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Nintendo's Rampant Idiocy | Why I'm Still Not Ready To Buy A Wii U

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Nintendo, Wii U, Wii U games

Nintendo's Rampant Idiocy | Why I'm Still Not Ready To Buy A Wii U

I put down SimCity as my Disappointment of 2013, and that's a pretty good shout given EA's complete failure to be able to launch an online experience (see also the embarrassment Battlefield 4). But in truth I lied. Nintendo have once again been the biggest disappointment by somehow pissing twelve months of competition-free shelf space up the wall, not delivering an improved user experience, and blithely continuing on in a spirit of denial and delusion as their house crumbles.

If he was the head of any other company, Iwata might well have been kicked out of the door several times over by now.

I keep trying to get excited for the Wii U. Every time a new Nintendo Direct comes out, old loyalties kick start my Nintendo hype engine and for the space of five minutes I'm suddenly fervently in favour of buying a Wii U. But every time I've gone to find a bundle and slap down some cash for Nintendo's curvier little white fun box, my enthusiasm has faltered at the last moment thanks to a slap in the face by principle and pragmatism.

Nintendo's Rampant Idiocy | Why I'm Still Not Ready To Buy A Wii U

Anyone who's been following our podcast series Game Buzz will know that we've spent a lot of the last eighteen months ragging on Nintendo over the Wii U with good reason. But there's been a progressive series of benchmarks as announcements have been made and games unveiled where I've basically said, Yeah, I reckon I'll get one when this game comes out.

First it was LEGO City Undercover, then Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101, and now I find myself staring into the brightly-lit Christmas abyss having almost bought a Wii U in the Amazon flash sale last week. But I didn't. A year on from the Wii U's release and I still can't bring myself to buy one, mainly because of Nintendo's rampant idiocy.

This has been a year that's seen another of the Big Three (console manufacturers, that is) make some spectacular blunders. Microsoft had a PR meltdown across several months, scoring countless own goals, and spouting more rubbish than a sewage pipe. They royally screwed the pooch on a number of occasions, directly pissing off consumers left, right, and centre by dropping massive speeches filled with execrable buzzwords about DRM and always-online. Then, in the face of massive backlash, they hauled their entire Xbox One campaign around, made several high-profile u-turns, got the damn thing out and still managed to sell 2 million consoles in eighteen days.

Nintendo's Rampant Idiocy | Why I'm Still Not Ready To Buy A Wii U

How? Well, there are three answers to that: They locked down the games, they told people about the games, and they acted to rectify their errors.

In a year where Nintendo have once again had no competition (excepting the past month), they've somehow managed to twiddle their thumbs and completely squander any promise we saw for the Wii U at the start of the year by failing to consolidate their position with strong releases, alienating third parties thanks to a first-party slate full of delays and gaps, and somehow, somehow managing to be even worse at communicating why anyone should buy a Wii U than they were last year.

The Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 were supposed to be launch titles. Instead they arrived in August with all of the pomp and circumstance of a rainy day in Skegness. Wind Waker HD is excellent, but it seems built far more oriented-towards nostalgia addicts than attracting a new audience and misses the point entirely: we want to see these IPs pushed creatively and we crave gaming experiences we can't get elsewhere. To that last point, nothing underlined Nintendo's abject failure to distinguish the Wii U from its predecessor than by bundling the console together with New Super Mario Bros. U.

Nintendo's Rampant Idiocy | Why I'm Still Not Ready To Buy A Wii U

And then there's New Super Mario 3D World, by all accounts an excellent game. So what did Nintendo do? Well, they put out one or two little adverts over here, and then decided to drop it on the same day as the PS4 launched in Europe. Without its own bundle. Their flagship game of the season -- a game that can be played locally with friends and family, a perfect Christmas accompaniment, you would have thought -- slipped into an existing bundle with one and a half other Mario games (don't even get me started on New Super Luigi U), and priced just below the PS4 at £300. Seriously? What the hell were you thinking Nintendo? How did that seem like a good idea? That the mediocre Knack outsold New Super Mario 3D World isn't surprising. But that the latter failed to register any impact on the charts at all most definitely is. And it could have been avoided.

Kenny Linder, of the now-defunct, Sony-owned studio BigBig, summed it up best in a rant on NeoGAF that's been edited now, but not before Nintendo Life posted the best bits:

Releasing [SM3DW] the same day as PS4 in UK/EU wasn’t wise. The frustrating thing was this game was probably ready to go in October. I think retail and the market will push Nintendo in a direction whether they like it or not. They MUST be in danger of losing shelf space at this point. Retail will have four major consoles (PS3/4, 360/One) plus 3DS/2DS to push which will all move units, and it looks like Mario can’t help even poor Wii U out. If it goes from shelves, it will be finished. I am still confident in my crazy mind that Wii U will not see another Christmas after this one. But that’s just me. The future games will just get moved/axed.

