As I was the one who brought disruption and Blue Ocean to everyone’s attention with the Wii, what can I say about the Wii U? Well, the Wii U is not a disruptive product in any way. The GamePad was one of the competing ideas to motion controls for the Wii.
In order for there to be a disruptor, there needs to be a sustaining market. And the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 don’t exactly qualify as they are as old as the Wii (the Xbox 360 is even older). Disruptive products tend to be cheaper as well. The Wii U is not cheap in any way.
And when asked about the Blue Ocean strategy at an investor meeting, Iwata had to say the Wii U is not a Blue Ocean product. Therefore, it is going to fall into the Red Ocean. It is going to be seen as competing with the Xbox 360 and PS3 unlike the Wii.
I have many ideas as to why Nintendo made the Wii U like they did. But the underlining idea is that the Wii U has no philosophy. The best way to describe the Wii U is as the Anti-Wii. If you look at what the Wii was about and what it stood for, the Wii U is doing everything opposite. The game controller that ‘scared people’ and had to be turned into a Wii-mote is not made even more complicated with a touch screen. While the Wii was cheap, the Wii U is expensive. While the Wii bragged about its Virtual Console, the Wii U pretends the Virtual Console is some old Wii relic and doesn’t truly exist. While the Wii was about ‘expanding gaming and how we play games’, the Wii U is about playing ports of Xbox 360 games.
The things I really, really loved about the Wii are the things Nintendo hated about it. All the hate the Wii got from the Game Industry caught on with Nintendo. I believe Nintendo felt ashamed that the Wii was seen as ‘technologically backward’ and as a ‘cheap’ system. However, I was very proud that the Wii was what it was. Who needs to spend $400 or so for a HD system when you could have more fun with a cheaper system?
What I don’t understand is why Nintendo is using the Wii brand for a console that is opposite of the Wii’s mission. I guess Nintendo will keep using the Wii brand until their install base evaporates. The Wii U brand is to get the Wii user to think the console is an upgrade (where it isn’t. It is a radically different console).
The reason why you hear no mission statement or philosophy for the Wii U is because there isn’t any. With the 3DS, the mission was to popularize 3d. But the Wii U’s intentional mission, one of them at least, is to re-create the install base to be attractive to the Game Industry. The Wii install base, while massive, was not attractive to the Game Industry.
What I was hoping was for the Wii to create a new Game Industry and let the old one whither on the vine. But Nintendo, with their strange obsessions such as pushing 3d gaming on everyone and all, don’t want to go this direction.
But we have our answer. We’ve been wondering where Nintendo is going. Is Nintendo going to go the Wii and DS path or the Gamecube and 3DS path? The answer is the Gamecube and 3DS path. Nintendo is not about the games you want to play but about the games the developers wish to make. Prepare yourself for Metroid: Other M 2 and other such ‘wonders’.