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The State of the WiiU: A Brief Analysis

Xof|1823d ago |Blog Post|9|

I've seen a lot of complaining and whining about the WiiU lately. A lot of gamers--a lot of WiiU owners and Nintendo fans--all seem to be under the false impression that the WiiU is a failure.

This sentiment, while justified to a degree, is incorrect. To see how, let's approach the WiiU with as close to an objective analysis as possible.

The WiiU has been compared to a number of other gaming consoles, most notably the Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo Wii, and SEGA Dreamcast. These comparisons are not very useful, as those platforms were marketed in a different time, in a different market, under conditions. For the purposes of this analysis, let's examine the WiiU compared to the Nintendo 3DS, which most (if not all) gamers agree is an excellent console with a fantastic library of diverse titles.

1. The WiiU released 19 months after the 3DS, and is therefore subject to roughly the same market conditions as its predecessor.

2. Both the WiiU and 3DS are "underpowered" compared to their direct competition (Vita, PS4).

3. At launch, the 3DS was $250; the WiiU was $300--each console slightly cheaper than its direct competition.

4. The design of both consoles is dependent on the same basic gimmick--twin displays--that most critics complain about as poorly utilized.

5. Both consoles suffer brand confusion--consumers who do not realize the WiiU is not the same thing as a Wii; that a 3DS is not the same thing as a DS.

As we can see, the WiiU and 3DS are very similar gaming consoles, at least so far as the hardware and launch circumstances are concerned. But we're gamers, and the best measure of a console's viability is always the games.

Right now, we can all agree that the 3DS is in a good position. With games like Animal Crossing, Kid Icarus, Kingdom Hearts, Super Mario 3D World, Paper Mario, Monster Hunter, Professor Layton, Tales of the Abyss, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Fire Emblem and Luigi's Mansion, there's a whole lot to love.

But it wasn't always this nice for the 3DS. In fact, the 3DS' first year was pretty disappointing for early adopters--and for Nintendo, as evidenced by the Ambassador Program. But, I would argue, if you compare the 3DS' first year library to the WiiU's first year library, you'll probably find that the WiiU has it better than the 3DS.

In fact, let's do just that.

Please look at the following table. It comprehensively details every single Nintendo WiiU and Nintendo 3DS game released on either platform in it's first eight months.

--Oh! Did I forget to remind everyone? The WiiU is only eight months old.

The table also includes all of the 3DS games that were released in the following four months, as well as all of the WiiU games that are expected to be released in the next four months.


Games that appear in RED are "failing" games with an average metacritic score of less than 65%; games in BLUE are "passing" games with an average metacritic score of greater than or equal to 65%. Game titles that are not colored either have no metacritic score, or (in the case of the last row of 3DS games) were intentionally not given colors to prevent comparison with their analogous, unreleased WiiU titles.

The 3DS has 19 games that "pass."
The WiiU has 25 games that "pass."

We can see that the WiiU had far more titles available at launch than the 3DS, and that those launch titles were of greater quality than the 3DS titles. We can also see that, in general, the WiiU has more titles aimed at core gamers than the 3DS did in its first year.

That's not to say there aren't visible problems. Too great a portion of the better games on both lists are multiplatform. The WiiU is currently nearing the end of a four-month long drought. And neither list has any "exclusive" titles of much merit.

But look to the bottom of the table. To the last row. To the tail end of the respective first years. In those four months, the 3DS finally began to pick up speed with Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7 and Tales of the Abyss. And in the analogous four months we're just about ready to go into for the WiiU, we have even more to look forward to: Pikmin, Donkey Kong and Zelda to say the least. Looking at where the 3DS was then and where it is now, I think it is dangerously ignorant to write off the WiiU as a platform. The WiiU is only just beginning, and anyone who declares it to be failure is (as I hope this brief analysis has demonstrated) quite clearly talking out of his or her ass.

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Donnieboi1823d ago (Edited 1823d ago )

Of course Nintendo (Iwata) is just waiting to strike at any moment. We just don't have the clarity to see that (right?).

I like how you start off the blog by claiming that disgruntled customers and former Nintendo fans are "whining", then quickly brush off their complaints as invalid.

Surely Iwata is actually a genius who has the Wii u exactly where he wants it to be, and is just trying to fool the competition into thinking that he doesn't really ave a clue what he's doing, or where the company is going. It's all just an elaborate ruse to fool it's competitor's (and sadly, even potential would-be customers). But whatever (right?).

