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Is the Wii U Already Dead? 403

Posted by samzenpus
from the so-long-farewell-auf-weidersehen-goodbye dept.
kube00 writes "The Wii U has been struggling as of late. Even Nintendo has admitted sales haven't been as high as they would like. So what went wrong? Is this just a fluke? Will the Wii U recover and bounce back? Will the PS4 and the next 360 come out the door and leave the Wii U in the dust? GoozerNation takes a look at some of the NPD's and speculates on what it all means."
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Is the Wii U Already Dead?

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday February 25, 2013 @02:52PM (#43005851)

    They've cruised on their name, they've went with gimmicks, they've stubbornly stuck with being the kids console, they've put only a half-hearted effort into online play, they've all-but-resigned themselves to staying in the last gen, etc. And, most woefully of all, they seem to have put little to no thought into WHERE THEY FIT IN NOW.

    Methinks they need something they probably haven't had in a long time--a conclave of their board and big-wigs to ask themselves some fundamental questions about what their mission is, how they are going to accomplish it, and how they're going to compete in the modern gaming market.

  • Lack of games... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZiakII (829432) on Monday February 25, 2013 @02:55PM (#43005899)
    Other then the new Super Mario Bros Game. I literally have no use for my Wii U at the moment. Once the new Nintendo franchise games start rolling out I would expect to see quite a rise in sales again.
  • Confusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thyamine (531612) <thyamineNO@SPAMofdragons.com> on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:01PM (#43006027) Homepage Journal
    I've had Nintendo consoles since the original. I've also had XBoxes and the PS3. The Wii U actually confused me when it came out because it seemed more like it was a new handheld/portable. Not the new console and Wii replacement. I don't know if it was my complete lack of caring towards it, or their poor marketing. On the other hand I read all about the PS4 release and have been pondering the new XBox.

    I feel like Nintendo just wasn't on the ball with this generation of consoles.
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:05PM (#43006097) Homepage Journal

    I think actually their primary problem now, in 2013, is that their business is making games consoles. It doesn't matter whether it's cheap, has "gimmicks" (can we lay that one to rest BTW? Innovation isn't gimmickry, the DS killed the PSP, and the introduction of the Wii basically forced Microsoft to go in a new direction), or anything else. The problem is they're making games consoles. And the concept really doesn't have anywhere to go, not usefully anyway.

    If I wanted something more powerful than a Wii I'd have already bought am Xbox 360. But in all honesty, what I want has changed in the last five years. We have tablets and smartphones. Our PCs are no longer hooked up to 15-19" CRTs, they have 1080p 25" widescreens. Oh, and the PCs have Steam on them.

    Given these entertainment options, the attractiveness of a locked down box you plug into the living room TV, requiring the consent of the entire household to do so, to play games is really going out of the window.

    Sony and Microsoft need to take note, because realistically, unless their next game consoles are significantly different from the box-with-controllers-and-some-way-to-insert-a-game-and-a-TV-out model, they'll flop too.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:08PM (#43006153) Journal

    They've cruised on their name

    I'm sorry, which console maker hasn't and how do you determine who is "cruising" and who isn't? Playstation to Playstation 4? That's not cruising on their name? They've been in the game a lot longer than Microsoft or Sony ... so what?

    they've went with gimmicks

    I know, right. It's like those tired rhythm music games were only available on the Wii. Oh, and Sony and Microsoft keep leveraging innovative titles like Call of Duty 18 and Battlefield 5 and Medal of Honor: Get On 'Er.

    they've stubbornly stuck with being the kids console

    Right and if they hadn't, everyone would be criticizing them for not sticking to their bread and butter. It's cool you don't like those games but that's a market share and equals $$$.

    they've all-but-resigned themselves to staying in the last gen, etc.

    By releasing the Wii U a year before the XBox 720 and PS4? I don't get it. I think they're trying to offset themselves by a year and give consumers some breathing room to enjoy all consoles instead of making a choice. Sure, something released a year later better have good specs but can you point out the publishers that claim Nintendo just lacks the hardcore power for their titles? I haven't heard a lot of complaints and frankly, I own a Wii, Xbox 360 and a PS3 ... graphics are rarely a factor for me in which title I play. I value game play and Nintendo pays more attention to this than the rehashed shit I find on the other two.

    And, most woefully of all, they seem to have put little to no thought into WHERE THEY FIT IN NOW.

    I get it, you like first person shooters. Enjoy. I like how you totally overlooked the obvious to me: Nintendo games are games that I play when my friends come over and want to drink and have fun. The wiimotes are fun in person and the Kinect is actually trying to break into this market. You are explaining this from one of the most narrow and convoluted false narratives I've come across.

    You're attacking Nintendo for owning their market share while the other two consoles do exactly the same thing. Hell, it's arguable that Sony and Microsoft are gutting each other by fighting over the same user base while Nintendo chugs along owning one. How are those XBox 360 and PS3 sales? Through the roof right now?

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:09PM (#43006177)
    I haven't even seen one in any store that I have been in; or if I did I had no idea.

