Sunday 18th November. For a large portion of the world this day is nothing out of the ordinary. We all woke in the morning and slept in the evening. Children were born and people died. Nothing too unusual…for most part that is. For some though 18th November was an important day, the kind of day you have circled on your calendar and excitedly count down to. On 18th November Nintendo released the Wii U in the North American market. The launch of a games console is always a big deal in gaming culture; people pre-order consoles in large numbers and queue up for midnight launches, to be one of the first to play. The question I pose is why? What’s the big deal? We all know that the cost is going to come down in a matter of months. Take the 3DS, the price of that was cut by almost a third, only a few moths after launch. So why bother picking up a console on launch day?
Because I want to! I know I’m going to pay more. I know that next year there will be a redesign. I can tell you now that I’ll contemplate buying that too. See when it comes to Nintendo products I’m a bit of a sheep. I’m going to buy whatever they put out there. At the moment I own; A NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Gameboy, Gameboy Pocket, Gameboy Colour, Gameboy Advance, DS, DSi and a 3DS. The thing is I love Nintendo products. I’m always fascinated by the innovation. They don’t always get it right, but 9 times out of 10 they set the trend. Nintendo had the first analogue stick, the first main stream handheld, first motion based console, the first 3D console and the first console to handle DLC. Nintendo have proven time and time again to be the true innovators of the games industry. Most of the functions I just mentioned are now staples of a games console. So why shouldn’t I get excited about the Wii U?
Early reviews of the console indicate that, though the Wii U is technically more powerful then both the PS3 and Xbox 360, some of the games don’t look as smooth as expected. IGN stated that New Super Mario Bros U has weak graphics and sound and is only just “HD”. On top of that reviewers have noted that while Nintendo have greatly improved their online system, it still has many issues. Though friend codes have gone exchanging Nintendo IDs is a complicated mess. To add IDs you must both add each other (like on the 3ds) or you can do a one way request. The issue is that one way requests are done through Miiverse and not through the friend list. This is not a smooth a streamlined procedure. It has also come to light that Nintendo IDs can only be used on the console that they were set up on. So no migrating your account to another system. If Nintendo cannot get an online system working smoothly in this day and age, then the console is doomed from the start. Another worry is that when the PS4 and New Xbox are released the Wii U will be left behind and fall into the same territory that the Wii fell into. Poor ports and shovelware. The Gamepad will become a gimmick and offer little in the way of enhancing game play. So why should I get excited about the Wii U?
The thing is, all the issues with the console can be fixed with simple updates. The question is, though, will they? If they do, how effective will it be? If they iron out all the tiny issues the Wii U could be a great console. If they don’t fix it, the Wii U could finish Nintendo off. I think it’s about time I answered my question. Buying a console on release day is a good thing. You don’t have to worry about it selling out, you get to meet other people who are as excited as you, and you get to play it first. However, you pay more, get a load of day one glitches and run the risk of shelling out for a commercial failure. It boils down to one large question; are devoted fans or “fan boys” like myself part of the problem or part of the solution? I’ll let you answer that. I’m too excited about paying £320 for a possible bust to care.
By Matthew Husselbury