Releasing Mario on Friday was a really stupid thing to do, it could of come out weeks before that. I wonder if the same gamers who buy Nintendo home systems (150k of them in UK) are the same gamers that buy PS4/Xbox? That might explain lack of sales this week. Otherwise, nobody gives a s***. Also, I haven’t seen a single Mario 3D World advert on UK TV, whereas the other two (PS4 more so, especially last night, holy s***) are on all the time. They have failed to see what the market wants.

This came in the same week that former Naughty Dog and THQ man Jason Rubin called Nintendo "irrelevant" as a hardware manufacturer, though he conceded that the company is a "worldwide treasure". No matter how much diehard fans (and I've been there) might argue the point, the truth is plain to see: numbers don't lie, and Nintendo have utterly wasted the Wii U's supposed honeymoon period.

Nintendo's Rampant Idiocy | Why I'm Still Not Ready To Buy A Wii U

It makes no sense. They've had time, so that's not an excuse. The 3DS had to follow a wildly popular console and got off to a slow start, but Nintendo turned that around, so they can't use that to hide behind either. The simple fact is that Nintendo have made some catastrophic errors over the past eighteen months, and haven't actually faced up to them. Reggie Fils-Aime stated earlier in the month that ,“the way we’re going to be different [in 2013] is, we’re gonna certainly have a steadier pace of games – both for Wii U and for 3DS.

“The marketing activity is going to be constant throughout the entire year. You tease me a little bit that ‘boy the first half [of 2013] was a little quiet,’ and y’know what, you look back and it was. We’re not going to be making that same mistake in 2014.

“So the pace, the ongoing activity, touching the consumer [PHRASING! - Ed.], and messaging what we’re all about. That’s going to be a big difference next year.”

That all sounds wonderful, but it's the same drivel that got spouted heading into 2013. It stands to reason that Nintendo can't make things worse for the Wii U than they have been. Maybe. Reggie's appearance at VGX -- however risible we might consider Spike TV's annual omnishambles of hideous embarrassment to be, it does somehow collect a large viewing audience -- gave Nintendo a viewership far greater than any of their preaching-to-the-converted Nintendo Directs might. But they used it not for the announcement of a new Metroid game, or a brave new take on Zelda, or a Project Aces-developed Starfox game... they used it for Cranky Kong.

Cranky Kong?!

What are you doing Nintendo?!

And of course, we should remember that none of the above "solutions" from Reggie take into account two important sticking points: the Wii U's horrible performance in Europe and, more importantly, the abandonment of the console by third-parties.

Nintendo's Rampant Idiocy | Why I'm Still Not Ready To Buy A Wii U

The good first-party games will come in time, and anyone prophesying an imminent shift to being a software-only company is delusional themselves. The war chest won in the last generation by the Wii and the fact that 3DS consoles are flying off of the shelves means that Nintendo is hardly in dire straits just yet. But the Wii U as a console is a disaster from concept upwards, the GamePad an expensive experiment in gimmickry that continues to backfire. If Nintendo could find a way to admit that, remove the bulky controller and slash the console price accordingly, the Wii U would suddenly become a far more attractive proposition.

But they won't do that. They'll tread water and use floats made of 3DS revenue to keep from going under, all the while brushing off problems with a giant shield of PLEASE UNDERSTAND!

But I won't be buying one because, quite frankly, I don't really understand, Nintendo. And neither do you. You'd have sold more Wii Us otherwise.

Add a comment18 comments
Late  Dec. 20, 2013 at 15:32

Well put, Matt.

I'm in the same boat. I love Nintendo, and I want to buy a Wii U - but I'll not do so until they give me a good reason to buy it. Not only have they come up with nothing so far, but they don't seem too flustered or ashamed.

"They'll tread water and use floats made of 3DS revenue to keep from going under" lol :D

imdurc  Dec. 20, 2013 at 15:57

Well put, my foot!

This "article" is a joke. Opinion or not, the reasons stated for not having bought a Wii U are pretty much nil. Either that, or Matt never had a real interest in the games at all. And if that is the case, this is a very personal opinion, indeed.

The real reason to buy a Wii U is to have fun. And there are games available that have provided more fun for me this last year, than the Xbox 360 has given me over the last 3 and a half years.

