After the Wii U preview event, mixed emotions still arise

Photo courtesy of Engadget.com

The Wii U preview event in New York City has come and gone, and now Nintendo has rolled out their specific plans for their next-gen console. A release date, price point, and TWO different SKUs were unveiled along with the promise of Nintendo’s new video service, Nintendo TVii. At the time of the various reveals, it seemed obvious that Nintendo was finally living up to the promise of a new way to play, especially after a disappointing E3 press conference last June.

However, after the lights turned on and dozens of gaming journalists scurried off for interviews and demos, I was left with more questions than answers and a tad bit of concern. These questions, which may be answered soon, consist of the price of a separate GamePad, the exact details of what games will launch with the console, and further details of the Nintendo Network and their online community, Miiverse. These lists of concerns may seem like a bunch of complaints, but they are relevant to how successful the console will be out of the gate.

Hit the jump to see how I feel Nintendo’s Wii U preview event left me excited, yet slightly concerned for their newest console’s future.

As a life-long Nintendo fan, I want to see the Wii U prosper in an equal or greater capacity from its predecessor. Yet, I couldn’t help but notice that the company is again playing a quick game of catch-up with their competition. This, of course, is prevalent in terms of how they’re planning to offer a streaming video service out of the box with Wii U, one that promises to offer users a new experience. What can Nintendo do to convince the core gamer or the even casual front that the bells-and-whistles of the Wii U is the console to own?

Nintendo Land mini-games like Metroid Blast are just a few of the new features that Nintendo wants to differentiate it from its last pack-in title, Wii Sports.

First-party titles? Obvious check. Third-party titles? Yes, they’re there, but it’s still up for debate, considering the approach of Sony and Microsoft’s newest consoles in 2013. Hardware? Specs are still unknown, yet signs point to the Wii U being on par or just above the PlayStation 3 in graphical and processing prowess (Update: Kotaku has posted the official Wii U specs, which are just vague descriptions). Video-on demand? Streamlined service, yet how many will use it? It may take time for the service to be fully grasped, but Nintendo has no room to cut corners early in their launch.

Once again, some of these concerns are mentioned to get a grasp of what Nintendo is facing with having their new console be the first out of the gate this generation. And this is where I return to Nintendo TVii, which is what Nintendo is betting will be the forefront of their online network. In essence, Nintendo is trying to replace your cable box with the Wii U.

The idea is novel, but will it catch on, much like how Microsoft and Sony are doing with their respective consoles? The company aims to be as interactive as possible with this new TV app. You can chat with your friends, while watching a sporting event or comment or live-Tweet your favorite moments of a TV show. The options themselves are aplenty, but the risk here is the hope of hooking in the core audience that Nintendo so desperately wants to rekindle with. Can they do it? Well, that’s tough to decipher. It’s all based on Nintendo’s promise to bring us the most enjoyable console gaming experience that they have released. That alone may or not hold a cloudy future for the Japanese gaming giant, but bringing in the core audience is a must to ensure it doesn’t stumble out the gate.

Nintendo TVii plans to offer a new way to watch television.

As far as games go, we are left to wonder what first and third party titles will be launching with the system. We were given a glimpse as to what third party companies will offer with the announcement of Call of Duty: Black Ops II and the exclusivity of the once-thought cancelled Bayonetta 2. In addition, a sizzle reel of games was show to close out the show and labeled as “launch window” (November 2012 to March 2013) titles.

As I break down all the concerns and supposed promises, let this be known: Even if the Wii U doesn’t sell gangbusters like its predecessor, it certainly doesn’t mean the end for Nintendo. The company has done a good effort in resurrecting the sales of its 3DS handheld with last year’s price cut and its subsequent 3DS XL release. Plus, despite playing catch-up with its restructured Nintendo Network online service and the introduction of Nintendo TVii, it’s certainly better than nothing.

