Podcast #1 – The Wii U (Part 1)

In this episode, I make the case for the Wii U, and why it shouldn’t be getting all the negative press it has been receiving lately. For the outline/notes, see below the video.

Podcast Notes (for those who like to read!):

1.) Do graphics matter?

  • Yes, they play a part. But only a part
  • Graphics will always get better, and each system is obsolete as soon as it is released to the public
  • Ultimately, what matters most to you: the best graphics, more media integrated, or gameplay?
  • Let’s take a look at the Wii U specs compared to the others
  • Although Nintendo’s website is fairly vague on the specifics, some technical information has been released/discovered. In summary, the Wii U is drastically underpowered. I’ve posted links on the blog home page, if you’d like to check them out.

http://www.ign.com/wikis/wii-u/Wii_U_Tech_Specs

http://www.wiiuonly.com/2013/03/differences-between-wii-u-and-xbox-360.html

http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/features/tech-specs/

  • I found a rather good article from www.theverge.com, regarding the comparison between the Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U. It states (like everyone else) that the PS4 and Xbox One are incredibly similar in specs, but that each manufacturer is focusing on something different to push their system: Xbox One on voice/motion, PS4 a mix between traditional gaming and modern controls, and the Wii U with the GamePad/secondary screen. I recommend the article (once again, it will be posted on the blog)

http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/22/5135024/spec-sheet-xbox-one-playstation-4-wii-u-compared

  • This articles states something I feel a lot of people are truly missing the point on: what do you want in a system?
  • I know that I, personally, want gameplay. I am planning on getting a PS4, but it won’t happen till at least the end of this year, as the games library isn’t intriguing to me (though I’m really looking forward to the Metal Gear games, Kingdom Hearts 3, and whatever Naughty Dog has planned next). The same goes for Xbox One. I want something I can’t get via my smart TV, media player, or PC gaming – which means I need exclusives
  • What does Microsoft have as far as exclusives (that the majority of people care about)? Halo, Forza, Dead Rising, and Titanfall. How about Sony? InFamous, Gran Turismo, and whatever Naughty Dog will come out with. And what about Nintendo? Mario, Donkey Kong, Pikmin, Zelda, MarioKart, Smash Bros, Bayonetta 2.
  • This article (posted on blog) shows the comparisons between Xbox One and PS4 games, and many of the most anticipated games are coming to both systems: Battlefield, Call of Duty, Destiny, Metal Gear Solid V (SUPER EXCITED!!), Kingdom Hearts 3, Watch Dogs, and The Witcher 3.

http://www.ign.com/wikis/xbox-one/PS4_Games_vs_Xbox_One_Games

2.) So, is the Wii U doomed?

  • In short, no. And here is my opinion on why it isn’t
  • The exclusive games. AND, just about half of those franchises have already released/are about to release a game in the series. Each one getting high scores across review sites. The other half are coming out this year. These will help push Wii U sales for hardcore gamers, as well as casual gamers. Check out this interview with Amazon UK

http://mynintendonews.com/2014/02/03/amazon-uk-says-nintendo-isnt-going-to-meet-their-expectations-but-theyve-got-strong-franchises/

  • These exclusive games could possibly attract a crowd that doesn’t really care about the Xbox One or PS4, as many of those games also come to them, with BETTER graphics and arguably better online capabilities: PC gamers. I’ve spoken to many PC gamers, and noticed that many (not all, mind you) want to get a Wii U/own one already for the exclusives, to go alongside their main gaming platform. You won’t really get that crowd with PS4 and Xbox One, as many of the games are also available for PC as well (so why get a new system for games that you can already play?)
  • Wii U is cheap. People complain about the price, but I picked mine up (brand new) with 3 games included (I consider New Super Mario Bros U and Luigi U one game), all for just a little more than a PS4 with no games. And because I had a Wii, I had 4 extra controllers already.
  • The GamePad possibilities can be vast. This solely relies on Nintendo. I thought the Wii could’ve been one of the better hardcore gamer consoles in the history of gaming, but Nintendo, I think, really dropped the ball. The same applies to the GamePad: make games that really utilize it, and create a drastically different experience from the PS4 and Xbox One; more hardcore gamers will pick up a Wii U, regardless of specs. Needless to say, the usage (or lack thereof) of the GamePad for the upcoming Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze doesn’t send a good message.

3.) Which brings up the question: should the GamePad be dropped?

