I like your term of Xbox 360 and PS3 being “Junior PC Gaming”. I’m going to steal it! Haha.It is very strange we have no details about the E-Shop on the Wii U. We do know Reggie and NOA talking about the account system and how games you buy can be used on systems in the future. Their silence on that tells me there is conflict between NCL and NOA.I know what the conflict is. NCL is backwards. The entire nature of an account system is a contradiction to Iwata’s mantra of ‘integrated hardware and software’. If software can be used on multiple consoles and into the future, then it isn’t ‘integrated hardware and software’ is it? This is why I use the word ‘ideology’ when Iwata chirps his phrase of ‘integrated hardware and software’. Apple is an integrated hardware and software company (boy, are they ever!) and even they don’t force you to rebuy all the software again for their new hardware. You can even use content you already have on your PC.
The account system is Nintendo’s most important decision since deciding to make the Famicom. If trends hold steady, the Nintendo platform of the future will be the accounts. I see the account system as infinite backwards compatibility. Nintendo probably sees it very differently. Iwata may think that if we can buy old games, we won’t buy the new ones. But if everyone is choosing to buy the old games over the new ones, then maybe the new games aren’t that good and their ‘unique hardware features’ aren’t giving the game additional value.
I know exactly what you mean by your uncertainty with the Wii U. While NSMB U looks great, is that all we’re ever going to get? Are we stuck with Gamecube-esque games? No one wants to purchase a game console for *one* game. This is why the Virtual Console is so important to me. With it, at least I’ll still be able to enjoy the console even if Nintendo’s later offerings aren’t my cup of tea.
As for how the generation will go, we don’t know what Sony and Microsoft are going to do. The big, big issue is the economy. It will continue to go down for a while. Japan, for all we know, may end up in a war with China. I think the Wii U will have a strong start and then struggle as it moves further in 2013. The Wii U is a red ocean product and will be competing for game sales with the Xbox 360 and PS3… both of which are cheaper and have larger game libraries.
If the Xbox 360 or PS3 begin outselling the Wii U monthly in a market, Wii U will be in big trouble.