Nintendo right now, is not in a good place. Sure, the legendary company may sell well when key franchises launch a new game, but the lull between releases isn’t exactly doing them any favours. And that’s because most gamers these days are either playing new releases on PlayStation or Xbox One hardware. There’s a very dedicated group of core gamers, that aren’t being catered to on the Wii U. And Nintendo wants to change that.
Speaking in Edge magazine via CVG, legendary Nintendo figure Shigeru Miyamoto explained that his team wasn’t looking to make games for people who “passively” enjoy games. "[These are] the sort of people who, for example, might want to watch a movie. They might want to go to Disneyland," Miyamoto said.
Their attitude is, ‘okay, I am the customer. You are supposed to entertain me.’ It’s kind of a passive attitude they’re taking, and to me it’s kind of a pathetic thing. They do not know how interesting it is if you move one step further and try to challenge yourself [with more advanced games].
And that’s an attitude that marks a bit of a change at Nintendo. Say what you want about the original Wii console, but that little machine sold a ton of games and made a ridiculous pile of cash for Nintendo. And that was thanks to a focus on a more casual market and the damn thing being flooded with shovelware games. Games for everyone was a fine idea, but the gamer wanting a more visceral experience had to spend months waiting for something more substantial than Wii Fit or Wii Music to be released on that console.
Still, after selling over 100 million consoles, the Wii did some damn good business. But the Wii U has yet to bottle that magic lightning, with only seven million having been sold since 2012. The casual focus is clearly not working then. And according to Miyamoto, the proliferation of smartphones means that Nintendo doesn’t have to cater to that market. "In the days of DS and Wii, Nintendo tried its best to expand the gaming population," Miyamoto explained.
Fortunately, because of the spread of smart devices, people take games for granted now. It’s a good thing for us, because we do not have to worry about making games something that are relevant to general people’s daily lives.
I still think the Wii U is a damn good piece of hardware. It doesn’t boast the sheer number of horses under the hood that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have, but games don’t exactly look terrible on that system either. And the GamePad is a neat device overall, especially when you can actually shift from playing on a big screen to jumping into bed and having a quick session.
What the console needs right now, are games. Mine was quite literally gathering dust, and it’s only being used for review games right now. And that’s because there’s nothing between these games, arriving on the system. While it might be a hard sell to woo third-party developers back to Nintendo, there’s still plenty of potential with that system.
Hell, imagine Diablo 3 running on the Wii U, but with more traditional mouse and keyboard controls mapped to input buttons and the stylus. Imagine more strategy games on that system. Imagine smaller titles getting a chance to shine on a marketplace if it would just open up to them.
I’ve got a lot of love for Nintendo. And I’m hoping that the Japanese company has something planned to get the machine back on track, because the current direction of relying far too heavily on older franchises isn’t exactly winning them any new fans.
Last Updated: August 28, 2014