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What is the Wii U? A launch story Exclusive
What is the Wii U? A launch story
November 18, 2012 | By Christian Nutt

Itís strange. Just a few years ago Nintendo had not just risen to but actually defined the apex of the console industry. The Nintendo DS -- which invited only skepticism prior to its launch -- had become the most successful handheld in history. Nintendo had, even more importantly, gotten swaths of average players to embrace its latest console system, the Wii.

Whether or not things will go the same way this time is an open question -- and one, frankly, this article isnít going to answer.

Nintendo is predictably bullish on the system: ďWeíre excited about the results that weíre seeing; the preorders have been going very, very well,Ē Nintendo of Americaís director of PR, Marc Franklin, told Gamasutra via phone as he attended the companyís New York City launch event at its flagship store tonight. ďInitial results from the launch, we feel good.Ē

So far the press and the analysts donít quite know what to make of it, though. Of course, what really matters is what consumers think. Franklin puts the sell like this: ďClearly Wii U is new and exciting for a lot of people. We think itís an unprecedented system thatís going to offer something completely unique.Ē

Before we move forward, letís look back. Itís worth considering this for a second: the Wii was anything but a sure bet. Before its launch, the only thing that gave me any faith in the Wii was the success of the DS, not any prescience about the potential of motion control to turn on mainstream audiences. That the Wii ended up world-beatingly successful was not a fait accompli from the perspective of 2006; from the vantage of 2012, it seems obvious, though.

Still and all, itís challenging to give the Wii U the benefit of the doubt. While the launch is, by all accounts, going swimmingly, things have changed drastically since 2006. Tablets and Facebook have probably siphoned away some of Nintendoís casual audience. How much? How irreplaceably? It seems hard to believe that any console will ever seem quite so essential to a mainstream consumer again.

One Ticket for Nintendo Land

A lot of the weight of ďcan the Wii U work?Ē is being squarely dumped on its flagship launch title, Nintendo Land, which is actually a very interesting, creative anthology but -- as has been pointed out here and elsewhere -- is simply not the superbly simple, focused, and tuned experience Wii Sports was. Wii Sports was the the 2006 Wiiís raison díetre; Nintendo Land is simply cool -- and geeky cool, at that.

Franklin called the game ďa great experience to learn about Wii UĒ, and thatís the problem in a nutshell: Nintendo Land simultaneously has to justify the Wii Uís very existence and teach players how to deal with the hefty GamePad, which is both a tablet and a traditional controller. For core gamers, Ubisoftís ZombiU will be put to the same test.

In this crazily competitive market, Nintendo launches a new console with a big, new idea. The funny thing is that, even after spending some time with the games, you still sort of have to take it on faith that itís a new idea.

After all, tablets are out there, and theyíre starting to play with televisions. Nintendo Land really is fun, and it does show the potential of ďasymmetrical playĒ, as Nintendo terms it -- or ďI can see stuff you canítĒ, to put it simply -- but the experience of looking back and forth between the TV and the controller can be clunky. Some apps live on both, some on one or the other, and most awkwardly, some switch seemingly at random. And some of the best games in Nintendo Land would work just as well on the 3DS.

ďAsking players to iterate between looking ahead at a TV and down at their hands requires both physiological and mental mode shifting. Making sure our designs provide a usable 'flow' between these two gameplay positions has been interesting,Ē Albert Reed, CEO and co-founder of Demiurge Studios, developers of the Wii U version of Gearbox and Segaís Aliens: Colonial Marines, told Gamasutra recently.

The Wii U is more complicated than the Wii. This means both that there is more potential there, and more difficulty for the developers who tackle it. Itís hard not to hold up Nintendo Land versus Wii Sports as somehow emblematic of that. Itís going to be an interesting road. Even Nintendo has a hard time, sometimes, building games that truly take advantage of its own quirky hardware.

Welcome to the Miiverse

Miiverse, the social network built into the Wii U, is an interesting beast. Built by Hatena, a Kyoto-based social networking and web services company, itís not inventive, but it is interesting and, importantly, does feel like an online service and not a clunky piece of software built by a game company that doesnít know what itís doing.

Each game for the system has its own Miiverse community, where players can post about it -- or from it, in some cases. When I beat a castle without getting hurt in New Super Mario Bros. U, I was invited to write a challenge to series antagonist Bowser, which then was automatically posted to the NSMBU community inside Miiverse.

