The Wii U’s launch has been incredibly mixed—there’s news of older Wii games playing at 1080p, an incredibly cute data transfer loading screen, a price-your-own indie game market, limited stock indicating its success, and a rumored 3D Gamepad capability. However, coupled with this good news is far more bad news. There are plenty of customers dissatisfied with their console’s performance and many different bad experiences are streaming in. With the console launching to such fanfare, is there any way Nintendo will be able to recover and continue to entice the hardcore gamer?
One of the worst offending customer complaints is that the Nintendo Account IDs tie in to just one Wii U at a time. Lose or break that console somehow? Good luck hooking it up to a new one. Nintendo intends to use these Nintendo Accounts for later products and PC devices (which also begs the question: how soon will their next product be?), your account is still restricted to the Wii U you register it with. Making an account available across multiple systems is essential for people who want to play multiplayer at a friend’s house with their own account or perhaps just kids transferring games from their own system to another relative’s house.
In either case, they’re going to have a tough time playing their own games at someone else’s house. Why the ID was restricted to one console in the first place is a mystery. It prevents piracy on a very small scale, and keeps legitimate customers from enjoying their games. Making it available for at least five consoles or systems would keep this from being an issue while keeping game sharing to a minimum.
Another terrible issue plaguing the Wii U is much more prominent—combining a 5GB download with inconsistent internet connections means that there are more than a few day-one bricked consoles because users mistakenly turned off their devices or disconnected it during the update. While this might seem like common sense, many of the Wii U’s target audience has no idea what the consequences of powering down a console during an update are, and there’s no cancel button to help them out. Making sure that these bricked consoles are repaired should be a priority for Nintendo.
The last and most concerning issue to gamers is that the console does not run on par with current-gen consoles, let alone next-gen consoles. It has incredibly slow CPU that will shorten its lifetime and make cross-platform releases difficult for the rest of this generation and impossible once next-gen hits. It certainly does look pretty, but it lags behind both the XBOX 360 and PS3 in terms of capability, so its lifetime will be incredibly short. Coupled with the fact that Nintendo Accounts will be transferred over to newer consoles and PC systems, this might suggest that Nintendo is giving this console a much shorter lifetime than any of their other systems. Fixing this is impossible even with updates—but making sure that any cross-platform games are thoroughly checked during quality testing can keep it from gaining more negative comparisons whenever they launch a cross-platform game.
The Wii U does have one good thing to show for itself—it has had successful sales, and continues to charm its audience with pleasant surprises like the upscaled Wii graphics and encouraging policy towards indie games. The limited stock shows that there are still plenty of people who want a Wii U, and plenty of reasons for developers to make games specifically for the console. However, with all of these problems only days after launch, Nintendo will have to find some way to recover their reputation towards the hardcore gamers they are trying so hard to attract.