What The Big N should Ninten-do to fix the Wii U

Posted on Apr 2 2013 - 9:47pm by Ryan Herrera

wii u critical health 1024x520 What The Big N should Ninten do to fix the Wii U

Nintendo. Oh, Nintendo. I can’t say the name without bringing a massive smile to my face.

Nintendo. It’s changed my life since the first moment I picked up an NES controller. It introduced me to a series of wonderful characters who I’d consider digital friends for the rest of my life. It gave me a common ground to talk with other fans, and gave us mutual heroic stories to bestow on the school grounds. The games inspired me to write, to play, to dream.  It brought my family together, specifically the relationships involving my brother, father, and me. I have so many memories plowing through Bases Loaded, Contra, Super Mario Bros. 3, Punch-Out!!, and tons more.

It gave me the initial start to love this industry, and to follow it and to dedicate my life to making it better.

Fast forward to 2013. The Nintendo/SEGA war is an echo of the past. Cartridges have been replaced by disks. Characters have voices. A lot has changed. Nintendo isn’t the end-all-be-all of the industry. Gaming has changed.

The Nintendo Wii came out in 2006 to a confused – but intrigued – gaming audience. What was Nintendo doing with their oddly named, pure-white system? With their controller that you held in one hand? That launched with a bunch of seemingly tech demos?  With advertisements featuring grannies and grandads playing videogames?!

“Nintendo. What are you doing, Nintendo?” we gamers asked, as we shivered in our Link hats and Mario mustaches.

And then between 2006 and 2007, Nintendo’s little white box sold more than 10 million units to gamers, kids, and moms everywhere.

Wii Riot What The Big N should Ninten do to fix the Wii U

Walmart security is stepping up its game.

“Oh,” said millions who grew up with Nintendo as they tried to figure out the Wii-mote.

“…I understand.”

Nintendo was again on top, making absurd amounts of profit and selling a whopping 99 million units since the console’s debut. Time marched on, the Wii played its course, and the evolution of the industry forced Nintendo to move into the future. And on April 25th, 2011, the Wii U was announced. It appeared, on the surface, what traditional gamers were clamoring for from Nintendo: HD graphics, a promise of better online play, and dedicated third-party support.

And then it came. The successor to one of the most successful consoles ever was released. A recipe for instant billions, right?

Unfortunately for Nintendo, no, it wasn’t. The Wii U sold nearly 3 million units during the holidays 2012, and then the sales dropped by nearly 87% compared to the sales of the Wii in the initial six months. It’s been so bad that The Big N cut its sales expectations from 5.5 million to 4 million for the fiscal year 2013.

So what happened? Was the success of the Wii just a chance of right time, right place? Did the lack of bundled software hurt Wii U sales?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I do know what Nintendo can do to save the drowning Wii U. As a constant gamer from as early as ’87, to an owner of every major Nintendo console (even a Wii) and genuine lover of gaming, this is what I want to see Nintendo do:

marioatlas What The Big N should Ninten do to fix the Wii U

A new suit for Mario or a metaphor for him holding up the gaming industry?
You decide.

Acknowledge Its Past, and Realize That It’s Passed
I love Zelda and Mario, but Nintendo’s using the big two as crutches. Nintendo should treat releasing first-party games like eating: Instead of a giant meal once a day, you should eat smaller snacks that keep you full throughout the day. In the next year or so, there are three original Nintendo-published games coming out, including Game&Wario, The Wonderful 101, and Pikmin 3 versus the seven that Sony is pushing out this year for the PlayStation 3. Nintendo has a plethora of classic franchises that it could release as smaller games to keep us satisfied until the Zeldas, Marios, and Smash Bros. make their appearances.

Star FoxF-Zero, and Metroid are titles that would benefit from small, downloadable releases on the Wii U. I could get behind a new, two-dimensional Metroid done in the vein of recent 2D indie games like LimboThe Cave, or Trine 2. This will keep traditional gamers happy while introducing their old franchises to an entirely new audience.