You can load the Miiverse app itself, read posts and look at drawings, and follow posters who you find interesting -- including Nintendo developers -- Twitter-style. Thereís a news feed, which works a lot like the classic Facebook wall; you can send friend requests to people whose posts you like, meaning that the system has an organic discovery engine for friending, which is a first for a console.

The Miis you friend even walk around your system, spouting off their posts in speech bubbles, pulling you back into the Miiverse service, which along with the game integration, should keep things turning over -- itís clever.

Guest starring 1UP editor in chief Jeremy Parish

Franklin called it ďa network communication system thatís uniquely tailored for gamingĒ, and he may not be exaggerating. That is cool. Itís a big step towards true social networking integration on consoles, even if it is also a completely walled garden. For now, it has no hooks into existing services and (as yet) no way to access it outside of the Wii U bubble (Nintendo has plans.)

Nintendo clearly has faith in it. Franklin told me that itíll be a driver for the systemís growth in the future: ďConsumers will be talking to other consumers, and we think that in itself is very powerful, especially when you add in the factor of Miiverse.Ē

ďI think Miiverse will help people become friends and battle each other wirelessly, and bring more diversity to gaming... I hope that Miiverse will permeate video game life,Ē Nintendoís Hideto Yuzawa recently said, in an interview with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.

ďIt would be nice if it becomes a kind of cloud game diary,Ē Iwata said.

That actually is a nice idea, isnít it?

The Sticky Situation

Miiverse, though, faces the same challenge the GamePad and the Wii U itself do: itís a promising idea with plenty of potential but itís hard to say whether itíll catch on, because itís just so damn quirky, so damn itself.

And thatís the thing about the Wii U. Analysts are all talking about how it might head off a cliff in the spring because the Nintendo fans will all have them by then -- and the systemís software output, or whether mainstream consumers will embrace it anything like they embraced the Wii, are open questions. Just because, as Franklin told me, it got on the Today show this week, or in the New York Times, doesnít prove anything in the long run.

I have faith in Nintendo -- at least to produce quality games. The last time I was disappointed by one of its systems was the Nintendo 64, and things have come on a lot since then. The company is more ambitious now, and more aware of the possibilities of both success and failure. But I mostly have faith in Nintendo because itís obvious that the company has a developer-driven culture. But thatís not to say that it doesnít have a major uphill battle ahead of it.

ďThereís no question that the Wii was a phenomenon,Ē Franklin told me. ďIt sold faster than any other console... We have a similar goal with Wii U, but ultimately it is going to be up to the consumer to decide.Ē Is that pessimism or optimism?

ďThis a proposition that goes well beyond the initial time frame into a mass market situation,Ē said Franklin, later. Optimism, then.

Prognostication is for Suckers

Maybe itís because we in the U.S. just came out of a viciously unpleasant election cycle, but I donít feel like participating in the spin -- damning or praising the Wii U, forecasting its failure or success. It is a system with a lot of potential. It is a system that faces a lot of challenges and requires new ways of thinking on the part of both consumers and developers. And there is so much competition -- now and next year. Next year is going to be crazy.

The only measure of success, as far as the press is concerned, would have been an unequivocally incredible launch with a game that defined the systemís potental. Nintendo Land is a bit irregular for that. And as far as the market goes, if it doesnít match or crush the Wii, the company just isnít executing like it has to, despite the vastly different environment itís launching into.

Iím left wondering, then, if the Wii U is less or more half-baked than I expected. On one hand, the company got all of the third parties into line, pumped out some cool games, and actually managed to build a first-of-its-kind social networking service, all alongside a system that was, despite its status quo horsepower, a technical challenge to pull off. (Read that interview, by the way -- it goes a long way toward explaining how Nintendo really thinks about product design.)

On the other... well, I like it. Is that enough? The problem is that we seem to want everything to just leap out of its box and sing to us now. In that light, the Wii U is really just into the beginning of its overture. The opera has not begun.

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k s
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An interesting read, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this launch.

k s
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I've only been able to spend maybe an hour with mine but so far so good.

