The Wii U has been out for almost two years now and already people have started talking about the Wii U’s successor. It didn’t take long for people to start writing the Wii U off for various reasons, even before it launched people were writing it off because it wasn’t going to be as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox1. Now that we can all safely assume that third party multiplats (not including party games like Just Dance etc) will officially be coming to an end on the Wii U on November 21st when Watch Dogs releases, it has given people even more reason to doubt the credibility of the console. While I would agree in some respects that there is some disappointment surrounding the Wii U, slowly but surely the console has been getting excellent exclusive software largely in the form of first party exclusives. For a more extensive look at the Wii U’s upcoming exclusive games, check out my previous article.
So where do Nintendo go from here? We have already had Miyamoto say that Nintendo are going to be focusing on core gamers for the foreseeable future. Surely there still has to be at least another few years before Nintendo announce their next home console. Hopefully Nintendo can drive the install base of the Wii U a bit more with the help of certain big hitting games like Smash Bros which is set to release this winter and the new Zelda game releasing next year, as well as other games that have not been announced yet. We also have Amiibo launching later this year which I am intrigued to find out more about and cannot wait to see if it sells well. I also think it would be a good move to get as many publishing rights to some third party games like they have done with Bayonetta 2 (launching in November) and Devils Third (launching next year).
Whatever happens between now and the next few years, there is no doubt that Nintendo are working on their new home console. A while ago it was revealed that Nintendo had a restructure and combined their handheld and home console divisions so that they are unified. This raised a lot of questions about new hardware and Iwata said that for Nintendo’s next generation of consoles: “Home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different and they will become like brothers in a family of systems.” Whatever Iwata decides to do with Nintendo’s next home console, there are some things it must have that the Wii U did/does not have.
Games at launch
The Wii U was severely lacking when it came to high quality games that were available for the consoles launch, leading to many people believing that the console launched too early. The main reason behind the lack of games at launch is because Nintendo found the transition from developing games in standard definition to developing games in high definition tough. Two games that spring to mind that should have been ready for the Wii U’s launch are Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends (although Rayman Legends was not developed by Nintendo) and while we did get both these games eventually, Nintendo must rectify this problem going into the next console generation.
It would have been wiser of Nintendo to delay the consoles launch making sure that they had a bigger library of quality games available at launch. Although it would have meant now a post Christmas launch for the console, at least it would have looked like a much more attractive purchase. If Nintendo’s next home console was to launch with several diverse triple A games it would give the console a great start sales wise and would not have to be playing catch up like the Wii U is doing now.
A huge game from Nintendo to launch alongside their new hardware like a Mario Kart game, a Zelda game or a 3D Mario game (like Super Mario 64 on the N64) would also give their new console a great start. I would like to think that Nintendo have taken this mistake of not having enough quality titles ready for the launch of the Wii U and will be rectifying it for their next home console. A strong start for a new console sets it up for positive reactions from critics, good feedback from consumers and a general sense of comfort all round.
A steady release of quality titles
Let’s be honest, Nintendo are quite masterful in the art of game delays, it is not anything new with the Wii U’s generation but it is no exception. We have had quite a lot of game delays already and while a lot of third party game delays on the Wii U like Rayman Legends, Project C.A.R.S and Watch Dogs cannot entirely be Nintendo’s fault, we have still had plenty of Nintendo’s games delayed. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze came out in February of this year and was supposed to have been released before Christmas 2013 while Captain Toads Treasure Tracker has been delayed in Europe to early 2015.
These two games are only two examples of Nintendo games getting a delay on the Wii U and in my opinion, Nintendo need to get this sorted out going forward. I’m not saying it can be physically possible for Nintendo to be able to bang out a triple A game every single month, but if they were able to give us a more stable supply of quality software with third party games filling the gaps, journalists would have a lot less doom and gloom articles to write. The lack of third party software has obviously been a hindrance on the software lineup on the Wii U which is discussed after this point.
While game delays are disappointing for any console, it is important to note that the reason that they happen is because extra time is required to tweak the game in order to improve its experience. This is usually the case with Nintendo games, they may have a lot of game delays in their history but still to this day you cannot deny the quality that you get with the vast majority of Nintendo first party games. If Nintendo can find a way of bringing us a more steady pace of top quality first party games with the next home console, happy days!
Third party support
One of the more blatantly obvious areas that Nintendo needs to improve on in the next generation of consoles. At first, it looked like the Wii U was going to be assured of safe amounts of third party developers and publishers on board when the console was first revealed at E3 2011. We all remember seeing the trailer that showcased not only a host of third party games that were supposed to come out for the Wii U but we also saw a lot of developers interviewed and singing the consoles praises. Not to mention when president of EA John Riccitiello got up on stage with Satoru Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime to discuss Nintendo and EA’s “unprecedented partnership”.
With the Wii, a lot of major third party multiplats skipped the system due to the console not being powerful enough to handle the games. With the Wii U, that excuse has all but gone for the time being and now the excuse is mostly being pointed in the direction of the Wii U’s install base. Let’s not beat around the bush for a second, the Wii U’s install base is very small and there are certainly games that are not worth releasing on the console. But some of these excuses we are hearing from third party companies seem a little ridiculous, check out one of my previous articles which goes into more detail.
