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Nintendo is rushing full-speed towards a Gamecube disaster

History will soon forget the reality behind the Wii's purpose and its market success. To some, it was just a casual machine, aimed at casual grandmas. To others, it was a decent Nintendo console that was held back by its outdated hardware. To others like myself, the Wii was a great system ultimately held back by Nintendo's own unwillingness to go the extra step with the hardware's capabilities.

Regardless, the Wii was/is a stunning success, all the more stunning because of how much more successful it was compared to its predecessor, the Gamecube. However, with the WiiU, Nintendo seems to be abandoning the ideas that made the Wii in favor of the failure-prone ideas that created the Gamecube.

Back in 2005, Nintendo's Iwata said that "the game has changed, and the way the game is played has to be changed". He was referring, of course, to Nintendo's upcoming console, dubbed the Revolution. At the time, Nintendo had been elbowed out of the console-market limelight by Sony for two generations in a row. Additionally, a new upstart called the Xbox had also managed to defeat Nintendo's purple lunchbox. Nintendo's console division NEEDED something fresh, something new, something that would put Nintendo back on the map. Keep in mind that the DS was already a blossoming success by the time the Wii launched.

So, we were given the Wii. After it hit store shelves, everyone wanted one. It was sold out for several years in a row. The "hardcore" just sort of pointed their fingers and mocked, but that little white VHS tape continued to sell like gangbusters. As the years went on, Nintendo tried to attract the "hardcore" with games like MadWorld, No More Heroes, Metroid Prime 3, and so forth, but the overall lack of AAA, 3rd-party support stuck out like a sore thumb.

And yet, the Wii still sold. A lot of this had to do with Nintendo's philosophy on game design at the time: make a game that everyone can enjoy. Some called it "casualizing". Nintendo called it "leveling the playing field". Nintendo wanted to make games for everyone.

And this idea worked.

Of the Top 10 Selling Games of the Wii/360/PS3 generation, the Wii is home to more than half of them. Certainly, Nintendo was on to something with the Wii.

But when the WiiU was announced, I was a bit confused. Nintendo began talking about "going after the hardcore". They began talking about complicated controller setups (the tablet), integrated Miiverse functionality, and so forth, stuff that never really helped the Wii at all. As more and more game announcements began to trickle out, I was even more confused. Why is Nintendo focusing on these sort of games? Where's the Wii Sports equivalent (no, Nintendo Land is not nor will it ever be like a Wii Sports to the general public)? Why does Super Mario Bros U (formerly SMB Mii) look like it was phoned in by the B-team? Okay, Zelda, that looks cool.

When I saw Nintendo's most recent Nintendo Direct conference, my confusion turned into disappointment. Wind Waker HD? Another 3D Mario? Yoshi's Yarn-ball? And wow, the realistic-looking Zelda demo we saw when the WiiU was announced has been exchanged for a cel-shaded Zelda? What is going on here?

I think Nintendo has lost sight of what made them a huge success in the Wii generation. They are focusing on games that made the Gamecube fail. Let me repeat that: they are focusing on games that made the Gamecube fail. I don't care how rose-tinted your nostalgia goggles are. The Gamecube was a failure for Nintendo. It sold horribly. It butchered franchises like Star Fox and 3D Mario (Mario Sunshine? Blech). It is not the sort of system that I want Nintendo to make, and based on its barely-20-million-lifetime-sal es numbers, it is clear that not a lot of other people want a Gamecube-style Nintendo console, either.

So, why is Nintendo making Gamecube-style games again? Wind Waker HD should be a dead giveaway for Nintendo's intentions for the WiiU. So should Yoshi's Yarn-bomb. So should cel-shaded Zelda. I at least hope that Smash Bros and Mario Kart are good games on the WiiU, but I'm not sure it will be enough. Where's my 2D Mario? The market has obviously spoken. We like 2D Mario. Why can't Nintendo make more of it? SMBU is the only game really driving the WiiU hardware sales right now, anyway. Why not make more of it?

Before you say it, I already know what you're thinking: "duh! I'm glad Nintendo is trying to be more hardcore. It's about time!" Really? Is your memory so limited? The Gamecube was mocked and shunned by the "hardcore". And it had nothing but "hardcore" Nintendo games on it. There weren't any of those filthy "casual" minigame collections like Wii Sports, Wii Fit, and so forth. Where was your support then for the "hardcore" Gamecube? And, hey, if you hardcore gamers are SOOOO in love with what the WiiU is doing, why aren't you buying it? It seems to me that the "casual" Mario Bros players are the only ones buying a WiiU and buying games for it. Where are the hardcore gamers? Are you playing Black Ops II? What about ZombieU, Assassin's Creed III, Darksiders II, or Batman Arkham City? Are you buying a WiiU for these games? No? Oh, so where's your hardcore support NOW that Nintendo has made a system for you? That's what I thought...I say all that not to mock my fellow gamers, but to point out that Nintendo's focus on the sort of games the "hardcore" demand hasn't worked out for them in the past, and it isn't working for them now.

Nintendo's own reasoning behind their direction with the WiiU is perhaps a topic for another blog post, but I do not like where they are trying to take the WiiU. It will cause the WiiU to crash and burn. I would like the WiiU to be a success, but it won't be a success simply because it has "Wii" in the name. Nintendo needs to look at what made the Wii and DS (their two most successful platforms) a success instead of going back to the Gamecube-era of gaming.

