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Is the Wii U Already Dead? 403

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 h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @02:53PM (#43005869)

    I would have bought one already if it was a little cheaper. Nintendo stuff is supposed to be cheap and cheerful. $349 is too much, and the $299 version is too crippled to justify even building much less buying.

    Drop $50 and I will take one today.

  • Not Even Close (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 25, 2013 @02:53PM (#43005879) Journal
    No, I don't think it's even close to dead. I want one but I don't have to have one because titles are still coming out on the Wii. It is my opinion that Nintendo thrives on being the cheapest option. Yes, I know that sounds stupid. But I feel like in every console war the Nintendo option is always at least a little cheaper than the Sony or Microsoft options. Sure, a lot of console makers lose money on consoles and make it up on publishing licenses but Nintendo still comes out with a lower price.

    But in order for that strategy to work, there has to be a comparison. The Wii U came out at a time when it seemed like the console wars were over -- or at least dormant. I think the market and the makers benefit from a three way tie because everyone wants a new console. But when it was just the Wii U the titles weren't that compelling and the hardware was, well, it was Nintendo hardware.

    I predict the Wii U will have flagging sales just like their handheld consoles that come out with no competitor. And then next Christmas when the XBox 720 and PS4 launch, parents will walk into a big box store and little Tommy will want that new $500 PS4 bundle but their eye will catch the Wii U for $175 or $200 and they'll think ... "F it, I'll get him this with a couple games and an extra controller." The kid will initially be unhappy but learn to love it.

    Or they could just release an exclusive Zelda title on it ... I guess I'd be forced to buy it then.

    Anyone have any guesses as to what new feature the Sony or Microsoft offerings could come up with to lockout the Wii U? I mean, there's no new disc standard or input device idea that I'm missing, is there? That'd be the only case where the Wii U would be in trouble -- if there was some new feature X like VR goggles that a consumer just had to have at all costs.
  • Microsoft? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <> on Monday February 25, 2013 @02:54PM (#43005895)

    Why is this story given the Microsoft icon?

  • In-Store-Demo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:04PM (#43006071)

    The system on demo at Best Buy just didn't do it for me. Why they decided to make a simple (if beautiful) side-scroller the only playable demo (the rest are just videos) is beyond me, when the title that supposedly comes with the system is meant to showcase the possibilities.

    I was perplexed as to why they didn't put a game on there that really showed what the machine brings to gaming. When the first Wii came out, people were eagerly waiting in line for a turn to roll a bowling ball or play some tennis. There was often a small group cheering on whoever was currently playing.

    It's almost as if they are intentionally not enticing me to buy the Wii U.

  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:06PM (#43006109) Homepage Journal
    Why is the Wii considered a kids console? Every adult I know has and plays a Wii. The motion controller was much more than a gimmick, it was a functional, useful device for input.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:20PM (#43006345) Journal

    It doesn't help that Nintendo apparently can't comprehend software to save their miserable lives. They can make games; but their grasp of the non-game software components is tragicomedic even compared to Sony, and that's saying something.

    DRM is always user-hostile; but Nintendo's is just hilarious(even as their consoles are markedly easier to crack than Sony's or Microsoft's). Downloaded material is permanently locked to the hardware it was downloaded on. Even now that the Wii U has 'Nintendo network accounts' those are locked to the device they were created on. There is a transfer process for certain sorts of material; but it's the most ass-backwards and error-prone exercise one can imagine. Even better, the 'virtual' Wii within the Wii U, for backwards compatibility, counts as a separate device and is almost entirely non-integrated. It's just terrible at every step.

    Sony's 'well, we could download updates in the background; but instead we'll make you watch' also isn't a masterpiece, and Microsoft is clearly sucking at the ad-money teat a bit too much in laying out their atrocious 'dashboard'; but that's at least evil rather than cluelessness.

  • by oGMo ( 379 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:44PM (#43006729)

    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)

    No, because it's still Nintendo's primary problem. The DS didn't kill the PSP. The PSP was the first successful non-Nintendo gaming handheld, and by "successful" I mean "sold substantially in the popular market", "had a lot of games", and "has a successor". That's pretty successful. The PSP may not have beat the DS in sales figures, but that's still a pretty huge win given the wasteland of other failed non-Nintendo handhelds.

    Innovation isn't gimmickry, but the Wii was gimmickry. It did most certainly not force Microsoft to do anything. Sure, they came out with the Kinect. The number of good games using it? Zero. Sure, it's found a lot of non-gaming use, but that's irrelevant. It's irrelevant to gaming. Nintendo only finally at the end of the Wii's lifecycle managed to show motion controls could work ... but only as well as a regular controller at best. (Worse, Zelda Skyward Sword triggers my RSI too fast to be playable.)

    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.

    For the casual market, maybe something like Ouya is sufficient. Even my Roku XS plays Angry Birds. But this is buying the Nintendo Lie: that everyone is a casual gamer. If anything, fewer people are becoming casual gamers, since so many people are growing up with video games. It's no longer just for nerds.

    In the end, Microsoft and Sony only need to do one thing: make sure their consoles have games that Nintendo doesn't, or even just that they play games better than Nintendo. Given the last three generations of Nintendo consoles (Wii, Cube, N64), this is hardly a stretch.

  • by sheehaje ( 240093 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:01PM (#43006955)

    I just traded my Wii U for a comparable Xbox/kinect system. My kids are already getting more enjoyment and use from the Xbox.

