I wanted to write this post as I felt I needed to clarify my sentiments about the WiiU now that more information has been revealed about it in the aftermath of Nintendo’s E3 announcement. I have to say that I was only upset with Nintendo’s horrendously planned reveal, which had the entire world wondering just what exactly had been premiered. In showcasing the new controller, they forgot to mention at the time that yes, this was actually an entirely new console. Naming it the WiiU certainly didn’t help, as at first it appeared to be a new sort of peripheral for the existing Wii, and it took some time to figure out that wasn’t the case.
My dislike of the name is still firmly in place, as it hardly rolls off the tongue. I’m still not a fan of the “Wii” which is still kind of an inherently ridiculous name for a console, but one we’ve simply gotten used to over time. But to make it even more awkward with WiiU? Ugh. Nintendo would have been better off with a brand new monkier altogether, as in addition to the strange sound, it would have been more easy to bring the hardcore crowd back on board who associate that system with toddlers and their grandparents.
But speaking as one of the hardcore, the information I’ve learned about the system SINCE its reveal has me thinking that the WiiU is actually a pretty stellar idea. Increased graphical capability, full third party support and a new way to play that could actually be useful, and doesn’t exist solely as a gimmick, and they just might have the potential to bring someone like me back into the fold.
One thing I’ve learned that Nintendo isn’t making explicitly clear is that this new console should, in fact, end up being more powerful than the 360 and PS3. Clearly the system wasn’t all the way there yet, which is why we only got a tech demo and little light was shed on the box itself, but after I learned that all the demo footage being shown is just that, demo footage, not rendered with the system’s graphics engine, and thus I don’t think we’ve seen the true potential of the WiiU yet. If that damn bird video is any indication, the graphics could indeed trump the current competition.
Even if the new system is merely on par with its present rivals, think about a Nintendo console with full third party support. Practically ALL of the best titles these days are from third parties and cross platform. Call of Duty, Battlefield, Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, Dead Space, Arkham, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, the list is practically endless. Not all of these developers are for-sure on board, but if the WiiU can run their games, it would be foolish of them not to partner with Nintendo, particularly if this console sells well. The only reason most of them haven’t previously is because their games could literally not run on Nintendo’s underpowered system. But give them that ability, and combine all those franchises with Nintendo’s stable of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Pikmin, Pokemon and more, and it’s easy to see how they could vastly outpace Microsoft’s Halo and Gears of War or Sony’s Uncharted and Killzone. It would certainly make me think twice about my current console of choice.
Nintendo wanted to focus mainly on the controller this year as the full system wasn’t ready to be shown yet. I don’t blame them for this, it’s just that they could have made that a little more clear. We got a glimpse of what was shown in the demo video, but when you stop and think about it, it really could change games as we know them, for both casual AND hardcore players. Casuals can put the screen on the ground for WiiU golf and things of that nature, but actual gamers? This odd giant controller could be exceptionally useful.
The most immediate thing that comes the mind is the elimination of needing to go into a menu to check something. In a game like Fallout, your Pip-Boy would literally be in your hands. In a game like Elder Scrolls, your stats and inventory would already be open and in front of you. It’s actually hard to see a type of game that COULDN’T use this application.
I was worried that the controller would be cumbersome, as let’s be honest, the thing is an elephant, but I’m being told it’s incredibly light weight, and this new picture of the rear puts my mind at ease that it would seem to be more ergonomic than it initially appears. Plus, there are trigger buttons!
Another brilliant thing they’ve done is preemptively make Sony look unoriginal. Sony showed that the Vita can take its games and play them on the big screen. Nintendo showed that the WiiU can do it the other way around. If Sony DOES figure out some way to get a lower-res version of a PS3 title to be transferrable and playable on the Vita, even if it’s a brilliant technological wonderment, they’re absolutely going to look like copycats.
They may have botched the reveal, but once we’re able to see the full potential of this thing, I think it’s going to turn a lot of heads, and once again Nintendo will be ahead of the curve with others playing catch-up once again.