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The Wii U is Nintendo’s Dreamcast

Gordon Kelly

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The Wii U is Nintendo’s Dreamcast

This week everybody got angry, again. The launch of the Xbox One drew much scorn, with people complaining about everything from its appearance and internet requirements to its lack of backwards compatibility and overarching home cinema pretensions.

Sony similarly got it in the neck in February. The PS4’s approach was criticised for being old fashioned, limited in scope and Sony was mocked for not showing off the console itself.

How Nintendo must wish people cared this much to have a go at the Wii U.

Since it went on sale late last year Nintendo’s console has been all but dismissed by consumers and video game makers. Multiple price cuts have failed to boost flagging sales and major publishers have even refused to categorise it as a next generation console. Most recently industry whale Electronic Arts admitted it will only develop a limited number of titles for the U, saying there isn’t enough power to run its next generation Frostbite 3 game engine.

WiiU Dreamcast

For all intents and purposes the Wii U looks dead in the water - a release that will kill off the company’s hopes of ever releasing another games console. It's Nintendo’s Dreamcast.

Nintega

The similarities with Sega’s ill fated Dreamcast don’t stop there either. When the Dreamcast was released in 1998 it was initially well received and praised for its innovative features. Most notable was a controller that could house a display that acted as a second screen for games and could even be used as a stand alone device. The Wii U is the first console to try this since.

What ultimately did for the Dreamcast, however, were more advanced rivals. 12 months after launch, Sony released the more powerful PlayStation 2 and as sales dwindled and Sega’s faith in the Dreamcast faded Microsoft delivered the knock out blow with its first Xbox.

Two console generations later, 'Sega' can be swapped for 'Nintendo'.

But unlike Sega, which was on its last legs after the failure of the previous Sega Saturn, Nintendo’s woes are self-dealt. The company launched the Wii U still in relatively strong health and where the Dreamcast was arguably too ambitious, the Wii U has seen Nintendo rest on its laurels. For this we can blame the Wii.

Prior to launch the Wii was widely tipped to be the failure the Wii U is turning out to be. It was underpowered, had a silly name and seemed to rely upon a gimmick - motion control - which just so happened to change the entire games industry. The Wii gave Nintendo too much self confidence and taught it to ignore warnings.

Merciless Mobile

But where Nintendo previously struck lucky, this time it has picked the wrong gimmick. Second screen gaming is where Microsoft and Sony are already strong. Sony in its PSP range and PlayStation tapping phones and tablets; Microsoft has SmartGlass and the increasingly tight integration between Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone.

The Wii’s motion control had made for a compelling differentiator. In an age of rapidly evolving, high resolution, slim profile mobile devices, the Wii U’s gaming controllers just look sad.

Smartphones, tablets, apps and the post-PC era have all apparently slipped under Nintendo’s radar since the Wii launched. Where Microsoft and Sony are actively involved in all these sectors, Nintendo has released incremental DS upgrade after incremental DS upgrade and now lacks the wider infrastructure to enhance and prolong the lifespan of the Wii U. Mario and Zelda games aren't going to make up for it.

SonicMario

So what?

There's another perspective to take here, though. The Wii U may have got a critical and financial kicking over the last six months, but it seems the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are already coming in for similar abuse.

There is also widespread talk that no matter how successful these machines are, the market for a Wii 3, Xbox Two or PlayStation 5 will have dried up by 2020 - replaced by uber-powerful, Cloud-centric, 100 per cent mobile devices that wirelessly communicate with your TV, projector, watch, glasses and whatever else technology thinks up.

We are witnessing a three way fight between dinosaurs as the Asteroid looms large above them.

The difference is two of these dinosaurs know what they are doing. They are fitter and stronger, getting fat on the land while it still remains and using what they store to refine existing escape plans. The third dinosaur is gradually going hungry, refusing to look up at the sky.