If you can't see at least 4-5 games that make the Wii U a worthy purchase, stop looking at the machine. Seriously. If you can't find at least that amount of games for the system, currently, you're the type that must want something very specific released.
What do I mean? Well, the type of folk that say they'll buy the machine for the next Zelda, Smash Bros, etc. etc. I keep hearing from these people. That's just sad. And the fact that no other game currently out seems to get a mention in this article, is bizarre. Rayman Legends, to me, felt best on the Wii U. And yes, I played it on Xbox 360 and the PC. In all honesty, neither felt as good. Splinter Cell Blacklist is really nice on the Wii U as well. Need For Speed Most Wanted U plays brilliantly, too. I could mention others, but I'm sure it'll fall on deaf ears.

So, I have 7 retail (disc) games for the Wii U now, and I'm pretty sure Mario is tucked under the tree for me. So, 8 then. And none of those games mentioned in the article appear in my collection. But, hopefully I'll pick those up, too. Again, to have fun. THIS is what matters in gaming. And it should dictate your purchase.

Also, wherever you saw the Mario Wii U package with the new super mario bros U games at £300? Yeah, pretty sure I've been seeing that since late November at £225.

Breadster  Dec. 20, 2013 at 15:58

I didn't own a Wii and I won't be getting a Wii U any time soon, but I do love Nintendo and I wish they'd get their act in gear.

I own a DS (not really bothered with the 3DS) and it's great, and the Gamecube was one of my favourite consoles. It's frustrating that they yoyo so much between being totally awesome and just...meh...

@imdurc - so I should buy a Wii U for some multiplatform games that are hardly any different than they are on other platforms? It's great that you're enjoying your Wii U, but not everyone is going to enjoy the same things you do, and if it's that good, you should be able to come up with a better argument to promote it.

Last edited by Breadster, Dec. 20, 2013 at 16:24
Late  Dec. 20, 2013 at 16:19

There's not been a single "must have" on the console yet, in my opinion (and of course opinions differ). There's been a few "I'd get that if I had the console" - including Lego City Undercover, and Windwaker. Then there's the "I might be interested in if I had the console, but am I really buying it to try to justify buying the console" - including Wonderful 101, Pikmin, ZombiU, and anything Mario.

I certainly wouldn't pay £250-£300 because a few people think the Wii U version of a multiplatform game is better than the other console versions. Unfortunately my budget doesn't stretch to paying hundreds for a console and a copy of a game as opposed to paying £20-£40 for the game on a console I already have.

MattGardner  Dec. 20, 2013 at 16:34

@imdurc: The bundle I'm referring to is this: http://store.nintendo.co.uk/wii-u-hardware/mario-mega-bundle/10874508.html

The only bundle to include NSM3DW.

And of course it's a subjective article. The clue is in the first-person pronoun in the title.

No one will buy a Wii U and look to justify it with third-party titles that they can get elsewhere without having to buy a completely new console.

It's not the games (or lack thereof) that are alienating, it's the Wii U itself. The games that are out are desirable, but IMHO not enough to warrant buying the machine. Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros. and Bayonetta 2 might change that, but even those games need to demonstrate something progressive, something greater than their existing instalments.

[EDIT: In no way saying that the XO/PS4 do that either btw.]

Much of that article is centred around not wanting to throw money at a company who have no idea what they're doing when it comes to the Wii U, and who've not been on their finest form since the days of the GameCube (SMG and SMG2 being the exceptions). Admittedly, I don't spell out that last point.

Last edited by MattGardner, Dec. 20, 2013 at 16:36
Saurian  Dec. 20, 2013 at 16:51

Well put, my foot!

This "article" is a joke. Opinion or not, the reasons stated for not having bought a Wii U are pretty much nil. Either that, or Matt never had a real interest in the games at all. And if that is the case, this is a very personal opinion, indeed.



I couldn't agree more. I bought a Wii U because there are games I wanted to play on it, namely The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2. I really don't understand this notion that buying a console is some sort of major life-changing decision, you are spending a few hundred quid on a device that plays games you want to play. If you don't want to play the games on a certain machine, don't buy it. It's that simple.

I absolutely love The Wonderful 101, games like this only ever come round once in a blue moon and I'm very glad I bought the machine to play it on. Next year I'm very much looking forward to Bayonetta 2 and there's also a new Smash Bros in the works which I'm sure will be a ton of fun.

Each console generation always leaves me with a few games - no more than a handful - on each machine which are true gems. It is these gems which define each console generation for me, not the hardware they are hosted on. As I said before; this is not some sort of life-changing decision, I shopped around and paid £150 for my basic Wii U (running an external HDD), not a high price of admission at all for what you're getting.

