It’s official: the time has come for Nintendo to put an end to its Wii U game-playing and launch a new console in 2014.
Now, I should note that the Wii U shouldn’t be tossed aside like yesterday’s news, but it should be dramatically reduced in price. What’s more, it should become the “cheap” console option for those who want to get into Nintendo gaming. For everyone else, Nintendo needs to deliver a high-end piece of hardware that can compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
I love new technology, and I love wearables, and I love Google Glass, but I can't wear it out in public. Google's head-mounted computer is gradually proliferating, as the company opens up its pyramid-scheme of invitations, but the numbers are still small, and though I appreciate the functionality Glass brings, I'm struggling to sport it out in the wild without extreme self-consciousness. As a geek among geeks in San Francisco, there should be nothing holding me back; as a vocal advocate of wearables, I ought to be flying the flag with my fifteen-hundred-dollar early-adopter beacon. So what's taking the gloss off Glass?
This past Monday, Apple released a commercial depicting what initially appears to be a disaffected teenager ignoring his whole family on a holiday get-together as he stares and thumb-pecks at his iPhone the whole time. In the end, it turned out he was actually shooting footage of his family as a Christmas gift. He edits the footage into a home movie, screencasts it to the living room TV via AirPlay, and the whole family has a Tiny Tim moment as they watch themselves interacting onscreen. Even Grandma is crying tears of joy.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been hunkered down in my house playing video games. I’ve all but turned my back on previous-generation hardware so I could double down on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and provide reviews where necessary.
While the majority of my time playing new titles has been positive, not everything was great. In fact, one increasingly concerning reality presented itself while I was playing the Xbox One and PS4 that troubles me greatly: in-home multiplayer gaming appears to be one a one-way spiral towards untimely death.
So, it happened: Google e-mailed me last week and asked me if I’d like to join the Glass Explorer program. Although I immediately jumped at the chance to become of the few Explorers, I took a step back when I looked at the $1,500 price tag (before tax) and tried to decide whether it’s really worth it right now.
Apple had a somewhat strong year in 2013. The company showed off the iPad Air, unveiled a new iPad mini with a Retina display, and its upcoming Mac Pro might just be the most impressive desktop the company has ever launched. And as its revenue showed during the period, customers seemed to like what the company had to offer.
But I have a bit of a different take on the last year. While Apple had a broad launch lineup in 2013, nothing beyond the Mac Pro was truly “groundbreaking.” And by the look of things, that was intentional. That’s right – 2013 is designed to be the precursor for what promises to be a major 2014.
Nintendo is in trouble this holiday season. There. I said it. After all, someone had to, right?
With the gaming industry abuzz over the launch of not one, but two consoles in the course of a week, Nintendo has been trying to get at least some attention from the media. Like the person in the back row trying to be seen in a picture, there’s no getting out of the way of Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One. And Nintendo doesn’t appear to have the firepower to change that.
With the PlayStation 4 officially on store shelves and the Xbox One just a week away, the next-generation console war is on. Sure, Nintendo kicked things off with the Wii U, but for the hard-core segment of gamers, the real fighting begins this month.
The next-generation console war is set against a far different backdrop than those that came before it. Mobile is sweeping the globe and casual gamers have become an increasingly lucrative option for developers. Three companies are vying for our dollars, but there’s an entirely reasonable chance that not all of those firms will make it to the next, next generation.
Last week, a report surfaced suggesting that Stephen Elop, the man who many believe will take over for Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s next chief executive, would consider selling off the software giant’s Xbox division to focus its efforts on Office and other key platforms that tend to make it more money.
The announcement was a surprise, if nothing else, and it speaks to where Elop’s thinking is right now. Elop might appreciate Microsoft’s many businesses and what they offer to customers, but he believes that the company has gone too far into different operations and has lost sight of the divisions that matter.
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said during a call with investors last week that he’s comfortable with his company’s standing in the marketplace. He believes that Sony and Microsoft are competing for the high-end of the space, while Nintendo is going after casual gamers and families. And it’s in that niche, he says, that Nintendo will see the most growth.
I’ll freely admit that Iwata has been right more than he’s been wrong in the years. Even while the world was saying that Nintendo’s Wii would be a failure, it was the company’s top brass, like Iwata, that said it would be a success. And as history has proven, they were dead on.
We hear it annually: this is going to be Apple’s year. The company’s fans from around the globe predict that Apple will come up with something new or groundbreaking and dramatically change how we interact with technology.
Over the last few years, however, those folks have been wrong. Apple has not unveiled anything in the last few years that could be considered groundbreaking in any way. In fact, save for the Mac Pro, its latest product launches have been awfully boring.