    The first Wii with all its movement and potential for interaction had me (and my kids) drooling for one when they came out. But I don't think it has been on in 2013 and only a few times in 2012. No game has made me want to use it and none of my friends have said, "Hey have you seen this Wii game X?" Nor have my kids have not asked for any Wii games. I have no idea about what the Wii U and know noone who does know what it can do but I doubt it can be that interesting as I haven't read anything about any hackers (people doing cool things not the thieves) doing anything with it like people were with the WiiMotes when they first came out.

    So did Nintendo make a crappy console or did they fail to market a good console? The answer is one or both of those options.

    Personally I think that where Nintendo failed was that their first Wii fit into a market for fun simple games. So people didn't complain about the low specs. But now smart phones and tablets have eaten the market for fun simple games. Thus if you are going to make a console the lesson seems to be that you'd better make it nearly a super computer.
  • Who is the market? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by localman57 (1340533) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:16PM (#43006281)
    Nintendo doesn't seem to have a good answer for "who is the market for this device?" It's not hardcore gamers. And the casual gamers that made the Wii a success have moved on to iPads and smart phones.

    Nintendo needs to go somewhere that their competiors are not. In my opinion, they should be working with the Occulus Rift people to develop a box which can be worn as a backpack, which ties into the goggles. The VR Boy 2... They could concede lower quality graphics, but very, very low latency input and output to make the most of the VR hardware and minimize motion sickness effects. They already know a lot about building appropriate controllers. If this was well done, they could make the XBox and Playstation seem totally out of date. The way games used to be played, where you looked at the virtual world through a glowing rectangle with a plastic strip around it.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:17PM (#43006307)

    Because the 16-22 year old male can't see any reason for games that don't pander to him. If it does not have pointless levels of violence and lots of bewbs they are not interested.

    Sure violence and sex can be fun in a game, but for them that is all there is. Games that are just fun are not on their radar. Worse yet are games that a child or family could enjoy because they are trying to prove to the world they are Real Men, which is why they behave like children.

  • by mea_culpa (145339) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:18PM (#43006313)

    and Nintendo is seemingly unaware.

    Every kid I know want's either a smartphone or tablet. From my observation the only people playing consoles anymore are teenagers and adults that grew up with consoles many of which are increasingly shifting their attention to mobile. The younger kids have ditched their DSi for iTouches over the last two years and are playing casual and social games. When I visit family I am bombarded by nephews and nieces that want to play my iPad.

    Nintendo is trying with a tablet but doing it horribly wrong. Instead of focusing on their hardware they need to focus on their software on established mobile hardware and ecosystems.

    Every year more mobile devices activate than all consoles sold combined. Mobile devices also iterate with a much higher frequency. Most modern mobile devices are fully capable of rendering any Nintendo title if adapted for it.

    My prediction is none of the new consoles will sell as well as the prior version and all will likely flop. They will fail for the reason that they focus on a living room that has become mostly vacant.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:21PM (#43006359) Homepage Journal
    The Wii U is the only console that isn't pegged on selling the latest sequel to the newest FPS. In other words, it is the only console that has titles that I care about. Between the PS4 and X720 there really are very few truly exclusive titles as those exclusive titles are so similar to non-exclusive titles that they don't matter.

    People will rip on the Wii U for being insufficient in resolution or frame rate, but those are mostly people who want to buy Halo 27 and CoD 12 - Nintendo hasn't worried about those people for a long, long time.
  • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:26PM (#43006457)
    Why is the Wii considered a kids console?

    Because that's the easiest cheapshot for Under30-something PS3 fanboys to articulate.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:39PM (#43006673)

    Hi, parent here.

    I can buy a Wii for a lower price than the XBox or PS. I'm 8 years from angsty teenagers, so I don't have to deal with the desire for mature rated games for a long time. The Wii games are more fun for the tipsy adults when we have friends over.

    The Wii U doesn't appeal to me because it looks more complicated and it costs more than twice as much. Talk to me when it is $150. I'd also prefer it didn't have big easy-to-break-looking, drain-its-batteries-all-the-time controller tv things.

  • by krotkruton (967718) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:15PM (#43007161)
    I love consoles. I like the fact that when I buy a game, I know that I'm going to be able to put it in that little box and play it without having to worry about if my box meets the system requirements of the game or if I have a strong enough cell signal to log onto the games servers or if my software version isn't compatible.

    I love PCs. I like the fact that it makes it easier to download lots of games and has more function than just a console. I like 25" 1080p widescreens, but I really like hooking my PC up to my 1080p 52" TV in my living room.

    I don't want either model to die, and I don't understand why so many people think that there can be only successful model. I think there are a lot of people who, like me, love consoles and don't want to see the box-with-controllers-and-some-way-to-insert-a-game-and-a-TV-out model die. There's a demand for this model, even if you don't fit into it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:17PM (#43007183)

    Steam counterbalances the lack of physical ownership with genuinely useful services such as 24/7 access to your entire game library on any PC in the world.

    You cannot counterbalance a loss of ownership. You either get rid of the DRM, or you are anti-freedom.

