I love Nintendo. Even now, I still remember the day I got my Gameboy Color. I spent countless hours slaying octoroks in Legend of Zelda and stomping on goombas in Mario Bros, and I enjoyed every second of it. As far as video game companies go, I think Nintendo is the best at capturing the imaginations of minds both young and old.
So, naturally, when I heard that a new platform was coming out, I was excited. After all, Nintendo is known for their ingenuity. As we know, they were pioneers of motion-sensing technology with the Wii, and of touch screen capabilities with the DS. Now Nintendo is trying for a combination of the two, called the “Wii-U.”
According to a recent article by CNN, the Wii-U will utilize a motion sensitive touchscreen, allowing one player to play independently, while the other four play using the TV screen. An interesting idea, but will it sell?
As much as it pains me to say this, I don’t think so. I love Nintendo for their innovation, but in this instance, I think that same innovation might be their Achilles heel. After all, there’s such a thing as being too creative.
Take Nintendo’s R.O.B., for instance. In 1985, Nintendo released the R.O.B., or the Robotic Operating Buddy, which was just that; a life-sized robot who could play alongside the gamer. Obviously, this product was as ambitious as it was unique. Before or since, I don’t think there’s ever been anything like R.O.B. But oddly enough, R.O.B. never caught on. Or maybe it wasn’t so odd.
R.O.B. was innovative, but too much so. You see, gamers as a whole are a people grounded in tradition. They like their games new, but not their systems. If a system strays too far from the norm of a nine-button controller and online interface system, hardcore gamers won’t buy it. I think the Wii proved this observation. Though it sold well with older and younger people, hardcore gamers chose the Xbox first.
Furthermore, few companies are going to jump at the opportunity to make games for this system. Though companies look for innovation, it is difficult for them to make certain types of games for certain systems. Just like it is challenging to make a satisfying shooter on a handheld platform, it will be extremely difficult for companies to make fighters for the Wii-U.
That being said, I must say quickly that while Nintendo is taking many creative risks, I think they should be applauded. Among the top three video game companies, Nintendo is by far the most creative. Many will say the Xbox’s Kinect is superior to the Wii’s motion control. But don’t forget, Microsoft was following the trail of breadcrumbs left by Nintendo when they created their motion-based product.
So what I’m saying is this: Nintendo is the most innovative of the current video game companies. However, in their quest for innovation, they sometimes alienate the hardcore gaming market. For this reason, I’m concerned that the Wii-U may have poor sales.
I know I’ll probably end up getting one. But the question is, will anyone else?