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One Year to the End

Many fear upcoming changes in the world in the year 2012. The Mayan calendar, apparently, has predicted cataclysmic changes will occur on December 21st, exactly one year from today. I will not pretend to be an expert on the subject, unless you consider a person reading about it on Wikipedia as an “expert”. Many of the other supposed “experts” have declared that this time will be a time when a spiritual change occurs, others a new age of man, while others declare it to be the end of the world. Upon reading the items presented to me, I have made my own prediction of the cataclysmic event that will change the world: the introduction of the Nintendo Wii U.


A concept drawing of the Wii U from space

I have fears for the Wii U, it was one of the biggest reasons I dumped every share of Nintendo that I owned and ran for the hills. Though nothing is certain yet, the Wii U could possibly be the Nintendo equivalent of the Dreamcast.

Yes, the thought is extreme, but so is the end of the world. And, unlike the theories for the end of the world, I have legitimate evidence to be scared.

The Incredible Shrinking Demographic
There were many nay-sayers when the Nintendo Wii was announced, claiming it would fail because motion technology was too weak and could not produce solid gameplay. For the most part, those people were right. If you go to the store and look through the Wii titles, you will find a few here and there that are quality gaming experiences, but the vast majority are awful.


Wii owners have this gem to brag about


And this awesome exclusive



And the coupe de gras

However, even with a plethora of garbage titles, the Wii prevailed. With family-centered titles and a cheap price point compared to other systems, the Wii became accessible to families and an older demographic. The fact motion was involved in the gaming became an extra selling point for parents who were afraid of their children sitting dormant while playing games. Nintendo further opened the size of its demographic by ensuring a classic franchise was released with the system in the form of Zelda. With these factors, Nintendo opened a wide demographic.

With the Wii U, Nintendo seems to be hell-bent on slimming that demographic back down. With the rumored specifications for the system and the use of a tablet controller, I see no way the initial price point of the system will be any less than $400-$500 at release, nearly double the price of the Wii at launch. The controller itself will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 to replace. This increased price point in a time of economic difficulty is going to seriously reduce the amount of people interested in the system. I know it is one of the reasons I will not purchase the system as I can promise my three year old would take out one of those controllers in no time at all.

My belief in a massive price for the system is further solidified by this quote from Satoru Iwata: “Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities. The reason for that is that we feel that enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVDs and Blu-ray, such that it didn't warrant the cost involved to build that functionality into the Wii U console because of the patents related to those technologies.” If the Wii u will be set to compete directly with Playstation and Xbox, the only reason for not including a DVD or Blu-ray feature is that they fear the increase in price it would cause the system would prevent even more people from purchasing the system.

Control Freaks
I have already covered the price-point of the controller, but wanted to bring up the concept of the controller itself. It looks like I should be serving hors ’oeuvres on it rather than playing a video game.


IT'S A GIANT HANDHELD, PEOPLE!

I get frustrated when I see a technology being released, knowing that developers are going to force themselves to make a game built around that technology rather than it being the other way around. We have seen this happen with movies where a movie will be made just to show off its cool 3D effects even though the movie is garbage. It almost seems like Nintendo is handing developers a bucket of water and telling them to paint a picture on the water.

When asked what the Wii U would bring to the table to draw in gamers, Satoru Iwata discussed various areas of technology they wanted to expand on, as part of that quote, he said: “We started by looking at some of the things that we wanted to achieve, but weren't fully able to, with the original Wii console.” I find it interesting that Iwata never once mentioned what developers wanted, only what they wanted. However, when it came to discussing the on-line environment, Nintendo was all about what the publishers wanted. It seems a little telling to me that, when it comes to hardware technology, Nintendo does not seem to be interested in what the developer wants.


Maybe your monster version will too...just maybe

Showing Up Late to the Dance
I remember when one of the speakers at E3 said that the Wii U could compete graphically with any of the existing systems. This confuses me, I was under the impression that Nintendo wanted to be first with the next generation of consoles, but that quote makes me wonder if Nintendo is trying to catch the tail end of the current generation, but with a gimmicky piece of technology included.

During another presentation, Nintendo showed Batman: Arkham City and Assassin’s Creed being played on the Wii U. Personally, I have already experienced these, games on an existing system, why would I want to play them again? Just because of a touch screen or mobile ability? I highly doubt it.


Yeah, I don't know either


As an investor, Nintendo’s decisions scare me. As a gamer, Nintendo’s decisions have solidified my position to not purchase a Wii U. As a human, I fear that Nintendo is the end of time predicted by the Mayans. Mark my words, one year from now…

What do you think? Are you excited for the end of the world…I mean, the Wii U?

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