Dream turned nightmare

Yet what Nintendo faces is not extinction, but the agony of inescapable decline. It will be stunned by Microsoft and Sony, tenderised by Apple and Google and - should they choose - picked apart by Activision, EA and possibly Rovio.

The failure of the Dreamcast condemned Sega to a future pimping out a few well known franchises to past rivals. With the impending failure of the the Wii U, a similar fate awaits Nintendo.

Next, get a look at what real next-gen gaming is about with our run-down of Xbox One games...

Jon

May 28, 2013, 1:38 pm

What a foolish article. The Wii U is far from dead. The Xbox One is going to crash and burn while the Wii U will sell tons when the exclusives come out.

shadus

May 28, 2013, 3:17 pm

this article wreaks of irresponsible journalism. First you failed to mention the many console failures Sega had before the dreamcast ever released. Sega had already lost its customer base due to a near constant stream of hardware releases. Second you neglected to mention the runaway success Nintendo has managed to pull with the DS Wii and 3DS. Lastly you failed to mention that the first party games(the games most people buy a Nintendo system for ) have not yet been released. If the author had done any actual analysis they would have seen that Nintendo will survive any poor sales of the wii u and there is reason to believe those sales will look up in the future.

Zorpix

May 28, 2013, 3:43 pm

Wii U is FINE. If you think the Xbox once can actually compete with it, you know nothing about games

Zorpix

May 28, 2013, 3:43 pm

EXACTLY

Felipe Valencia

May 28, 2013, 3:48 pm

Agree with shadus ... Writing "News" the easy way ... copy paste frome other webpages ... without objectivity

That guy who hates Spike

May 28, 2013, 3:56 pm

Nintendo has been through so much, and I would somewhat understand the idea of failiure... if they haven't been so proffitable with the Wii.

Nintendo is currewntly spending billions of yen on a new building, set to improve hardware development. If thats not enough proof saying the Wii U isn't their last console, I don't know what is.

Nintendo still sells millions. New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon, and Mario Kart 7 are still selling plenty each week. They sold tens of millions in plenty of games only a couple years ago. Including Wii Fit, Wii Fit +, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Sports Resort. The Wii and DS sold a total of over 250 Million units, and they were proffitable since the beginning.

They have had over 25 years straight of having annual profits, and won every handheld generation, as well as 3 console generations and now you're saying they're going to call in quites?
Articles against Nintendo get dumber and dumber as time goes by.

mulder1617

May 28, 2013, 4:38 pm

Well, here we go again with another Pachter disciple!! LOL!! Did you not look back in history at when the fist Xbox came out and the PS2? Sure, the GameCube didn't have as powerful an engine but it still survived, and it had some pretty good games (both first and third party) to go with it during its lifespan. The Wii has sold very well also and while its survived mostly on 1st party games it still has some life left in it. As for the Wii U, the only mistake Nintendo has made is in the marketing of it. They didn't do a good enough job of explaining what the second screen does, why and how it makes the game playing experience totally different then the Wii did, and although the recent updates have sped it up a little bit they still have work to do. That's where the smaller E3 presentation or Nintendo Direct meetings as they call them come in. The idea is to meet the players face to face in their own environment and re-introduce them to the Wii U Hardware to show that its not just a second Wii controller or Wii add-on. Their planning to make all of the E3 unreleased games they will be showing playable at various Best Buy stores throughout the country was another great idea. They are showing that they care most about--the gamer. Sure, the "One" or as I like to say 359 steps back and the PS4 when they finally reveal all of it will have their strengths and weaknesses and when it comes down to it Who cares?? There are a ton of Nintendo fans out here (including myself) who will continue to stand by and support the Big N no matter how many dumb business decisions they make. Nintendo, unlike Sega, has a TON of money and has been around since the 1800's. Some of their business tactics, like I said before, don't speak positive volumes but things should even out again for them. If it wasn't for Pong, Atari, Activision, and even Mario we may not have games. I don't think now is the time to stand up and slap an industry icon and genius such as Shigeru Miyamoto and say, "Uh Shiggy, you did done screw up" because that's not the case. As far as handhelds go the Vita isn't going a strong as it should and if you want to scream numbers back and forth go ahead. But the 3DS has made its presence known and its getting some awesome games from both sides of the fence coming its way and its not going to lie down and die. Nintendo will never be Sega and Sega will never be Nintendo and who cares if Nintendo isn't as good as MS or Sony--its all about the experience and that' s what matters at the end of the day.

