The Wii U is just a PS3/360 with a touch screen on the controller. What no one’s talking about is the driving motivation behind the Wii was that there are lots of people who were turned off by video games because of the huge controller with eight buttons, a d-pad, and two sticks. So here comes the Wii U, with its, um, eight buttons, d-pad, two sticks, and a touch screen. The thing is Nintendo forgot why the traditional consoles had become hostile to new users in the first place, so they’ve come full circle. The fact is that the same people who would never pick up a Playstation controller are going to be the same people who will never pick up this tablet monstrosity.
Nintendo isn’t just neglecting their new market; they’re actively destroying it. The appeal of the Wii was that it wasn’t hard to figure out how to play tennis or golf on the system. With Wii U, you’re back to playing golf by twaddling sticks and pressing buttons.
“But it can use Wii controllers!”
Nintendo’s biggest mistake isn’t not including a game. It’s not including Wii remotes. A controller that isn’t packed in is known as a “peripheral.” A “peripheral” is also known as “a controller not everyone has.” “A controller not everyone has” is also known as “a controller few developers program support for.” This fantasy Nintendo has that this Wii U pad will “enhance” the Wii experience is just that–a fantasy. What you’re going to have is the PS3 experience with a big ass touch screen. No, scratch that. You’re going to have the Gamecube experience with a big ass touch screen, since third parties will abandon this thing approximately 0.064 seconds after the next-gen consoles drop.
So Nintendo’s destroying its own user base in order to attract teh h4rdc0r3z. Except, wait, what reason does a “hardcore” gamer have to buy this PS3: The Ultimate Twitterified Touchpad Experience? Answer: None. The graphics aren’t better. Everyone knows the third party support will be worse. And the PS4/Xbox3 systems will be far more powerful and have far better online support.
The target customer for this is nobody. This thing exists primarily to satisfy Miyamoto’s ego, not customers.
Nintendo doesn’t want to sell the Wii U to the Wii Sports crowd!!! The reason why is that third parties aren’t interested in an install base of Wii Sports gamers. The Wii U wants to attract traditional gamers instead so they can attract the third party companies on Xbox 360 and PS3.
Of course, there are many types of third party companies. Why does Nintendo specifically want those on the Xbox 360 and PS3?
It is because Nintendo likes the Red Ocean. Nintendo is more interested in pushing out competitors than growing the market. When the PSP was released, Iwata said it was good because the PSP would help ‘grow the gaming market’. When Vita was released, Iwata got Nintendo to buy up all Monster Hunter and do everything possible to kill the Vita.
Nintendo is interested in success. THEIR success. They don’t want other game consoles to become successful even if their success has no bearing on them. The Wii’s success didn’t hurt the HD twins or vice versa. Nintendo is no longer playing that game. Perhaps they don’t have any choice as both Microsoft and Sony moved into Nintendo’s Blue Ocean with their own set of motion controls.
So the Wii U might be retaliation to Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s motion controls. I remember an email many years ago given to me by an investor who had dinner with Iwata at E3 (maybe it was E3 2007? Iwata always has dinner with analysts and investors at E3) of how peeved Iwata was with Microsoft stealing the Miis with their Avatars.