Is the Wii U Already Doomed to Fail?

            As gamers across the country literally dust off their Wii's for one final holiday season, Nintendo has already moved on to the impending release of the Wii U this upcoming year. While the Wii still has some impressive titles including Zelda and Kirby forthcoming, the focus has shifted to the next generation of consoles that will be ushered in with the Wii U. Although technically the console will be the first of the next generation, it's status may significantly diminish when Sony and Microsoft ultimately release their new systems. Nintendo's new endeavor has all the makings of another impressive console with it's ingenious controller and updated graphics, but the Wii U may already have too many negative factors working against it for the system to succeed.

            The updated graphical power is a welcome sight after the horrid graphics in most Wii games, but it could very easily be eclipsed in just a few years by the other companies' systems. It might be stuck behind it's competitors in terms of current graphical power, but it should still be powerful enough to support the various 3rd party games that will inevitably be released on later consoles. Also, PS3 and 360 could easily sustain themselves for another few years and still be comparable to the Wii U. This could take away a decent chunk of the new console's market as consumers may opt for the older, but significantly cheaper options.

            Speaking of price, the Wii U simply cannot be more than $400 dollars. Nintendo has a history of finding the right price point (botched 3DS launch excluded) and when they're competing with two consoles that have comparable graphics, better online services, and a cheaper price point Nintendo could easily price themselves out of the market. One of the biggest selling points of the original Wii was it's low price point which was attractive to many families especially after the recession hit. However, the more powerful system and technologically advanced controller will most likely push the price at least into the $350 range and probably beyond that. A simple price drop from Microsoft and Sony could easily make the Wii U an overpriced system with a gimmick that may attract hardcore gamers but prove too expensive for the casual gaming crowd that was so essential to the Wii's success.

            Finally, the Wii U's online service has to be markedly better if it has any hope of attracting gamers to their system as a destination for online gaming and 3rd party titles. The incoherent friend code system must be scrapped for a much more user friendly interface. Nintendo can't ignore the games released on Wiiware once again on this new system and needs to highlight it's vast library of classic titles that make their online service entirely unique. If Nintendo is unable to correct it's online issues, the system will never attract gamers to their console for 3rd party titles which are crucial to satisfying the hardcore gamers who were seemingly ignored for the duration of the Wii's life cycle.

            All in all the Wii U is still a terrific concept; the possible applications of the touchscreen are endless and being able to transfer a full-fledged game onto your controller from the televison screen is incredibly innovative. However, many great concepts have failed before and the Wii U could easily fall into that category if not handled properly. Without making drastic changes to their online environment and finding an affordable price point Nintendo's new console could become merely a stop gap between generations. Although they will never fail the way Sega did after it's poorly timed Dreamcast, Nintendo is walking a fine line by releasing their console at a time when the next generation still seems a few years away for many gamers. While I and plenty of other gamers will still definitely buy the console (even if only for an HD Zelda) the Wii U is in danger of being trapped in limbo competing against both comparable systems currently and technologically advanced systems in the future. While the outlook may seem bleak as of now, similar sentiments were bandied about when the Wii was initially revealed. Although we won't know until it's released later next year, here's hoping the Wii U proves the doubters wrong and succeeds just as its predecessor did several years ago.