GR Showdown: Is The Wii U's Future In Trouble?
Posted on Friday, March 1 @ 17:20:00 PST by GR_Staff
GR Showdown pits the Game Revolution staff against each other in a passionate debate on a particular hot-button gaming topic. Our self-imposed rules? There is no middle ground—all must take a side. All debates will have an equal number of representative on both sides: either 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 . And all our arguments must be made in 350 words or fewer; 500 or fewer, if it's 1-on-1. Which side are YOU on?
This Week's Topic: Is The Wii U's Future In Trouble?
Anthony Severino - YES (Rebuttal): Silly, Daniel! We're not talking about the 3DS here. Though it shows that Nintendo can turn things around, the circumstances are very different with the Wii U.
The Wii U is struggling, contrary to the 3DS, due to lack of software and a clear message from Nintendo. What is it that the Wii U does, exactly? How is it better or different from other consoles or even the Wii before it? What, the GamePad? It's a screen trying to pawn itself off as a tablet. It’s not portable and doesn’t run apps on its own. If it’s not clicking with other developers, this dry spell of support will continue.
Unlike the 3DS's gimmick, the GamePad is central to the Wii U experience. You just can’t turn it off. So comparing the Wii U’s current struggles to the 3DS and thinking it’s going to work itself out is just wishful thinking.
Whereas the 3DS's only competition is the struggling PlayStation Vita, the Wii U released in its own middle-generation, sandwiched between the PS3 and Xbox 360, which have massive install bases and huge libraries, and the PS4 and the next Xbox, which will surely have both superior content and hardware. Developers will have difficulty scaling projects down to work on the Wii U. Even worse, it doesn’t have the Wii's initial leap in install base and hype.
While Nintendo can support the console alone, the Wii U doesn't have that ace up its sleeve like the Wii's motion controls. As for online gaming, it's playing catch up with the PSN and Xbox LIVE of 2007. When personalization and cloud-integration arrives, it will make the Wii U’s service look like some poor schlep sending smoke signals to his friends to start an online game together. It's fucking archaic.
Nintendo released Wii U too late for this gen and with not enough power for next gen. It was in trouble before it was ever released. And now its competition are beginning to show their hand, that danger has become ever more clear and apparent.
Alex Osborn - NO (Rebuttal): Instead of rambling on about the handheld market, which is clearly not the topic of conversation, let's look at Nintendo's console history. I'm sure you'd agree with the fact that the Wii U is quite possibly headed toward a similar future as the GameCube, which in my humble opinion is far from troubling.
The debate at hand is whether or not the Wii U's future is in trouble and while, yes, there are more powerful consoles on the horizon and, yes, the Wii U will almost certainly have lackluster third-party support, you can't underestimate the power of the company's first-party franchises. Anthony, you said it yourself: "Nintendo can support the console alone." So why would the Wii U be in trouble?
The crux of your argument is based on the presupposition that the Wii U needs to compete with the PS4 and next Xbox. That couldn't be further from the truth. Nintendo doesn't want to compete with Sony and Microsoft, and they proved that with the Wii. Sure, the GamePad may not be as compelling of a gimmick, but that's not what made the Wii great anyway. Gamers and casual fans alike want more Mario and more Zelda, and the only place to get that is on Nintendo's platform.
We're still incredibly early on in the Wii U's life, so painting a picture of doom and gloom only a few months after its release is a bit asinine if you ask me. Nintendo has a new 3D Mario title in the works, a brand-new Zelda (not to mention a remake of Wind Waker), Super Smash Bros. 4, and no doubt some other surprises as well. Will the Wii U win the next-gen console war? Probably not, but that doesn't mean the platform is in trouble either.
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