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COMMENT | You Blew It, Nintendo

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
E3 2013, Nintendo, Nintendo Direct E3 2013, Wii U

There was an opportunity here.

One last chance, you could say, for Nintendo to capitalise on the only time they have left. Despite releasing a clear year before any hint of threat from the next-gen consoles, The Wii U has faltered and choked; failing to deliver even the bare minimum of multiplatform ports alongside any hint of a consistent first party pipeline.

E3 2013 was their final opportunity to make up for lost time, but instead of bringing things home with an emphatic reveal, Nintendo flinched, fumbled and blew it over the course of 41 minutes.

As a day-one Wii U owner, I've been showing Nintendo some tough love over the last few months, and often gone out to bat for them as devil's advocate. Now the gloves come off. Unfortunately, unbelievably, yesterday's showing was just making the best of a bad situation.

COMMENT | You Blew It, Nintendo

See, Nintendo actually revealed some fantastic stuff. Super Mario 3D World may just be a revamp of the 3DS' flagship Mario title, but Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. both looked absolutely exquisite. Classic Ninty properties brought screaming into the next-generation with gorgeous visuals, classic action and new tweaks. I was practically jumping for joy while watching the reveals, and imagining all the multiplayer fun I have in store as a Wii U owner.

It gets better. Bayonetta 2 revealed its gameplay debut with all the intricately-designed insanity we've come to love from Platinum Games; our heroine duelling atop F22-Raptors in flight and engaging in aerobatic, tight, fluid combat. Day. Freaking. One. MonolithSoft's X has us excited more than Square Enix' announcements - since it's a truly open-world JRPG based on the best JRPG in years, from a studio who's proven themselves to be one of the best in the business. This could genuinely the first next-gen JPRG in gameplay terms, not just visuals.

COMMENT | You Blew It, Nintendo

All of which would have made for an utterly emphatic Nintendo Direct or even E3 press conference... last year. Unfortunately, Nintendo have managed to arrive late to their own  party.

Both Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros missing Christmas is inexcusable. Unacceptable. Iwata would have been fired from any other company by now.

Nintendo are perfectionists. They take great pride and pains in never releasing a bad first party game, but this leads to enormous development times and potential delays. Nintendo simply didn't start developing the Wii U's system sellers early enough, games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros., to account for this - meaning that we now have niche titles like ZombiU and Pikmin 3 releasing before the big hitters. Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros are designed to get people onto the platform, and once they're firmly in the Nintendo camp, Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 give them a reason to stay loyal. It doesn't work the other way around!

COMMENT | You Blew It, Nintendo

More to the point, the Xbox One and PS4 release in a matter of months. Nintendo had a whole year to make merry without next-gen competition, twelve months to shower players with exclusives and beef up the install base before the Microsoft and Sony machines broke cover. They failed to do so, and in the last few months before the next-gen truly starts, we only have a paltry lineup to tide us over. HD Wind Waker?  Okay. The Wonderful 101 looks amazing, but it's no system seller. Super Mario 3D World? It'll be fun, sure, but it's out in December.

There'll be other things to buy in December. Did Iwata not get the memo?

Another Donkey Kong Country game is quite literally the last thing we need right now, considering the dearth of Metroid, Star Fox or new franchises on the platform. It amazes me that Nintendo haven't tasked their studios with their biggest franchises, or even combined them to get their system sellers out of the door. They revealed nothing for the coming months beyond a new Art Academy, yet didn't even bother to bring their massive new Zelda title to the show for fear that we might get too excited about it! At every stage, Nintendo's leadership defies logic and moves at a snail's pace when their rivals are moving faster than ever.

COMMENT | You Blew It, Nintendo

Put simply, the Wii U will fail to move, to progress, to evolve and critically to sell before next year, at which point the competition will be absolutely fearsome. I want to offer solutions. I want to extend platitudes and find some silver linings. But I can't, at least, not yet.

Never mind. I'm off to play some more Fire Emblem: Awakening, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and wait for Animal Crossing to arrive. Gosh, isn't it nice to play and look forward to games on a Nintendo console?

