Nintendo has fired the first salvo in the next console war, in a manner, with the announcement of the Wii U console. In a manner because the Wii U moves Nintendo into the world of HD and more but it’s still looking to compete for dollars but not in the manner that PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 duke it out. The Wii was odd at first but a hit with casual gamers and has found its way into many households but will this new system follow? The short answer is yes, let’s take a look at some features and reasons why.
Apple Effect – The Wii did what no other hardcore gaming console could, penetrate the average household. The sales numbers don’t lie and the casual gaming aspect hooked non-gamers of all ages. With that penetration and brand recognition Nintendo now has a chance to do what Apple has done with iPod and that’s make Wii owners want the next evolution of their systems. With the features listed below, why not. It’s a gaming system but so much more and the new controller, well that’s a system in itself. Price will be king in this court to see if Nintendo rules.
New Controller – A 6.2-inch screen on a controller? This isn’t the little take with you controller slot from Dreamcast, it’s a fully functional, stand-alone system in itself. Take Wii U with you and play outside the TV. See your lie in a game of golf, throw ninja stars, play games against others, browse the web, interact with games … this is all from the video shown at the Nintendo press conference and it’s not all the controller does but it’s like having a DS married with a touch screen smart phone rolled into one slick looking package. There are a few aspects to call out but having this puppy in action this is more than a new controller, it does look to be a new evolution for all types of gamers.
Non-gaming Controller Actions – Sharing photos, ‘tossing’ them to the TV, drawing tablet and video conferencing. The Wii U is a multi-media console and will allow the viewing of photos and the video shows an image being tossed from the controller to screen. The gaming aspect of this, especially in card games, is very cool to think about but again it’s the casual appeal. The ability to do some video chatting is in itself priceless and an untapped market that products like Skype has targeted but have yet to really move off the PC. Now gamers can get a non-PC that plays games and does video conferencing. Solid and hot, what an impressive feature.
Gyroscope – Seen in use with fitness board and a few games the balancing feature, the built in gyroscope should be very cool when implemented correctly.
HD – Late to the game, yes, but this is a big factor as traditional gamers can now get all the first party games in true HD, not some jacked up GameCube looking funk (while there are solid Wii titles they are not HD). Third party publishers will be happy to see and hear this especially since many of them (look at Ubisoft support) have development kits. A list is not provided here are this has been heard from publishers and seen on various releases. Point is Nintendo seems to be supporting third parties from the word go which has not always been the case.
Backwards Compatible – Yup, play all those Wii games on the Wii U. This key feature began with PlayStation 2’s support of PlayStation games and has become a necessity for new consoles due to the established user base. The 3DS launched with a handful of titles but hundreds of DS carts to pick from while PS3 20GB system is fully backward compatible and Xbox 360 plays select Xbox games. Good to hear this from Nintendo.
Zelda – Link has never looked as good as he does in the short clip seen at the presser and this is reason enough for gamers to buy the Wii U.
Overall the Wii U is exciting but this is just one gamers list of early observations. There is still more time to see how this plays out but rock solid effort by Nintendo and all level of gamers are looking to benefit, if the price is reasonable. Lot of features, its gotta be affordable for the new Wii created gamers.