The Wii U: Nintendo’s View Of The Next Generation
Satoru Iwata’s got plenty to say about Nintendo’s new console. Just not when it’ll release, or how much it’ll cost.
When Nintendo took to the stage this year at E3, I was holding my breath, ready to get excited about the Wii U. Countless others around the globe had the same feeling, awaiting with bated breath the next generation of home consoles. Alas, after showing off their console (slightly) at E3, many gamers have found themselves turned off by Nintendo’s new console.
I personally believe part of the scepticism of many comes from Nintendo refusing to announce the Wii U’s price and release date. Aside from a vague holiday reference by Reggie Fils-Aime, we literally know nothing about when Nintendo’s latest console will ship and how much it will cost. Given that the Wii U’s controller looks like an expensive piece of kit by itself and it comes with a brand new console, it’s more than easy to be scared of the Wii U’s price.
In fact this fear was also experienced by Nintendo themselves, who have revealed they nearly ditched the Wii U’s Gamepad altogether over potentially high prices.
Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper in the UK, Satoru Iwata – Nintendo head honcho – revealed that the decision to finally go with the Wii U’s unique controller was a difficult one.
“Sometime during that final discussion we almost gave up on the idea of the additional screen,” he says. “This was due to our concern over the expected high cost, it may not have been feasible to create this and sell it at a reasonable price point for the consumers.”
Interestingly, the quote does still skirt around the edges of whether the Wii U will cost a small fortune or not. It really does seem like Nintendo isn’t quite ready to commit to a price model yet on their new console, something that probably needs to be addressed pretty soon to avoid turning gamers off.
Iwata does elaborate further on why the Gamepad was finally decided upon though. “We discussed how we could use that additional screen,” says Iwata. “Like asymmetric gameplay and using it as a touchscreen device to change how people interact with a TV set. The touchscreen is just one foot away from you, so you can read small letters easier and input letters more easily. And then you have the big TV screen ten feet away, which has its own advantages, in that it can be viewed by many people simultaneously.”
I must admit – being able to still play on my console games while the missus wants to watch soaps is an appealing process. Speaking from a personal standpoint I’m still mildly intrigued by the Wii U’s potential, but I’m sceptical about Nintendo’s ability to support it, particularly after last year when the 3DS performed poorly and the Wii was left to flounder with Zelda: Skyward Sword and basically nothing else.
Iwata does go some way to sate my concerns though.
“What happened in the last fiscal year was due to the fact the company failed to create enough momentum for the Nintendo 3DS,” he says. “We learned some grave lessons. But this year, we have already come to the stage where I can say the problem has been fixed. The most important thing for me, is that we should never repeat what happened last year with the 3DS. We haven’t made the announcement yet, but what we have to do is do our best so that we don’t have to mark down the price soon after the launch of the Wii U, like we did with the 3DS.”
So does this mean a lower cost than we expected for the Wii U, or a massive campaign filled with exciting new titles to build up enough hype to support the console? Given the current mentality of many gamers, at least one of these approaches needs to be taken in order to sell the Wii U as aggressively as the original Wii.
As anyone who’s even slightly shrewd could garner, both Microsoft and Sony showed off similar technology to Nintendo’s Wii U this year at E3. Microsoft came out and announced their Smart Glass technology which allows you to use tablet devices with your Xbox 360, and Sony came out and announced cross-play between their Vita and the PS3. It all sounds very like Nintendo’s dual-screen technology.
“It’s quicker than before,” says Iwata, talking about his rivals adopting similar technology. “After our showing of motion control, it took three years for other companies to follow suit. But this time it’s just one year after our proposal, even before we’ve released the actual product. I think that proves the great potential of what we showed last year.”
“However, I have to point out that there are essential differences between what we are doing and what other companies are doing. The main difference is that anyone who has a Wii U will be able to enjoy the two screen experience, while the other companies are saying its optional, but only if you have this device or that device.”
So there you have it. Saturo has a lot more to say about the Wii U over at the Telegraph’s page, but why not tell us before you go exactly how you’re currently feeling about the Wii U?
Either comment below or join up to be a Manatank member and give your two cents in our official discussion thread.