So I wanted to start by apologizing to my readers and to Nintendo for the delay in writing and posting this; but there are really two reasons for that. First and foremost, Nintendo had a really really hard conference to write about. A lot of what was there really doesn’t lend itself to a ‘writeup’ format like I do here. Secondly, I’ve been a bit distracted by all of the previews and by playing inFamous 2 which came out this week(Naughty Sucker Punch!).
Now to get to the writeup – my predictions:
- Yep, Reggie took the floor. Thus comes the elitism. This time they didn’t tout their sales numbers as much as usual, but the elitism was definitely present.
- I was half-right here, the console was called the even worse name of ‘Wii U'(and did anyone else think the name sounds like a siren going off?) but no real solid info on games was announced.
- Tons of video footage, etc. of OoT 3d.
- About 60% of the content was 3ds titles and footage.
The show started with a tribute to Zelda which was very touching, and showcased the 25th anniversary of the series. During which they annouced the various 25th anniversary specials they’re doing, such as OoT 3d, a series of symphonic concerts, a cd I’m incredibly interested in, the launch of 3ds online store with a free zelda gift, and of course Skyward Sword which now has a release date. Then they discussed the new platform, and I have to wonder if they had any North American proofreaders, because the line “I have two words for you: deeper and wider” really didn’t turn out the way I think they intended it.
They then went clumsily into a video of 3ds games, most of which looked like remakes of games for earlier platforms for the 3ds. Some of which looked very unique though, such as Icarus: Rising, which looks even more awesome this year than last year. And then Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage, and my interest started to wane. I really dislike listening to him talk. His attitude just really doesn’t encourage me to want to be a part of anything to do with Nintendo. But they did show some interesting 3ds content – finally some actual solid titles for the 3ds. Maybe they can get it to be a household name finally with some of these titles. Hopefully some of them come out soon – because I’m not sure OoT 3d is enough to keep a system afloat on its own. The next thing they talked about was the e-shop, which included the “enhanced pokedex” – which, while not that interesting for me, but certainly will be huge for pokemon fans.
And then what we’ve been waiting for, the announcement of the new platform…….. and the worst name for a console in history: Wii-U. Don’t get me wrong, the console has some unique capabilities, such as the ability for it to stream content to the screen contained in the controller, or to even have simple games running just on the controller separate from the console. But the controller looks very awkward to use, the placement is odd, and it is huge. Like bigger than the Playstation Vita. For a controller, it’s really huge. Which could be a bad thing. Add to that that the trigger/shoulder buttons are quite far apart, which could be awkward. And all of the huge features of it sound like it’s going to be one heck of an expensive piece of hardware, which is very concerning. Also, the other aspect, is that it adds just one more network to the wireless spectrum of your house, building, and neighborhood – and if you’re in an apartment, that can be a pretty congested spectrum. This is really the part of the conference that gave me so much trouble writing. Because there’s so little info, that it’s barely even speculation we have. We saw a bunch of 360/ps3 footage of games that will run on this console. We saw a handful of awkward tech demos that showcased some of what it is capable of. But since it is still probably more than a year away, it’s hard to really say. They did assure that it had a full web browser, that it had 3rd party support, and that they were developing the new features of the controller to be up to the developer, not mandatory. Oh, and they said that they’re trying to do a proper online service, something the Wii has never had.
So what I’m going to say is this:
If the controller is comfortable, light, and easy to use.
If software supports the Wii-U well.
If they allow their third party partners to develop for it and if the third party developers put the time into figuring it all out.
If the hardware is as powerful as they say.
And last, if the console and extra controllers have a reasonable, affordable pricepoint.
If all of the above are true, then I strongly suspect that the Wii-U will be wildly successful. I don’t really expect all of them to be true, but if they are, then the Wii-U will likely be successful, despite it’s horrendous name.
- The Wii-U was really announced too early. There isn’t enough about it to keep gamers interested. No actual game footage, no specs, no pricepoint.
- Not all that much actual content to the conference overall.
- They showed off footage of other consoles running games to hype the Wii-U and didn’t tell people until afterwards.
- Reggie Fils-Aime is as elitist and annoying to listen to as ever.
- “Deeper and Wider” line came off wrong, and was overused.
- Wii-U is the worst name I’ve ever heard.
- Wii almost completely absent.
- They implied that glasses free 3d changed gaming, which really hasn’t proven the case yet.
- Wii-U controller is huge.
- Zelda 25th anniversary orchestral concerts and cd compilations sound really cool.
- The Wii-U certainly has potential.
- Solid 3DS titles announced, but still no release dates for most of them.
- Finally some attempt to work with 3rd party developers which the Wii sorely lacked.
- Announcement of the 3DS E-shop was a good idea.
- Many of the features of the Wii-U are interesting, especially the ability to stream games to the controller or to play games on the conroller while others are using the tv or the console.
So, to try and summarize this is difficult. Overall, I really think they should’ve waited a year before announcing the Wii-U. It’s too early to build hype. I think they shot themself in the foot by spending so much time on it so early with so little to say. But, I think they did a good job with the Zelda 25th anniversary and the titles for the 3DS. Also, I think that having nothing shown for the Wii really makes the Wii feel like it’s dying more than it should since Wii-U is still over a year away. And lastly I’d like to point out that, while it may just be me, Reggie really makes me want to change the channel. I don’t watch these conferences to be talked down to or insulted; and I get a lot of a sense of that from Reggie. So basically I think that this year’s conference was weak of necessity since Nintendo doesn’t have much to talk about currently. Not the best place to be in, but since the DS and the Wii are still selling, I don’t think it’ll hurt them too much.