In the eighth generation race, it is sad to say that Nintendo’s Wii U console is definitely in last place, with only seven million units sold worldwide. While this number has increased significantly with the recent release of Mario Kart 8, the way of the modern games industry will slowly pull it back into the slums, where it most certainly does not belong.
Owning a Wii U Premium pack probably makes me slightly biased in the machine’s favour, but I honestly feel that while it may not be as powerful as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, it has the potential to release some truly innovative titles. As well as provide for the gamers that do not want something new, and stick to the genres that hold the mainstream crown, such as first person shooters or sport simulation titles.
It is with this in mind that we wander what Nintendo are waiting to show us in their Digital Event. It is likely that we will hear just how well the 3DS is doing, and rightly so, because Nintendo do have the portable market down to a fine art. But when it comes to the console owners, there will need to be something truly awe inspiring to make it hold a respectable third place, just as the Nintendo Wii did in it’s stead.
It goes without saying that the older franchises will probably make an appearance, such as Mario and Super Smash Bros, with the former being introduced into a new version of the existing spin offs, like Mario Tennis or Mario Party, or possibly the onset of a new title to follow the best-selling Galaxy duology, and the feline themed Super Mario 3D World. The latter will show world exclusive gameplay, as well as new characters and stages to keep us teased until the release later this year.
As well as the Dynasty Warriors and Zelda crossover that was revealed at E3 2013, the new Zelda that was teased will need to be shown in some form, whether or not it will actually be playable doesn’t matter. Many fans of the long standing royal bloodline preserving series are waiting to pick up the console for it, while some have been pacified by the beautiful remake of the Gamecube classic that is The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker. A rumour was spread around that Robin William’s daughter, who was named after the eponymous princess of the series, will be making a special appearance to promote the game’s announcement. But until we receive more information, this will just be whispers in a crowded room.
In order to support the console long-term, Nintendo will need to get back the third party support that has been waning since the spat with EA during the development of the Wii U port of Mass Effect 3, as they refused to implement the Origin service that EA required most of their key titles to use at the time. The company have pulled back their requirements slightly as of late, so it is possible that a compromise could be made, and that new bridges could be built to give Nintendo a strong foothold in the next generation.
One issue that has been buzzing through the forums is the possibility of a new version of the console being released. While it may only be a larger hard drive, and smaller components to reduce the cost of building the machines, a DS Lite style revamp would help bring new customers on board as well as give them a chance to distinguish the Wii U as more than an upgraded version to the Wii. Certain studies have also discovered that some gamers believe the Wii U to be an add on for the seventh gen console, rather than an independent product with entirely new capabilities.
To bring home the honourable third place, Nintendo will need to bring in an entirely new intellectual property to the table, or add a substantial addition to a previous series that will bring everyone running to at least have a look, if not buy the system outright. A rumour of a Namco developed Pokemon and Tekken crossover began to circulate sometime ago, and it has been confirmed that Nintendo have been experimenting with toys that use the NFC technology that has been used in the Skylanders franchise. So if some kind of franchise using these elements does not appear, it is possible that the Wii U may fall the same way as the Dreamcast and the SEGA Saturn.
In conclusion, Nintendo’s portable division is safe without a doubt, with titles such as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to support them, they will continue to hold a substantial share of the hand-held market for years to come. But as for the home console market, Nintendo have got themselves a massive quest to complete, so in the time honoured tradition of the world’s longest running video game company, I wish them good luck, in a way that has become synonymous with a new journey since 1986.
“It’s dangerous to go alone, take this!”