June 17, 2012 by Paul Curtin
For the third year in a row, Nintendo has found a way to outdo themselves and disappoint hardcore gamers yet again. Two years ago they announced a bunch of lame sequels to tired franchises, but had their 3DS handheld device to help take the attention off their failing Wii system. Last year all eyes were on Nintendo when everyone realized that their upcoming secret system, then code-named Project Café, could be Nintendo’s chance to break back into the hardcore market and get a jump start on Sony and Microsoft by announcing their console first.
The new successor to the Wii left many scratching their heads (us included) as to what exactly it was once it was revealed last year with a video package that didn’t actually show a console, and instead a weird mash-up of what seemed to be the Nintendo Wii and a tablet merged with a controller. After their conference, Nintendo quickly made it clear that Wii U was in fact a new console and not just a Wii add-on and that it would be capable of playing high definition games that you could find on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Even with the announcement that the Wii U would be able to match the 360 and PS3, many were left unimpressed that Nintendo’s new system was basically catching up to current gen consoles at the very end of their life cycle. So Nintendo went silent, not announcing anything else about the Wii U for an entire year, and once again leaving everyone wondering what tricks they were going to pull out of their bag to turn their skeptics into believers of their new system.
And once again, Nintendo dropped the ball worse than ever and failed to announce anything that casual or hardcore gamers could get excited about. Nintendo’s big announcements at their 2012 media briefing included another new Super Mario Bros. that looks like something they could have just released on their 3DS, a game called ZombiU that looks just like Left4Dead, a new lame Pikmin game, and an even lamer new Nintendo Land game. The open world LEGO: City Undercover game looks like a nice alternative to GTA for young children, but the keyword there is still “children”, and there’s no way that will be a system-seller.
Nintendo also announced that there would be a normal controller similar to the Xbox 360’s for gamers not wanting to use the bulky tablet on a bunch of old current-gen games like Batman: Arkham City and Mass Effect 3 that would also be coming to the Wii U about a year after their initial release… Yay? There will also be some future AAA games like Darksiders II and Aliens: Colonial Marines hitting the Wii U after its launch, but in this economy, why would anyone buy the Wii U to play only some of the games their current Xbox 360, PS3, or PC can already play?
Nintendo’s selling point with the Wii U is that the tablet can be used to also view additional information while playing games. So multiple people can play on their own screen, and players can view maps, inventories, or in Arkham City‘s case even steer the batarang while Batman stands completely still on your bigger screen that you were just watching and could be using to do the same exact thing. Lame.
To make matters even worse for Nintendo, after seeing Nintendo’s new tablet integration idea at last year’s show, unlike Nintendo who have basically done nothing in the past year, Microsoft revealed at their 2012 media briefing a new technology they’ve been working on called Smart Glass. Microsoft’s Smart Glass technology will be available before the Wii U and will work with the Xbox 360 and any mobile device like a phone or tablet that gamers already own and will do almost the same exact thing the Wii U is doing.
With the Wii basically dead and the 3DS performing nowhere near where it needed to here in America, Nintendo really needed to come out of their media briefing swinging and taking shots at the current big boy systems. Instead, they did absolutely nothing new besides show off one zombie game that looked like a Left 4 Dead rip-off and a bunch of ports of blockbuster titles that have already been released over the past year.
Nintendo better get their act together quick and start working on some good first- and third-party exclusives, because it’s only going to get worse for them when Sony and Microsoft finally announce their next move in the console war, which will most likely take place at next year’s E3.