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Wii-U being doomed is the least of our worries, folks

Alright, so EA isn't supporting the Wii-U. Boo hoo. But SEGA is supporting the Wii-U. Fellow N4G blogger ExtremeAzure talks about it here:

Okay. Moving on.

Instead of comparing sales between Wii-U and other consoles in the same time frame (a boring exercise) or making a huge list of all the neat-o gaming coming to the Wii-U in the next year, I'd rather ask the biggest question that no one wants to talk about.

What if the Wii-U's poor performance isn't unique to the Wii-U?

We're entertaining every other possible idea, so why not this one? The Wii-U is in trouble because it has no games. The Wii-U is in trouble because Nintendo lost the casual audience. The Wii-U is in trouble because the hardware cannot compete with the NextBox and PS4. Well, maybe the Wii-U is in trouble because the game industry itself is in trouble. We have three 8th-generation platforms on the market: the 3DS, the Wii-U, and the Playstation Vita. Of those three, two of them are selling horribly. One of them is selling pretty good. The one thing common between all three of these platforms is that games are being released at a slow pace. The 3DS's pace is picking up a bit due to it being on the market for a while, but the Vita is still slower than molasses, and the Wii-U it isn't looking any better than the Vita. But hey, this isn't about bashing the Wii-U. What I'm proposing is that the sluggish performance of the Wii-U and Vita is simply a symptom of many bigger problems.

Problem numero uno: the industry is deluding itself into thinking the console market will keep growing. Aaron Greenberg recentlyposted Microsoft's expectations for this upcoming console generation (available here: Microsoft predicts a 28% growth in the console market next gen. Okay, but what about April NPD sales? Am I the only one who noticed that the 360 was the top-selling a mere 130,000 units? Software sales were down, too. Now, there are plenty of excuses to add, and I don't want to hear them. The reality is that hardware and software numbers have been grim for a while. Game Informer correctly makes the observation (here: that while videogame sales are down, the Federal government has reported that money spent at retail is up. Meaning, people have the money, but they don't want to spend it on videogames. Games and game consoles aren't selling like they used to.

Now, the common response to all this is "just you wait until bigger games are released". I've heard it before. But what if nothing changes when bigger games are released? After all, not even a sidescrolling Mario game has managed to make the Wii-U sell like hotcakes. In case you needed reminding, the two last-gen sidescrolling Mario games sold a combined 55 million. Super Mario-U currently sits at a mere 1.75 million (estimated) sold. But this issue isn't unique to the Wii-U. The Vita is also struggling to sell hardware and software.

If there was only one platform on the market struggling, then it would make sense to simply blame it on the parent game company. It would make sense to blame marketing, or price point, or overall design. However, we have TWO platforms from two different companies struggling, and yet everyone keeps saying "just you wait until PS4 and NextBox come out". The problem is that we just don't know how those consoles will sell. Nothing is guaranteed. Nintendo learned that the hard way with the 3DS and Wii-U. What makes you think that the newest Microsoft and Sony consoles will magically sell like hotcakes? Neither the 360 nor the PS3 sold like gangbusters when they first came out. Neither 360 nor PS3 had an awesome game library when they first came out. You think PS4 and NextBox will be different? They might be, but they might not be. Until we know, let's not make the assumption that the two upcoming consoles will be hot sellers.

I think we have a lot more to worry about than the Wii-U's current performance. I personally do not think the Wii-U is doomed, but on the other hand, I don't think the Wii-U's struggles will be unique to the Wii-U. Guess who else thinks that? Activision (here: You know? Activision? The company that makes the top-selling game franchise on both PS3 and 360? If Activision thinks trouble is brewing, we should at least take some time to consider the possibility. When developers are warning us of the rising costs of videogame development, it might be a sign of what to expect in the future.

Maybe you, the reader, really do think the Wii-U is doomed. That's okay. Don't let me hold you back. I don't even own a Wii-U! It's not like I'm trying to defend my favorite consoles (that I don't even own). But there is plenty of talk on the internet on why the Wii-U is going to crash and burn, yet no one is making the connection that the very same thing might happen to the PS4 and NextBox. I wanted to take the chance to examine another possibility that isn't being discussed.

Or perhaps the Wii-U isn't doomed. I don't see why we shouldn't consider that possibility. After all, if we can ignore the numerous signs that the industry is on a sharp decline, and if we can turn a blind eye to the warnings of numerous industry big-wigs, it doesn't seem too far-fetched to ignore the Wii-U's (and Vita's) current circumstances, does it?

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Chaostar1649d ago

I think the industry will be OK, can't be bothered to go into great detail so here's a quick point-by-point of why I think certain systems are struggling:

Wii U - Specs only comparable to current gen hardware, lack of 3D Mario and Zelda game, looming next gen devices

PSVita - Price, it's still too high, simple as that

PS3/Xbox 360 - Sales are stagnating under the pressure of an already extended generation and announcement of next gen hardware, it's to be expected really.