We can’t continue to cling to the warmth of our copy of Darksiders II replaying it for the 17th time as we slowly die from hypothermia in this freezing Wii U winter of non-releases.

bayonetta 2 wii u exclusivo 300x161 What The Big N should Ninten do to fix the Wii U

Hnnnngggggg

Bring Third-Party Sexiness Back
The Wonderful 101, developed by Platinum Games’ legendary Hideki Kamiya, is an amazing example of Nintendo taking initiative from a great developer to deliver a completely unique game that can only be done on the Wii U with the help of the GamePad. Speaking of Platinum Games, the studio’s developing a sequel to one of the best action games of all time, Bayonetta, exclusively for the Wii U. But we need games until then! Marketing is also key: No More Heroes and MadWorld were both great, original titles for the Wii which sold poorly.

Basically.  Games, games, games. Quality games. Nintendo doesn’t need another system flooded with shovelware.

Tap The Indie Scene
Nintendo has a rich tapestry of games from the past.  My Wii is filled to the brim with classic NES and SNES games that I love reliving, but the virtual console won’t keep Nintendo afloat. Enticing smaller developers onto the Wii U and eShop is key to embracing the future. AAA titles have become increasingly expensive to produce, and thus have smaller profit margins. Giving indie developers a chance to thrive on the Wii U will serve as an extra revenue stream, and a way to bring even more gaming experiences to the struggling system Wii U.

indie meet ninty What The Big N should Ninten do to fix the Wii U

A meeting that should have happened a long time ago.

Entice Consumers to Buy a Wii U via Pack-in Games
One reason the Wii sold well is because Wii Sports, as tech demo-y as it felt, was super fun and gave gamers a distinct reason to pick it up. Wii U doesn’t gave a title of that caliber yet. While the Zombii U bundle was good for traditional gamers, Nintendo needs a more family-friendly package, and Nintendoland isn’t going to cut it. How about a Rayman Legends package or New Super Mario Bros U bundle? They would interest both old consumers and new ones looking to get into Nintendo gaming.

The Wii U has the potential to capture both traditional gamers and the casual gaming market that blew up the original Wii. Nintendo just needs to step it up with basic offerings that every good system needs: games, advertising, and a right market strategy.

Nintendo practically single-handedly saved this industry once, and that’s something we will never forget.  The Big N needs to look to the future instead of the past if they’re going to continue to be the leading force in gaming.

TL:DR

- Wii sold a ton, the Wii U didn’t
- Ninty needs to focus on games, the indie scene and better packages
- The dog from Duck Hunt needs to be used in more photoshops. Let’s try:

dog hunt 1 What The Big N should Ninten do to fix the Wii U

Hilarious.

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I just want to play games, write about games and make people laugh. Oh, and drink beer. I /love/ beer. I live by this quote: "If you can't laugh, you might as well be dead." - Roger Rabbit

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  • GaySkull

    Nintendo is doing okay it the Ninty fanboys that are going nuts.

    • http://twitter.com/Digital_Vix3n Tatjana Vejnovic

      How so? I’m interested to hear your opinion on this.

  • ☆NatT96☆

    O gosh no, Nintendo needs to actually break there traditional rules and truelly see the road the market is heading into. The Wii U Is supposed to be an enhanced experience not just aiming for families but fans and hardcore gamers. The Radeon processor in the Wii U is for a professional gaming experience. Now, yes it is understandable that its almost powerful as its current generation, but its a step up in power from the Wii. Its the way Nintendo is representing the console. I am a big fan of Nintendo, buy I am way older now, so of course I don’t want Nintendo Land or any 1st party title getting thrown at me (year after year), I start wanting a little more from the console. Nintendo knows that graphics don’t sell consoles, still there AD’s poorly represent the console with a family coming around and playing Lego City: Undercover (not saying its a bad game) on a console thats trying to appeal to gamer atmosphere. It makes developers step back because they know Nintendo is going for a transformed crowd. Now, yes its good to bring the family together, but now families want more from there buck and kids these days are way more technical. Also the console has no inovatie amount of features, and most they have tried have flunked.

