“But why did they force all Wii U purchases to be with the super expensive controller?” asks a reader.
But before I can answer, another reader jumps in to say, “Are you daft? If the GamePad does not come with every console, game companies won’t make software to utilize it.”
But this doesn’t hold up today as the game company could very well not make the game anyway due to the expectation of using the GamePad. If Nintendo separated the Wii U and GamePad in different packages, the console package would not only be cheaper but may also attract more third party games. (Iwata would complain, “But that would not differentiate our product. We’d be in the Red Ocean.” Dude, you’re already in the Red Ocean with the Wii U.)
What is animating these decisions is a bizarre ideology, which has become a religion inside Nintendo, called ‘integrated hardware and software’. Unfortunately, integrated hardware and software means the consumers buy stuff they don’t like and game companies have more work they have to do. The NES and SNES didn’t have integrated hardware and software. They were just boxes you bought to get to Mario. And everyone was happy with it.
This ‘integrated hardware and software’ madness has more repercussions than people suspect. The idea of a bountiful Virtual Console or, rather, account bound games that go beyond the current hardware will be a no go. Their existence contradicts Nintendo’s fanatical religion of integrated hardware and software. Therefore, they will not exist or exist in only the smallest of ways. The idea of playing Super Mario Brothers 3 on any Nintendo hardware tears to smithereens the ideology of ‘integrated hardware and software’.
In the lobby, the readers may have been conversing over the poor backwards compatibility Nintendo is doing. What the readers expect of backwards compatibility is the same or better experience from their older games. They expect DS games to look ‘really cool’ on the 3DS with its bigger and better screens (which is not the case). They expect Wii games to look better and have better resolution on the Wii U (and boy will they be disappointed).
Nintendo isn’t interested in backwards compatibility. Nintendo only sees backwards compatibility as a means to reduce the risk of the transition phase (the most dangerous part of a console cycle). Once this transition is over, Nintendo nonchalantly removes the backwards compatibility from the hardware (while keeping the price the same, of course).
The reason why the Gameboy went so long with backwards compatibility was because Iwata was not yet president and wasn’t a pope to herald in the Nintendo religion of ‘integrated hardware and software’. The Gameboy was nothing more than a brick to play portable games. Nintendo didn’t care if you used your Gameboy Advance, made in 2003, to play Gameboy games made in the 1980s. Today, Nintendo would never allow such an option as it contradicts the ‘Hardware-Software-Integration’ religion.
I would not be surprised if Nintendo phases out the Virtual Console and tries to make it disappear forever. They can’t do so in one fell swoop because everyone would notice. Therefore, they have to slowly decrease it over time and make it vanish without anyone noticing.