So the dust has settled at this years E3 and we have found out what the future holds for us gamers. Microsoft actually listened to their fans and showcased only games this year. I like to think that this is down to Microsoft’s new head honcho, Phil Spencer, who actually seems in tune with what people who buy the Xbox want. Sony were also hot on their heels revealing a slew of new I.P’s, remakes and sequels such as No Man’s Sky, Bloodborne, Far Cry 4, Grim Fandango and Little Big Planet 3. It really is a good time to be a gamer…..Oh wait I forgot about the other third of the so called big 3 gaming companies, Nintendo.
Sometimes it’s easy for them to be pushed to the back of your mind when the likes of Microsoft and Sony are bringing out the big guns and doing everything they can to convert casual gamers into hardcore gamers. In my eyes Nintendo seems unwilling to break away from the family orientated console and games and that will ultimately be their downfall. I’m sure I’m not only one who doesn’t want to see them go the way of Sega and stop making consoles all together and turn their mascot into a ‘Corporate Whore’ who is available to the highest bidder à la Sonic The Hedgehog. I have to say I did actually enjoy the Nintendo Digital Event at this years E3 after initially thinking that it may have been a mistake not to have a press briefing on the scale of Sony and Microsoft. I thought the way it was presented and the Robot Chicken interludes were really entertaining but I think its going to take more than Seth Green animations to pull Nintendo out of the doldrums!
Third Party Games
Third party games have always been a bit of an Achilles heel for Nintendo and the Wii U and E3 has done nothing to change my opinion. Sure they have announced a lot of of upcoming third party games but looking through the list, nothing jumps out at me and makes me think “These are the games that will change Nintendo’s fortunes!”. Watchdogs is on there but is being released AT THE END OF THE YEAR! Way to late to make anyone care and after everyone will have already played it on the other consoles. Again the problem lies in Nintendo’s drive towards family orientated games and consoles. In the last generation of consoles the Wii outsold the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales selling, as of March 31st 2014, 101.06 million consoles. Kudos for Nintendo outselling their competitors but ask any gamer and they will tell you “The Wii is for children!”. Now I know you will be saying they have made a lot of money and that’s what it’s all about but why not take a risk, they don’t really have anything to lose at this point. Nintendo posted an operating loss of $456 Million in the year ending March 31st 2014 and to you and me that is a heck of a lot of money but I’m sure they have their own version of Fort Knox full of money earned from churning out Mario games every year. To change public perception they should be doing everything they possibly can to get the best software and business deals they can to elevate them to the next level and surpass Microsoft and Sony and become king of the gaming mountain once more.
One of the most popular games in the world at the moment, Minecraft, seems like an ideal match for a company like Nintendo. With Minecrafts popularity and Nintendo’s family friendly outlook I think that this would at the very least give them a push in the right direction if they were to strike a deal with ‘Notch‘ and Mojang Games to bring the game to the floundering Wii U. The problem again lies in developers not making Nintendo and the Wii U one of their top priorities. At the tail end of 2013 Notch, or Markus Persson, said that although he is a huge fan of Nintendo Mojang is simply too busy with other platforms to put the work into a Wii U game. That may be the truth but its seems to me like they are unwilling to commit to making a game on a failing console which makes sense business wise. The same could also be said for another big game developer, Ubisoft. Polygon reported a few days ago that Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that the developer is sitting on new Wii U projects until more people have bought the console, the longest of which has been waiting to be released for six months. While this obviously won’t help Nintendo boost their sales, it’s another example of developers unwilling to commit. This is particularly alarming considering that Ubisoft has a big third party supporter for the Nintendo with games like Red Steel, Red Steel 2 and ZombiU. Guillemot also remains upbeat that the Wii U can turn it around, although this could just be to keep up appearances. He said that
“Nintendo is really coming up with fantastic games, they could, with the right price and very good games, help the machine start selling.”
This brings me neatly onto my next subject.
Wii U = Too Expensive?
When I worked for Game last Christmas we would get all sorts of people coming in and buying consoles and games for their loved ones. So I would come over and guide them through their conundrum of either getting a Playstation 3 or 4 and Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I almost had to beg people to take into consideration the Wii U! At £244.99 (Game.co.uk) it might be the cheaper option of the current generation consoles but for what you are forking out it doesn’t really seem worth it. The console only ever came with a game that had recently come out, like Super Mario 3D World or Zelda Windwaker, or came on its own with no games. I don’t know if that is just a retailer call or it comes from Nintendo themselves but I’m pretty sure that’s why people flock to the other consoles. When the Xbox One and Playstation 4 are coming with games such as Titanfall and Infamous: Second Son and boast such schemes such as Games With Gold and Playstation Plus to make up for it if there are a lack of games with the console you have bought, it instantly becomes a no brainer to the consumer to exclude the Wii U.
The task isn’t made any easier when Nintendo flat out refuses to include a controller with the Wii U and instead force you to use their tablet to play games. If you want to play games with a controller you shouldn’t be forced to fork out another £40 (Amazon.co.uk) to buy one, they should at least give you the option of either playing with the Pro Controller or the tablet by bundling the two together with the console. I know Nintendo will have invested a lot of time, money and effort into developing the tablet for use with the Wii U but, as we have seen with the Xbox One and Kinect, gamers don’t like being forced to use something that they never asked for. To Microsoft’s credit they have just released a kinectless Xbox One bundle and have made the kinect an optional extra. If Nintendo do something similar then I think it may given them a nudge in the direction they need to go.
It pains me to write a lot of these words because I grew up with Nintendo consoles in my home. Me and my family used to pass away the hours playing games like Super Mario World and Mario Kart on the SNES and Mario 64, Goldeneye and Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the N64. The first console I ever bought with money that I had earned was a Gamecube. I’m still a Nintendo fan at heart but I’m afraid that they are living too far in the past when others are looking towards the future. Please Nintendo prove me wrong!
What do you guys think? Have Nintendo still got it or have they lost their mojo? Would you like to see more third party games or keep faith with Mario, Zelda and Pokemon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or leave a comment on our facebook page!