The Problem With Nintendo

If you’re a Nintendo fan, I’m sorry in advance for anything negative I might say regarding Nintendo as a company, but Nintendo needs to get its priorities straight because the Wii U is failing hard.  With concurrent titles being released on the 3DS and the Wii U at relatively the same time it has almost become a joke to purchase a Wii U.  If you can get the same games for a cheaper price on a cheaper handheld console then why would anybody even consider purchasing the more expensive option?  I’d like to outline a few key reasons why I believe the Wii U isn’t doing very well.

1. No Games

I’ve made quite a few trips to GameStop within the past few weeks and one of the major things I notice each time I walk into the store is the absurdly small section of Wii U games being carried almost a year after the console’s launch.  When the Wii U came out Nintendo fans thought that everything would change.  From the time of the Wii U’s announcement, Nintendo promised blockbuster titles like Assassin’s Creed 3, Ninja Gaiden 3, and a few others.  Unfortunately, these were games that many consumers already owned on their current consoles, making the Wii U’s ported version nearly obsolete.  Since launch, games have continued to be ported onto the Wii U, but it goes without saying that many individuals do not have the drive to go out and buy a console for games they can already purchase for the Xbox 360 and the PS3.  Nintendo needs more exclusives that will “wow” people outside of its somewhat stagnant fanbase.  Pikmin 3 is one of the first games to come out on the Wii U that has begun to push Nintendo in the right direction.  Let’s hope that Mario Kart, Smash Bros, and a new Zelda title will be able to save this misplaced console.

hedimgwiivswiiu620pxwmed2. The Wii U is 6 Years Too Late

Before I say anything I would like to preface that I am not an elitist when it comes to graphics, but I do expect effort to be made on behalf of a console’s graphical capabilities.  From what I’ve experienced firsthand I can say that the Wii U looks great graphically compared to the Xbox 360 and the PS3.  Unfortunately, that’s the problem.  The Wii U is 6 years late to the party.  Had it come out back in 2006 the original Wii would not have become such a joke to core gamers over the past generation of consoles.  Just like the Wii paled in comparison to the Xbox 360 and the PS3 back in 2006, I believe the same thing will happen to the Wii U during the launch of the Xbox One and the PS4.  Unless Nintendo starts shelling out some big name titles along with some new exclusive we may being seeing a price cut for the Wii U.

3. Exclusives Receiving Dual Releases

If you are a console gamer you probably expect exclusive games on your console, but with Nintendo that simply isn’t the case.  Since E3 it has become clear that Nintendo’s formula is to simply take 3DS games and port them to the Wii U or visa versa.  Granted, there are some differences between the different versions of the games, but games on the Wii U should be bigger and better, not variants of their 3DS cousins.  We saw that with Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (Wii to 3DS) and we’re seeing it again with Super Mario 3D Land (3DS to Wii U) and Super Smash Bros (Dual Release on Wii U and 3DS).  The problem with this is that it deters people from purchasing a $350 console because the same games are on a $180 handheld console and at a cheaper price.  It’s ridiculous!  If Nintendo wants to sell the Wii U it needs to create console exclusive games and content that will drive consumers to go out and buy it.  To make matters worse, games like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Kid Icarus Uprising were released exclusively for the 3DS.  Why were neither of these games given releases on the Wii or the Wii U?    As a Nintendo fan I have to put my foot down on this one.  Enough is enough!

4. The Name of the Console

This is a small issue and a personal opinion, but in the scheme of things it was a terrible marketing strategy for Nintendo to name their most recent console the “Wii U” with a lot of emphasis on the “Wii” part of the title.  I say this because of the reputation the original Wii has taken upon itself over its somewhat lengthy lifespan.  Over the years the Wii has become a graveyard for third party games focused on poorly crafted mini-games and horrendous controls.  Although the Wii did do incredibly well regarding its sales, the shift to a market of more core gamers with the Wii U simply cannot heed the same results.  The Wii U was Nintendo’s chance to start over and clear its name of the stigma that accompanies the name, “Wii” amongst hardcore gamers.  I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to add “U” to the already existing title, but it was a poor decision given Nintendo’s current marketing strategy.  But hey, what’s done is done.

What’s Next?