mulder1617

May 28, 2013, 4:52 pm

Well, here we go again with another Pachter disciple!! LOL!! Did you not
look back in history at when the fist Xbox came out and the PS2? Sure,
the GameCube didn't have as powerful an engine but it still survived,
and it had some pretty good games (both first and third party) to go
with it during its lifespan. The Wii has sold very well also and while
its survived mostly on 1st party games it still has some life left in
it. As for the Wii U, the only mistake Nintendo has made is in the
marketing of it. They didn't do a good enough job of explaining what
the second screen does, why and how it makes the game playing experience
totally different then the Wii did, and although the recent updates
have sped it up a little bit they still have work to do. That's where
the smaller E3 presentation or Nintendo Direct meetings as they call
them come in. The idea is to meet the players face to face in their own
environment and re-introduce them to the Wii U Hardware to show that
its not just a second Wii controller or Wii add-on. Their planning to
make all of the E3 unreleased games they will be showing playable at
various Best Buy stores throughout the country was another great idea.
They are showing that they care most about--the gamer. Sure, the "One"
or as I like to say 359 steps back and the PS4 when they finally reveal
all of it will have their strengths and weaknesses and when it comes
down to it Who cares?? There are a ton of Nintendo fans out here
(including myself) who will continue to stand by and support the Big N
no matter how many dumb business decisions they make. Nintendo, unlike
Sega, has a TON of money and has been around since the 1800's. Some of
their business tactics, like I said before, don't speak positive volumes
but things should even out again for them. If it wasn't for Pong,
Atari, Activision, and even Mario we may not have games. I don't think
now is the time to stand up and slap an industry icon and genius such as
Shigeru Miyamoto and say, "Uh Shiggy, you did done screw up" because
that's not the case. As far as handhelds go the Vita isn't going a
strong as it should and if you want to scream numbers back and forth go
ahead. But the 3DS has made its presence known and its getting some
awesome games from both sides of the fence coming its way and its not
going to lie down and die. Nintendo will never be Sega and Sega will
never be Nintendo and who cares if Nintendo isn't as good as MS or
Sony--its all about the experience and that' s what matters at the end
of the day.

EhenTi LaNero

May 28, 2013, 4:52 pm

there wii be no PS5 or XBOX2... but nintendo will make a new console in the next 5 or 6 yearstheir the only of the three that can , what can sonysoft bring back to the table... next go around...

Transparent

May 28, 2013, 5:25 pm

I really like analogy of the dinosaurs. Only thing is those 2 dinosaurs that are looking for an escape plan, 1 has alienated their fan-base and the other has yet to decide if they will do something similar. Which was smart on their behalf not to release the information until XBOX had. Now that Sony knows where the consumers stand it has time to change it's stance and actually capitalize. Now with Nintendo, you think they are getting hungry and not looking up at the big picture when they actually left the planet a generation ago. They have stated they dont want to be apart of the console wars, even though the Wii out sold PS3 and 360, they are out exploring other worlds trying new things and if something catches on, they will take the information in and try to expand. Nintendo Wii u is far from being a Dreamcast, or Sega as a company. Their IPs are always considered some of the top games available when they are released. I will say the whole Frostibite 3 issue is asinine. How can a mobile device run frostbite 3 and a console can not? If the Wii U is under powered I don't think it's more under powered than a phone hahah. I like reading these articles like the sunday comics, gets a giggle out of me or at least a little smile. Thanks for making my day Gordon Kelly...I will add your name to the list of people who will have a different story next year.