Until then, we shall wait and see what future the Wii U holds for casual, core, and Nintendo-loyal gamers. Like when the lights came on after the Wii U preview event, a new era in Nintendo gaming is shortly upon us. The concerns may still be there with pricing, online, and the specifics of launch games, but hopefully the old Nintendo magic will not be absent. I for one will be there come launch day, and see where and how Nintendo can do to improve the gaming infrastructure like they have been touting for a year and a half.

14 Responses to After the Wii U preview event, mixed emotions still arise

  1. Nfanboy says:

    Harrison,

    I really don’t understand your concerns…

    This is most compelling launch for a Nintendo system EVER !

    For once, everything is good :
    – Timing ( 1 year before the competition and while videogames sales are down )
    – Pricing ( 350 $ barely more than 360 / PS3 with more features and content )
    – Online ( TVii, do I have to say anything else
    – 1st party games ( Mario is there… WIN )
    – Nintendo published titles ( Bayonetta 2, Ninja Gaiden 3, Wonderful 101, lego undercover, etc… )
    – 3rd party ( Call of Duty, Assassin Creed, Exclusive content for ports like Tekken or Darksiders 2 )
    – Monster Hunter 3 at launch in Japan
    – Big guns still hidden ( Metroid, Zelda, Donkey Kong, still in hiding… )

    I think after all those years in the gaming business, Nintendo finally found the sweet spot between the core games ( N64/GC ) and Casual games ( Wii ). The Wii U is the best of both world and has everything to shine !

    Well done Big N

  2. Richard says:

    My main concern is that Nintendo seems to be — aggravatingly and once again — playing down the one single element that most people want: Enough Great Games On Launch Day. All the bells and whistles are nice, but the console will live, die or struggle based on its games. The Launch Day lineup is vitally important to sending it out of the starting gate on a good note.

    Please, Nintendo, please get it right this time. You can’t build a house without a good foundation, and your foundation consists of games, not Nintendo TVii or the Mii verse.

  3. Fuzz says:

    There isn’t much compelling for myself for games, but I still put my pre-order in. I’d love some F-Zero, Mario Golf, and Pilot Wings. But Pikmin will be great, and I figure I’m going to buy the thing anyway, may as well do it now.

    I’m actually excited about the remote play feature, and the TV thing, though I doubt it is going to work with my current PVR.

  4. Harrison says:

    Concerns = future of the console and whether or not they will strike lighting in a bottle two generations in a row. Hope that clears things up for you.

  5. Nfanboy says:

    @Richard
    What are you talking about ? Rayman legends, Zombie U, Assassin’s Creed 3, Black ops 2 and Mario at launch ! More than 50 games between November and March ? Please, if you can name a console that did better, enlight me !!!

    @Harrison
    It’s too ealry to say what will happen in the future. but 1 thing is sure, the launch will be a huge success. Never in history a console that add a stellar first year failed, so I think this should answer your concerns 🙂

    Even Patcher is confident if this doesn’t say much, what will 🙂

  6. Fuzz says:

    Oh, the big news here is that Canada isn’t getting screwed on pricing!

    Our dollar is worth more, and FINALLY Nintendo is selling for the same price.

  7. ModestMrGreen says:

    I’m really, really discouraged by the pricing and configuration of the SKUs. Wii was one of my favorite systems ever, and I had been really forward to grabbing the Wii U. It’s apparent to me, though, that the basic set is a waste, and the premium version is too much. If I got the premium version + NSMBU it’s going to run me at least $420. I just can’t justify paying that much, so I’m very disappointed. :/

  8. Nfanboy says:

    @ModestMrGreen,
    And how much do you think you’re going to pay for the PS4 or the 720 ?
    This is a new console !
    Con down to Earth for god sake!
    last year the 360 + Kinect was 400 $ and it was selling nuts !
    So please don’t tell me that the price is not good here…

  9. wakko1337 says:

    Well Harrison, Nintendo isn’t going to tell you about a second GamePad because in America, there will be no support of a second one until an application or game comes along that requires/allows for it, according to Reggie (or someone) post-conference. I’m guessing afterwards, it’ll be in an update of sorts?

