It's Nintendo's fault we think the WiiU is underpowered
I think we hurt Nintendo's feelings, guys. I remember when the DS and Wii were both enjoying the limelight. Sales were high. Review scores were high. Popularity was high. The number of games being released each month was high. And yet, I do recall several industry big-wigs (as well as gamers on our forums) saying - to the effect - "Nintendo is not a technology company".
That must've stuck with them, because during the Wii's waning years, Nintendo talked non-stop about their technological innovation. Gone was the focus on "blue ocean" and expanding the gaming market. Gone was the desire to bring all varieties of people into the videogame hobby. Pretty quickly, Nintendo began to think they were Christ walking on technological water, and their next two designs - the 3DS and the WiiU - show it. Recently, Iwata of Nintendo begged us (for the dozenth time) to "please understand!" He thought that we "misunderstood" the WiiU's power and if only we would be more patient, we'd see its true power. (article can be found here: http://www.gamechup.com/iwa... )
Now, let's get something out of the way, first: the WiiU has some oomph to it. It isn't a "weak" system in any sense of the word. Granted, it's not going to be as powerful as the PS4 or (we can assume) the NextBox, but it isn't a weakling, either. Not only does the architecture make it very simple to port and program games for, but it boasts more powerful hardware compared to the 360 and PS3. The problem is, you'd never notice based on the games out on the WiiU.
There's a universal truth in the gaming industry: 1st-party games are meant to show off your system. After all, you can't expect 3rd parties to go above and beyond (especially nowadays), so it is up to the 1st-party crew to really put the hardware through the paces. It helps pave the way for future games and show 3rd parties what the system can do. When it comes to the WiiU, Nintendo ignored this universal truth. We all saw what happened with the DS and the Wii. We all know that 3rd parties typically ignore Nintendo's choice "gimmick" in favor of a more standardized gaming experience. We didn't NEED to see how to use the tablet, Nintendo. We've all used a tablet before.
That was Nintendo's huge mistake. Nintendo did a horrible job with the WiiU's first-part lineup. Nintendo Land certainly does a nice job showing off the WiiU's various gimmicks, but it does nothing to convince customers nor developers that the WiiU is all that different. In the eyes of the public, WiiU is still just a mini-game machine like the Wii. Granted, the mini-games are played differently this time, but they are mini-games, nonetheless. Iwata, here's the deal: Nintendo (and occasionally Ubisoft) is the only company that can get away with mini-game collections. Plenty of other companies have tried making them on the Wii and DS, and they rarely sell well. It is foolish to think you're "leading the way" with Nintendo Land when the graphics are simplistic and the gameplay is incredibly rudimentary. You're upset that 3rd parties are abandoning the WiiU so early? Perhaps you should've pushed your OWN console instead of just half-a**ing a mini-game collection and then expecting other developers to pick up the slack.
The bigger issue here, however, isn't control schemes. It's raw power. The WiiU has raw power. Don't let fanboyism or media impressions cloud the truth: the WiiU has some get-up-and-go beneath its shiny exterior. Again, I'm not claiming it will be able to compete - pixel for pixel - against the PS4, but if you're pleased by the graphics of games like Last of Us or Ni No Kuni or Gears of War: Judgment (just to name a few recent games), then the WiiU can also process graphics on the same level.
Yet, how can we know this to be true if the games never show it? Right now, the WiiU is selling based on one game: New Super Mario Bros U. Unfortunately, there isn't anything all that "new" about it. Yeah, it uses the gimmicky tablet pad. Yeah, the graphics are HD, but barely. I remember back to the days of Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and Super Mario 64. All of these games pushed the hardware of their day. They looked GOOD, not just in terms of art style, but also in terms of raw graphical fidelity. Yet, somewhere down the line, Nintendo forgot that they were the house that Mario built. Was the high praise for Galaxy 1 and 2's graphics not enough of a clue that Nintendo should...you know...try harder in the graphical department when it comes to Mario? After all, if you want NSMB-U to sell your system, it would be nice if you would show off the system's graphical power.
That right there is why we think the WiiU is underpowered, Iwata. You don't put in the effort. You don't SHOW us the power, and certainly if you aren't leading by example, 3rd party devs aren't going to pick up the slack and do it for you. New Super Mario Bros U was the perfect opportunity to - right off the bat - PROVE that Nintendo knew how to compete in the HD market. Instead, we got a barely-better-than-its-predece ssor title that was good (great, even) but didn't do anything to convince us the WiiU is a must-have piece of technology.
I don't want to "please understand", Iwata, and how F***ING DARE you imply that the WiiU's apparent lack of power is because we consumers just don't get it. No. You're lazy. You. Are. Lazy. You've gotten arrogant with the DS and Wii and now Nintendo fans are reaping the results. You're pushing out B-grade software that doesn't show us the true capabilities of your system. Sony got the memo. They went from this...
all the way to this...
Microsoft went from Halo 3...
to Halo 4, and look at the difference.
And yet, Nintendo went from this...
...to this? I'm rubbing my eyes. Other than a prettier art style, what's the difference?
Sony pushed its system to the limits. Microsoft pushed its system to the limits. Nintendo, however, must've missed the memo. If you're mad people think the WiiU is underpowered, you only have yourselves to blame, Nintendo.