    Sure, use Steam as a platform from which people can buy games, but do not forcibly tie games to Steam. Do something like Good Old Games does, and you can even keep all the features Steam currently offers if you want.

  • by AtomicDevice (926814) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:35PM (#43007431)

    YOU can do whatever you want, Valve in the meantime is drowning in a firehose of cash.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:59PM (#43007729) Homepage

    If I want to access my game library anywhere on the planet, I can just employ external storage. The same goes for any other form of "entertainment". This can last for as long as I like.

    The only stumbling block is DRM.

    Unfortunately, Steam is still DRM.

    It's a really pleasant cage but it's still a cage.

  • by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:10PM (#43007869)

    ALL consoles suck their first year or year and a half. If you're lucky, a console will launch with a fantastic game or two, and then games for the system will stagnate for a year or year and a half. ALL consoles follow this trend. The Nintendo DS did this. The Nintendo Wii did this. The Xbox 360 did this. The Playstation 3's games problem lasted for years. Going back as far as I remember, to the NES, we had this problem. The latest system to do this was the Nintendo 3DS. Now the 3DS is taking off like a rocket, and we all see that reports of the system's death were greatly exaggerated.

    The Nintendo Wii U did not have a stellar launch lineup. This is not exceptional. Most systems have crappy launch lineups, and all systems suffer from a year or a year and a half of game drought. I do no claim to predict the future success of the Wii U, but I can tell you that tales of a console's death prior to its 2nd year birthday are almost always uncalled for.

  • What went wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ildon (413912) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:35PM (#43008195)

    There was basically zero advertising. People still thought it was just an accessory for the Wii even a couple months after it was released. There were almost no games worth buying in the launch window. You had games hardcore players had already bought for their 360/PS3 months ago, another 2D Mario platformer that was barely different from the last 4 "New" Super Mario Bros. games released in the past couple years, a tech demo minigame collection, and ZombiU (which, even if it is a decent game, has a retarded name and, again, basically zero advertising).

    Most critically, they've abandoned what made the Wii such a big fad: an interface so intuitive that your grandma can play the game with you at Thanksgiving/Christmas. WiiU minigames are much more complex and much more "gamey," often requiring players to simultaneously be aware of the action on two screens at once, and with an interface that somehow manages to be even more complex than a standard 360/PS3 controller-based game. Wii's success was completely predicated on the fact that actions performed with the controller mimicked real world physical actions, such as swinging a golf club, tennis racket, or rolling a bowling ball. This type of gameplay has been completely abandoned on the WiiU.

    Combine all this with the global economic recession and the obviously impending announcements of the PS4 and Durango, and you have a recipe for disaster for Nintendo. A recipe which says very little about the future of video games in general or the potential future success of said PS4/Durango. We're looking at another GameCube at best. A Dreamcast at worst.

  • by hackula (2596247) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:38PM (#43008229)
    And the kid purchases the game by entering their credit card info... Oh wait, kids don't fucking have credit cards! Get the parent to put in their info for the kid. Problem solved. Or the kid just lies about their age like they probably do for anything else online. There are facebook pages for babies. I think Nintendo would get by ok.
  • Try Again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oGMo (379) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:58PM (#43008509)

    76.3 million worldwide [scei.co.jp] as of last March. Maybe you consider selling 76 million units "a failure" but you're the only one. Do I smell some fanboyism here? Sure, this is about half of Nintendo's 153 million DS units as of Dec 31, 2012, but considering this is Sony's first handheld and Nintendo has had a dominating stranglehold on the market since 1989 with the Game Boy, that's a pretty good first attempt

    The fact you don't know what the Vita looks like simply means you don't pay attention to the news, or the news you do pay attention to is simply focused on Nintendo-only products.

  • by jonadab (583620) on Monday February 25, 2013 @06:47PM (#43009093) Homepage Journal
    > How do you propose the DRM then?

    Distribute the games on a medium that isn't designed to be easily created with ordinary consumer hardware. Back in the day that meant cartridges. These days it would probably look more like a USB flash drive (or maybe like a memory card), except instead of flash memory inside it would have a ROM chip. The device is designed to read the game software from that medium -- not from a CD, DVD, or hard drive.

    This doesn't stop really determined pirates who have a lot of resources to throw at the problem, but nothing does. It *does* stop casual piracy in the short term, way more effectively than any software DRM ever devised.

    In the long term people will figure out how to read and make images of the games that anyone can use in an emulator on a PC -- if you know where to look, you can easily find ROM images and emulators on the internet for all the old eight-bit consoles -- but that only becomes really practical once the console hardware is sufficiently obsolete to be easily emulated, i.e., after you're already selling at least the subsequent generation of console if not the one after that. From a business perspective, as a maker of proprietary systems, you're going to *say* that this hurts your business; but in practice it isn't actually important, because even if everyone knew about it (and not everyone does), people who might otherwise have bought the game don't generally wait 10+ years just because they know old games are often available in emulation. It might have some impact on your ability to sell titles like "Seven Classic Wii U Games for your Wii 2030", but that sort of nostalgia fodder is never going to be the bulk of your revenue stream in any case.

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