The Gimmick That Keeps on Giving
Back in January, when Nintendo finally admitted that the Wii U was struggling and lowered their fiscal targets, the masses were crying many things, two of them being "remove Iwata" and "ditch the GamePad!" For now, let's focus on the latter.
Nintendo led the industry during the third (NES) and fourth (SNES) generations of consoles. During the fifth generation, Sony's PlayStation dominated the market, and Nintendo attempted to regain lost ground during the sixth generation, with the GameCube, but failed drastically. Whereas the GameCube sold 22 million consoles worldwide, the PlayStation 2 sold over 150 million. Nintendo knew that it was time for some change.
So they changed. Enter the Wii.
The Wii was motion controlled, an industry first. It was a monstrous success, and benefited the entire industry as a whole. People who normally don't play video games played the Wii. It was a cultural phenomenon.
Now, in 2014, the eighth generation, we have three major home consoles. The PlayStation 4, the Xbox One, and the Wii U. All three are great in their own ways (maybe). But there is a serious problem. Whenever you look at nearly any news regarding Xbox One or PS4 games, or those "Xbox One vs. PS4" articles that are everywhere, the primary thing that is talked about is graphics. Does the game run at 1080p? 60 frames per second? Oh, it only runs at 900p? Scandalous! The problem, of course, is that eventually, graphics will hit a dead end. Eventually, graphics will get to the point where the improvements are minuscule and barely noticeable.
"The consensus was that power isn't everything for a console. Too many powerful consoles can't coexist. It's like having only ferocious dinosaurs. They might fight and hasten their own extinction."
Nintendo has realized this. They are already countering this with the Wii U and its gimmick, the GamePad.
A major complaint that many had about the Wii was the fact that the motion controls were non-traditional. They pushed away the more traditional and hardcore gamers. The Wii U remedies this. While the GamePad is large, it's also quite comfortable. It allows you to play traditionally, with an interesting twist. The touchscreen. Some games ignore it completely. Some use it just enough. And some rely on it. It's a good balance.
But, as it currently stands, the GamePad is flawed. It's underused.
There is so much potential. The GamePad makes the Wii U unique. And ditching it would be a mistake. The Wii U is not as powerful as its competitors. Without the GamePad, it would lose appeal. And many can talk it down and dislike it. But the great thing about the Wii U is being able to play with other controllers, such as the Wii U Pro Controller. If anything, instead of ditching the GamePad, Nintendo just needs to remind everyone that there are other options for control.
The GamePad holds so many possibilities that will most likely be elaborated upon soon. At this point, we are at the mercy of the developers. If they ditch the GamePad, developers will be less inclined to develop for it, and then we'll be left with a console with no hook. Nintendo needs to prove to doubters that the GamePad is a hook. They need to prove that the Wii U doesn't need to be powerful. They need to prove that it's not all about graphics. It's about fun.
What's your opinion on the GamePad? In what ways should it be used?
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