It's no wonder critics and fans alike have doubted the Wii U. Poor console sales, recycled IPs, and a lack of 3rd party participation would make anyone feel discouraged. Heck, even Asda, one of the major UK supermarkets has stopped selling the console. Yet as I look at the PS4 and Xbox One, see the attitudes of Nintendo's headship, and go down memory lane of another "doomed" console, I feel strongly that Nintendo and the Wii U are going to come out of this generation with it being deemed a success.
This confidence in Nintendo is backed up with facts. In a recent interview with IGN, NOA President Reggie Fils-Aime cited an episode of Good Morning America that aired between 1990 and 1991. The topic, which will sound familiar, was "Is Nintendo going under?" and "Is PC gaming taking over the industry?" These serious discussions took place right before the launch of the SNES. Reggie concluded that these "concerned" voices are simply noise that won't keep quiet after over twenty years.
Interviewed by the same group, Nintendo President Iwata compared Nintendo's position to that of the "four minute mile;" a feat once thought impossible until one man succeeded. The following year of his victory, twenty-three others made the same accomplishment.
Both Reggie and Iwata's points were that Nintendo has done the impossible and overcome trying situations time and again. Looking back at the company's history, they've had plenty of struggles before. The failure of the Virtual Boy, the Nintendo 64's small software library compared to the PlayStation, and the GameCube coming dead last in the console race are all examples of their struggle, but they never once surrendered.
This may sound like I expect the Wii U to fail and a greater system to rise from its ashes, but that's not the case. I fully expect the Wii U to succeed. How's that? Let me introduce you to my friend, the Nintendo 3DS.
During its launch year, the 3DS was heavily criticized for its small battery life, sluggish release of games, and a general lack of good content. It wasn't long before the little handheld was labeled as the next Virtual Boy of our generation. But before the year ended, Nintendo did something brilliant.
The two Mario games came just in time for Christmas, the perfect time to land sales. For fans of the Nintendo 64, the release of Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 3D was the equivalent of getting a Final Fantasy VII remake. These events opened the way for 2012 and even 2013. Since that fateful Christmas season, the 3DS has treated fans to Kingdom Hearts 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and many more. That does not even include the eShop which has also showered us with Virtual Console titles from the NES and GameBoy eras as well as digital exclusive content from studios of all shapes and sizes.
The 3DS has performed a complete 180 in terms of progress amongst gamers to the point of outselling the Xbox 360 almost 3 to 1 this past April and June. With that said, I believe the Wii U will experience a similar turnaround.
The Wii U is in an identical position as the 3DS was in 2011. In the upcoming months on into 2014, the Wii U will add Super Mario World 3D, Wind Waker HD, Mario Kart 8, Batman: Arkham Origins, Watch Dogs, Smash Bros., The Wonderful 101, and Project X to its software library. The first few titles are what you could call "guaranteed system sellers" for Nintendo that could even encourage Asda to begin selling the Wii U system again. or at least regret their decision. Project X, from the creators of XenoBlade Chronicles, could certainly scratch that itch JRPG lovers tend to get. Also, let's not forget Miyamoto's announcement at a new IP, something fans have demanded for years.
The Miiverse community is also becoming a strength of the Wii U. It has become a convenient place to get tips on the Wii U's games, a place to casually chat with fellow players, and where fellow doodlers post astounding works of art.
Let's discuss money. The Wii U is $300, the PS4 is $399, and the Xbox One is $499. Now look at our economies. While some are willing to invest in a more pricy system, when it comes to pure finances, the Wii U is the best way to go. We know its strengths and its weaknesses (which Nintendo is actively fixing). The PS4 and Xbox One will not be as perfect as portrayed at E3. In fact, some of the PS4 and Xbone's software had technical issues during the live demos. They may look shiny, but we have no idea what these systems will do until they are actually in our hands and our wallets bare. They also have little idea about their software line-ups.
Just like Reggie said, the hate on Nintendo is nothing but noise. As the PS4 and Xbox One try to find their footing over the next year, Nintendo will be releasing games back to back that make our mouths water. I do not believe the Wii U will fall, but rise to become the PS2 and Xbox 360 of our generation. The flood of Nintendo goodness is coming. Be sure your body is ready.