The 4th Wall: Will U Wii U?

 

Last week, Nintendo finally provided gamers with real information regarding their next home console, the Wii U.  The public knew next to nothing about the system aside from the existence of the GamePad and information on a few games.  Nintendo revealed more information on the GamePad, NintendoTVii, and h ow the system is going to connect to everything they feel gamers need for the ultimate overall experience.  Let’s look at some of the positives and negatives I see with Nintnedo’s new console.

Pros:

Innovation:

Nintendo has always tried to bring gamers a different way to play games.  From the Gameboy to the Wii, they’ve always tried to be innovative.  Sometimes they fail (Virtual Boy).  For the most part, they succeed (everything except Virtual Boy).  With the Wii U, Nintendo is looking to push the envelope again.  The system comes with a GamePad.  Players can use the GamePad’s physical buttons and analog sticks to control the action on their TV.  The GamePad also has a touchscreen that can be used in various ways, such as: inventory management, a HUD (heads-up display), andyou can even move the action from the TV to the GamePad if your wife wants to watch American’s Next Top Model.

It can be used to watch videos through services such as Netflix and Hulu via Nintendo’s NintendoTVii service.  If you have cable, you can also use the GamePad to watch television shows through your provider.  For anyone with a Tivo, you can set recordings and watch them on the GamePad as well.  The GamePad is also able to be used as a remote control.

Graphics and Connectivity:

Finally, Nintendo is entering the high-definition era.  The Wii U will display in resolutions up to 1080p and even comes with an HDMI cable.  You know that even the mere mention of an HD Legend of Zelda game is enough to make gamers salivate more than one of Pavlov’s dogs.

It also seems that Nintendo finally discovered how to use the internet.  The Wii U looks to keep gamers connected at all times and without a monthly fee.  The system will also have its own social networking system.

Games:

The Wii had its share of good games.  It also had mounds of shovelware.  Wii U looks to be getting a lot of triple A titles right out of the gate.  New Super Mario Bros. U, Mass Effect 3, Assassins Creed 3 and more.  Now, most of the big titles are ports.  But, it’s good to see Nintendo owners getting the chance to play amazing titles that were only on the other two consoles.  Perhaps the biggest announcement regarding Wii U games was the release of Bayonetta 2 as a Wii U exclusive.  This is a huge move by Nintendo in an attempt to prove to the gaming world that the company still cares about the hardcore gamer.

Cons:

Risky Endeavor:

The Wii’s motion controls were the most innovative thing in gaming when the system was first released.  After a while, they became the biggest gimmick in gaming.  The Wii U, while innovative, runs the risk of being viewed as gimmicky.  Developers need to work hard to figure out how to do interesting and unique things with the GamePad.   The GamePad also needs to be set apart from other tablets like the iPad in terms of what would make people want to use it instead of their iPad as their entertainment resource.

Nintendo also looks to be banking on the fact that most Wii owners will upgrade.  A decent number may, but the Wii was aimed at the casual gamer, and they are less inclined to upgrade.

Price Point:

Wii U comes with two different price points.  The basic system will cost $300.  There is also a deluxe package that includes more memory, a copy of Nintendo Land, and a few other goodies that will run $350.  The small difference in the amounts makes the $350 Wii U the way to go.  This is still pretty high in terms of pricing.  Of course, the system includes the GamePad, so it’s somewhat justified.  However, there are numerous hidden costs to consider.  Unless you already have a Wii, you’ll need the Wii controls to play any Wii games you buy.  If you sell your Wii, you’ll lose GameCube backwards compatibility.  You’ll also spend $50 on the standard controller, which isn’t packaged in.  Games are going to run $60 a piece, and Nintendo Land will only last so long if you decide to go with the $350 Wii U.  Oh, and a second GamePad will run you a cool $175.  And, there won’t be a price drop for quite some time since Microsoft and Sony’s systems are still at least a year out.

Findings:

I think the Wii U has the potential to be a good system.  Nintendo has always been a company dedicated to quality.  As long as things don’t get gimmicky, the system will do fine.  It’s already sold out online, which is a good sign for the Big N.  It doesn’t hurt that they’re releasing a Mario game alongside it.  With the new Xbox and Playstation still a long way out, Nintendo has a jump on the next console generation.  It’ll be interesting to see how the Wii U is received and how much Nintendo and third party developers work to keep gamers happy.

-The 4th Wall is an imaginary barrier that separates a particular medium from its audience.  It is also a weekly column on Vagary.tv born from the Just In Bailey column, written by Joey Alesia.  Each week, Joey looks at video games and the industry as a whole and works to break the 4th Wall armed with over 25 years of gaming knowledge and a twisted sense of humor.  Be sure to follow Joey on Twitter (@wrkngclsswrtr) or email him at Joey.Alesia@Vagary.tv.

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Author: Joey Alesia View all posts by
Joey's adventure into the realm of video games began at 3 when Nintendo first hit the West. He grew up a Nintendo fan and ended up branching out to Playstation when FF7 hit and XBox when Oblivion hit the 360. He's not huge on first person shooters or sports games but definitely enjoys a good RPG or survival horror game. His all-time favorite series is definitely The Legend of Zelda, followed extremely closely by Metal Gear. Joey has a firm belief that games should be treated with respect when they are made and that the classics should never be overlooked.
  • Don Parsons

    I find it funny that so many people defended Nintendo for not having the Wii play DVD’s at the very least. “It’s a game system to play games on,” they all said. Now, Nintendo is launching with NintendoTVii or whatever, and gamers are applauding it.
    That said, the WiiU looks cool. I want one but won’t be getting one at launch. I am interested in two games (NSMBU and LEGO City), but I have enough PS3 games coming this fall to last me without purchasing a whole new console.

  • Chris Scott

    “Unless you already have a Wii, you’ll need the Wii controls to play any Wii games you buy.”
    And Wii U games as well.
    “Oh, and a second GamePad will run you a cool $175.”
    Nintendo of America is not going to sell GamePads individually. For the forseeable future the only way to get one is by buying it with the system.