That is not to say that Nintendo is not partly to blame for their “partnerships” with third parties. They have not had amazing third party support since the days of the SNES and the fact that they have not been able to properly entice third parties back to their systems is not good enough. The Wii did not necessarily need much third party support as it appealed to a big casual market, the Wii U is not going to do the same thing and Nintendo are going to have to change things if they want their next home console to be a commercial success.
Although I am not a firm believer that the Wii U is “underpowered” in the 8th generation of consoles, it goes without saying it has no where near the power that resides within the PS4 and Xbox1. Why is this a problem? I hear you ask. In my opinion, a games console looks more attractive to third party developers/publishers if it is powerful. Also while graphics and processors etc are not the be all and end all for a lot of people (especially Nintendo gamers) they are for some people. I think that simply put, the more powerful a console is the more appeal it will have.
You have to remember that this is not my personal preference for Nintendo’s next home console. I am not hoping for one second that Nintendo put all their eggs in the power department, I just believe that globally it might help them patch things up with third parties and past Nintendo gamers who have since moved on. Each generation that comes Nintendo tries to innovate, that is a fact. While I do not want Nintendo to stop doing this, it might be a safer bet to put their money more into power rather than too much innovation. Why not innovate solely on your games with the next home console rather than with the hardware Nintendo?
That is of course not to say that I have not appreciated Nintendo’s hardware innovations in recent years. I had a lot of fun with the Wii remote in some games (although it would not bother me in the slightest if they did away with them for good in the next generation) and the convenience of playing a game on the gamepad while your partner watches the TV is a stroke of genius! Do something to wow us with the next home console Nintendo, I love the Wii U and want it to be successful, just please take all the negatives from this generation and learn from your mistakes in the next.
OK, so I will start this one by giving Nintendo some credit in that the Wii U has made bigger steps towards online functionality from the Wii. Some of the games are a blast to play on the Wii U online like Mario Kart 8 and some games play really well and support voice chat like Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Mass Effect 3 and Resident Evil: Revelations. Also Miiverse was available on the Wii U since the consoles launch and has been a great way of communicating with other gamers as well as sharing with them your thoughts and in game screen shots. I cannot imagine Nintendo’s next home console without something like Miiverse.
What Nintendo need to do with their next home console is to really step it up with their online functionality. Take Miiverse to the next level, make it bigger, give us the ability to upload our own gameplay videos rather than just screen shots. In Mario Kart 8, you can share your race highlights on Miiverse if you have a Youtube account, which is a step in the right direction. Let us be able to make our own topics on Miiverse so that it gives people the chance to create specific topics about a game, Miiverse is great but it can be better. Also, I would love to be able to message my friends without having to click on them, go into Miiverse and message them that way. The whole of that process could be made much simpler.
Something I have been screaming out for for a long time now on a Nintendo console is a party chat feature. I would love to be able to chat amongst friends while I am playing a different game to them, I appreciate that Nintendo has a family friendly reputation to maintain but they need to keep hold of their core fan base which is not children. Nintendo need to endorse parental controls more if they want to maintain a family friendly reputation whilst keeping hold of their older fan base. Why not try out an achievement system on the next home console? It might not mean a lot to some people but I know that a lot of people would love the idea. Make it Nintendo themed, when you hit achievements in games it could make gamers earn virtual coins that we can use to spend in the eshop for in game purchases. Just an idea. One that has probably crossed the thoughts of many Nintendo gamers.
So that’s it, just a few basics really but if Nintendo can pull all of them off with their next home console, I am sure they can rectify problems they have had with the Wii U. If Nintendo go ahead with the whole “Nintendo Fusion” idea for their next console, my opinion would be that if they were to make only one console that has the best of both worlds from the hand held and home console departments, this would be there best opportunity to progress. Imagine having a powerful 3DS type hand held console with HD graphics that you can play anywhere and when you are at home you can transfer the image to your TV and play on that if you wish.
If Nintendo were to concentrate on only one console that caters to the hand held market and the home console market rather than manufacturing two separate consoles they might save a lot of money. It would also mean that this console would see the release of all Nintendo’s hand held games and home console games on the same system. Imagine being able to play games like Super Mario 3D World and Xenoblade Chronicles X as well as Pokemon X/Y and Fire Emblem: Awakening all on one console with amazing HD visuals. If Nintendo only went with one console rather than a handheld and a home console in the future, there will no doubt be the doom and gloom articles to begin with but they wouldn’t last. Nintendo would soon stop the “Nintendo is doomed because now they only make one console instead of two these days” articles after people realize how well the console is doing. It would soon aquire the install base of both the hand held and home console markets and by that time, what excuse will third party developers/publishers have for not putting their games on Nintendo consoles?
I would love to hear all your thoughts, what do you think will be in store with Nintendo’s next home console? Do you agree or disagree with the points made in this article? Please let me know in the comments section below.
Written by Sammy J on 21 September 2014