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Is the Wii U the Next 3DS?

Is the Wii U the Next 3DS?

     Nintendo's latest home console, the Nintendo Wii U, has found its ways on store shelves eight months ago, and it's without a doubt that the console has been greatly struggling during this time period. From lackluster sales to a shortage of new first-party content all the way down to third-parties dropping support, the Wii U is, without a doubt, in dire straits. After Nintendo's Nintendo Direct that took place in E3 2013, though, Nintendo has shed a great deal of light as to what we should expect in the Wii U's future. Although many still consider the Wii U to be doomed and that Nintendo should "go the way of Sega," has it occurred to you that the Wii U is most probably going to end up being the next 3DS? When I say that, I mean it most probably will make an explosive comeback in the way that the 3DS did. To some people, this idea is lingering in their minds and they believe that this is the case while others just don't seem to see the connection. How is the Wii U possibly "the next 3DS?" Well, let me break it down for you.

     Before we dig deeper into the situation, let's first familiarize ourselves with what happened in the beginning of the Wii U and 3DS's lives. The 3DS, you may have remembered, started out with a lackluster line-up of games on its launch. The 3DS didn't have games that appealed to the general public as a whole, sadly. First-party titles that people wanted, such as a Mario or Zelda game, weren't present while there wasn't any very noticeable third-party title but Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, which is also available on other platforms. The 3DS, though, had an extremely successful launch, with the 3DS selling more units in its launch week than any other Nintendo handheld, but the handheld suffered very shortly afterwards. With the Wii U, it launched with the second largest line-up of any video game console in history and featured only two first-party games: Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U. The third-party titles that were available were mostly just ports of PS3 and XBOX 360 games while some were noticeable, such as ZombiU. The ports that were available didn't attract very many people since pretty much everybody who is interested in the game already has it on another platform while Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U were pretty good and did end up getting people's attention. The Wii U had a very successful launch, with the Wii U having so many pre-orders that retailers couldn't accept any more pre-orders; GameStop even had to make a waiting list for people who wanted the Wii U! The console sold 3 million units within the first few months on the market but soon began to lose traction as key titles weren't arriving.

     After the launch of the 3DS, the handheld wasn't doing very well because of two main reasons: one is that some features, such as the Nintendo eShop and Internet Browser, weren't available until June 6th, 2011 and the other is that it wasn't receiving any riveting first or third party titles that were worth taking notice. The Wii U, though it didn't go through missing out on features like the Nintendo eShop, did experience a few problems. The Wii U started out with a slow operating system and somewhat buggy online interfaces (mostly Miiverse), and it also lacked riveting first and third party titles. The online interface issues were quickly resolved, but the Wii U did suffer from a slow operating system and a lack of enthralling software. While a slow operating system isn't something to affect sales, it was still a problem. The 3DS didn't receive anything after the launch that actually attracted the general public until June 19th, 2011 with the game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and the Wii U didn't receive anything after the launch that attracted the general public until March 18th and March 19th with the games Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, LEGO City Undercover, and Need for Speed Most Wanted U. Even after these launches, the systems struggled to maintain a foothold in the market, and the Wii U is still struggling to maintain a foothold.

"The 3DS didn't receive anything after the launch that actually attracted the general public until June 19th, 2011 with the game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D."

Image Courtesy of zelda.com

     With the 3DS, Nintendo was quick to realize that the handheld needed help and quickly in order to gain momentum. In order to accomplish this, Nintendo slashed the price of the Nintendo 3DS by 1/3 and created the ambassador program for people who paid $250 for the system. Satoru Iwata, CEO/president of Nintendo, even cut his salary in half just to help the 3DS out, which really showed how much it was struggling. The Wii U, although it most likely won't receive a price cut now, is bound to get one this holiday in time for the PlayStation 4 and XBOX One's launches. Due to its already cheap price, the Wii U doesn't need a price drop immediately to refresh it but would be helpful. The 3DS was overpriced at the time, so it made perfect sense for Nintendo to slash the price of the 3DS.

