At this point in time, we are only a few short months away from the year anniversary of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and the two year anniversary of the Wii U. So far, the eighth generation of video games has been one of uncertainty and struggles. While Sony's PlayStation 4 has had a very successful launch, Nintendo and Microsoft have struggled to keep up. Of course, things do change over time.
The Wii U launched a full year before the other two, but the big "N" failed to capture the casual audience that the Wii had hooked in. They also failed to capture PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 gamers. There are a few reasons for this. First, in my opinion, the Wii U had a terrible marketing campaign. It was difficult for the average gamer to distinguish whether or not the Wii U was a new console or simply an add-on for the Wii. Another reason is that many view the Wii U as underpowered.
But it's time for a bold claim: Nintendo's Wii U is the only true next generation console available, as things currently stand.
A next generation console means different things to different people. For many, it literally is defined as simply being the next console released by a company, albeit with some hardware improvements. Improving the hardware is exactly what Sony and Microsoft did. And really, that's all they did. As frustrating as it was, Xbox One's Kinect was actually a step in the right direction. Microsoft attempted to shake things up and redefine the way we play. But due to media pressure and lower sales, they removed the Kinect, and we, the gamers, the ones that matter, are left with two consoles that are virtually the same thing, with only very small graphical differences.
Then we have Nintendo, the oldest gaming company still in the console market, the wild card company.
At first glance, the Wii U is underpowered. It's a more powerful Wii. Sure, it's not nearly as powerful as the competition, but does it really need to be? I wasn't sure how I felt about the power until I played Mario Kart 8. It was beautiful, and it convinced me that power isn't everything. Public opinion of the Wii U is starting to change, thanks to games like Mario Kart 8. By introducing a tablet controller, they are attempting to once again reinvent the way we play, the same way they did in 2006 with Wii. Granted, it's a lot slower of a process this time around.
While many games do not use the GamePad to its potential, there is one thing that the GamePad brings by default: possibilities. Many, many possibilities. There are so many things that Nintendo can and probably will do with the GamePad by the time this generation closes.
For many longtime fans of Nintendo, the next generation isn't just increasing the power. It's increasing the power, shaking up the way we play, and doing something innovative. For the SNES, it was 16-bit. For the N64, it was 3D rendered graphics. For the GameCube, it was smoother graphics, memory cards, and discs. For Wii, it was motion. And for Wii U, it is tablet gameplay, a second screen, our beloved characters in 1080p, and a larger emphasis on social gaming. Every generation, Nintendo reinvents themselves. It's the reason they've managed to stay alive and thriving as a company for 125 years.
What do you think of the Wii U as it currently stands? Do you own one, or do you plan on owning one and why? In what ways should Nintendo innovate with the Wii U GamePad?
8 news items
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Wii's World is not officially affiliated with Nintendo! (but they wish we were).