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State of the Union: Wii U (my thoughts on sales, specs, innovation)

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#1 MorbidGod


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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:51 PM

I wanted to give my outlook on things to those asking the questions. We have many topics about one or two of these topics, but as I can see not one topic to rule them all. I am getting a little tired of having to post the same ideas and thoughts on mutliple threads (and I know this is not going to help -- I still will have to reply to other threads, surely). However, hopefully some of you find this as a good source to let you understand the state Nintendo currently is in, and where Nintendo needs to go (and where I see them going).

So with that said, let's start this State of the Union Address (haha sounds official right?).

Nintendo choose to be first. Being first can be good, but not always. Being first at bringing innovation is good. Look at what Apple did with the iPhone. Love it, hate it, ignore it -- whatever -- you can't say that the iPhone hasn't changed the smartphone industry. With multitouch, with the app store, with the mobile web browser. All three of these things did not start with the iPhone (well, multitouch did I believe) but Apple made it mainstream and forced others to follow in their footsteps. The masses see Apple as the innovator, and Microsoft and Google as the followers (I am not saying that is true -- just what people think). That's why being first with an innovation is a good thing. People see you as the leader, everyone else as the follower.

Nintendo however has challenges they need to face head on. There is always a perception in the tech industry that if your product is released first, six months down the road your competitor releases something ten times better. Look at the Xbox 360. I remember hearing how PD Zero looked "last gen". My Xbox can do that I heard a friend say. Considering it's entirely possible the PD Zero was built using specs similar to the Xbox in power, yes, I think it was acceptable for that launch title to look that way.

Similar, yet more prodounced because of the innate hatred for all things Nintendo that so many people have, the Wii U is first and faces the same delima. The big exclusive -- ZombiU -- started it's life on hardware similar to the 360. In fact, I heard somewhere that it was suppose to be an Xbox game, but ended up being on Wii U (I can't quote that -- so that info may be false ... pls correct if need be). Either way, however, IBM and Nintendo would do what everyone does -- put stock parts in the dev kits and tell them where things are heading. Which means in this case that a stock power CPU would be similar to the Xbox 360 CPU.

Let's take a moment here and think about what I just said. If a game started it's life on last gen hardware, and with Nintendo, IBM and AMD changing out quickly with the larger changes probably happening in 2012 ... that means developers did not have time to change the graphics and make them look "next gen". Games started their life as last gen, and did not have time to "grow up" and become next gen. Fast forward to the PS4 reveal. I know from previous leaks that the dev kits had an AMD A8 APU in it. As someone who is highly considering that (or it's older, strong brother, the A10) as the APU for my computer I will be building within two weeks, let me tell you a secert, Intel blows it out of the water. But it's dirt cheap. 89 at online retailers (if you know where to look). Retail price 129.99 I think. It's able to run most games at high settings, but not every game. It's low in power. But Intel -- heck, I would say even what IBM produces -- smashes the A8 into pieces. Sure, that's not final hardware. And yes, what we saw in the reveal is not by any means a good comparison of what the PS4 can do.

But the PS4 games did not start their life on "last gen" hardware. AMD had stock parts -- like the A8 -- that was cheap and more powerful then what the Cell offered, Nintendo on the other hand had to use a cheap, on hand processor in the dev kits. They couldn't afford to stick a Power7 in the dev kits. So what do they do? Stick whatever IBM could quickly put together, which again, probably was close to the 360 CPU. Do you see the difference there?

But that is another problem with being first. Nintendo had little choice with the supplier they choose and time frame they had with the dev kits. It's a handicap, but a known one in the industry. Looking back at the 360, it took about one year for a game -- I believe it was Gears of Wars -- to show what the 360 could do. That year marker has not come yet. Wii U should -- by my theory I am stating -- have a game that truly looks next gen by the time the PS4 comes out. I think "X" by Monolith Soft looks next gen. Comparing that trailer to what we saw with the Unreal 4 Demo, the graphics are very close. For your viewing pleasure, here is UE4 Demo and X by Monolith.