Yep, just keep on enabling.

Xof1823d ago

That's not what I'm saying at all. Not even close. I haven't called a SINGLE complaint invalid.

I'd clarify and say that what I'm saying here is that only a fool would write the console off as a failure now, seeing how the 3DS was able to escape a far, far worse situation... but if you're not going to bother reading something before commenting, there's little point.

It's only crybaby fanboys who go around insisting the WiiU is either inherently bound for greatness (what you're mocking) or utterly and irredeemably doing (what you're doing).

Donnieboi1823d ago (Edited 1823d ago )

Your blog said "I've seen a lot of complaining and whining about the WiiU lately. A lot of gamers--a lot of WiiU owners and Nintendo fans--all seem to be under the false impression that the WiiU is a failure"

So you can see how it would certainly look somewhat like invalidation.

But if u say it's not, then I'll just eave it at that.

Either way, my fear is not for the console itself, but the one in charge of it. I think Iwata is utterly lost.

Still I'll approve your blog, as it's still a well written piece (even if it doesn't align with my beliefs)

krazykombatant1822d ago

you need to also realize that N4G went from being a massively loud and childish MS and Sony fanboy fanbase, to a Sony fanboy club, after everyone jumped ship from Xbox, who can blame them??, its all a massive circle jerk between sony fanboys, the only nice thing is that past month it has all been about the Xbox getting sh*t canned non stop.

Bimkoblerutso1821d ago

I think we all understand that there is always a chance a game system could "bounce back." The most troubling aspect of the WiiU, though, is that Nintendo doesn't really seem to be trying to bounce back in the first place.

I just feel like they have absolutely no idea what they're doing anymore. Their online model is still ridiculously archaic (e.g. no online for games like SM3DWorld, ridiculous restrictions on eShop downloads, a generally snail slow network, etc.), they've made no attempt to use their unique controller in any meaningful way, and the general feeling I get from all their new games is that they would like to maximize "nostalgia-sales" as much as they possibly can with the least amount of effort.

It doesn't help that Iwata keeps apologizing, either. It makes me even more nervous to think that they've got no confidence in the system themselves.

SilentNegotiator1823d ago (Edited 1823d ago )

Stop comparing Wii U to the 3DS and stop expecting to ever see a massive 3DS-like turn around.

It wasn't an influx of games that turned 3DS from stinker to super seller. It was the sudden 33% price cut, plain and simple. It went from pricey handheld to almost the same price as its predecessor was just months beforehand. It changed consumer perception of it. It made devs/pubs think "Wow, Nintendo is serious about getting this system to many, many potential customers"

Would 3DS be selling okay today if not for that move? Sure, with the games that came to it, sales would have picked up and been okay. But not even half of what it is today.

The first and foremost example is the Gamecube. Look at all of the well rated, highly adored exclusive titles on Gamecube. Did that keep Gamecube from miserable sales? No.

Games play an important role in a system doing well, of course. But on their own, they don't create the conditions needed to cause a major turn around.

Unless they decide to cut the Wii U's price by 33% to $200, we won't see anything comparable to 3DS's turnaround.

krazykombatant1822d ago

lool potential console price cut to a handheld device.

You can dream on that the WiiU will go down to $200 within the first maybe two years.

If the games start to churn out faster people will buy it.

Ninty is missing a show stopper, something a new Metroid could have done. Mario 3D land whilst looking good it isn't anything major, pretty disappointing really. DK meh,

They need more creative titles like the Wonderful 101, we need to see the new Zelda, with the graphics we were shown two years ago. We need F-Zero, Starfox, Console version of Professor Layton?? When these games start to get churned out WiiU will have a great library.

Only reason i play with it is because of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

chadboban1822d ago

I agree with you on them needing a price cut to compete with PS4, but I do think that $200 is a little steep of a cut for the basic bundle I'd say $249 for the Basic and $299 for the deluxe would be a little more reasonable. Or maybe they should faze out the basic altogether and sell the deluxe for around $279.

But overall I do agree, if they really want to do well this holiday season, a price cut is needed, no matter how much it hurts them now, it will serve them better in the long run.

Spore_7771821d ago (Edited 1821d ago )

As more Western developers withdraw from the WiiU, I cannot help but feel that the WiiU will become a "Japanese" console as I believe more Japanese developers will board ship... and the WiiU will become the SNES of its generation. I love JRPGs so I'm ok with that.