Add a comment7 comments
Late  Jun. 12, 2013 at 14:31

Just drop the sodding price, Nintendo. I know you don't want to, as you'll make a loss on each unit, but a lower price is the only way you're going to get the machine into millions more homes.
You aren't enticing people with your games line up, and it's hard to appreciate the U's other selling points without experiencing them.

I don't really want one, but if it's around £120 for the base or £150 for the premium I may well buy one just for the heck of it. Just like I did with the original Wii. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Once it's in peoples' homes they'll buy games. I didn't like the original Wii but I probably bought about 25-30 physical retail games for it, plus a fair few digital items and uncountable peripherals.
Nintendo can afford to take a hit on the console and make their money on the games and peripherals (whilst bringing out a new coloured machine every year or so) - it's what they've always done. (Or perhaps they can't afford to take a hit to their immediate cashflow to secure a much higher future income. Which is a very worrying proposition.)

Twas definitely a very sad E3 for the company, though. I want Nintendo to do well. I want to like what they're doing. But they're just infuriating me, these days... :(

Last edited by Late, Jun. 12, 2013 at 14:48
Realhoneyman  Jun. 12, 2013 at 14:49

Hey you know how it is right now. 3DS is doing strong, getting plenty of support, dominating the portable games market. The Wii U is still in the warming up stages and that's how it'll remain until next year.

Perhaps Nintendo ducking out of consoles after this generation and concentrating on portables/being a huge 3rd party would be a good future course of action?

I also want Nintendo to flourish but we all know their current stance:

'Title xxx is coming, please wait.'

(You can frame that for free).

Time will tell what happens but I'm looking in my crystal ball and it's showing a SONY-led future for the upcoming generation.

See you around, Wii U...

Last edited by Realhoneyman, Jun. 12, 2013 at 14:56
Realhoneyman  Jun. 12, 2013 at 14:54

I'd like to add that admitting my double standards in the process, I'm really looking forward to Bayonetta 2, X and Super Smash Bros. They look fabulous, great to play and that's fine.

What I'm not excited about is the other updated versions of previous Nintendo franchises. I can admit that there is a market for these games but please Nintendo, create and get some new franchises out there (or at least change up the type of game you're going to make with established characters (the Metroid Prime series being a perfect example)).

Maybe I've just aged and matured too much. These titles aren't for me anymore. Then again, I had superb fun with Super Mario Galaxy so what do I know?

N.B Walking Dead on Wii U/3DS would be the best. Just saying.

Last edited by Realhoneyman, Jun. 12, 2013 at 14:57
JonLester  Jun. 12, 2013 at 15:07

@Late: There'll probably need to be an official price crash at this rate. Sony have rather forced their hands here.

@Realhoneyman: True, but it shouldn't take over a year for the Wii U to get out of its "warming up stage." The lack of a system seller is still inexcusable - seriously, I can't quite get over why Mario Kart 8 in year 1 wasn't a massive priority for the Big N.

Like you, I'm so up for Bayonetta 2, X, SSB, MK8... hell, pretty much everything they showed here. It's just a year too late, and Nintendo just weren't ready.

Late  Jun. 12, 2013 at 15:23

I'm loving the look of X, from the little I've seen. Looks like a potential system seller. But I thought that about Aliens Colonial Marines (sorry to bring that up!) and about Lego City Undercover, and both fell a long way shy of the mark. The Lego title looks good, but no system seller.

EDIT - actually, ACM was completely scrapped for the U, if memory serves. No loss.

Last edited by Late, Jun. 12, 2013 at 16:58
jpxdude  Jun. 12, 2013 at 15:28

GOOD NEWS!

COD: Ghosts has been confirmed for Wii U

I'm sure more details of other 3rd party games will trickle through soon.

JonLester  Jun. 12, 2013 at 16:10

@jpxdude: Good news indeed. Third party support is absolutely crucial, though problematically most of them are waiting for some more first party big guns. Also, erm, getting a game on Black Ops II or AC3 on Wii U is sometimes tricky. Multiplayer communities need a big install base.

There's some more Wii U/3DS third party details here, if you're interested.

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