On Monday Ian wrote a blog titled “what’s going on with Nintendo“, and I decided that, as a lifelong fan of Nintendo I should really air my point on this. In the past I’ve written a multitude of blogs about Nintendo; I covered the launch of the Wii U, discussed my worries for the console (before its launch), talked about the brilliance of ZombiU and I even revisited my Wii U blog. That’s just my Wii U related blogs as well. There are many more outside of that realm. Unlike a lot of people, I’m always willing to give Nintendo a chance. I enjoy the weird and often groundbreaking ways they take gaming. This time however I’m struggling to find good things to say.
I’m going to start with the few good things about the Wii U I can say. Of the very limited library of games there are a few gems: Monster Hunter (albeit a remake), ZombiU, Mario U and Lego City Undercover. Secondly the Wii U has a great little interface and I really love Miiverse and erm…that’s about all I can think of, so I’ll move on to Nintendo in general. Nintendo really seem to get the handheld industry. Instead of just creating ports of their main console games, Nintendo put time into their first party titles. Playing a 3DS game is a totally different experience to playing a home console game. Also Nintendo’s way of revealing games to their fans via the direct shows is nice for the fans. It makes you feel part of it.
Now for the bad stuff. Lets start with the Wii U. It really lacks games. The four I listed before aren’t only the best games on the console, they are pretty much everything in the library. With EA also announcing that they aren’t making any games for the Wii U, this trend doesn’t seem likely to change. When EA didn’t support the Dreamcast, it died. Will the Wii U go this way? It seems likely. Also as great as Nintendo’s Miiverse is it still feels like they are a step behind everyone else. They have this nice social function, but still lack the online capabilities of the other consoles. Plus they have created a console that is as powerful as the current gen, that and it’s apparently a pain to develop for.
Then there are the issues with Nintendo in general. Nintendo tend to rest on their laurels. They have a handful of strong selling IPs but seem unwilling to experiment with them, or try something new. They you have the online thing. Nintendo have never really embraced the whole online revolution. They seem to keep a strong focus on the single player element. While this is okay with me, for a large majority of gamers this is a problem. Nintendo dominated the late 80’s and 90’s but they seem to have never really moved on. Which is a shame, because there is great potential with in them. All they have to do is embrace the new wave.
This all boils down to Nintendo getting it wrong. In my opinion (and I claim to have no great business knowledge) Nintendo should cut their losses with the Wii U and get to work on a next gen console. It really is make or break time, and it would be sad to see the company that saved gaming die.
By Matt Husselbury