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:39 pm

We will have to agree to disagree. After all this is the point of an opinions piece: it is an opinion.

I do mention the difference between Sega and Nintendo's financial situations so please re-read. I also mention the DS in my thinking - though it is clearly different from yours.

I'm not sure you've done any 'actual analysis' in your own statement that "Nintendo will survive any poor sales of the wii u" - but I don't believe I ever said the company would go bust, simply that its future lies in software not hardware.

If Nintendo's hardware failed its games would appear across more platforms on more powerful hardware. That's a future I'd like to see.

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:39 pm

Well that clearly settles that. Nintendo's circa 10-15 home grown titles both should and deserve to beat a device open to hundreds of publishing houses and indie developers. The PS4, even more so.

That was irony, btw.

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:44 pm

I think that's a fair counterargument - an opinion piece is just that, my opinion.

For me the issue is the gaming sector Nintendo plays in is now being eaten by tablets and smartphones. The next generation iPad, for example, should be close to matching the power of the Wii U.

Whether a console maker deserves to succeed on a platform of circa 10 titles it refuses to licence to anyone else is another argument entirely.

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:44 pm

Objectivity? Not sure you understand the concept of an 'Opinion' piece.

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:45 pm

Given the Xbox 360 has outsold the Wii for nearly 30 consecutive months I'm not sure you know too much yourself.

Zorpix

May 28, 2013, 5:47 pm

Wii has more overall sales, sooooo.

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:48 pm

Not sure you're grasping the concept of momentum...?

Billy_Perry

May 28, 2013, 5:50 pm

I would like to point out that at this point, even if the Wii U does not sell well over its life time, Nintendo can afford the financial hit. It is well known (Check out Michael Pachter and Adam Sessler who repeatedly point this out) that Nintendo have a huge amount of Capital saved up from the success of other consoles, it is expected that they could survive up to 3 generations of failing consoles before they went bankrupt.

If this is an opinion piece, which is nowhere stated in the article, your opinion is wrong, as you have not done the analytical research to back it up.

PLUS (I could go on forever with more and more points) the Wii U has actually done very well off the back of Xbox One announcement with sales in the UK increasing by 875%, and eBay Germany choosing to advertise the Wii U as a strong alternative to the Xbox One, as they take a negative view on its privacy issues.

The Wii U is doing better than ever, so are Nintendo, this is NOT their final console.

Rob

May 28, 2013, 5:51 pm

WOW. And this site is called "Trusted Reviews" ?!

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:53 pm

Not sure I can reason with someone who will "support the Big N no matter how many dumb business decisions they make", but I'll give it a try.

Nintendo has a wonderful history in gaming and I'm sure it will go on to make many more wonderful games (particularly in its franchises) - but I don't think anyone can disagree that its strength isn't hardware.

Mario and Zelda openly available on more powerful consoles... imagine what Nintendo's software genius could do with that? That's a world which excites me, not 5-10 years of them restricted by the Wii U's limitations.

The end of Nintendo hardware would be a good thing for everyone. Including Nintendo. Creating consoles is a loss making nightmare. Concentrate on the games and getting them to as wide an audience as possible.

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:53 pm

reply above

Zorpix

May 28, 2013, 5:56 pm

not sure you're grasping the concept of Nintendo releasing smash bros to generate said momentum :D

Gordon Kelly

May 28, 2013, 5:57 pm

Haha. 'Opinion' piece. Opinion.

Nintendo's future should be in software only. Imagine its creativity with the power of the PS4 or Xbox One? What it could do on the next iPad (which should have more power than the Wii U)...

Why celebrate restricted releases on limited hardware?

H8ersBH8n

May 28, 2013, 6:00 pm

PS4 and Wii U will crush the Xbox One. Sony's exclusives + Nintendo's exclusives + 3rd party games = the best experience. One is only good for TV, sports and Call of Duty.

Hmmm

May 28, 2013, 6:00 pm

No, that was sarcasm.

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