When the Wii U launches later this year, I’ll be one of many people getting into line to get my hands on the latest console. Although I’m not so sure I’ll enjoy it over a long period and I still believe that the Wii U is coming out too soon and with lesser components than it should, I’m a gaming fanatic. And as a gaming fanatic, I can’t help but get my hands on the latest console.
I did the same with the Wii. I stood in line to finally get my chance at buying the console that so many people were after, and for some time, I was impressed by its technology. After awhile, however, I found that the motion gaming was a gimmick that I couldn’t stand for a long period of time. And with a sub-par game library at the time, I was bored within a couple of months.
Now, as I consider my next console purchase, I can’t help but think back at that time. The Wii seemed so appealing at launch, but it wasn’t long before it started collecting dust in a closet in my house. The Wii U seems to stink of the same scent, and I’m concerned that it might arrive at the same fate as its predecessor.
Although I’ll fully admit that many people out there are huge Wii fans and still enjoy playing the console ach day, I think there are a larger number of people that fell into a similar situation as me. The Wii was their favorite console for a while, but before long, it was ignored.
So, Nintendo has to do everything it can to make sure its latest console doesn’t end up the same way. And the only way to do that is to keep us interested.
Keeping us interested isn’t as easy as it once was. Today’s gamer expects to not only have high-quality graphics and a deep library of titles, but also a host of entertainment options, robust online gaming, and a nice selection of digitally delivered legacy games. We’re more sophisticated now. And Microsoft, which was really the first company to acknowledge that, is successful today because of it.
However, Nintendo has proven to be the last in the gaming space to realize the changing landscape. The company wants us to believe that the old days are still here. They’re not. And that kind of mentality will kill the Wii U.
I think we’re all fully aware of the challenges the Wii U faces. From Nintendo’s spotty relationships with third-party publishers to the threat of the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 launching either next year or in 2014, the Wii U is facing a host of challenges. But keeping us interested over an extended period of time might just be its greatest threat.
Now more than ever, we have entertainment options available to us that will take up time and make the Wii U’s fight for our attention all the more difficult.
Given what we know now – namely that the Wii U is an iterative update over its predecessor and not a major step up – should we expect the Wii U to keep us interested over the long-term?
We can certainly hope. But I’m doubtful, to say the least.
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