Ryan Simon
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A good read, and I agree that the Wii U has a big question mark slapped on it. I personally am enjoying it already, and I haven't even put a game in. The interface is just so inviting, and the idea of using the gamepad for controlling your system and television is minuscule yet so awesome. Everything I expected Nintendo to mess up on in regards to the interface and the quality of the gamepad touchscreen itself, has instead surprised me with its usability and responsiveness.

Nintendo has a fantastic opportunity here to reinvigorate a market that so desperately wants something fresh and yet familiar. The next year will be the real test as to whether or not the Wii U has the guts and ideas to push ahead past the competition. For now, I'll be enjoying the smell of new technology and the wonder of exploring Nintendo worlds in HD.

Muir Freeland
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There have been hordes of naysayers about every Nintendo product since at least the launch of the DS, and Nintendo has pulled through every single time. If for that reason alone, I have a lot of faith in the Wii U.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutraís Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Sven Uilhoorn
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The systems itself have sold well, but the average number of games sold per Wii was very low compared to the averages of the PS3/360. They don't make a lot of profit selling the consoles, they do selling the games.

With the Wii, unlike the DS for which a lot of quality (hardcore games) were released, they lost interest of the hardcore group; the people that made Nintendo successful in the first place.

The fact that most of the launch titles either don't score very high (ZombiU, Nintendoland) or lack innovation (Super Mario Bros U compared to Super Mario Galaxy) combined with some titles that people on other consoles have been playing for almost a year (lacking content or features from the release system) doesn't really make for pulling through this time.

Also consoles these days seem to be very reliant on their online features, something Nintendo never was really good at. 'really hope they improved!

The 3DS only became very popular when Nintendo dropped the price by a large amount. I've got the feeling they will have to again..

Bob Johnson
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"The funny thing is that, even after spending some time with the games, you still sort of have to take it on faith that itís a new idea. After all, tablets are out there, and theyíre starting to play with televisions."

This section of the article irked me. There needed to be some more depth here rather than just throw that out with no explanation.

Because without some explanation, the author seems to be trolling. For haters or fanboys.

Or seems to be saying that I have heard of streaming with tablets and know nothing about it so I will throw this line into the article to cover my ass in case someone rips my article for not knowing other people are doing this sort of thing in case they are doing it.

Michael Rooney
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What kind of explanation are you looking for? Serious question. It seems like in tech circles that's a fairly established fact.

Bob Johnson
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What is an established fact? You are being as vague as the few lines in the article I quoted.

I would like more than a vague statement that can be taken any which way.

But there is no follow through. It seems to beg some. What about it isn't new? Does it matter if it isn't the newest? Why? What other devices offer similar experiences if it isn't so new? Is this the best version of it? What are the differences? What does it mean take it on faith? Are you saying the experiences aren't new? But Nintendo says they are so you have ignore your experience and have faith they are right? ...

It was just one of those off the cuff sentences that works in a song lyric maybe, but not so much in an article where one presumes you are looking for some analysis or insight from. I'd like to know more.

Christian Nutt
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Well, it's hard to want to respond when you're being accused of being a troll, particularly this hilariously: "the author seems to be trolling. For haters or fanboys." An all-purpose mega-troll. I've really arrived.

If you read the line in the context of the point I'm trying to make, which is that the Wii U doesn't seem unique, which the Wii did, it makes sense. Those platforms don't do the same thing as the Wii, but the idea of a gaming-powered tablet in your hand, even one that talks to a television, is nowhere near as novel as the idea of motion control was in 2006. Even if it does something markedly different (and the Wii U does) it may not seem so to consumers. The reason I didn't go into depth is because, of course, I don't have the market research to suggest whether people understand or care that it's quite different to, say, an iPad using Airplay or a TV-enabled Android tablet. Nor is that the purpose of this piece.

Bob Johnson
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HEy I said "without some explanation it seems like you are trolling there or you seem to be saying blah blah blah." I left an "or" in there and I didn't call you a troll either.

Just thought it was disservice to throw out some vague reference to tablets talking to tvs without any explanation. IN my experience the tablet to tv gaming functionality exists but that is about all it does. IT is heavily asterisked.

The Wii U seems pretty unique actually. Part console. Part handheld. Part tablet. I guess that's why it gets compared to these different devices. But it wont be the most powerful console next year maybe not even now by some definitions. IT isn't truly independently portable like handheld either. Nor it is a fully functional capacitive screen tablet.

