Whenever a new console is announced everyone gets a bit excited. It’s a new console, which means new games, new hardware, and normally new features. Of course all the standard features from the current generation are normally carried over too. That is unless you are Nintendo which sees no need for anything beyond new games. Wii was a success, but WiiU might be dying before it even hits store shelves.
Nintendo announced WiiU during E3. It’s a console that is also basically a handheld device. The controllers look similar to that of PlayStation Vita with a large screen in-between two sides of buttons and two analog sticks. Nintendo has stated that this time they are going to try and target the hardcore gamers just as much as they targeted the casual gamers with Wii. Things were looking good, until the details came in.
First was the announcement that WiiU currently only supports one controller. That’s it, one controller. There will be no offline two player games, party games, or anything of that nature. One console, one player, one controller. Which seems odd considering some of Nintendo’s best titles are party games such as Mario Party and Super Smash Bros.
Well that’s not too bad. Give me good games and I still will hold an interest in the product, right? Nah, Nintendo decided to strip even more features out of the device. This time stating that Blu-ray and DVD movie playback will not be included in WiiU. They noted that the cost to put the technology into the system was too high due to patent rights. No Blu-ray, fine that is understandable. You don’t want to pay Sony and allow them to get rich off your console too. It isn’t entirely needed. However no DVD playback? Rather or not Instant streaming from services like Netflix will be available to fill in the gap have yet to be announced.
Nintendo noted that they are making a gaming console and not an entertainment center, which leads me to my question. Are we too spoiled thanks to Microsoft and Sony? Do we require all the features PS3 has to offer in order to be happy? Or will we suffice with just purely a gaming console? Even handheld devices like PlayStation Vita couldn’t stay as just a gaming system, other features had to be tossed in.
I remember setting up a Wii over Christmas for my mom. She hooked it all up, played a game or two, then decided she wanted to watch a Blu-ray movie on it. Sadly that didn’t happen, so she decided to turn on a DVD movie for the kids. Again that didn’t happen. Skip a few weeks and the Wii isn’t even plugged in anymore. Nintendo is very easily shooting themselves in the foot, and this pain may very well last well beyond a generation of hardware. Especially with Sony and Microsoft at the door.