This year at E3 Nintendo announced the Wii U, their next gen. console that’s slated to be released sometime in 2012. The new machine will be able to produce 1080p graphics on par with the 360 and PS3 and will also be backwards compatible with all of the Wii games on the market. The main attraction to the new system though is the tablet type controller that it will be using.
The tablet controller features a 6.2 inch Touch Screen, 2 Circle pads, 1 D-pad, A,B,X,Y buttons, 2 Triggers and 2 Bumper buttons it also includes a built in microphone, accelerometer, gyroscope, and camera. Some of the cool features that were showed off is how the tablet could interact with games. In the golf preview we see the tablet laying on the ground with the golf ball on the screen, the player swings the Wii remote over the tablet like a club and you can see the ball move from the tablet and fly across the golf course on the main TV. It looks to be a very cool and new way to interact with games.
As great as this new controller concept could be for gaming I am having some concerns with this new system. First off my main problem is how Nintendo has opted to not improve upon the high end graphics of this generation but to once again only match them. They did the same thing with the Wii and when you look at Wii games now compared to the 360 or PS3… well there is no comparison at all the Wii is extremely outdated. Another concern of mine is the 3rd parties, sure a lot have signed on with the Wii U and most are saying that they love the new system but the majority of the games announced are ports of 360 and PS3 games. This will only last so long because when the new Xbox and PS4 are released the Wii U is not going to support the graphics and power of those two consoles. Which means developers are going to focus on the more powerful hardware and Wii U owners are going to be stuck in the same boat that the Wii is in now.
The Wii sold millions because it hit upon a new casual gaming market, for once it was just as easy for your grandparents to play games as it was for the kids. Unfortunately this time around they will not have such a luxury as older people that bought the Wii will more then likely not buy another console. The sales of the Wii U will already be impacted by this. In order for Nintendo to remedy the situation that it faces in the long run with the Wii U Nintendo is going to have to have a bigger impact on the “Hardcore Gamer” this time around. They need to compete on the same graphic level as the true next gen. consoles, they need to make a better online infrastructure (one without friend codes), and they need to have 3rd parties jump on with new IP’s and not just ports of last gen titles. If they can manage to do this then maybe they will stand a chance against the their competition.
The bottom line is Nintendo is going to have to actually compete and not release outdated hardware next generation. Hopefully it’s not to late to revamp the console.