JonLester  Dec. 20, 2013 at 17:47

As a day-one Wii U owner (well technically day three, since a certain online retailer shipped my preorder late - rhymes with "The Nut"), I agree with the comments regarding the games. I loved Pikmin 3 and TW101, rated ZombiU and NSMBU and haven't even found time to get into Wind Waker yet. There are some superb games here. Mind you, I personally haven't found a third party multiplat that I prefer to play on Wii U, even Rayman Legends felt more natural to me on Vita of all things.

Going forward, I reckon that the Wii U might well find its niche as a connoisseur's console - a platform boasting meticulously crafted exclusives with vintage pedigree that can't be found anywhere else. As a Platinum Games devotee, I can't be without one.

But as Matt explained in the article, and I've been saying/banging on about throughout the year, Nintendo have done an awful job at actually getting the word out. Putting things mildly.

Sure, those of us who took a punt on a Wii U really like it and love the GamePad (it's ace!), but there's no excuse for the shocking lack of publicity, mixed messaging, disgraceful lack of third party support (beyond Ubisoft), big release slate gaps and poor communication from The Big N - even when it comes to us hacks who are desperate to get the word out!

It hardly inspires confidence in the Wii U or Nintendo themselves, and more to the point, surely it's easy to understand why countless gamers just aren't excited, interested or willing to invest yet? Many are just confused as to exactly what the Wii U is. Just look at those sales figures.

Oh, and I agree: there really, really, ought to have been a SM3DW Premium Christmas bundle aimed at the £250 price range. £299 buys most of a brand new PS4... if not a 3DS and a bunch of its numerous killer apps. Don't even get me started on its release date - the sheer hubris is outrageous.

Still, X is coming - as are other lovely things. Perhaps I might start evangelising about something other than the 3DS next year?

EDIT: Wow, that was an essay. Sorry. TL;DR - nice games, Ninty, now actually try selling them!

Last edited by JonLester, Dec. 20, 2013 at 18:12
dimasok  Dec. 20, 2013 at 17:51

Well said Matt, well said.

I own a Wii U as well as the following games: Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101, Wind Waker HD, Sonic Racing, Monster Hunter, Zombie U, Lego City Undercover and Sonic Lost World so that makes it 9 games in total and yet I fully agree with the article.

While it is true that you can only find a handful of games (especially exclusive ones) for next-gen consoles right now, they still make me FAR more excited because they are in tune to the industry, because there is third-party support and because I know good games are coming in the future.

What does the Wii U have? Smash Brothers, again? Mario Kart, again? Yoshi, again? Zelda, again?

I mean, apart from Bayonetta 2, X and Tensei vs Fire Emblem, I can find nothing remarkable that's worth commenting on.

Don't get me wrong. I love the system, but I love my 3DS far more and I feel Nintendo lost the round on this one.

Yukes  Dec. 20, 2013 at 17:56

Really splits opinion this one. Have to admit Nintendo have completely messed up the WiiU from the E3 announcement to present. The thing is it's relatively cheap to pick up now in some great little bundles so why not get it now in advance of the forthcoming big releases? The 3ds increased hugely in price with its success and so I still cannot bring myself to get one.

I believe the great 1st party games coming will be just that, but to be honest I got a WiiU because oddly it feels like Nintendo need our help here otherwise they may disappear. Just my two cents anyway!

theizzzeee  Dec. 20, 2013 at 18:04

Matt Gardner I predict a year from now this will all be like a dream like the Wii U be doing well. The price or gamepad or hardware isn't the issue with the Wii U. The main thing is they need more good games, advertising and for developers to put more effort into the games. Let's see how PS4 and XBOX ONE consoles are sold two months from now. Believe it or not the Wii U may be just as profitable/unprofitable as the PS4 or XBOX ONE. Let's also see how multiplatform/crossgen game sales are for them then as well. Wait and see I say.

UseDisqus  Dec. 20, 2013 at 18:05

They should have had GTAV and other major third party games on the console. I really like the Wii U gamepad and if all they did was have more third party games, then i would definitely buy one. They have exclusive free online multiplayer, cheapest console and the awesome gamepad. Imagine if you could play gtav splitscreen on 2 wii u remotes?

Breadster  Dec. 20, 2013 at 18:36

I just think because the graphics are almost behind a gen (like it or not it will affect many people's buying decions) and it still has a fairly high price tag, it won't have the same casual appeal as the Wii did. If they can get the price down a bit more (probably just have to wait a while) and get their marketing sorted out then they could do really well.

The average gamer is just going to think "well that doesn't cost much more and it's considerably more powerful so I'll buy that", and they're not going to get many more great third party games unless they shift more consoles.

