At the E3 Gaming Expo later this year, Nintendo fans are going to get what they’ve been waiting about a year to know: the Wii U’s launch date and price. Even better, they’ll be able to see a host of games slated to come to the device to see if they’ll be worth playing.
But perhaps Nintendo shouldn’t give that gift to consumers this year, and instead, should give itself the gift of discontinuing the Wii U.
OK, OK, I know that you’re excited about the Wii U and you think that its nifty controller and high-definition graphics will be enough to put Nintendo back on top, but I think you might be a little too positive on that front. The fact is, the Wii U looks to be a console that will only be able to match today’s hardware. And there is an extremely strong chance that both Microsoft and Sony will offer up their own consoles next year that will make the Wii U look rather obsolete in comparison.
Of course, Nintendo and its loyal fans might disagree. They’d argue that the Wii is still the top-selling console of this generation and getting out ahead of the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 is a good idea. Plus, it opens Nintendo up to do really exciting things with their first-party franchises.
I see things differently.
The Wii U looks to be nothing more than a way for Nintendo to revive its ailing hardware business over the next year. What’s worse, it appears that Nintendo is willing hand over the hard-core gaming segment to Microsoft and Sony and live in No Man’s Land between those devices and more casual titles available in Apple’s App Store.
To me, that amounts to a recipe for disaster. Whether or not the company wants to admit this, its operation is on the decline and consumers are turning elsewhere to buy games and hardware. What Nintendo needs now is a drastic move, not something that will only help boost its financial performance for a year or two.
That said, I know fully well that Nintendo wouldn’t even consider following the plan I’ve outlined here. The company is so tied to its past and its child-focused history that it has no desire to grow with those that made it a huge success in the first place. And as someone that considers himself a bit of a gaming historian, it upsets me to see such an important company in the industry put itself on a path of destruction.
Luckily for Nintendo, it still has time. The game company can come out at E3 and announce that the Wii U won’t be launching this year, after all. More importantly, it can say that it’ll wait to launch the device next year with better features and a real focus on the next generation. The move might hurt its stock in the short-term, but over the long-term, it’ll prove to be the right move.
Ditch your current Wii U plans, Nintendo. It’s your only move right now.
Don Reisinger is a technology and video game columnist. You can see what he's up to each day on Twitter by following him @donreisinger.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SlashGear