     If you compare what games Nintendo showed for the Wii U in E3 2013 with the games they showed for the 3DS in E3 2011, you'll also notice a pattern between the two systems. In E3 2011, Nintendo showed Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS while, in E3 2013, they showed Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U. Nintendo revealed Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon for the first time as a surprise in E3 2011 while Nintendo revealed Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze for the first time as a surprise in E3 2013. Nintendo taunted The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, a remake, in preparation of its June 19th launch in E3 2011 while they taunted The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, another remake, in preparation of its October 2013 launch. As you can see, there are quite a few similarities between the two systems at these events.

"If you compare what games Nintendo showed for the Wii U in E3 2013 with the games they showed for the 3DS in E3 2011, you'll also notice a pattern between the two systems."

Image Courtesy of ibtimes.com

     Another thing that seems to be extremely similar between the two systems has to do with the Nintendo eShop. After the Nintendo eShop launched on the 3DS on June 6th, 2011, it didn't have any 3DSWare titles for a little while but kept receiving new Gameboy titles every week. Sure, the 3DS eShop did receive Let's Golf! 3D on June 28th, 2011 but that was really the only 3DSWare title for a while. The Wii U is on the same exact boat that the 3DS was on. At the moment, it only has a few Wii U downloadable titles and it mostly has virtual console titles, such as Super Mario World and Kirby's Adventure. Each week, the Wii U keeps getting more and more virtual console titles over Wii U downloadable titles, which is what happened with the 3DS for a while. Of course, independent developers have been swarming around the Wii U like bees to a bee hive and are working on many titles for the Nintendo eShop. In fact, Satoru Iwata claims that over 1,000 independent developers have spoken with Nintendo about bringing their games to the Wii U, which is a massive amount.  

     Finally, my last point that I would like to mention is the line-up of games for the Wii U in the upcoming months. Starting on September 2011, the 3DS received at least one brand-new game a month up until December. Star Fox 64 3D released in September; Pokémon Rumble Blast, Cave Story 3D, and Bit. Trip Saga released in October; Super Mario 3D Land released in November, and Mario Kart 7 released in December. By December, the 3DS was really starting to pick steam and finally had software that enticed people to purchase a 3DS. The same thing seems to be happening with the Wii U, too. Starting on August 2013, the Wii U will be receiving at least one brand-new game a month up until December. Pikmin 3 releases in August, The Wonderful 101 releases in September; The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD, Sonic Lost World, and Wii Party U release in October; Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze releases in November, and Super Mario 3D World and Wii Fit U release in December. Do you see the pattern between the two systems? If Star Fox 64 3D, Pokémon Rumble Blast, Super Mario 3D Land, and Mario Kart 7 really made the 3DS gain momentum, just imagine how much the Wii U will receive with its line-up plus what is already available.

"If Star Fox 64 3D, Pokémon Rumble Blast, Super Mario 3D Land, and Mario Kart 7 really made the 3DS gain momentum, just imagine how much the Wii U will receive with its line-up plus what is already available."

Image Courtesy of gamershavennews.com

     Although the Wii U is currently in trouble and has failed to capture an audience in the way that the Wii did back in 2006, it certainly looks like Nintendo is working hard to fix its problems, and it seems like history is repeating itself, with the Wii U about to make a 3DS-syle comeback. The Wii U does have one thing it needs to face that the 3DS never truly had, though: competition. The 3DS does have the PlayStation Vita as its main competitor, but the PlayStation Vita never put up a very good fight against the 3DS. The Wii U is going to be against the PlayStation 4 and XBOX One, and those consoles aren't going to give the Wii U an easy time on the market. With the Wii U having a very strong line-up for the rest of the year and Nintendo attempting to fix the Wii U's current problems, such as a lack of third-party content, the Wii U looks to be in good shape and like it will recover by the end of 2013. This is Nintendo we're talking about, so I wouldn't be too quick to judge the Wii U just because it's not doing well right now, especially since they've proven time and time again that they can save themselves in some of the grimmest situations.

Image of the Wii U and 3DS Courtesy of gamingvlog.net

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