Next year we finally get to see the first of the next generation consoles in the form of the Wii U. Details at the moment are pretty scarce and there isn’t a whole lot being thrown around in the form of rumours, this isn’t about rumours though, this is what I think that Nintendo’s latest offering needs to really compete in today’s market, what features will make it a day one buy that’s worth queuing for on day of release and that’ll stop it from dusting over within a month or two.
Nintendo have gone for a really different controller, it looks more like a tablet computer than a conventional controller and that’s what I think we need to see. Tablets are all the rage and while as a controller it is new and intuitive, giving it some basic functionality to run music, video and DS or just old school gameboy games would make the controller alone a hit, giving consumers even more bang for thier buck.
For the sake of adding a decent battery, headphone jack and some internal memory, Nintendo could use the awesome, new controller to make a fresh dent into the handheld market as well as encroach on one of this years biggest markets. It doesn’t need to be the new iPad or Galaxy tab, but it would be a wasted opportunity not to make the controller do more.
Consoles have become more than just consoles, on demand TV, massive archives of games, movie rental, the list goes on, consoles have become media centres. Now, I know the current Wii offers some of these, but it’s collection is dwarved by that of Sony and now Microsoft. Both the other big consoles offer multiple channels on demand services and have a far bigger catalogue of movies, games and music for me to download straight to my console, the only stuff I have used on the Wii is a buggy as hell on demand service and the weather, on top of some old gameboy and N64 games.
With the Wii U Nintendo aren’t looking to catch up, they’re looking to throw open the doors to the future of consoles and unless the console can excel in the extras department, it risks becoming another pretty white box that sits under the tele, unused and forgotten for months at a time.
I Want To Investigate With The Wii!
Back Date The Big Games They Missed
While there is some awesome games for the Wii the fact remains that the biggest series have left it in the dark because it’s just not powerful enough. No battlefield, modern warfare, skyrim, L.A. Noire, there have been tons of new titles across the other major platforms this year which have stolen us away from Mario Kart and Zelda and these games will continue to do so for years to come.
Now if Nintendo can make these games available for the new console at release and a discounted price, then the console will become an even bigger hit, rather than just having what is available at the time, consumers will be able to grab some of the enormous titles that they’ve missed at a lower price and get a totally new experience from. Imagine Skyrim menus on a touch screen in your hands, allowing you to view everything up close and personal, or playing some L.A. Noire, with Cole Phelps notes allowing you to flick through the evidence properly rather than pushing a button.
In fairness to Nintendo, when the Wii launched online console gaming was still in it’s infancy but since then it has exploded into a global phenomenon with millions of players sometimes playing just one game, on one console at the same time and the Wii has been left in the dark. To be a success, games like Wii Sports need to be playable in the same way Halo is on the Xbox, a social experience right across the globe, if I buy a Wii U I want to be able to tee off a round of golf with some of my foreign friends and have a chat at the same time.
Multiplayer is now king, we like to be able to instantly connect with thousands of other people who share our interests more so than just throwing Mario Kart around a race track with a few unknown Europeans which is all I seem to have done online with my Wii.
For a while there has been talk of the OnLive service merging with another company to link into a console, the launch of apps for the Xbox 360 has only fuelled these rumours, with the next gen Xbox looking like the main contender, but what if Nintendo got in there first?
I love OnLive, the concept is incredible and the service is great, if Nintendo did choose to go down this road with the Wii U it could be a match made in heaven. As well as the huge volume of titles which is constantly growing, OnLive already has an exceptional focus on multiplayer. This partnership could kill two birds with one stone for Nintendo, OnLive’s catalogue could not only boost the titles for the system, it could also make use of the touchscreen controller thanks to the services tablet integration, which now allows players to actually play games with their Android tablet or iPad.
This is a hard one for any company but is also a necessity, when a new console launches it needs titles that will stun an audience, without being a rehash or a sequel. While I enjoy a bit of Mario and Zelda as much as the next guy, the Wii needs new content, they need to stop playing such a safe bet with the classics and invest in new series that can create the same buzz, which is what game development should be about, giving users a new experience that they can rely on for a decade or two.
So there we have it, that is what it will take to get me in line, in the freezing British weather to grab a Wii U and I really hope that Nintendo can deliver on the hype and excitement I felt when they first launched the Wii rather than leave me feeling disappointed a few months down the line once the novelty of a touchscreen controller has worn off, just as the motion controllers did a few years ago.