    Here are features (one game) that I hardly use anymore on the Wii U.
    1. Nintendo TVii (Nintendo made it look so amazing, but its lacking promised features)
    2. WiiStreetU (Google Maps……eeehh, really this is not a killer new app)
    3. Nintendo Land (it was fun, but got boring fast and I felt dissapointed that it came with the console….family was not involved)
    4. Wii U Chat (Use Skype on MacBook)

    Now I want a console that won’t make me look like I am 7.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ryanthestampede0 Ryan Alexander Herrera

      I lol’d at your last couple of sentences. All those features you listed are useless, I totally agree.

      Honestly? I’m just waiting for Smash. And Zelda. And Bayo 2. …I’m sure more’ll pop up.

      • ☆NatT96☆

        Shoot, I want more than that something crazy this year at E3
        *Super Mario Sunshine 2
        *Super Smash Bros Universe
        *Metroid U
        Screw the Zelda remake (they used a old game, its just another 3D HD slap-together)

        And 3rd party content like GTA5.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ryanthestampede0 Ryan Alexander Herrera

          LEGEND OF SUPER STAR METROID SUNSHINEBOUND – ZERO: SUPERSTAR

          Then the world explodes.

    • Elem187

      Whats this almost as powerful nonsense? its at least 3 times faster than the PS360.
      We are already seeing that in some games. Take Need for Speed. On the PS360, its using low resolution textures, sub-HD resolutions, and its barely keeping a 20fps rate. The Wii U version of game runs in full 720p, with high resolution textures and locked at 30fps.
      Its impossible that the wii u is almost as fast or as fast as the ps360. Its well passed the performance of the ps360… and does it at 1/3rd the power draw is nothing short of amazing… Deus Ex will feature full 720p resolutions, Anti-Aliasing, higher resolution textures and locked at 30 fps. The PS360 version again is sub-HD resolution (most games for the ps360 never even hit HD), no AA at all and struggled to hit 25fps.

      Fanboy logic: The Wii U being 3 times faster than the ps360 is only on par, and marginally faster…. The Nextbox being 4 times faster than the Wii u is OMG OMG OMG SO MUCH FASTER its NEXT GEN Y0.

      • NatT96™

        I thought you would notice more important stuff from what I wrote…but if that is why you wrote 3 paragraphs on 1 sentence. I understand….just speaking my opinion on the console. Dislike what I said if you want…dont see how that upset you

        :(

  • Martin Brentnall

    As depressing as the thought is, I don’t really think there is much that Nintendo can do for the Wii U other than getting some first-party games out.

    Chasing core gamers is a lost cause given the PlayStation 4 announcement (and possibly the upcoming next Xbox). Chasing the casual market isn’t going to work without something completely compelling, intuitive and innovative – and the Gamepad doesn’t quite cut it.

    Nintendo really need to focus on their fans right now, because that’s all they’re really going to have in this generation.

    Some price drops couldn’t hurt either; I’m still not sure why New Super Mario Bros. U needs to cost so much more than say, Tomb Raider, which is newer and has significantly higher production values. Nintendo’s ridiculous pricing on games does nothing to convince me that the Wii U is worth buying, especially after similarly high TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) for the Wii compared to the PS3.

    Or at least it would do nothing if I hadn’t already bought a Wii U on launch day (and I still only own two games). :p

    • http://www.facebook.com/ryanthestampede0 Ryan Alexander Herrera

      As someone who’s worked in retail nearly all my life, I can say that Ninty is really stingy with dropping their prices. Being the poor gentlemen I am, I really wanted to wait for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii to drop from $49 to something more reasonable.

      Six years later, it’s barely dropped to $29.99.

