Despite what should have been known long ago, Nintendo decided to stick to its own all-eyes-on-me approach to revealing the need-to-know information regarding a new system. Now, thanks to an early morning event to distract us from pre-ordering another iPhone, we finally know every dirty detail desired from the Wii U’s North American launch. If real life grown-up responsibilities kept you separated from the unveiling, allow me to shed a little light on what we’ve been waiting for:
- Release Date: November 18th.
- Price Option #1: $299 [White Console, GamePad, 8GB Storage, AC Adapters, Sensor Bar, & HDMI Cable]
- Price Option #2: $349 [Black Console with Stand, GamePad with Charging Cradle, 32GB Storage, Deluxe Digital Promotion Subscription (for discounted downloads through 2014), Nintendo Land, the AC Adapters, Sensor Bar & HDMI Cable]
- Price of Games: $59.99
- Large Launch Lineup: 50 games by the end of March, including Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and Bayonetta 2 as a platform exclusive.
- TVii Announcement: Allows for control of cable television, DVR content, and video streaming services via the GamePad.
Up to speed? Super! But what does it all mean in the greater scheme of this, the Great and Powerful entity known as the Video Games Industry? Are these specifications enough to sway the hesitant hearts of the gaming community? Did Nick Cane find his faith restored?
Let’s find out.
Nick Cane, with a decidedly conversational swagger, says:
Hey, the Wii U is detailed. Hooray! Here’s speculative warning to Nintendo. Still, there are more talking points, so let’s run them down.
Price – Completely fair. Every other next gen should aim for the relative same price as the current ones. Also, everyone has some sort of Elite online club, so I’m cool with the Nintendo version as well. This is more of a catch-up move than a ground-breaking one.
Storage – Amazing move, Nintendo. In the coming digital age, storage is a huge asset to be considered. This “anything goes” sort of space is wonderful. Curious as to how formatting and HDD/SSD will perform, though.
Games – Ouch. Hit me where it hurts. Games are what the system is built around and they were lackluster. Sweet, CoD. Bayonetta is a killer title, though.
What We Don’t Know – I can’t recall a console unveil so low-key. Skimpy on release dates, certainly. I am super curious to see how the online storefront functions. Also, please don’t let cross-system play be a huge focus, please.
Alex Wen, in a more verbose fashion, explains:
With the price point and some exclusive games being announced, the Wii U is basically set in stone for release. We have solid stats on the price point(s), and frankly, I’m underwhelmed. A $300 to $350 price point isn’t really an issue. My bigger problem is that some games–including Nintendo Land–require a Wiimote and there isn’t one packed in. I’m sure most people have a Wii, but it’s definitely an annoyance if you don’t have one. Speaking of Wii owners, if you have a Wii, there seems to be even less incentive to get a Wii U. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, and most of the features are mere catch-ups with the competition (HD graphics, online capabilities).
The only “special” feature seems to be their GamePad, and even that looks like more of hinderance than a feature to me. I’ll reserve judgment until I get a hands-on, but Luke’s ZombiU impressions seem to confirm my fears of poor implementation. Even worse, if the Japanese prices are any indication, another GamePad will be very expensive. Plus, motion control was novel when it came with the Wii, but touch controls are everywhere. Just in the gaming sector, the PlayStation Vita, tablets, and smartphones have all dabbled in touch technology.
But enough Negative Nancy; all of the above won’t even matter. It’s all riding on the games. Even when the Gamecube languished and the Wii alienated hardcore fans, I stuck around for both because there were exclusives I had to play. If Nintendo can deliver its stable of first-party titles and entice third-parties to release more than just ports, then the Wii U can and will succeed. Bayonetta 2 and Monster Hunter should give the Wii U a great boost in sales early on, but Nintendo has a shaky history with third-party support. I predict something along the lines of the 3DS. Initial marketing will hammer in the gimmick, with 3D for the 3DS and touch controls for the GamePad. Most consumers will be confused as to how the Wii U is better than the Wii, as they were with the 3DS versus the DS. Eventually, Nintendo will realize that it all comes down to the games. The company will shift its focus from, at best, a subpar feature and, at worst, a gimmick to its expertise: games. Nintendo, all I want from you is one new IP.
Luke Frazier, forever unsatisfied, states:
Am I getting old? Is that it? Or have I gone grouchy, right on track to become Grumpy Gamer Jr. in a few short years? Because I can’t seem to get excited about big video game announcements anymore.
Or maybe Nintendo no longer makes anything I’m interested in. That could be it, too.
In all honesty, there was nothing inherently bad about the Wii U information dump we were delivered this morning. No ridiculously expensive proprietary memory cards or suggestions to search for a second job to cover the console’s cost consistently clouded the widespread coverage. Yet it seems as if Nintendo forgot to surprise us with something special, because everything came across with a bright red AS EXPECTED stamped along the side. With a release date set for the Sunday before Black Friday and price point lower than either the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 at launch, it’s the same story everyone has been anticipating since the Wii U made its initial E3 2011 debut.
But really, why are we supposed to buy one?
Nintendo might have hit all the right numbers, but we’re still missing that last and most important component on my month-old list: something system-selling. Side-scrolling Mario is already growing stale as evident in almost every review of New Super Mario Bros. 2. Nintendo Land is no Wii Sports. About half of the games on your quantity-over-quality list are also available on the consoles we already own and adore.
Casual gamers could buy a newly-announced Kindle Fire HD if they really need to get their touchscreen on, and still have at least a hundred bucks to spare. Meanwhile, the hardcore crowd will stay attached to Xbox Live for a mass-killing Call of Duty fix, understandably refusing to inch away from the space where all of their friends like to run and play. And the rest of us will wait and see with uncertainty, just like we’ve been doing with the PlayStation Vita for the past seven months.
Early adopters are sure to try it out (and troll any Wii U complaint posts as a self-induced means of justifying the purchase), and Monster Hunter will undoubtedly sell well in Japan, but when easily expandable storage is my favorite thing about your new console, Nintendo, I think you went wrong somewhere.
Well, expandable storage and LEGO City: Undercover, that is, because that beauty’s got me going gaga.
And now it’s your turn. How did you react to gaining this elusive insight on the next Nintendo console? Is the Wii U a system you’re actually interested in, hardware you absolutely have to have at launch? Or are you as underwhelmed as the rest of us? Let us know in the comments below!