1. Focus on games, not features (like Miiverse and TViiiiii)
2. Give your games a universal appeal. Yoshi Crayon, Celda, and Pikmin are not the sort of games that made the Wii a hit
3. Get your act together with the Virtual Console. Honestly. It's 2013, not 1998.

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TruthbeTold1313d ago (Edited 1313d ago )

Everyone is different, and has their own opinions, but I must say that your disappointment and jadedness are in the minority on this. That Nintendo Direct was Awesome, and the games they announced, for the most part have Nintendo gamers excited. Not to mention many non-Nintendo gamers.

I mean seriously, They did focus on games, and you complained about the games they announced (that most people like and are excited) and are saying that they need to focus on games. Makes no sense to me.

The Yoshi game is in the style of Kirby's epic yarn, and other than the look (which is pretty sweet) we know very little about it.

The 'Celda' game was specifically stated to be something to tide us over while we wait for the first new HD Zelda experience.

Pikmin is a great series, and 3 has some amazing lighting and textures. I kind of have to assume that you've never played the series.

But yeah. How you take these announcements and in spite of the extremely positive and overjoyed reaction of most of the gaming world and gaming sites think poorly of them makes little sense to me. But as I said, we all have our own opinions...

dedicatedtogamers1313d ago (Edited 1313d ago )

The reason why I am let down by these announcements is that I really like the Wii, and I like the games that came out on the Wii. Yes, even games like Wii Sports and Sports Resort. The WiiU is not like the Wii. It is like the Gamecube in terms of its philosophy for games.

The games you pointed out will not help move WiiU hardware, not one bit. It won't bring in the hardcore (just like those sort of games didn't bring in the hardcore for the Gamecube). At this point, the WiiU needs to sell hardware. It NEEDS a large installed base in order to encourage 3rd-party devs to make games on it. "Make games", not "port old games".

ZombieNinjaPanda1310d ago

"It needs to sell hardware"

It is selling hardware. It's reported to already have sold more than what the Ps3 and 360 did in the same time frame, but still less than the Wii.

SilentNegotiator1312d ago (Edited 1312d ago )

The problem is that you completely missed the author's point. Yes, the Nintendo fans (the "gaming community" as you wrongfully inflate it) ARE happy about the announced games, but they aren't the fully realized potential audience that Nintendo could have had of both the casual AND hardcore. Those Nintendo fans are the Gamecube owners of yesteryear. And in fact, Wii U is having some of the same issues as the Gamecube with light third party support.

This blog isn't about how good the games are or what the dedicated Gamecube-ian fans think. It's about the fact that Nintendo is going against what made them so successful again in the first place, when they could have captured EVERYONE by righting the mistakes they made last gen with hardcore gamers. But instead they're taking the hardcore/core gamers in an iffy fashion, not getting lots of online players (If you're going to focus on the hardcore/core, you need widespread DLC opportunity), and not doing a great deal for the casual audience.

THAT is going to hold them back in the long run if they don't make some changes.

TruthbeTold1312d ago (Edited 1312d ago )

I didn't miss the point at all. I simply discount the idea that Nintendo is going to forsake the casual audience. That's absurd. Early on, while the price is high on the Wii U, Nintendo needs to appeal to people who are serious about gaming. Period. They did the same thing with the Wii. Problem is they through of the 'Core' like garbage for about a year and a half once they captured the attention of the casual audience. The Wii was sold out that first year because of the fanatics who wanted to play Twilight Princess, and spread the word about Wii Sports by having their non-gamer friends over, and by taking their Wii to other people's house.

If they'd made the hardware cheaper/more affordable, then they may as well have just stuck with the Wii. Problem is, the Wii has been on the hard decline for a while now.

Yodagamer1313d ago

I respect you're opinion, but i'm frankly excited for nintendo, we have bayoneta, pikmin, project 101, The new xenoblade-type game. It's not even E3 yet and i'm excited for the year.

SilentNegotiator1313d ago (Edited 1313d ago )

Prepare for your well thought out article on Nintendo's contradictory approach to the Wii, one of the most successful systems ever, with Wii U of nearly ignoring the every/wo/man to be demeaned to "HATERZ", "How can you not like these games?!", and (as has already been demonstrated) "the [online] community (dust in the wind compared to the entire market) loved it! What are you talking about??"

Nintendo could have had both the hardcore AND casual market, (the former of which they totally failed to secure on the Wii) but they're greatly focusing on the hardcore and yet not succeeding in capturing the very important online community (AKA potential DLC buyers, which are a major factor in the ps3/360 successes that Wii U is emulating in its game focus).

Great blog. Just expect it to fly a mile over mosts' heads on what its real intent is.

Irishguy951313d ago

Gamecube was smashed because it didn't have much good games.

Ultr1310d ago

as far as I know the Gamecube was a success for nitnendo back then? Because its THIS gen THE FIRST time that they strugle with money.
go away all doom-sayers because nintendo has some fantastic franchises and those alone will keep them afloat

shutUpAndTakeMyMoney1313d ago

As always nintendo will be fine since I stopped trolling them.

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