Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 8, 2014

Email: Sacred Cows

I’m sure there are a bunch of other ones we could identify (integrated hardware/software philosophy, innovative game design over innovative content), but my biggest question is: How much longer will Nintendo try to fight the market?  I think that’s the million dollar question.

The Wii U is really a big middle finger to the market for rejecting the GameCube and its experimental controller (the Game Boy Advance).  I’m still in awe that Nintendo, after acknowledging that complex controllers were a problem going into the Wii era, turns its back on that statement and makes its largest, most complex and convoluted controller ever instead of making a better Wii Remote.

We got no Wii Sports 3.  Instead, we got a piece-mealed Wii Sports online.  And let’s not forget Wind Waker HD.  Perhaps one of the biggest middle fingers of all.

I just want to know when they’ll stop this childish attitude.

You can see how the Wii U is a Gamecube HD with built in ‘connectivity’. If you change the brand and the plastic aesthetic casing, the Wii U has absolutely nothing in common with the Wii. I don’t understand why you can see it and so many people don’t see it or choose not to articulate it. Wii U is a Gamecube successor in spiritual design, not a Wii successor. All the Gamecube sequels and ports on the system should give it away.

The Wii U software is like Nintendo developers’ wet dream with the exception of NSMB U (which they made sure was put out at launch so they could rush it and get it out of the way. The Board must be forcing Nintendo developers to make 2d Mario.) If a business man was running things, NSMB U and 3d Mario would have switched places under the reasoning that the 2d Mario game is more important to selling hardware so developers should take their time on it to get it right. 3d Mario could get rushed. Nintendo Land would not have had the focus on Nintendo ips and been more generalized like Wii Play. Pikmin 3 would have been canceled long ago and the resources directed toward something people actually want to buy. Wind Waker U never would have appeared.

Before the Wii U launched, the Internet hailed it as the ‘hardcore gamer’ console of choice. Look how that fared. While not an Iwata sacred cow, it is an Internet myth that ‘hardcore gamers’ power a console’s install base. With the Wii U failure, the hardcore are now claiming that it was designed for the Wii audience (with what!? With Gamecube ports and sequels? Weren’t the hardcore cheering for Pikmin 3?) The hardcore will never admit that they are the problem with gaming.

I think judgement is still out on the integrated hardware/ software since integration isn’t about selling hardware as it is about fighting software value erosion. Sony is giving out free games with PS+. Sony can only get profit from the software. If Sony isn’t going to be making profit from the PS4 endeavor, then what the hell is the point of making the console? I haven’t seen any data on the PS4/Xbone software sales. We’ll find out soon enough if people are actually buying the software.

It should be noted that Nintendo has a higher stock market capitalization than Sony does at the moment. Sony’s non-gaming areas are not performing (and even some gaming areas aren’t performing. Why didn’t the smiling CES guy mention Vita sales?).


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