by James Gabbard
Rumors have been swirling recently that the Wii U is not just underpowered for a next generation, but is still not as powerful as current systems like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. And with that have come the opinions that Nintendo doesn't need to be as powerful or more powerful. Two articles by 1Up and CVG have come to the idea that the Wii U can still be successful, as the Wii proved.
I'm here to tell you: not likely. I don't mean to be devil's advocate, but some of the claims in these articles just aren't cutting it for me.
HD isn't enough
HD was what was hot in 2005 when the Xbox 360 came out. It was new tech a lot of people didn't have yet, sure, but once they upgraded their TVs it looked better than anything the Wii could put out. While it's great to see Nintendo franchises hitting high definition, HD alone isn't going to cut it. When people see the system, they want to be amazed. If Durango (code name for the next Xbox) and Orbis (code name for the next PlayStation) can amaze them, the Wii U is simply old news.
Yes. It's not just about graphics.
Powerful consoles can do powerful things. AI is better. There's bigger worlds to explore. And being able to take all of that data needs more power. You have a console that's weaker than what's now, you don't just have worse graphics you have a lot more that's worse.
There's a reason you didn't see certain games hit the Wii: it could not handle them. If the Wii U is underpowered, the same issue will plague it come Durango and Orbis release.
Nintendo's franchises keep it going
But Nintendo is aiming for all of the hardcore. They carved out a slice of casual gamer meat, and Sony and Microsoft decided they wanted a piece of that meat too. So what's Nintendo do? Go after the slices on their plates. And Nintendo franchises aren't going to catapult the system to success, especially not with third parties. If Nintendo is willing to take chances and losses (like they are currently on the 3DS systems since the price cut) then the success of the system is necessary. And getting all sorts of gamers to buy and games on the system is what Nintendo is going to have to do. As of now, they sure as hell aren't going to do that.
The average consumer won't care
Depends on what 'average Joe' we're talking about here. Average Joe who likes Assassin's Creed? Yeah sure, the third one is on there but if Durango and Orbis are more powerful- who's to say all of them will be? Multi-platform release can get difficult for third parties, just like it did for Wii.
If you mean average Joe who doesn't play games, doesn't understand computers and is pretty much the stereotypical definition of casual gamer, you're forgetting: Nintendo isn't just selling this to them. They're selling it to those who do care.
Cheap cheap cheap
Yeah, I understand. The tablet controller is killing the price. But hey, Nintendo is taking a hit on 3DS to make it successful. It could take a page out of Sony and Microsoft's book and do the same for the Wii U. If Nintendo wants the console to be successful, it might just have to.
It is a competition
Nintendo has come out and said they want to make a system for everyone. For not just the casual, but for all gamers. Every genre, every veracity there is. That puts it in clear competition with Sony and Microsoft. And while they go for the living room, Nintendo isn't going to sit back and let them take over.
We've already seen Nintendo hint at taking over the living room. The system can stream games as you watch your favorite TV show. It gives you updates on your games. And with the MySpace TV rumor, Nintendo could be looking to do a lot more than simply be about games.
Just look at the 3DS right now. The extra features that come along with it allow for a lot more than Nintendo is used to. Netflix support alone should tell you Nintendo could take a giant leap into the living room.
So if the Wii U is underpowered, it could easily fall short. Could Nintendo stick around if the Wii U failed? Maybe. They could release another system, or wait until the next generation and just ride out the Wii U like the Gamecube. But all this nonsense about Nintendo being OK if the Wii U isn't even as powerful as current systems? I call complete and utter shenanigans.