Wii U: Are Haters Right?

Wii U: Are Haters Right?

We talk a lot of trash about the companies that make our games and our consoles. To be fair, though, we often do it while standing in line at GameStop with the latest console and digging around in our pockets for some change to pay for the cursed thing (usually after a five-hour wait in a cold, cold queue).

Why do we do it? It’s a natural defense. Our valuable leisure dollars go into console purchases, and the months building up to a console’s release are packed with news about the system’s game lineup, specs, and features. We like some of what we hear, but we certainly don’t like everything we hear. Then we factor in a company’s history, and multiply that by the times we’ve been burned. If you’re a core gamer with a Wii, you might feel under-supported. If you’re an Xbox 360 owner, chances are you shipped your console back to Microsoft in a cardboard coffin. If you’re a PlayStation 3 owner, you might have had to endure Sony’s merciless price tag.

Then we think to ourselves, “What if the Wii U screws over core gamers again? What if the Xbox Next catches on fire every time you turn it on? What if Sony expects me to take three jobs for the privilege of buying a PlayStation 4?”

And that’s when we hit the online communities, brimming with opinions that fire out of our fingertips. But how many of us hold on to our money on launch day, and how many of us run to the store?

Famous game designer Cliff “Cliffy B” Bleszinski knows all about the trash talk that flies around game-related message boards, and he shrugs it off. At E3, he told Industry Gamers that Nintendo’s critics will “talk shit [about the Wii U], but they’ll still buy it.”

No doubt the Wii U’s retail debut will be a feeding frenzy, but Cliffy B’s observation does give one pause. As far as the Wii U goes, where does the trash talk end and the real threats begin?

The Nintendo 3DS isn’t a crystal ball (it’s not even particularly round), but its launch and subsequent sluggish sales can help separate message board bluster from gamers’ serious apprehension to adopt another Nintendo system. Namely, cool system features alone won’t carry the Wii U. Unless Nintendo can combine affordability with a strong launch lineup, it’s not going to be easy to sell people on the system’s tablet technology alone. They’ll point to the Nintendo 3DS and say, “Nintendo tried to launch this system before it was ready. Why should I invest in the company’s new console?”

In other words, Cliffy B is right: Folks will talk crap about the Wii U, but they’ll end up buying it. The million dollar question is, how many people will buy it? Nintendo is certainly capable of giving people reasons to buy the system, but it’s going to be an uphill run. In this instance, much of the trash talk flying around message boards has a kernel of sincerity.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

3 Comments

  1. I get a bit grumpy when I hear people slamming the Wii U. It is exactly what the hard core crowd has been saying they want since the Wii was released (powerful with HD graphics), and when they get it they can’t stop complaining about it.

    The complaints about the tablet are the same things people said about the touch screen on the DS. When will people realize it is not a screen, it is a configurable controller. It works great on the DS, it will work on the Wii U as well.

  2. I think the 3DS’ launch is alot like the PS2’s where it started slow but once a major title got into the mix the thing began to sell like hotcakes. For 3DS that title will of course be Mario.

    For the WiiU however I think they will have to come out gun’s blazing, controller screen blaring if they are to sell it to the two major audiences they are trying to please. Of course some hardcore title and a Wii Fit (or sports) will probably be at launch.

  3. I nearly posted on another of these a while back but refrained. I’ve never bought a Nintendo since the SNES, they just never seemed to offer the right line up of games to capture my attention.

    Hardware aside they have chosen a different path which is fair enough. But again no matter how they try to market the new controller it still appears like a gimmick. Sure a lot of people picked up the Wii because of the novelty factor, I played it at their houses. I now see them collecting dust now the novelty has worn off. At the same time as this I don’t think Nintendo has nurtured the ‘core’ gamers who also tend to be the early adopters.

    Given those two factors I’ll be interested to see how any new offering from Nintendo will fair.

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