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Nintendo Input Devices Wii Games

Iwata Confirms Nintendo Network, New Wii U Controller Functions 111

New submitter DeanCubed writes "In a Nintendo investor meeting, CEO Satoru Iwata confirmed a new Nintendo Network for the company's 3DS and upcoming Wii U game systems. This includes multiple user accounts per console (not tied to hardware, a first for Nintendo) and digitally distributed retail software releases for their online store. Iwata also noted that the Wii U's tablet controller will feature NFC (Near Field Communication) functionality, allowing the ability to use figurines and cards to input visual data to the console. They are hoping to use this to make micro-transactions for paid DLC easier."
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Iwata Confirms Nintendo Network, New Wii U Controller Functions

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  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Friday January 27, 2012 @11:56AM (#38840007) Journal

    Having read both TFA and a few other more detailed articles out there (Eurogamer has a good one), the Nintendo Network looks like a good thing, albeit one which is many years overdue. It'll be good to have the it there, but it's hard to see anybody getting excited about it, given that at best it will bring functionality on a par with Xbox Live and the Playstation Network.

    I think the Wii-U is a cause for greater concern. It's going to be launching in difficult economic times. The 3DS did that last year and its initial sales were poor. They've now recovered a bit (though they're still below forecast), but only at the expense of Nintendo having to sell the system at a loss. Now, selling at a loss isn't exactly a bad strategy (it worked wonders for Sony with the PS2), but it's very much counter to Nintendo's historic strategy. The Vita, also launching in difficult times, has had a poor Japanese launch despite a really quite good launch-games lineup. Having seen what the Vita can do, I very much want to own one - but I'll be surprised if its US and European sales don't fall well short of targets. I get the feeling that 2012 is going to be a really bad time to be launching a console - most people are unlikely to be feeling any kind of real economic recovery during the year. Microsoft and Sony have clearly decided to hold on and wait in the hope of a kinder economy; Nintendo, with Wii sales exhausted and their finances at an all-time low, don't have that option.

    But more worrying still is the lack of a real public narrative around the Wii-U. The Wii had one of these. Motion control was easily grasped. You could watch somebody demonstrating one - or try a demo unit yourself - and "get" the concept instantly. If you actually used the thing more extensively, you'd come up against its limitations very quickly; the motion control was imprecise and in many cases placed a barrier between the player and the game that meant it ended up less immersive than traditional controllers. But by then, the sale was made. The Wii-U is a much harder concept to grasp. It's a home console which has some tablet-ish features. But how will it work with a room full of people? What will the tablet actually add to the games? And how is it going to be fun at a party with a room full of people with a few drinks inside them?

    There are actually answers to those questions if you look around enough at the material that's been made available. But they're not simple answers and they're not easily communicated. On that basis, I just cannot see the Wii-U replicating the success of the Wii's early years. I'm also unsure that the pitch to the more traditional "gamer" crowd will work. There's a lot of frustration with the current generation's techological limitations. But I don't sense any confidence that Nintendo - who, let's not forget, have spent the time since the Wii's launch neglecting this demographic - are the people to usher in the next generation. I also find it hard to imagine developers doing much with the Wii-U's hardware - which is better than the current generation, but not by a huge margin - putting much resource into developing games for it that actually push it beyond what the 360 and PS3 can do. More likely, it will just get a lot of PS3/360 ports, which present little compelling reason for the "gamer" crowd to jump ship from their existing platforms until those get replaced.

    The 3DS also suffered from a mis-managed message at launch. It was launched on the basis of "look 3d!" rather than "look, more powerful DS with better graphics". People weren't interested in 3d. A better DS is a stronger pitch and Nintendo have had more success with the 3DS since they switched to it. But I'm struggling to see what the pitch is with the Wii-U.

    I've been wrong on calling "Nintendo are doomed" before. But I'm finding it very hard to see a convincing path to success for the Wii-U. The Wii was the right product at the right time (I admit it took me a while to recognise this). But for Nintendo to capitalise on that success, I think they needed to have a replacement ready by the back end of 2009 or early 2010 at the latest. As it is, they've endured a pretty grim second half of this console cycle and are in a very risky position now.

  • by StoneyMahoney ( 1488261 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:41PM (#38840579)

    "The 3DS did that last year and its initial sales were poor."

    The 3DS may have had sales figures that weren't as good as they were expecting, but having sold 15million units quicker than either that Wii or the DS, I have to wonder just what those forecasters were smoking at the time. The attach rate of the console was pretty poor at first but that was mainly because the hardware launched without any first-party titles alongside it.

    "What will the tablet actually add to the games?"

    Rephrase that question to what will the Wii-U bring to tablet games, and keep in mind how popular the touch screen has become as a gaming interface in the mobile arena. I think that's a smart angle to go for. Nintendo promised the world with motion controls, disappointed everyone at first, but then lived up to that promise (for a price) with MotionPlus. Considering that Wii-U works with Wiimotes, MotionPlus might get a chance to shine and revitalize enthusiasm for motion control like Kinect did.

    "I'm struggling to see what the pitch is with the Wii-U."

    That's probably because they haven't pitched it to us yet.

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