      But yeah, I totally agree. Ninty has unique properties nobody has and that tons love. They need to remind people why they’re number 1 in first-party software. By making more of it.

      • Elem187

        Nintendo considers their titles evergreen, where its a money maker throughout its whole life time… they have no incentive to drop their price.

    • Elem187

      Its too early to right off the gamepad. All it needs is software that explains the device. Granted the motion controls were extremelyl intuitive and grandma could play it. The Wii U will never hit that level of success, but thats ok. They don’t need to sell gangbusters to be successful. They sell the console at or near cost (which manufacturing and components are constantly coming down in price)
      take that and compare it to Sony/MS strategy where they absolutely have to sell gangbusters just to break even because they sell their systems at such a huge loss, Nintendo will be more than fine going forward.

  • Aiddon

    …really? Problems with points

    1. Crutches? Good god, Mario and Zelda SELL WELL, of course they’re going to keep making them. Furthermore, Nintendo has a finite amount of teams so they’re going to fart things out like a factory production line.

    2. Maybe 3rd parties should actually put some goddamned EFFORT into their titles. Seriously, 3rd parties for Nintendo have thus far proven to be fickle, spoiled brats when it comes to Nintendo. They can’t just give us samey ports of games and then whine when they realize customers aren’t idiots.

    3. THEY ARE DOING THIS RIGHT NOW. Indie devs have nothing but praise for the eShop and Nintendo has made huge steps in order to better accommodate them. Although then you get idiots like Phil Fish, but that’s besides the points

    4. Maybe, Nintendoland would probably be the best bet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ryanthestampede0 Ryan Alexander Herrera

      Hiya, thanks for posting your thoughts!

      I totally don’t want Mario or Zelda to stop. I just think owners of the Wii U gotta have more to look forward to from Ninty than those next two big titles. Besides Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101, the Wii U’s title release schedule is sparse. I dig the idea of sending their IPs to other developers, like Retro did with Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country. But then again, I’m scared of it. Like Team Ninja and Other M. (Shudders, cries, clings to his copy of Super Metroid). Let’s see someone’s take on F-Zero, or even an HD Earthbound downloadable title.

      I TOTALLY agree with your statement about 3rd parties. When they announced Darksiders 2 and Arkham City coming for Wii U a total YEAR after they were initially released on PS3, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the enhancements that would require me to rebuy a $60 game. Who would? Slapping a new skin on Bats isn’t worth the re-purchase. In order to get their stuff selling, they really gotta utilize the capabilities better than they currently have been. I think Dues Ex: Human Revolution DC and Rayman Legends may (HOPEFULLY) be for the better.

      Yup, now they are! And it’s awesome. They’re def on the right track. They ain’t Steam, but they sure ain’t Origin.

      Nintendoland already has a bundle. So I figured NSMBWU and it’s huge acronym would be a nice little enticing package for potential buyers.

      Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.facebook.com/derek.olson.900 Derek Olson

    Releasing a system without a library of big-name titles to support it was foolish itself. For example, GameCube having one of Nintendo’s most impressive launches, with titles like Luigi’s Mansion, Pikmin, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II, and Super Smash Bros. Melee.

    I’m sure they were expecting to push units simply by having the Wii name attached to the console. There’s buyers remorse everywhere.

  • http://profiles.google.com/neotechni Techni Myoko

    -scrap the entire dashboard and redo it from scratch. Slapping mii’s onto wii’s menu with no additional functionality or organizational features plus multiplying the load times by 20 was a bad move. Hire a real UI designer. And put wii games on wiius menu. A system shouldnt have 3 different menu systems. Even the in-game mini menu is horrible, like you hired a sixth grader to slap something together in visual basic. Giant buttons? Seriously? Your estore also needs to be deleted and started over from scratch by a real designer. And merge the wii estore with it. And dont require the gamepad to use it.

