I hate to say it, but Nintendo is in trouble. I’m saying this as a fan of Nintendo so it’s even harder for me to admit. There is plenty of logical reason’s why I could argue that they need to work on some stuff, but I would like to tell you the worst sign that they may have a serious problem on the way.
Last fall my younger brother asked for an Xbox 360 for Christmas. My brother, who has owned every Nintendo system ever, wanted an Xbox 360 instead of the new Wii U. My brother would rather own an eight-year-old console that originally launched in 2005 than the new Wii U that was released in 2012. Think about that.
He’s actually stuck by the Wii until now. He bought one fairly early on in its cycle and has quite a collection of games. Unfortunately, after years of jealously watching all the other super fun games being released on the PS3 and Xbox 360, he looked at the roster for the Wii U and said, “no more.” Most of what he saw was more of the same and he has had his fill of Nintendo.
“I feel like I’ve missed so many games over the past few years,” he said. “I used to really like playing games and watching shows like X-Play, but now it’s actually kind of sad when I see those shows and there are no games I could get.”
I think the final straw may have been last year when he played From Dust at my house. I told him the game cost around $15 and I could tell there was a tiny moment of despair as he realized this same game would probably have cost much more than that on his Wii and would have required a disc. Showing him how I could download all these excellent games and keep them on my hard drive had to be a little annoying.
“One of the things I like about going to your house is being able to play video games,” he said. “Isn’t that just ridiculous? I have a Wii and I go to your house because you have real video games. Like when I play Call of Duty on the Wii and then play it on your Xbox it feels like a cheap knock-off or something like that.”
He joked about how it would be nice to just shoot people in one of his games. I bought him Mad World for his birthday when it was first released and while he admits that it was good, it would’ve been nice if he felt like there were more games for adults for him to choose from. Creative platformers has kind of been his staple for a while and when Nintendo launched with a Rayman title he knew where this was going.
Oh yeah, and my Xbox 360 has the ESPN app for no reason other than it just does. He’s clearly very angry that his Wii doesn’t even play DVDs.
“I heard the Wii U will play DVDs, which is just fucking stupid because the Wii could actually play DVDs if Nintendo would just allow us to. It has the player, but because Nintendo never put some kind of software on it, my Wii can’t play stupid DVDs. So, I have a Wii and a DVD player hooked up to my TV. How much sense does that make?”
He owns an Ipad, so a Nintendo version of a tablet doesn’t impress him either. Nintendo talks about maybe competing as the second console that gamers would have in their home, but that’s what a tablet is for. My tablet and my brother’s tablet both play a few really good games like Sid Meier’s Pirates!, so why would we need two consoles, a tablet and a PC?
I’m sure Nintendo is going to sell a ton of Wii Us for the next few months. People will buy them, but what is going to happen when Sony and Microsoft roll out their next system? Sony released some information this past week about their new PS4 and it looks like they are going to make it much easier for developers to work with them. I’m sure Microsoft is going to do the same. Nintendo is going to be left, once again, making their own first-party games and developers are going to have even more incentive to flock to the PC, Xbox 360 and PS4. If Nintendo released one really unique game for the Wii U, (like Pokemon Snap utilizing the Wii U tablet!) I wouldn’t be so pessimistic, but I’m incredibly underwhelmed and so are most of the people I talk to.
Deep down I want Nintendo to keep amazing us with their games, but if they can’t get me and my brother excited enough about their new console to consider buying it, then they are in serious trouble. I have a Legend of Zelda themed Xbox Live gamertag and I’m not even interested in the Wii U! My brother represented the last bastion of my friends who was holding out on the potential that Nintendo has always had and now that he’s gone, who is left and who is going to be around next year when Nintendo has to compete with the next console cycle?
Dan Hoyt has been an avid gamer his entire life. When he’s not playing games, he’s working out by walking his dog, hiking and doing martial arts. He likes to try new kinds of alcohol and discuss politics. He’s a graduate of The University of Kansas and has spent years as a journalist.