A console with a unique, never before done feature, releasing well ahead of its competitors in order to gain a competitive edge on the market only to be met with criticisms for not being “on par” with the technology available in the hardware of the opponents.
Sound familiar? Well, if you know your gaming history, then you know it’s the same storyline that Sega and its Dreamcast console, the last hardware developed by the Japanese giant, followed back in 1999.
The first video game system to include out-of-the-box online support launched with a bang only to go out with a whimper after failing to be able to keep up with the PlayStation 2.
Fast forward nearly a decade and a half later, and the gaming industry is dealing with a situation potentially of the same fate with Nintendo and its Wii U gaming console.
The Wii U launched in November of 2012, a year ahead of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with hopes of putting an early stranglehold on the market that it owned a large chunk of thanks to the success of the Wii. Unfortunately, however, the Wii U hasn’t lived up to expectations in terms of sales, and has already been bested in sales by consoles – the PS4 and Xbox One – that have only been available for a little over a month.
But don’t be fooled, just because it seems, to some, as if Nintendo isn’t ready for war for the living room, those involved are adamant that they are as prepared as ever to make sure the Wii U is the console to have despite the apparent uphill climb that is in front of them.
“Our goal with Wii U is to build a library of software that offers something for everyone, (and) Wii U has a library of more than 87 games at retail, plus 32 digital-only games in the Nintendo eShop and another 60 Virtual Console games,” Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, Scott Moffitt said. “There’s a lot of variety (available) for all kinds of players. Plus we have great games on the horizon for 2014.”
Those games “on the horizon” include Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Brothers Wii U and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze which are all expected to help the fledgling console make up some ground in a race that it currently sits third in at the early stages. And while many would be worried about the struggles of the Wii U against its main competitors from Microsoft and Sony, Moffitt has the exact opposite mindset.
Using the success of the company’s handheld 3DS system, Moffitt bases the company’s feeling that as long as the software is there, the hardware sales will come even if some believe that the Wii U is “inferior” to the PS4 and Xbox One.
“We focus on experiences, not tech specs. Focusing on one small part of any system is short-sighted,” he said. “Wii U has the second screen of the GamePad, which is technology no one else can match. And in the end, as has been true for every console generation, people gravitate toward the best games and best experiences, and that’s what Wii U provides.”
As far as the introduction of micro-consoles and PC-style consoles like Valve’s Steam Machine goes, Moffitt believes that the “death of console gaming” is nowhere near fruition. He states that just because new pieces of hardware are being created to try and attract console games doesn’t mean that the incumbents are sure to fall behind.
“In the end, if our industry can continue to innovate and continue to provide compelling experiences, then it will continue to deft this type of speculation,” he said. “The death knell for the dedicated video game space has been sounded countless times over the last 25 years, but here we are.”
Whether or not the Wii U can withstand the battle that is unfolding, obviously, remains to be seen, but it’s a certainty that Nintendo is locked, loaded and ready for a fight.
“Nintendo has a lineup of some of the most iconic characters and franchises in the video game industry,” Moffitt said. “We also have some of the best game developers, who continually bring smiles to people’s faces with the fun experiences they create.
“It’s a winning combination that has served us for decades and will continue to do so into the future.”
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