TAken all together though there is nothing like it because the reverse isn't true either. None of those devices quite does what the Wii U does by themselves.

And I am sure that was very deliberate by Nintendo.

Russell Carroll
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I'm curious about what other tablet/TV experiences exist that do what Wii U does.

Specifically, can someone list games where people play asymmetrically on the TV & Tablet at the same time with different/complimentary experiences happening on each. (ie - not just replicating the tablet experience on the TV, but mulitplayer with different screens doing different things).

I'm really curious to check out the similar ways this has already been done. It would give some great background on how developers are attacking the game design challenges and opportunities.

warren blyth
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I think the new idea of WiiU is clearly : to offer you a second more intimate TV.

it may sound too simple, at first, to be compared to the unprecedented motion based gaming that Wii introduced to the masses.

But, if you look at how MS and Sony have defined the industry - they seek to offer tons of different experiences (apart from gaming) on one TV. WiiU turns this on its head by offering only gaming, across multiple TVs.

warren blyth
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@Russell Carroll:
I'm also very curious about the examples you seek.

Currently I've only aware of
- Real Racing 2 HD
-screen-gaming-with-ios-5-on-ipad/ )
- Artemis : which isn't exactly what you describe. but seems worth watching for examples/ideas.
player-starship-simulator-is-coming-to-ios-devices-with-ful )

Anyone have any examples?

Bob Johnson
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i have real racing. technically you can stream to the tv. but it doesnt feel as crisp playing it on the tv as it does playing it on the ipad.

it wasnt an experience i cared to repeat. and remember that any game where you are touching the tablet screen isnt going to work when looking at the tv.

that is why i am very annoyed at the mention.

the wii u is very crisp in this regard. no lag. what may seem like a subtle tech difference on the surface is night and day in practice.

Anyway sorry if i was too harsh. just get tired about hearing about this now mythical tablet to tv gaming experience.

Doug Poston
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The second screen on the Wii U quickly becomes natural.
I barely thought twice when I took it into the other room so I could use it to copy my WiFi WEP key. Or into the kitchen so I could monitor the update download while I made dinner.

The fact that you don't go "Holly Shit! I can play on two screens! Anywhere in my house!" is actually a credit to Nintendo.

I think both Sony and Microsoft will have their work cut out for them trying to make an experience as integrated as the Wii U's second screen.

Justin LeGrande
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I see Bob Johnson's point...

When people pay money to take classes, they don't expect to know everything they want to know about the subject beforehand, do they? Otherwise, why bother taking the class? Ultimately, they want to accomplish a goal by taking the class, but distinctions must be made between how their goal would be accomplished through the knowledge sought, in a choice between taking or not taking classes.

Using this analogy, when people pay money to buy a Wii U, not all of them would necessarily know everything they might want to know about how this device operates differently from other devices beforehand, would they? Otherwise, what would be the driving factor in buying a Wii U instead of another device? Ultimately, the purpose of buying a Nintendo device, a Wii device, a Wii U, instead of a tablet, would require a distinction to be made in what the consumer desires.

Only those who either are not remotely tech-savvy (i.e. only a basic, cursory knowledge of computers) or do not use computers regularly would make a mistake in purchasing either a Wii U or a tablet, based on the distinguishing functions of either device.

JoseArias NikanoruS
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Why did the N64 disappoint you?
For me... it may be the system I've played the most. It almost resumes my middle and high school with my friends. Four player at the same time was really great!
(An I liked how alien the control was... : P )

Matthew Mouras
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Don't forget Ogre Battle 64! I still pull out my 64 every now and again to play that game. One of the greats.

Christian Nutt
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Lack of third party games; lack of variety. I played tons of PlayStation and Saturn, and about all I played on the N64 was Mario and Zelda. And toward the end, Kirby. A few things here and there otherwise, but it was a distant third as far as systems go, that generation, for me.

I think I missed a handful of games I would have liked (I skipped Starfox 64) but I was too busy with the other two systems to really care too much.

Wylie Garvin
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The N64 version of Dr. Mario might be the best version of it ever made. It was a big hit in my family, even one of my parents regularly played it. Other than that I can't think of any super-great N64 games that made a big impression on me. I remember Mario 64, Starfox, Goldeneye and thats about it. Multiplayer battles in Goldeneye were a big hit with us back then though.