I’m still hopeful for Nintendo, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to support a company that doesn’t listen well to its fans.  All we can do is hope for things to finally click at the top level of Nintendo so that things start to take a turn for the better.  I don’t know about you, but I miss the Nintendo we used to know before the era of the Wii.

-Ocarina of Time Nerd

P.S. Feel free to tell me what you think!  What do you think Nintendo needs to do in order to improve its current situation?  Drop a comment below!

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About Joel

Live, love, play video games.
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7 Responses to The Problem With Nintendo

  1. hades252 says:

    1. You are correct. There has been a problem with games, but Nintendo has already acknowledged this and it is being rectified. You have already pointed this out yourself. At least one exclusive per month through the end of the year.

    2. I’m not so sure it’s actually going to be that big of a difference. Not a significant one like the difference between the Wii and the PS3/360. They’re already pushing out games at 1080p and 60fps for the system, it’s powerful enough. I also have to disagree with the major price cut assumption. They’ve already confirmed that they’re selling the console at a loss, have been since launch and that hasn’t changed. If they were making a profit off of each console as they were with their earlier systems, sure, but we probably won’t see an official price cut soon as things stand. Maybe if they still fail to push consoles after all these upcoming games can’t garner any more sales.

    3. I don’t see what’s wrong with taking a console game and making it portable, many people love that. Super Mario 3D World is not the same game as Super Mario 3D Land. They’re similar in visual style and play style, but they’re not the same games. The dual release of Super Smash Bros works in the argument though. How do you know that Super Smash Bros Wii U and Super Smash Bros 3DS will have different price points? Shin Megami Tensei 4 for the 3DS is a $50 game right?

    4. I personally don’t have a problem with the name Wii U. I do understand why they would want to link it with the Wii though. Regardless of how some may feel about it, the Wii was a phenomenal success. They would want to ride the coat tails of that success. It sold around 80 million more units than their previous console and around 35 million more units than they next best selling home console, maintaining that link could help push consoles. But I do see that it has caused some confusion for people. Being named Wii U it could come off as an accessory rather than another system and a name like Wii 2, Wii Two, or Wii Too, may have brought a bit more distinction between consoles.

    I’m not sure what instigates this comment. “I’m still hopeful for Nintendo, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to support a company that doesn’t listen well to its fans.” None of your issues in this article really brought forth any points where they ignored their fans.

    They’ve provided many options for playing their games, they’ve gone back to a more traditional control layout than we got with the Wii as the gamepad has dual analog sticks, the d-pad, shoulder buttons, and four face-buttons. It also has touch controls for those that have become accustomed to iPad and iOS style games. But the Wiimote is still an option, as is it’s Classic Controller. And then there’s the Wii U Pro Controller which is as traditional a controller can get and is pretty great.

    They have a large selection of genres to play announced if not out yet. The Classic Nintendo franchises with Donkey Kong Country – Tropical Freeze out November and Super Mario 3D World out December. Unique action games like The Wonderful 101 coming out in September. And today we have Splinter Cell: Blacklist released, as well as upcoming games like Assassin’s Creed 4, Batman: Arkham Origins, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut. This is not a casual game console as the Wii had been branded, which was a problem for many “hardcore gamers”. They seem to have addressed many of the problems fans had with the Wii, with controls and game selections, where are they not listening?

    • Joel says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! I really do appreciate hearing what people have to say. I must admit that you have excellent points and I have actually gone back and edited small pieces of my article thanks to you!

      Regarding the Wii U and how it will stand up against the next-gen consoles, I totally agree that the Wii U is a powerful machine with 1080p capability and 60 fps. I was merely noting that it’s not that much more powerful than the 360 and the PS3. Granted, the Xbox One and PS4 won’t be noticeably better for the most part, but they are clearly a step ahead of the Wii U and there’s no denying that. Still, I could care less how powerful the systems are. It’s about gameplay and Nintendo has begun to feel bland (in my opinion). I love what they’ve done with the Mario Bros Wii series and Donkey Kong Country Returns, but it feels like they’re moving further back toward the days of the SNES rather than looking forward. I only say this because, since both of those games, we have seen Super Mario Bros Wii U, which is basically a 1080p version of its predecessor with more power-ups, and we’ll be seeing another side scrolling Donkey Kong game. What happened to thinking outside the box? I’d love to see something more along the lines of DK 64. It just feels like a waste of talent to put Retro Studios on another side scrolling Donkey Kong game. Can we have a new Metroid game please?