    -de-integrate the emulators from virtual console games. Build it into the firmware like psp/ps3/vita do. Dont charge people to update their wii virtual console games. Just use the rom with the new emulator, AND the save data. Sony did it right, so can you.

    -make your api see classic controllers as pro controllers. If a game supports one it should support the other

    -aynchronous multiplayer is not a feature, its you trying to paint a disadvantage as a good thing. Its not. Online multiplayer would make up for thew lack of multiple gamepads. But so would letting us use 3DS as one.

    -miiverse does NOT make up for your pathetic excuse for an online infrastructure. Vita has proper online and it also has functionality almost identical to miiverse (and sony did it first) suck it up and add trophies. Stop telling gamers to want what you give them and give them what they want. You use a gig of ram for the os but you do less than vita! It lets you save screenshots, does cross-game voice chat and custom soundtracks.

    -speaking of miiverse, your drawing app is the worst ive ever seen. Its even worse than pictochat. We can post full color screenshots but draw only in black and white? With absolutely no tools whatsoever? Pay the colors! guys to make you a real drawing app, quit half-assing EVERYTHING.

    -Tvii is quite literally useless, you should have had a proper media player. Even including xbmc would have been enough. Bluray playback would be really nice too. Id even pay for the fee (even though you can afford it)

    -that controller remapping you use in virtual console? Build it into the firmware of the gamepad with invert y support. Your remote control functionality is nigh useless. But if you want to fix that, be my guest.

    -detach the account from the hardware NOW. Not months from now, you should have done it properly from the start. And add some 3ds functionality already. Ps3 got vita stuff even before vita came out. We should be able to download 3ds games from wiiu and send it to the 3ds via wifi or install it to the sd card since you were too stupid to include a usb port.

    -quit pretending you invented remoteplay, sony invented it. Its not called off-tv play. You’re only fooling the same fanboys who think you invented rumble and analog sticks. Everyone else knows better and it pisses us off you keep trying to rewrite history. You invented nothing.

    • ☆NatT96☆

      HAHAHAHAHAHA looks like someone did it on Microsoft Paint.

  • Elem187

    “Nintendo has a plethora of classic franchises that it could release as smaller games to keep us satisfied until the Zeldas, Marios, and Smash Bros. make their appearances.”

    You sound absolutely clueless about game development.. Nintendo just can’t wave a magical wand and have games available today. It doesn’t work like that. The games we will see released this year have been in development for 2 to 3 (that means they started roughly in 2010) It takes time… Plus with delays due to moving to HD development it could push out some of their games to 2014…> They have been hiring furiously all last year and this year for developers. They have a HUGE push behind the console, but its going to take time to hit its stride… The 3DS flopped out of the gate and Nintendo made a huge push 2 years ago, and the console is hitting its stride now. Their wii u console will start ramping up releases going into next year.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ryanthestampede0 Ryan Alexander Herrera

      Yeah, I sounded like a derp there. Let me clarify:

      I realize games simply don’t, to borrow a term from Harry Potter, apparate from thin air. I’m saying that they shouldn’t rely on massive benchmarks like the Zeldas, Marios and SB and release smaller titles that will help relieve the pressure. Sending out their properties to other not-internal developers couldn’t hurt either. Maybe. Still kinda burned by Other M.

      I imagine it like crossing a river: having a series of small steps to help you get across between the massive platforms that are spread way too far apart. This idiom makes sense in my head, I apologize if it doesn’t in yours.

      And since this article was written there’ve been a bunch of announcements for the WIi U that kinda do that, including New Super Luigi U DLC, (although it’s not 1st party) Duck Tales HD and FINALLY the release of Earthbound for the Virtual Console.

      And personally, I’m hoping for an announcement of something from Monolith Software, and a decent backup from Ninty for whatever that title may be. The world needs to know about Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or whatever it’s going to be.

      Thanks for reading/posting!

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    • http://www.facebook.com/ryanthestampede0 Ryan Alexander Herrera

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