have my PS3 (and either 720 or Orbis) for. I think it's hard to only have a Wii (U) and stay satisfied with current releases, but it makes a great companion to either a PC or other console.

Most people I know interested in a Wii U agree it's in that awkward phase post-launch where nothing is really out besides a small handful of games, and there's also a lot of market mystery due to neither Microsoft's or Sony's console being out.

Dino Subijano
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Great article, but I still have faith in the Wii U. I think that the next generation of games belongs to the PC. There are some games in the PS3 and Xbox 360 library that are available in the PC, with mostly better graphics. If PS4 and 720 are headed for the same direction, then I don't think people are inclined to invest in consoles when a PC will do the job. Consoles have to offer something that a PC cannot. Wii U has that possibility with 2 things, its franchises (Zelda, Metroid, SMB, etc.) and its unique control schemes (motion based and touch based).

Josh Bycer
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I think that's a good point in how modern consoles and PCs have become somewhat interchangeable thanks to the standardization of control schemes. A powerful enough PC and a gamepad can play the same games as the consoles, if not better (depending on the quality of the port.)

But as you said Nintendo does have their original properties and the fact that despite criticisms, the Wii-U's control scheme is unique and not easily replicated. I just wish that the Wii-U would be kicking into high gear as we've seen with the 3DS having a lot of quality games released and still to come.

Gabriel Freeman
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I seldom play games but I still believe that Wii U will come up a better new games and they will be on top again.

Bob Johnson
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Give it 12-18 months. The price will drop. The system will get a few updates. The games will pile up. Nintendo will pump more into marketing. And it will rebound.

Still I don't expect miracles. It isn't going to get much 3rd party support in the west. 3rd parties will dump licensed games to the system and some of their family friendly games. EA will make Madden for it because they seem to make it for every platform and some Japanese 3rd parties will release various versions of their franchises on it because of their closer relationship with Nintendo.

And remember the Yen has gotten weaker. If that continues it gets easier for Nintendo to drop the price.

Right now it is in its early adopter phase.

Btw, I think the other guys will have slow starts too (although not this slow) if they come in at $400 or higher especially since most of the launch games will be mediocre or ports of current PS3/360 games that don't take full advantage of the new system.

Eric Blomquist
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This article is written about every single console launch. Ps1, ps2, ps3, Xbox, Xbox 360, 3ds, vita... All were nearly unworthy of purchase for the first two years. There needs to be a rule to not comment on the status of a console until at least 1.5 years. These things take a lot of time. Most good games take at least a couple of years to develop.... This is Nintendo! These guys and gals know what's up. Give them a chance to identify and reinvent themselves, the wiiU interface and social tools are incredibly fun!

Ian Fisch
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First, this is false for a number of those consoles, many of which launched with system sellers.

PS1 = ridge racer, tekken, to-shin den (cool for its time)
Xbox = halo
Xbox 360 = gears of war

Second, I don't think Nintendo knows what's up. I don't think it was their plan to have a terrible launch.

I think their plan was to have 3rd party titles fill the gaps. Unfortunately it seems they overestimated peoples' desire to buy games that are already available on far cheaper consoles.

Mike Jenkins
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Gears of War was released a full year after the Xbox 360. Maybe you're thinking of Perfect Dark Zero?

TC Weidner
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the control pad and scheme look complicated. They are hard to explain. Nintendo niche was keeping games accessible and simple to play. This control system IMHO does not do that, thus Nintendo core audience and market has not shown up.

This control pad may be their new Robby the Robot. A gaming gadget noone really asked for nor wanted.

Eric Blomquist
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Completely disagree, my mom uses it easily.

TC Weidner
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its about perception, not reality. With the Wii you could see someone do it and no matter what age you were, with no explanation needed, you thought, Thats looks fun I can do that.

With the WiiU and that pad, thats not the case.

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"Its complicated..."

"No it isn't. my mom uses it..."

"Oh then it's about perception. See to me it look complicated because I haven't seen anyone else do it."

Sorry I can't add anything more to that discussion.

Brian Peterson
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Minor correction - if you're going by US prices, the original Wii launched at $250, not $200.

Josh Bycer
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Corrected, thanks for pointing that out.

David Serrano
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But this ignores the reality that core gaming has been losing market share for the past 5 years while every other segment of the market experienced growth. And the 720 and PS 4 will not solve this problem. After the new toy effect has worn off, core developers and publishers will face the same mainstream appeal and accessibility problems they face today.

Also, the demographics of the market don't support the claim "casual gamers do not buy or play as many games as core gamers and more importantly, don't have brand loyalty like core gamers do." This may have been true 10 years ago, but the shift in the AAA market away from single player towards multiplayer has narrowed the demographics of the audience over the past 7 years. The core audience is now predominantly male and players are between the ages of 13 to 25 (the majority are 18 or younger.) But the average age of the most frequent purchasers of games is 35 years old, 48 percent of the most frequent purchasers of games are female, 47 percent of the overall audience is female, and women 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30%) than boys 17 or younger (18%). So the players who buy and play the most games (almost half of which are female) are no longer in the core audience. They are in other segments of the market.