      Additionally, when it was announced that we’d be seeing a new 3D Mario game around E3 I was really excited because I thought we’d be seeing something more along the lines of Sunshine or Galaxy, but instead we got a variation of an already existent 3DS game. I will admit that I have not played Super Mario 3D Land, but 3D World seems to be a 3D version of Super Mario Bros Wii U. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I’m sure it will be a fun game, but I know there are a lot of people who want something a bit more complex and grounded in Nintendo’s roots from the Gamecube and N64 era. That’s the biggest problem with all of this. I don’t think any of these games are bad. In fact, I really enjoy a lot of them, but it feels like Nintendo is playing it safe and it simply isn’t the time for that with next-gen consoles on the verge of release.

      On the topic of the Wii U’s price point, I may be wrong, but multiple major retailers in the UK have already pulled the plug on the basic set as well as the deluxe set. For goodness sake that’s pathetic, especially when the same stores are still selling the original Wii.

      Regarding the name of the Wii U, the only reason I bring that up is because of the current market strategy being implemented by Nintendo. Would you agree that Nintendo has tried to capture more core gamers with the Wii U via ports of games from other consoles? If so, there lies the problem. The Wii was vastly underpowered and plagued by TERRIBLE games with a few good ones scattered throughout its lifetime. Because of this, many core gamers saw the Wii as a system for casual gamers and families. Clearly, the Wii U is being catered to both audiences now, but many families already have a Wii, so what’s the point of getting a Wii U? That is sort of my theory on why the Wii U has flopped initially. No one really needs/wants it.

      I suppose my closing statement was a bit rash, but it stems from Nintendo’s strange choice in game development. I know for a fact that there is a huge group of people who want a Majora’s Mask remake, but instead we get a Wind Waker remake. I’m sorry, but that is a slap in the face. The Wind Waker is probably the most casual Zelda game out there and one of the most controversial. If they were thinking at all they would have done a total overhaul on the game (i.e. adding the missing water dungeon). Instead, we get minor improvements like faster sailing, an improved item menu, and the tingle bottle…really? It just feels half-assed. Nintendo is good at listening, but not to their core fan base. That’s a topic for another article though.
      The bottom line is that I’m hopeful Nintendo will get back on its feet within this next season due to some big title releases. I WANT Nintendo to succeed, which is why it ires me that they’ve taken so long to change things up a bit. They will always have their Nintendo exclusives to drive sales, but they need something more than that right now and it just hasn’t quite come to fruition.

      Also, I have no problem with the controllers, nor do I have any problems with the list of games you mentioned, but the last set of games you mentioned aren’t going to drive people to go out and get a Wii U. If I wanted any of those games I’d go out and get them on my 360. For most people, Super Mario 3D world and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze aren’t deal breakers. They’re close, but not quite there. Either way, my main point in writing this article was to express the similarities in games between the 3DS and the Wii U. Honestly, I’m sure a lot of people would rather spend less money on the handheld version of the games, which indeed are lower in cost. Amazon has Smash Bros for the 3DS listed at $39.99 and it’s Wii U counterpart listed at $59.99. Even if the variants of DK and Mario aren’t exactly the same, I’m sure most people wouldn’t need to play both version to feel fulfilled. It’s kind of a “one or the other” type of thing.

      I want you to know that I am a big fan of Nintendo, which is why I took the time I did to write this article. I have a Wii, and NES, a SNES, and two N64s in my room. I want to buy a Wii U, but Nintendo hasn’t given me a reason to just yet. That is why I am hopeful for this upcoming year.

      Again, thank you so much for your comment. I can tell that you know your stuff! Feel free to comment any time!

  2. Billie Jean says:

    To say that the Super Mario 3D land is a port is absurd. New levels, more characters, more powerups, and so forth. I’d use an appropriate analogy, but I can’t think of one.

    • Joel says:

      I apologize. I clearly didn’t do my homework on that one. Thank you for the correction.
      Still, the items you mentioned aren’t enough to drive sales for the Wii U. When most people look at the games side by side they could probably care less which version they end up playing. For many, it will end up being the cheaper version, which is why the Wii U will have a problem getting off the shelf. Even if the games are different to an extent, they’ll still be variations of one another. You can’t sell consoles that way.

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