So as you can see, when the PS4 is released, Nintendo should have at least one title that looks good. Plus, further proof for you naysayers out there, Watch Dogs is coming to the Wii U and PS4. Which means, while the PS4 might have some finer details, the two next gen consoles will look so close you won't be able to tell the difference. If Ubisoft couldn't bring this game to the Wii U they wouldn't. But they are, and I am sure that when it comes out you will be able to see.

Now, let's move on to sales. Nintendo has sold over 3 million Wii U's. That's not a bad number. Yes, it should be better. Jan 2013 sales were not good, should have been better. This is Nintendo's fault for not having a steady flow of games -- which has always been Nintendo's problem. Third parties seem to waver with support, and Nintendo can only make so many games. It's bound to happen, but they should fix this problem for whatever comes after 3DS and Wii U. With Monster Hunter coming, however, I expect sales to start to improve. Considering how popular this title is over in Japan, Wii U should sale a lot of units there. I guess you could say having this down time is good -- allows Nintendo to stock up for demand they know will come.

Will Nintendo continue to sell Wii U's this good? Depends if they can keep the games coming. Monster Hunter and Pikamn are the only big titles I can think of before E3. They need to sale at least double the amount of Wii U's from now till then. I believe they can with the right amount of games, but we'll see.

Lastly, let's talk innovation. I believe this is a problem for Nintendo. Hardware innovation they have down pat. But for the first time I can think of Sony has copied their innovation, made it their own, and added their own innovation. The whole sharing and social features are to be commended and Nintendo needs to work this into their own hardware. They need to make the OS clean and quick, too. The PS4 is going to be much faster with the hardware being so over powered to take advantage of the more advanced OS. But there are two ways to make a computer fast -- either over power it, which is what most Android OEM's do to make up for bad coding -- or you can have a light OS that can load quickly because it is effiecent at what it does. Nintendo has never done well with OS. At least what the one's we see. The Wii was also slow, and the Wii U is taking cue's from it's older and less powerful brother.

Nintendo has a tough journey ahead. I believe they can sell well. I know that the Wii U can be a success in it's own right. If that means it is in last place but selling over 70 million units -- then that is good. Or maybe over 90 million like the Wii? Being first place hopefully? We'll see. It's possible with the right games and enough of those right games.

So that is my opinion. Feel free to debate me. :D Just be respectful folks!
Whovian12 -- Nintendo Network ID.

#2 cadrethree


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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:07 AM

The Wii U will probably rebound with respectable sales this generation, but Nintendo is still losing the war (IMHO). Nintendo is like the last horse and buggy maker, the richest, largest and most powerful of all the companies. The 3 things that are pulling them down are the old style games, poor small company thinking, and they can't support their system alone through droughts.

1. They don't seem to want to grow their western studios, and develop games with FMV, voice acting and/or offer 3rd person shooters which rule the richest market in world (NA). You can still turn out your cheap Mario, but develop new game styles already.
2. They act like they are a poor technology company that can't put out powerful equipment. They won't buy technology companies to do online gaming and their operating systems right. They don't buy companies to make world class software tools for game studios to use day one. Is finding the power of the game system a treasure hunt?
3. They don't expand their western studio enough. They don't actively look for new hits like Farmville or Minecraft or buy new IP. Sony is almost a bigger and more compelling game publisher then Nintendo is nowdays.

Edited by cadrethree, 25 February 2013 - 11:08 AM.

#3 Crispy Bacon

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

I don't think Nintendo was prepared for the Wii U launch like they had hoped they would be. The OS still has issues(though it is getting fixed in the spring), the software rollout has been somewhat dry and Nintendo is still trying to flesh out and tighten up their HD development. Nintendo had time to really get things rolling during the last couple years when Wii development had pretty much halted. To be fair, I don't know what they were doing during that time, but surely they could've ironed things out much better than they did. However, at this point, all we can do is go forward and I think Nintendo will be fine. They'll get the OS fixed up and I'm sure we'll see some great things at E3. Games are key. Always has been and always will be.
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#4 taz546565


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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:24 AM

well my wii u is getting dusty there's their biggest problem games there's nothing yet that is worth buying hopefully they really up their game getting some new ip's and first party developers onboard preferably western devs.

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