Last edited by Breadster, Dec. 20, 2013 at 18:38
sinpaps  Dec. 20, 2013 at 19:56

Well put, Matt.

I'm in the same boat. I love Nintendo, and I want to buy a Wii U - but I'll not do so until they give me a good reason to buy it. Not only have they come up with nothing so far, but they don't seem too flustered or ashamed.

"They'll tread water and use floats made of 3DS revenue to keep from going under" lol :D





LMAO . so according to you guys, then the ps4 and x1 must be TRASH <<< ha haaa wiiU remains the console to buy this holiday season ver a ps4 x1 with more high quality games . . this article author just pretty much exposed himself as a poor no grip on money idiot < fact . kus if he had money he would buy whatever he pleased . lol goomba exposed

MattGardner  Dec. 20, 2013 at 20:24

Matt Gardner I predict a year from now this will all be like a dream like the Wii U be doing well. The price or gamepad or hardware isn't the issue with the Wii U. The main thing is they need more good games, advertising and for developers to put more effort into the games. Let's see how PS4 and XBOX ONE consoles are sold two months from now. Believe it or not the Wii U may be just as profitable/unprofitable as the PS4 or XBOX ONE. Let's also see how multiplatform/crossgen game sales are for them then as well. Wait and see I say.


I really hope so. I really really do. Nintendo, when they set their minds to it, make the best games in the industry. Hands down, absolutely. But I just haven't seen that from them of late. Wind Waker HD if anything is a reminder of how good Nintendo used to be.

@Yukes: That altruistic reasoning is what takes me right up to the checkout every time. I've owned every single Nintendo console and this is the first time in four generations that I've not bought one at launch. I have no doubt that I will own a Wii U at some point. But not yet.

Last edited by MattGardner, Dec. 20, 2013 at 20:28
Late  Dec. 20, 2013 at 20:25

Whilst it's true that the One and the ps4 have very poor games catalogues, they both have two things the U is sadly lacking - power and potential.

I actually agree that the U is a better buy this "holiday season" if you want cheap fun family-friendly games for the holiday. If, however, you want something that'll be capable of playing graphically intensive games with demanding online presences and support from all of the major publishers for years to come then there are three much better options for you. (Yes, the U has somehow contrived to be fourth best in a field of three.)

As for your assertions that people who don't buy a Wii u must have no money... have a little think about the absurdity of that notion.
When you've worked out the problem with what you've posted please feel free to email it to me. My address is [email protected]

Last edited by Late, Dec. 20, 2013 at 20:26
CDG  Dec. 20, 2013 at 22:45

Ok, listen up!

That "bulky controller" that you've obviously never played at length with, is WONDERFUL. Wonderful for games like Zombi U, Deus Ex DC, Assassin's Creed IV ... among others.

I am fortunate enough that I can literally go out and pick up all the consoles I want. The Wii U is keeping me VERY pleased at the moment and I don't see a need for anything else - and it is PRIMARILY due to that "bulky controller"

Breadster  Dec. 21, 2013 at 12:25

Some of the things these guys are coming out with on this topic...

I'd expect stuff like this on an Xbox vs PS topic but not a Ninty one.

By the way this isn't aimed at you CDG, yours just happens to be latest post before mine. You just basically said "well I really like the controller" and there's nothing wrong with that. People calling other people poor for not seeing much point in picking up a particular games console though is just dumb.

Wow there were a lot of P's in that sentence... :p

MattGardner  Dec. 21, 2013 at 13:27

The GamePad is a really nice piece of kit to hold and use. I know that, I previewed the Wii U several times over and got to play with the console for hours on end. It's surprisingly comfy in the short-term, responsive, and the build quality is ace.

BUT...it looks like Tomy's My First Tablet, and it's still unclear at first glance exactly what it brings to the table for people who don't read games coverage.

And it's not revolutionary. Not in the slightest. Nintendo themselves have been doing it for years on a handheld scale with the DS. The original Wii was something we'd never really seen before, but there's nothing original about the Wii U as it stands and precious little that's truly compelling (IMHO) when placed in context, and yes of course price comes into that (we're a deals site!!!).

The message is confused. If this is a hardcore games console now, why doesn't it resemble one? If Nintendo are still gunning for the casual market, why haven't they provided the hard-won audience of last-gen with reasons to upgrade from the Wii? If Nintendo have learned lessons, where are the third-party games? If the third-parties are waiting on first-party smash hits, where are they?!

These were questions we were asking twelve months ago. That we're no closer to answers a year on is frankly depressing.

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