Justin LeGrande
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I remember playing 4-player Mario Kart 64 and Goldeneye many times; most games rarely provided a replayable, customizable, and fun simultaneous multi-player experience back in those days. The N64 certainly was a let-down for RPG's, but the Rareware titles like Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo Kazooie, Jet Force Gemini, and Perfect Dark included a particular type of progression-based game design that really showed off how N64 titles stood out from those on the disc-based systems. I still think it's unbelievably amazing that Perfect Dark could be squeezed into 40 MB of memory (Expansion pak included). Many modern game designers could learn a lot from the old Rare's titles.

But don't count out exclusives such as:
Pilotwings 64 (better than Pilotwings Resort), Wave Race 64, Bomberman 64, Blast Corps, NBA Jam 2000, Tetrisphere, Turok 1/2/3, Mystical Ninja: Goemon, Mischief Makers, F-Zero X, Clay Fighter 63+1/3, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Pokemon Stadium 1+2 (nice addons for GB titles), Mario Golf/Tennis 64 (IMO better than Hot Shots and simulation series), Mario Party (began cascading landslide of character party games), Space Station: Silicon Valley, Body Harvest, Winback, and finally, of course, Sin and Punishment.

So, no, I would say the N64 was not a letdown. It did not have a dearth of good 3rd party titles and variety either; that was just a popular myth to sell the Playstation and Saturn. Besides, at least 85% of the (according to Wikipedia) over 2,400 PS1 titles were junk or mediocre, and Sega of America royally screwed over the Saturn's chances of success. So yeah, they passed out anti-Nintendo kool-aid and many people took the bait.

Can you think of about 400 good PS1 titles out of those 2,400? I know I can't...

wes bogdan
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Well i got a call from gamestop went and got the deluxe box then tried to set about playing mario but i had to install the 5GB update so like everyone else i was still waiting to play with power.

After the massive update and install mario needed an update and i also set up nintendo network,miiverse etc.

I just hop my 3-1 dual trigger pad will work on the front usb ports when i need my custom dual analog scheme in pikmin 3,metroid and zelda..and as for wii u itself it could become a giant 3ds in the HDTV displayed the game while important data,map screen or item wheel among other uses might change the game.

The wii u needs a toslink adapter to plug into the wii sd port so 5.1 surround with chat can take place and it should be $19.95.

Bob Johnson
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i got one. The gamepad makes the system feel futuristic. Nintendoland is fun so far with the family. Chasing Mario or the ghost in Luigis Mansion are hits with family and son likes the Yoshi line drawing game. The TV remote is a great feature. Gamepad is light and feels good in hands and has a ton of functionality built into it. Load times between OS apps are absurd. I would guess the system reboots when going into different apps.

The Wii transfer works, but what a pain. Typical Nintendo.

Quite surprisingly the browser is fast and works great. I am typing this out on it. Not as slick as an ios browser in many ways, but better than any console browser by quite a bit. and does some things better than ios like the ability to select text or place the cursor. Thank you stylus. The interface for inputting text is better too. For example it takes you out of Gamasutra's text box and into its own lined text input interface. and has arrows so you can easily scroll up or down through what you wrote. Typing works quite decently with fingers, but Gamepad is too wide to comfortably thumb type. Very functional browser though. Great compatibility so far.

Update installed in 10-15 minutes. but i waited until late evening. Timed out earlier during mad rush. You didnt have to update to play Nintendoland.

Patrick Davis
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Seriously? A complaint about Wii transfer? Sure, it takes a minute to set up, but it's completely free, and works. The big part is, it doesn't make you buy extra crap to do it like the PS2 to PS3 adapter did for instance. If you are grasping for things to complain about, this one isn't it. Then you have the nerve to slap "Typical Nintendo" on it.

I generally don't rant, but wow... that stuck out.

Bob Johnson
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Wii Transfer is a mess. Let us see. Go to Wii menu. Turns out it is an icon. Go there. Go to store. Turns out you need Nintendo Network Id. And you need update before any of this.

Get id download system transfer tool. Go to old Wii. Go to shop. Turns out you need update. Do that. Then download system transfer tool. Oh on Wii U put in blank sd card. Also make decision where to save system transfer tool - on sd card or in memory. Wasn't clear.

