September 2, 2013

Wii U 2013 Thoughts

So 2013 is almost over, and the Wii U isn't moving nearly as much as Nintendo wants it to. Their longstanding (accurate) philosophy is that software sells hardware. So where's the software?

The truth is, there's a decent chunk currently out there, but the media/internet loves to look back at the somewhat bumbled launch of the console. And for the uninformed and/or lazy people, their easiest course of action is to parrot back what they read on some article that popped up at random from over nine months ago. Yes, back in November of last year there was not really any reason for the common person to pick up a Wii U. But it is September of 2013, and quite a few quality pieces of software are available.

Yes, third-party support has been less than admirable for the Big N, but they are the only company that has enough strength in their own IPs to survive in their own if need be. This is partially a curse, because "cautious" developers/publishers will play it super safe and wait for Nintendo to do the hard selling work before they enter the game, declaring that "they strongly supported it the entire time," and challenge anyone to prove otherwise. A simple Google search to any prior interview/press release can shatter their so-called "facts." Other points are made concerning Nintendo's almost casual approach to indie developers. It's thrown around that it's "just not enough, and Sony and Microsoft have been doing it way longer, so Nintendo can't possibly succeed." Well, I would agree to the second point. Sony and Microsoft have been doing it a lot longer. But I don't make the connection to Nintendo not being able to do it just because they haven't done it before. I'm pretty sure that both other companies had to find their feet and gain credibility over time as well. To be supremely accepted without reservation immediately would be a fool's expectation. It takes time. I don't even know why I have to justify it, because it's such an obvious conclusion. If it's going to work, it's still going to take time, regardless of who it is.

It's funny to note that pretty much since its inception as a game maker, Nintendo's forecast has been "doomed" by a big-name source every single year. Yet somehow, impossibly, it hasn't happened. The people that keep stating over and over again that this, surely this, is Nintendo's last year, know it probably isn't true, but have stuck to those guns for so long. They're just waiting for the near impossible chance that it might happen, so they can stand up and proclaim how they always knew Nintendo was a failure from the start.


Naturally, anytime I read an article title with one of those people's names in it or how much Nintendo is doomed, I skip it. It's not that hard. You just don't read it. Those people are just trying to stir up the pot and gain publicity. And because some people are willing to become angry over trivial bullshit, it works. Some would argue that it's their job to be critical analysts, but I counter that they base their predictions on extreme short-term, cherry-picked results. Not to mention they never look at Nintendo in terms of a full company, they look at "just Wii U" instead of everything Nintendo has going on (consoles, handhelds, services, software, etc.). That goes against everything Nintendo bases their company policies on.

Nintendo is a long-term thinker, and always has been. In this way, they separate themselves from the American corporate structure mindset. Hell, American corporations are lucky if they're thinking more than two weeks down the road. This angers analysts, because Nintendo isn't "playing by the rules" or, "doing what they should be doing." Such statements are absolutely ridiculous. An analyst's job is to analyze, not dictate what "should happen." Because they can't possibly predict what will happen long-term, they will ostracize anyone that dares to think that way. People that state Nintendo is doomed should check out actual numbers and reports once in a while. Their heads might explode. Another huge difference between them and pretty much everyone else is that they learn from their mistakes. They don't just abandon something once it starts to look like it's not working out, like other big parties in the gaming business.

So anyway, I'm getting off of my soapbox to talk about software. Just on the eShop alone, there are a ton of good titles (both legacy games and original titles). The whole layout and setup of the Wii U eShop compared to the Wii one is like night and day. I found the Wii layout to be clunky, confusing, and unaesthetic as hell. The Wii U one makes actual sense, and is easily navigated. Which means people are more likely to buy things. Nintendo is also has a "quality over quantity" policy. Short-term, it means less things available right off the bat. Long-term, it means better things overall with no filler crap (for the most part).

Retail titles are slowly but surely becoming more and more. And I'm not talking about all that shovelware, which is pretty much a given considering how some developers still see Nintendo consoles as gimmicky toys. I'm talking about real games. The lineup looks great, and is slowly picking up steam. It just took a while to get moving. The biggest opponent Nintendo is fighting against right now is the uninformed public, who is just repeating what the general media told them to think a year ago. I still encounter people that are unaware that the Wii U is a new piece of equipment. It's depressing how people can justify buying any video game items when they're just doing what some uninformed person told them to do, and in the end don't care about it anyway. Why even bother if you're just going to be a clueless sheep?

It just takes so long for the mass of society to catch up with the people who are paying attention. That goes for pretty much any subject, not just video games. More important things like the economy, politics, health and safety, down to pop culture things like movies, books, comics, and video games. It's very frustrating to the informed people about any of aforementioned areas, because they know what's up, but everybody else is so slow to put the pieces together. One of the areas I choose to try to be well informed in is games. Granted, there's so much going on I can't possibly stay on top of it all, so I prioritize the areas I think are worth following. I would prefer to make an informed decision (about any subject, not just this) as opposed to someone I don't know who I'm not sure is even credible tell me what to do.

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