The Wii U Won’t be ‘Hardcore’

The Wii craze was a fluke, unlikely to repeat, so Nintendo is (again) courting “hardcore” gamers with its upcoming Wii U. The Wii U, like its predecessor, has a useless gimmick controller and shitty specs. It won’t have meaningful third-party support. It’s a console no hardcore gamer wants, and Nintendo knows it.

(A simple truism game journos never mention: the unending format war is the worst thing possible for gaming. Forcing people to buy three $300 consoles or miss out on titles they want is a major impediment to the medium’s growth, a much more important issue than, say, the rantings of some half-dead semi-retired movie critic, yet it’s barely discussed on mainstream sites.)

By “hardcore” Nintendo means gamers who buy lots of new-release games. So hardcore Wii U better have lots of good games! Here’s Nintendo of America president Reggie “My Body Is Ready” Fils-Aime, madly dissembling:

“What I’ll tell you is that with the Wii we did not have the benefit of multiplatform games from key publishers. I didn’t have The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I didn’t have the best of the Call of Duty games. That’s what I missed.

With the Wii U’s graphics capability, processing power, and HD-output, we’ll get those games. That’s a huge competitive advantage versus where we were with the Wii.”

The Wii U sure will have huge advantages over the Wii (HD-output!) but not over its actual next-gen competition. Nintendo’s withholding CPU and GPU info out of shame, but here’s how we know they’re underpowered:

  1. Shigeru Miyomoto told GameSpot the Wii U wouldn’t “necessarily dramatically outperform the systems that are out now.”
  2. The Wii U launch price ($299) is too low for cutting-edge specs. Nintendo doesn’t sell consoles at a loss (the 3DS price-cut was a traumatic exception).
  3. The rumored leaked specs suck.
  4. The launch titles all look like PS3 games.

So Reggie’s bullshitting us. In a year the Wii U will be as antiquated as the Wii is now.

The Big N hasn’t had “the benefit of multi-platform games” for three generations. There are millions of high schoolers who have lived their entire lives never knowing a Nintendo home console with more than five playable games. Nintendo always promises third-party developer support. It never materializes. You can’t pin all this on 480p.

The Wii U’s not getting Grand Theft Auto VI or the best Call of Dutys. It will, however, have like a new Star Fox or something. Nintendo should probably just go third-party themselves, like every hardcore gamer in the entire universe wants them to.

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4 thoughts on “The Wii U Won’t be ‘Hardcore’”

  1. Yikes. A lot of generalizations, here.

    As far as the games go, they have a pretty considerable stable lined-up for the launch window:

    Mass Effect 3
    Call of Duty: Black Ops II
    Batman: Arkham City
    Darksiders II
    Ninja Gaiden 3
    Disney Epic Mickey 2
    Tekken Tag Tournament 2
    Assassin’s Creed III
    Aliens: Colonial Marines
    007 Legends
    Madden NFL 13

    Not to mention the exclusives:

    Bayonetta 2 (Wii U exclusive)
    The Wonderful 101
    Pikmin 3
    ZombiU
    Game & Wario
    New Super Mario Bros. U

    That’s not even the entire list, and it’s all slated to release within the launch window (Nov – Mar).

    Now, as far as the hardware goes, who cares if it’s more or less powerful?

    It isn’t about graphics. It’s about fun games. Any REAL “hardcore” gamer will tell you that.

    1. I agree it’s not about the graphics, but that’s not what Nintendo is arguing here. Nintendo claims it will have substantial third-party support because the Wii U’s hardware. This is false. The Wii U will be much weaker than the new Microsoft and Sony machines, and since no one wants to play crummy watered-down ports, third-parties won’t make them.

      I think you’d agree it’s not just visuals that are affected by processing power. Visuals are great, though! I have no problem with graphics whores. Tekken Tag Tournament‘s blades of grass really were awesome. It made the PS2 look like something I didn’t already own.

      That game list sort of speaks for itself. If you have an XBox 360 or a PS3, what’s being offered here? Bayonetta 2 is nice, not sure how exclusive it will stay. NSMBU‘s a really interesting “killer app.” I mean, it’s a sequel one of the best-selling games of the last gen. It’ll move lots of units. But are you excited about it? I liked the last one. Played it with my brother, collected every Yoshi coin. But it cribbed all its best ideas from its legendary ancestors, and this new one is obviously more of the same (online play is overrated, but c’mon, in 2012 your multi-player 2-D platformer has no online play?).

      Donkey Kong Country Returns, Punch-Out Wii and Mega Man 9 were all 10 million times better than NSMB Wii. if this was a single-player 2-D Mario with hand-drawn graphics getting Super Meat Boy-ish buzz, I’d have bought it at launch.

  2. your a dick troll that has no facts, wii u isnt getting best call duty? it is comming to wii u dumb ass lol also Shigeru Miyomotos games run shitty on all systems lmao, if a multi million dollar franchise like call of duty is running it good thing to say gta would be no problem, you trolls are all the same

    1. I’m not a troll, I’m a Nintendo fanboy. I’ll buy a Wii U the second it gets a new Zelda. But it’s an underpowered machine, so in the future it won’t be getting the best new games.

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