Go through 8 pages with 1 step each. after step 8 of 8 you start the transfer to card. Confusing. Take card to Wii. Run Transfer tool on Wii. Get told that Miis will be lost if in Mii parade. Cancel out and check on that. Try to transfer Miis to Plaza. (It has been awhile.). Turns out Plaza is full. Miis in parade will be lost. Start transfer again on Wii. Stop. How do you save data that is on sd card in Wii? Not sure, but Luckily it turns out I have nothing there. Continue transfer. Wait. Can I redownload my digital games? ....Yes I can. Still worried that I will lose rights. But I continue. It now transfers to sd card from Wii after connecting to Internet a few times. Takes 10-15 minutes unsupervised time.

Take card out. Go back to Wii U. Continue transfer. Same unsupervised 10-15 minutes. Gamepad with tv remote comes in handy here. Done.

Try to use old Mii for already created NNid. Can't find it. Give up for now. I believe I have to go into Wii menu and send it or something.

To say it wasnt a pain would be a disservice. And it is typical Nintendo. They generally are a bit behind with some of this data management and OS stuff.

This and the load times between parts of the OS were my only bad experiences yesterday.

It does work though and only costs you your time (valuable or invaluable as it is) and some frustration knowing that it all could have been done with the press of a button. I had to some googling to even get started.

Patrick Davis
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Once again, it's free, and it just costs you time. Everyone else would either charge you money to do it, or just not do it at all. Sure, it could be better, but you only need to do it once.

Bob Johnson
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It sure ain't free if it costs you your time.

Read my post again where I remember the details needed to transfer the data. That isn't pain-free by most measures that I know of. Not when I can send a file from one device to another with the press of a button.

Patrick Davis
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Nothing harsh, just very nitpicky if you are picking out things to complain about. App delay? That's definitely valid. I just see complaining about Wii transfer as grasping. Just my opinion.

Jamie Mann
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"Once again, it's free, and it just costs you time. Everyone else would either charge you money to do it, or just not do it at all. Sure, it could be better, but you only need to do it once."

Personally, I don't consider my time to be worth nothing ;) And given how complex (relatively speaking) the process is, I can see more than a few people getting stuck and/or frustrated with it.

Then too, it also looks to be potentially unreliable, to boot:

Also, (as I'm not yet a Wii U owner): what happens if/when people want to transfer content from one Wii U to another? Will Nintendo allow people to transfer Wii content to a second Wii U? Will you have to shuffle SD cards again?

Past there, I'd also point out that neither Sony nor Microsoft charge for transferring games between systems. In fact, you don't even need to transfer them: you can just log in and re-download the game. And you can even transfer games between the PS3 and Vita.

Admittedly, we'll have to wait to see if the next-gen Sony/MS consoles support backwards compatibility, but assuming they do, I'd guess that all you'll have to do will be to log in to the online store, and you'll instantly get access to all your previously downloaded media. And with the shift to cloud saves, you don't even need to physically transfer your save-games over!

For all that Nintendo does a lot of things right, their data-management policies and processes has always been... clunky, to put it politely. It's a bit of a shame that they're continuing that tradition, especially when compared to how far their competition have come.

Patrick Davis
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If you actually read that whole Arstechnica article rather than going off of the sensationalist title, there is actually a memory problem with his original Wii that is preventing him from doing the transfer. It isn't because the service is flaky.

You are definitely giving Sony and Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. I'll hand it to them for same gen stuff, but PS2 to PS3 transfer cost you money, and Xbox didn't transfer jack to the Xbox 360. The PSP to Vita transition could have been good if Sony cared about anyone outside of Japan. So no, I wouldn't give them anything over Nintendo.

Jamie Mann
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Agreed - the issue as described in the Ars Technica article is a hardware one. However, it's also proved to be a complete showstopper which has blocked the transfer of $400 of DLC. Worse, the best Nintendo themselves can suggest is to have the Wii sent in for "repairs" - at an $85 cost to the system owner [*] - with NO guarantee that it will address the issue.

And even then, he'll then have to go back and repeat the entire transfer process again, which he's already described as "time-consuming and inconvenient"

And yes, I'm giving Sony and Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. However, there's a good reason for this - both companies tie your downloads/purchases to an account, rather than a physical piece of hardware. And as it stands, I can go to a friend's house, log into their console and then download/play games I've previously purchased and played on my console.