    The Wii U is half baked. Maybe the hardware gets figured out by developers, and even Nintendo, but right now the shortcomings are to visible. Right from system menu navigation being so slow and frustrating that it made me not want to boot up the system. So yeah, Nintendo doesn't do well with the system software designed for their own System.

    I was one of the unfortunate ones to get a system that kept locking up - luckily after over a week being sent from the East to West then back East, I got a working system - but while the system didn't crash anymore, it was still a pain to navigate, and the games were underwhelming.

    It actually wasn't an easy decision to trade the system. Nintendo may work everything out... The gamepad was a unique feature, but not so unique now that Microsoft seems committed to "SmartGlass." But my final decision to give up on the Wii U came down to the kids --- do I get a system they can have fun and variety with now, or do I pay $60 - $70 for half baked ports that may or may not play properly and cross my fingers the kids can have a comparable experience 6 months, a year, 2 years down the road... Nintendo dropped the ball on this system...

    On the other side of things -- maybe they do work it out. I had an Xbox 360 up until about 3 years ago - and the experience on the one I just traded for is much better than the one I got rid of. But I have a hard time thinking Nintendo can fully recover from this one with the PS4 and the next gen Xbox right around the corner... Add in the Steambox and the explosion of tablet gaming and it doesn't look good for the Wii U.

  • by Dorkmaster Flek ( 1013045 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:02PM (#43006979)

    Sure, they came out with the Kinect. The number of good games using it? Zero.

    Correction: The number of good games (series) using the Kinect is one. The Dance Central series is hands down the best use of the Kinect as a peripheral to create a game that literally could not be done any other way. The problem is the same as most games on the Wii. Most developers use motion controls as a substitution for pushing buttons instead of starting with the concept that you can do things based on movement and designing a game solely working off that basis.

  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:39PM (#43007475) Homepage Journal

    Exact opposite happening here. Our Xbox 360 is collecting dust (except occasionally when the kids want to play Tekken 6) & the kids are really digging the Wii U. They play NintendoLand, Super Mario Wii U & Sonic Racing all the time. 5 player gaming that doesn't involve the internet is a big hit at our house. Personally, I'm not too big on the Wiimotes, but I love the Wii U's GamePad. I also like the fact that I can, as of this weekend, get my retro F-Zero fix while the kids are watching TV, without having to fire up an emulator. Can't wait to see what else they release on the Virtual Console.

    If Tekken or possibly Mortal Kombat ever comes out for the Wii U we may as well pack the 360 up for all the use it will get.

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:09PM (#43007861)
    I don't know about anyone else, but as an adult Nintendo seems to be struggling to make me not like the Wii. I got a Wii right when it first game out, and i enjoyed Wii Sports and Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros and a couple others. However there's been a dearth of both good mature and "mature" third party games. There's been _some_ good mature content in Japan, but Nintendo kept refusing to bring over things like Xenoblade Chronicles, Last Story and Pandora's Tower. Ironically(?) they basically said it wasn't going to happen right around the time they promised that the Wii U was going to have more of a hardcore focus, which really diluted their message.

    It doesn't help that the Wii was the first Nintendo console to have serious hardware issues. A lot of the people who got early versions of the console got hit by some kind of disk reading error that affected some pretty major games. Nintendo was willing to fix the problem for free, but you either had to ship the console off somewhere or find a local authorized repair center, and it was a big hassle to deal with. Then just about the point that Nintendo started changing their mind about the above RPGs my Wii got some kind of corrupted memory issue and forced me to reformat it. So now i've got Xenoblade and Last Story, but i'm afraid to start playing them on my Wii because i don't trust the memory. I could get a Wii U, and maybe i will at some point, but right now i want to avoid the early shipments in the hopes that any bugs will get ironed out.

    And honestly, the wiimote is great for some games, but in my experience it's just not that good for other games. Sometimes the developers allow you to use an alternate control mode, but sometimes they insist that you have to use motion controls. (I believe it's Xenoblade that a friend of mine has that will let you use classic controls for the main game but insists you use a wiimote for the starting menus. It doesn't help that their Wii has trouble recognizing the wiimotes a lot of the time, so it's kind of a disincentive whenever they sit down and decide which game to play in the evening.) Sometimes i want to play a simple old school 2D game with simple old school 2D controls. Nintendo _could_ excel at that with their "underpowered" console, but they choose not to. If i want those kinds of games my choice is usually the DS, or more likely, the PC through Steam.

    Of course Nintendo isn't the only company whose console isn't living up to the hype in my opinion. The PS3 has been kinda overwhelmed by "mature" FPS and 3rd person shooter games with a relative dearth of good RPGs and strategy games. I have picked up Disgaea 4, which was great, and FF13, which was okay, and plan to get Ni no Kuni, but that's not a great deal to base a console purchase on. If the trend continues i'm going to be waiting for awhile before picking up a PS4 too. Of course now that i know the PS4 won't be backwards compatible i'm kinda disinclined to buy any more physical PS3 disks.
  • by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @06:18PM (#43008711) Homepage Journal

    Have you heard of the game "Transformers: War for Cybertron"? The Wii version is called "Transformers: Cybertron Adventures."

    If you bought "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" for Wii, you might notice some substantial differences between it and the other platforms (e.g., PC). Blood and gore is practically non-existent, and the bad guys actually say "I'm sorry" after Wolverine's done tearing through them. I wish I were making that up.

    There are exceptions -- take "Madworld," for example -- but by and large, "family-friendly" pretty much does mean content-neutered.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky