After watching the Nintendo Direct Wii U Preview Event, it’s safe to say that Nintendo is on top of their game. Admittedly, I was skeptical about how the Wii U would revolutionize the gaming industry, fearing that the controversial Gamepad would turn out to be just another disappointing gimmick, much in the way the Wii’s motion controls were. However, all of that has changed, and Nintendo is definitely on the right track to creating one of the most unique and engaging consoles the industry has seen. Here’s why.
First and foremost, the games will make or break the console, and luckily, Nintendo has nailed it. Not only have they received such incredible support from third-party developers and publishers (though a few big ones are still on the fence), Nintendo has proven that they are focused on bringing the best in video game entertainment without isolating particular groups of gamers. With 50 games set to be released before March of 2013, Nintendo has done an excellent job at making sure the console will have something for everyone. For the more casual gamers, we’ll see yet another Just Dance sequel, a new Wii Fit title, and other party games that will bring families and friends together. The kids will get some high-quality titles, such as LEGO City Undercover and Scribblenauts Unlimited, both of which will also make some hardcore gamers excited if they are willing to overlook the E-for-Everyone rating. For the more hardcore crowd, Darksiders II, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Assassin’s Creed III and ZombiU are just a few of the games to be excited about. Nintendo even managed to get Black Ops II, proving that the company has finally caught up. While many criticize the console’s ability to push graphics to the next level, gamers should be focusing on the fact that we don’t need new visuals, we just need higher-quality games, and Nintendo is prepared to focus on that.
I’ll say this right now, Nintendo TVii is the greatest thing to happen to home consoles, and easily the most brilliant. Nintendo has seamlessly integrated multiple on-demand video sources such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video with live broadcasting in one interface, changing the way that users will watch TV. Not only can you use your Gamepad as a TV remote, anything you want to watch will always be in your hands, eliminating the hassle of browsing through individual services to find what you are looking for. You can check scores and plays of the latest NFL games, chat with others about the show you are currently watching, and keep schedules and instant queues for each individual member of the household. Nintendo has announced that every major cable and satellite provider is on board, which is a great sign. From a business perspective, Nintendo has made an incredible decision, as it essentially makes the Wii U the focus of the living room. You’ll never have to put the Gamepad down, so why would you ever need to buy another gaming console? This question is obviously what influenced Nintendo, and they couldn’t have done a better job answering it.
A Social Console for a Social World
Social Gaming is arguably the biggest focus for the next generation of consoles, and luckily, Nintendo is embracing that fact. The world revolves around the internet these days, where social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are the most visited sites on the web. Gamers want to talk to each other, they want to share their opinions about the games they are playing. Nintendo knows this, and has added the ability to connect with other players in a way that no other console has done before by allowing Wii U owners to talk to each other at any time. If you are stuck on a particular boss, you can put up a message on Wii U message boards straight from your Gamepad, and anyone can see it. Being able to read other gamers’ opinions about certain levels in a Mario game or where they found that super hidden collectible without ever having to leave your game or console is a perfect way to keep players engaged in the experience. Nintendo has gone social, and it’s a good thing.
We still have yet to see how successful Nintendo’s new console is, but I’m feeling very optimistic about its future. The Wii U is set to launch here in North America on November 18, at only $299 for the basic model and $349 for the Premium Edition.