As such, if their next-gen consoles offer any form of backwards compatibility, I'd expect things to be exactly the same - millions of gamers have purchased DLC on the X360/PS3 and are likely to be highly vocal if this can't be transferred - witness the backlash against Microsoft when they originally failed to include backwards-compatibility on the Xbox 360.

And over in the iOS world, we arguably already have an example of how to seamlessly manage upgrades: applications bought on one iOS device can then be installed on another iOS device without any issues. Personally, I've gone from a 2nd gen iPod touch to a 3rd gen iPod Touch and then to a 1st gen iPad - and if I went out tomorrow to buy the iPad mini, I'd be able to transfer stuff over to there, too.

All told, Nintendo's content management processes are looking increasingly archaic...

[*] And yes, they did initially offer a $25 discount, and have now offered to do the repair for free. But the latter especially is unlikely to be offered to someone who isn't a journalist writing for a major technology website...

Alan Rimkeit
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Have any of you had this issue? It seems to me that Ninty messed up big time on this update issue. The launch was going buttery smooth and then I read this.

"Reports: Botched firmware update leading to bricked Wii U consoles"

I am going to get a Wii U I think as the new Mario looks awesome and the double screens look to be actually useful. I am waiting for someone to announce a RTS or maybe a port of Torchlight for the Wii U. Has anyone heard if there is a new Metroid coming?

Bob Johnson
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I gotta run, but I think that is just the rare case of a power outage happening while updating firmware. Generally not a good thing on any device.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Bob - If you read the article on Ars it sounds like it may be may be more than that. It looks like even if the internet connection is bad for even a second it all goes bad and the Wii U can be bricked. This is not a good situation PR wise at all.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Anthony - Really? No Metroid? Well that lowers my want for this new Wii a lot then. ;( No Metroid and I am less than excited. Metroid is my Nintendo go to game and the main reason I got a GameCube. I loved Prime. That really bums me out. :(

David Holmin
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Do you have a link to that interview?

David Holmin
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Yeah, that only says a potential next Metroid anytime soon won't have many of Miyamoto's ideas in it.

David Holmin
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Trolling seems to be the way of many gaming sites these days.

Alan Rimkeit
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Awesome sauce. Then there is most likely a new Metroid game coming. Super news. Thanks peeps.

warren blyth
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it's not ďasynchronous playĒ - it is "asymmetrical play."

why does everyone make this mistake? over and over and over?

Kris Graft
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Updated. It was simply a slip... but thanks.

warren blyth
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i didn't mean to sound harsh.
I really do see this word-swap over and over and over, from respected journalists.

(to the point where I'm surprised Nintendo chose to use such a confused word, instead of inventing a new term).

warren blyth
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Now that the launch dust is settling, I think it's clear the WiiU's Big Idea is primarily: "here is your second tv."

MS and Sony compete to be the one box that serves everything to your giant nailed-to-the-wall HDtv. Nintendo competes by introducing a second, more intimate, tv. They are directly challenging this idea that the epitome of entertainment is one giant screen in one part of one room.

(Tablets are playing with the idea, but Nintendo is also offering a tablet with built in buttons and joysticks, and the power of a modern console. SmartGlass might try to compete on a case by case basis, but will almost certainly be plagued by inconsistent user experiences.)

Kenneth Wesley
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After a couple of days with the system, I'm seeing potential there of an awesome system. It's not awesome out the box, but I never though any system is these days. I hope the system update, as long as it took (1 whole hour-the PSN restore took longer) shows some kind of commitment by Nintendo to patch and add tweaks to make their system more accessible.

I'm completely digging who the Gamepad is used with and without the TV.

While the Wii to WiiU transfer wasn't completely painless (it took a while cause I had games from 2 Wii consoles), I'm happy that it transferred files that couldn't be backed up or copied on the Wii, so the pain was worth it.

All in all, the Wii U probably won't capture the Wii's success because a remote is a lot more friendlier to pick up than any controller. It wasn't motion controls that made the Wii a rapid success alone. But the Wii U will do well as long as quality software comes out and the keep improving on the digital front.

Also with the Wii and DS, Nintendo became synonymous with video games in a way they haven't before the Gamecube.

Jeremie Sinic
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"It is a system that faces a lot of challenges and requires new ways of thinking on the part of both consumers and developers."

Sounds like the Windows 8 of consoles.