John Ingato
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I honestly think that Nintendo should go the way of Sega and stop making hardware. They could focus more of their effort into making 3rd party games for next gen consoles. This would be their wisest move IMHO. Of course I said the same thing when the Wii was launched though..Maybe it just because I want a Zelda game on a next gen console ;)

John Ingato
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But Sega is still in business....If they hadn't done that they wouldn't even exist today

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Case and Point, unless you have some data sheets pointing out where Nintendo has lost about 70 billion dollars in 4 months I suggest you can that "Nintendo is going Sega" talk.

Nobody is going "Turbo" as far as we can see.

Kris Steele
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The problem isn't just current games, what is on the horizon to look forward to? Not much from what I see. A new Zelda, Mario, Metriod, etc game could do wonders to get gamers excited about this platform. Maybe at E3 we will see that but right now it's a wasteland.

Brian Peterson
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Nintendo has started holding its cards much more tightly regarding upcoming game announcements.

I think they once cited the hype and disappointment for Twilight Princess as their reason for minimizing the time between announcement and launch date.

A few examples: Donkey Kong Country Returns was announced for the first time at E3 just a few months before it was released. Same with Nintendo Land and NSMB U.

That's why I'm convinced that Nintendo will show at least one big game at E3 that they believe will sell the system this holiday.

Russell Carroll
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I tend to agree that Nintendo will announce later... always I wonder why the constant focus on MORE of the same Nintendo IP, which is then followed by WHY ARE NINTENDOs releases ALWAYS ALL THE SAME?

The Wonderful 101 looks interesting.
I think more of that would be great!

Dietrich Bowar
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One thing that people often forget when it comes to Nintendo is their philosophy on developing software. Every Nintendo game made has wonderful game play and great controls. They also do not require patches or updates because they are solid day 1.

It's still too early for all the negativity, and I feel most people that are claiming the Wii U is "bad" simply do not own one or have not spent more than a few hours playing one outside a mall kiosk. It's a cool gadget, just needs more support (games).

And these issues will be seen 1 year from now with PS4 and Durango. 3rd party developers NEED the millions of sales that the PS3 and 360 offer. They will continue to make software for those consoles, giving consumers (not the die hards) no reason to upgrade for several years.

Diego Leao
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You have a "tablet" with JOYSTICKS attached to it Nintendo, can't you see how cool can that be for "tablet" developers? If you could just open up you app marketplace to anyone (Apple Style!)......

You don't have to curate ALL your software, its just not feasible anymore... it limits developers too much.

Do it Nintendo... Just do it.

..Do it.

Leon T
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The only thing holding the Wii U back is Nintendo. Nintendo has yet to release the software that will sell the box. Nintendo needs a new breakout hit like Wii Sports to really push the console, but right now it looks like they put more resources behind the 3DS instead of getting major titles like Smash Bros or another Wii Sports ready for the Wii U. This is just the 3DS launch all over again so once again we have to wait and see if Nintendo can turn things around.

I think if they had Lego City at launch the system would be doing a bit better. That game is just great.

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I think the Launch of the 3DS did set them back given how bad it was so they are pouring resource into it to get it back to stable (might take them six more months). This might explain the restructuring of the handheld and console departments with in Nintendo to give the console a boost with the share extended data / take your game on-the-go style play Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate enjoys. I expect more of that kind of thing with games we haven't though about using it yet.

Also I believe Nintendo wanted to give the third party a chance to see what they could do. Of course AAA third party is fickle and decided not to show up (again). I think they bet to much money on a sure thing and was humbled by the loses.

Lastly, I think Vita has shown how sales are going to look for the next few years both console and handheld markets. This is because technically it was the system that launched first into the slow down and has underperformed its predecessor ever sense. What Nintendo should be focusing on is how to make more of less for right now. I think they can do that through the 3DS to Wii U right now. Numbers will pick up with quality software, and if they can convince third parties that they can sell two games buy just offering something on the 3DS that will interact with the Wii U, it will be better than trying to set up DLC for everything all the time. Things can get interesting. It depends on where Nintendo wants to take it.

Leon T
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The 3DS and Wii U interaction is something they do need more of. Doing it with Pokemon would be great and we know Smash it suppose to do it too. Still Nintendo should have been ready for the 3DS since they did stop Wii games from many of their developers the last two years. Nintendo really needs to stop leaving room for third parties because all they do is hurt their own systems . This party games will sell if they are good and their is a userbase to sell to.

I do think this will be a slower generation than last. The PS2 was outselling the PS3/360 for some time due to the support it was getting and the size of the userbase. Now the next generation will have the PS3 and 360 still selling in strong numbers and the Wii is still selling enough too to slow down the next gen. If most of the big games are cross gen people may just stick with their current consoles longer.

Phil Maxey
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I've mentioned it on here already many times. This was the wrong type of machine at the wrong time, and then to make matters worse they launched it without any of their top brands, what is the one advantage they do have.