I do agree that the industry may decline modestly but the threat of an 80's style meltdown does seem a little far fetched. We all expect a huge transition as gaming travels to the cloud some time in the future but, as of right now, we still have a generation or two of good ol' fashioned console wars ahead.

As usual, good read though :)

PopRocks3591649d ago

I really wish people would not cite specs as a reason for the Wii U's current sales issues. It's diluting the real issues here. Specs largely do not push a game console; they often push PCs that are dedicated to gaming since that's something you have to focus on as a PC gamer, but specs do not push consoles for the most part. It's something the general public just isn't aware of, let alone cares about. There are so many consoles in previous generations that have proven this time and time again.

The real problems is the Wii U has no huge games to push it, nothing big in the software library to make people say "I HAVE to get this!" and of course no marketing for what is already there. Nintendo has not been aggressively pushing this thing, not nearly as much as the 3DS anyway.

As for the PS4/Nextbox, the market is very unpredictable right now. It can go either way. The gaming trend can continue or we really will see a much slower adoption rate from before. I honestly feel there's no clear way to accurately predict one or the other.

SilentNegotiator1649d ago

Wii U isn't casual friendly like it's predecessor, though. And developers are already passing up the Wii U because the hardware isn't up to snuff, with shiny new systems around the corner.

Unhappy developers + No casual attractiveness = low third party support = bad sales

It's low specs wouldn't be a problem if it weren't several leaps and bounds behind the systems coming out a year later or it had the sames charms as its predecessor.

No one is saying that specs on their own mean sales; as Wii U fits into the current market, it lacks punch.

Chaostar1649d ago (Edited 1649d ago )

I suppose you could be right, I was drawing from my own personal opinion that the Wii U doesn't offer me a sufficient upgrade in specs to warrant a purchase. It may or may not apply to the wider market but I'm still going to use it as a reason because at least on person thinks of it like that, me. Sure it's only one small factor of what I look for in a console but it still counts.

Honestly though I don't really know, I'm not a market analyst or anything like that, all I have are my own thoughts and the opinions of others around me to go on.

PopRocks3591649d ago (Edited 1649d ago )


You completely missed the point of my comment... YES, higher specs can be very beneficial to any console that properly utilizes them for game development and marketing. My POINT was that higher specs will not be taken into account by the general public; families and kids (the majority of those who buy consoles) don't usually see that as part of the value.

You just completely warped the whole point of the argument into something almost entirely unrelated to what I was talking about. Do you just disagree with people for the sake of it or were you actually trying to form a relevant argument there?



I'd argue that if specs are more your speed as a gamer, you should probably look into PC gaming since that's more heavily reliant on utilizing the latest tech.

Also I'm just going off my knowledge and opinions as well lol. A lot of the points I make are based on things that have gone down in history as well as what sort of lingo gets thrown around the industry these days.

SilentNegotiator1649d ago (Edited 1649d ago )


I'm not changing the subject; I'm saying that you are missing the point. The real problem isn't that the Wii U has low specs...on its own. The reasons Wii U's low specs are a problem are because (1) developers aren't happy with it, and (2) because it doesn't attract casual gamers like the Wii and doesn't have the guts to attract the other end of the spectrum, it lacks the sort of focus that leads to successful consoles.

I'm by no means *trying* to pander to your shallow argument that entirely misses the point of why Wii U's specs are problematic. I'm alerting you to the context that you're either ignoring or missing.

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TechnicianTed1649d ago (Edited 1649d ago )

Lets look at how the next systems perform before we make judgement. The way things are at the moment, the other consoles may not perform that great either.

The death of the console? Maybe it's sooner than we think.

BeZdaBest1649d ago (Edited 1649d ago )

ah.. the power card..

i leave this here

ps2 had no power it was all bout games..
ps3 has power so now its about power..

i wonder if xbox comes out with more powerful ..they be singing the same tune as in the ps2 days..

i dont like what this gen did to gamers/games in general..

Jek_Porkins1649d ago

I kind of doubt the Wii U's situation will be unique, but I think the next Xbox and PlayStation will kind of start the same way, sell well at launch and taper off afterwards. I'd look for the PS3 and Xbox 360 to outsell the newer versions for at least a year, maybe longer.

Gaming is actually making money however, this is a nice bit of data on the industries growth.

I think price points and added features will determine how well the Sony and Microsoft consoles do.

AKR1649d ago (Edited 1649d ago )

Very great read. It's good to finally see someone who looks outside the box, since everyone is so caught up in lavishing the (quote) "true" next-gen systems (especially the PS4) - thinking that they're the perfect masterpieces and will immediately take off after launch.

It could happen, but when you look at aspects such has higher price points for console development, game development, console and game retail prices and controller prices - you can't help but think that things may start off slow for the next-XBOX and PS4.

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