  • There have been some recommendations that the GamePad be dropped and to lower pricing
  • Some people suggest that it be scrapped completely to lower pricing
  • Others think it should be optional, like discussed in the Nintendo Life article

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2014/01/talking_point_is_there_a_future_for_the_wii_u_without_the_gamepad

  • The GamePad is useful, and, depending on Nintendo, can launch the Wii U into the next gen console wars
  • Off TV play is phenomenal, and works almost flawlessly
  • Creating unique gameplay experiences with the GamePad (instead of just including it) will separate the Wii U from the rest of the competition
  • Contrary to popular belief, I found that the GamePad was actually just fine in my hands. I didn’t feel uncomfortable at any point, or in any type of gameplay
  • The battery life has been a big issue, and I can see why. For me, however, it hasn’t been an issue. I turned “Power Saver” mode on, and turned the screen down a little, and I get roughly 5 hours of life out of the GamePad. And if I’m playing a game for longer than that, I just plug my charger cable directly into the GamePad. Like I said, it doesn’t bother me at all, but I can definitely understand why others might have a problem

4.) What else is a misconception about the Wii U?

  • Sales/how many units have been moved (3DS and Wii U)
  • In November, and especially December, Nintendo’s sales were way up. I’ve posted various articles I’ve found regarding this, including Forbes, and Time (Tech Section). These have been greatly downplayed because Nintendo didn’t meet their initial sales mark

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2013/12/wii_u_sales_jump_again_as_nintendo_maintains_hardware_dominance_in_japan

http://www.digitalspy.com/gaming/news/a537990/wii-u-sees-340-percent-sales-increase-in-us-for-november-says-nintendo.html

http://techland.time.com/2014/01/17/why-the-numbers-arent-all-doom-and-gloom-for-nintendo/

  • According to VGChartz (of course, take this with a grain of salt), the Wii U actually even outsold the Xbox One the week of Christmas. Don’t see that headlining anywhere, do you?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2013/12/31/wii-u-outsells-xbox-one-the-week-before-christmas-according-to-vgchartz/

  • The Wii U has sold approximately around the 5 million units mark. This is not bad at all. Especially considering the terrible first 9 months or so the system was out with very few games

http://mynintendonews.com/2013/12/14/nintendo-sold-4-3-million-wii-u-consoles-to-date/

  • The GamePad being a completely useless peripheral
  • This is completely not true. I have already utilized the GamePad for off TV play many times, as my wife may want to watch something on TV, or perhaps a basketball game that both of us want to watch is on (but I still have the itch to play some Mario 3D World). It works incredibly well – much better than I expected it to
  • There are a few games that utilize the GamePad fairly well already (keep in mind, the system is still young, so there will always be more improvements); games like Wonderful 101, Zelda Wind Waker HD, and Rayman Legends
  • But, for all my love of the GamePad, Nintendo has to start utilizing it more. Otherwise, it will become an almost useless peripheral
  • It isn’t a next gen console, and doesn’t come close
  • Ubisoft has implied that the Wii U is a next gen console, and that it is closer to the PS4 and Xbox One than current gen consoles, In fact, they developed the Wii U version directly from their PC version

http://www.gamercenteronline.net/2013/02/26/ubisoft-development-ps3360-version-watch-dogs-hasnt-started-yet/

http://www.nowgamer.com/news/1823841/wii_u_watch_dogs_already_running_ubisoft.html

  • I could argue graphics on the Wii U further, but I will make it really simple: go and play Super Mario 3D World on a nice big HDTV, and tell me it doesn’t look great
  • The graphics are NOT comparable to what the PS4 and Xbox One will be capable of, but that does not mean the Wii U isn’t next gen, and that the graphics will be as horrible, or as big a difference as the Wii was to the Xbox 360 or PS3
  • Miiverse is useless/not needed/gimmicky
  • Miiverse is strangely entertaining. Think of a Facebook for games, but with a very positive atmosphere
  • It may not be for all, but it is a welcome addition as far as social media in relation to games. Who doesn’t want to show off a screen shot of an accomplishment, or a goofy picture in game? Or maybe give help on how to beat a level, or get a secret item for someone? I found it to be strangely addicting.

5.) These things give people the wrong perspective – my back story on being a hater

6.) The Big Question

  • Do you think that Nintendo’s new business strategy will work? Do you think the Nintendo app will help the company sell units at all? If so, why? If not, what would you recommend?
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