    But basically, the GamePad is going to be expensive.

  10. Richard says:

    @ Nfanboy:

    I mean launch DAY. The titles you can purchase in the store and take home the day the system launches. If all the games you listed are actually available on launch day, swell, (although none of those titles are on my “must buy” list), but Nintendo’s being vague about it.

    As Reggie himself put it,”it’s still a little too early to guarantee exactly which games will be here for you on launch day itself and which will come shortly thereafter.” And “thereafter” could mean as late as spring.

    It’s a bit disconcerting when Nintendo makes their big announcement and then still can not say which games will be be available at launch. They’ve done this before (and they’re certainly not alone in that tradition)…very recently, actually, and I was hoping for something a little more concrete this time around.

    Hey, I want Wii U to succeed as much as you do, and I hope to be buying it at launch.

  11. A.G. says:

    I think this may the strongest launch for NIntendo since the Super Nintendo. With all of the additions like NintendoTVii and Social Media integration, the overall selling point is playing Nintendo franchises in HD while still enjoying strong third party support that other consoles have received.

  12. ModestMrGreen says:

    @Nfanboy

    I’m not going to be paying for PS4 or Xbox 720 because I don’t want those platforms. :B I already wasted money on a PS3. I love Mortal Kombat, but I can’t say it was totally worth the cost of the system when there are so few games I enjoy on it.

    I absolutely loved the Wii, and I’ve owned just about every Nintendo console besides the Virtual Boy. If they can’t get an enthusiast like me, how the hell are they going to get people who don’t care half as much as I do?

    I want a Wii U to play NSMBU and hopefully more good games and platformers. If I buy the Basic Version I’m pretty much getting a gimped console, so I’d have to settle for Deluxe with a color I don’t like, + NSMBU + tax will be at least $420.

    I didn’t participate in buying PS3 and Xbox 360 at launch with their crazy prices. I don’t like the library of games on those systems, and I was hoping that Wii U wouldn’t be an over-priced HD console when I don’t really care about HD, but I feel like it is.

  13. Coogs says:

    @ModestMrGreen

    I’m not sure why you think $350 is too much for a brand-new, high-definition Nintendo console that comes with a tablet controller, a $60 game, and a tablet charging cradle, plus a few other accessories. To me (and most people, I assume), that is a very good deal. To call the Wii U overpriced is, for lack of a better term, a bit nutty. And if you don’t like the black color, get the white console, then plug in any hard drive of your choosing. Allowing the customer to expand storage space according to their preference is absolutely the way it should be done. Hopefully, Sony and Microsoft figure that out.

    Also, as an owner of all three consoles, I find it hard to believe you couldn’t find anything worth playing on the PS3 other than “Mortal Kombat.” Come on, man. You must not have tried very hard.

  14. ModestMrGreen says:

    I’ve been looking at retail and on PSN. Some things I’ve liked include After Burner Climax, the Scott Pilgrim game, and Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. But I notice that the games I tend to enjoy are few and far between on the system. I tend not to like most modern games, particularly not HD ‘blockbusters,’ so perhaps I was stupid to think there would be more content that I really enjoyed available on the machine. Either way, my fault.

    I feel the value would be much stronger if there were merely the contents of the deluxe set available in either color for $299. $299 feels like a very sweet price point. Nintendo has always put the priority on making the game consoles affordable and with high value, so I’m a bit discouraged to see such a high launch price on Wii U. Similarly, I felt the launch prices for Xbox 360 and PS3 were ridiculous (while others did not), so that might give you an idea of my perspective. As someone who doesn’t really value HD, Nintendo TVii, or Miiverse, it makes the pill a bit harder to swallow.

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