But to answer the main question of what's holding it back. None of this is rocket science. They launched an under-powered (compared to what's coming) tablet console, which isn't an actual tablet a year before the next iteration of the XBox and Playstation. Everyone is waiting (i'e saving their money) to fork out for a new Xbox or Playstation. Why would you buy a Wii U now, when those machines are just around the corner?

The only hope for the Wii U, is drastically cut the price, and get those big name games out asap. People then might buy it as a 2nd machine along side the 720/PS4 that they buy.

If it's cheap enough I think people buy it, and then at least they can set about getting people to buy the software for it, but without the machine in peoples homes in the first place they never will have the chance to make that happen.

Silvio Carrera
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Great article. The thing he said about casual is so very true... I think that in the end they just don't care enough about games. So even if the liked one they won't keep on with franchises and changing of platforms. Casuals want the simplest stuff the simplest way.

I think the console will do 'fine' on it's run, but I hope Nintendo goes back to core gamer on the next and also give some support for casual players. The future is good for it, I mean to me, since it's their first HD platform it will be amazing to see their franchises in high definition an the amazing things they'll pull it off with the gamepad.

David Verney
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Wouldn't Nintendo be better to allow third party developers to create games for the Wii U and competitor consoles? That makes sense...they should bring the price down too. That would attract more casual purchases.

Jeffrey Werner
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I do agree that the fight between the “casual” and “core” markets will be a hard one but so far no one has commented on the hardware. The fact that he believes, “the Wii-U spec wise compares to the PS3 and 360. But as everyone knows, the PS4 and rumored 720 are right around the corner” is absurd. If you believe this then either you just hate Nintendo for the fun of it, or you really know nothing about hardware. The PS3 and 360 are so old that we couldn’t build a system that week even if we wanted too. The best explanation of the hardware I have found is this; and that was a year ago. I don’t know why people still believe this or why there has not been a real spec breakdown after its release but come on here, how naive can you get to think they would use old parts like that? Now it’s true that the PS4 or 720 might be more powerful, but the question is how much more? And on top of that can the developers make something that uses it? The bigger and prettier the game the more they cost to make. That is why during the PS4 announcement they focused a lot on the “cloud” and “share button” features, all they mentioned about the hardware was that the architecture would be easier to use. Besides look at every other console in history, the most powerful is never the one that does the best, it is all about the software and the games and that is where the WII U is hurting right now.

Leon T
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Some people went most of last gen thinking the Wii was weaker than the PS2. This is what the game industry projects , because they talk out their ass many times. The Wii U is more powerful than the PS3/360 but since you have to do a little research to know that you will not read it much.

Roberta Davies
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A major problem with the Wii-U is its marketing.

I'm far from being an industry insider, but I know more about the general game industry than the average man in the street. And I didn't know the Wii-U was an entirely new system for an embarrassingly long time. My guess is that a big proportion of their potential customer base *still* doesn't know this. How can they be expected to buy what they don't know exists?

There has been very little advertising, very low-key, and the few ads I've seen have all seemed to present the Wii-U as yet another Wii accessory: "Look, you can buy this tablet thing now and use it with your Wii!" The machine itself looks the same, and the games look about the same quality as ever (in the ads, at any rate).

If Nintendo wants to sell a new console, the first thing they should do is make sure everybody's aware that there's a new console to be bought. Let's face it, when the Xbox and PlayStation came out, even non-gamers knew about it. Advertise heavily, make sure the new machine looks obviously different from the old one, and make sure the ads demonstrate how much better the games are. (And if the games aren't demonstrably better, why bother launching a new machine?)

Christian Behrenberg
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I am a long time Nintendo fan and I simply don't feel attracted to the Wii-U, because it feels just like an updated Wii - but in a wrong way! Games are coming out so fast these days, and, personally, I am atm more into playing the games I always wanted to play, and this covers all systems between PS2, PS3, Wii, PC, GC and (3)DS. If they just would -upscale- Wii games and would still support -Gamecube- games like the Wii does, they would have catched me in an instant.

Funnily, a friend of mine who sweared in 2006 that he will never-ever buy a console again, bought yesterday a Wii to play all those fancy Wii-mote and Guitar Hero games with his kids; they don't care about the graphics they just want to play with daddy ;-) I for example, bought the PS3 4 years ago not primarily because of playing HD games on the couch with a classic controller or because of particular games; I was more motivated by my new HD television and my urge for a blu ray player.

I guess the reasons for most people to switch to a new console are not only related to specs, software and hardware; it just has to be "worth it" and everyone defines that in a different way.

The term "fickle bunch" might be right in that context, although I wouldn't say that (it sounds like an insult to me), I would say that their choices are more sophisticated. It is nice to see that people don't buy things they don't need and, at the same time, buy things they really, really want. Dropping the price of the Wii-U will be a good step in the right direction, but I am convinced that people are still going to ask why they should update their beloved Wii -- with all included extra expenses -- if there are no other reasons that reinforce their desire for it, like additional perks such as Wii -and- GC compatibility, HD upscaling, an integrated DVD/BR player.