Video uploading, official Twitch TV support, most sports games, DVD/Blueray functionality, and online multiplayer for third and most first party titles. The following was a list of things that the Wii U cannot do but its competitors can, and coupled with a slim 2014 first party lineup it's understandable why Nintendo hasn't really been in the spotlight for the past few months. The buzz on multiplayer and next gen household integration has been ridiculously high but there still may be some hope for the little system to make a turnaround in the new year; depending of course, on what angle Nintendo decides to approach this console war from.
At a glance it's easy to see where most would underestimate the system, particularly compared to what the Xbox One and PS4 have to offer. When you look at each console feature for feature the Wii U comes up pretty short by comparison, and getting the full run of what the Wii U is capable of does require a bit of an investment into additional game pads or (assuming you don't already own a Wii) controller peripherals. The same can be said for the Wii U's game line up which unfortunately doesn't take advantage of many cross platform titles.
Destiny, Thief, and The Division are just a few big games that have either no intention of releasing for the Wii U or have made no announcement as of yet; which has been a long standing complaint against Nintendo. It's not as though Nintendo's fans aren't interested in making a purchase either. Nintendo forums are often rife with gamers wondering if the Wii U has any intention of picking up titles both prior to and long after launch. The want is there, so why no third party support?
In a different era, when the PS3, 360 and Wii were all fighting for the same place in a single home the struggle for third party developers was a major cause for debate. But as each company tries hard to cement their purpose in a household third party gaming may actually not be as big a deal. At least for Nintendo.
Arguably the Wii pushed itself into every household with its extra affordable price, but as the cost of each console has now gone up almost simultaneously the new debate is whether or not players require either PS4 or Xbox One, not both. Nintendo finds itself in a rare opportunity to fit somewhere in between, and what many would have once considered to be a weakness may now be their consoles greatest strength.
By completely ignoring third party developers they eliminate any redundancy that gamers would encounter, and as a first party platform the Wii U's cost becomes much easier to argue. There's no shot in the dark when it comes to first party support because unlike Microsoft or Sony who have left their grasp on console exclusives somewhat questionable, Nintendo will never produce a title outside of a Nintendo console. Your literal investment in the Wii U is measurable by how many Nintendo titles you plan on enjoying down the line, and of course the convenience that the console brings in playing them.
While the XBO offers the ability to switch between outputs as a key feature the PS4 does not, which helps cement the game pad as not only a feature that the PS4 lacks but also as a means of enjoying a game console without putting stress on the XBO's processing. And for the few games available on every console the pad does add another level of depth to the gameplay, making it a genuinely different experience comparatively.
The more you view the Wii U as a console independent from the rest, the more sense it makes to invest in the family system due to Nintendo's incredible track record for high quality design. In developing games, they rarely fail; and even their more disappointing platformers are still far superior to what the competition is churning out. In fact the only recent time a Nintendo franchise has been met with backlash would be Metroid the Other M, a game which wasn't even developed by the company. Our expectations for Nintendo's product quality may be a little ridiculous, but in a way that's a good thing. We just expect more.
Hearing what Nintendo's plans are for Q4 2014 on into 2015 will be the real test for the system, and it will admittedly take a bit of work for the company to raise its voice above the sheer noise that Sony and Microsoft seem to make with their mudslinging. But there's plenty to be excited for when it comes to Nintendo's upcoming year and who knows; with the right game, a good bundle and a competitive price it may not take much for the Wii U to jump ahead of the competition yet again.