The answer is yes, a definite and resounding yes, but there are very good reasons as to why. As hard as it is for a pleb like me to question a company that can market garbage successfully, I feel it is my solemn responsibility to let Nintendo know that they shouldn’t release their ‘new’ console in the year of 2012, and that you, the unwitting yet surprisingly literate consumer, shouldn’t want them to. ‘But Mark, I want something shiny and new!’ I know, and I feel your pain, but shiny and new isn’t going to cut it this time; this time we need something more.
Old Junk in a New Chassis Won’t Get Younger
So we know that the Wii U is going to be like buying a day old pizza that’s going to sit next to your other day old pizzas, but as this is Nintendo, it’s not going to matter. Why? Because Nintendo has been a sandwich for so damn long that you’ll appreciate it arriving in a form that you have come to know and respect, and Nintendo’s toppings are going to be unique to Nintendo’s pizza. Don’t kid yourself, I’m not a Nintendo fanboy, I don’t have any nostalgic ties to the brand and find Mario too smug for (nice) words. But the strength and popularity of Nintendo’s franchises are undeniable, and no-one is going to care that the games don’t look as good as Sony and Microsoft’s future consoles, because you’ll have Zelda in HD.
Just think about that. Look at your games on your current consoles. They don’t look bad do they? In fact, on a decent TV, they’re actually still pretty stunning, and there’s a good chance when you see Link running around in High Def, you are going to crap your pants. Hell, I’ve only played one Zelda title for fifteen minutes, and I was still pumped when I saw the tech demo at last year’s E3.
On that note, Nintendo’s 2012 E3 conference showed that the Wii U has very little to offer in the way of ‘anything at all’. If it is to be released this year, around the holiday season, that gives Nintendo around four or five months to reveal they have a worthwhile first-party title available at launch or even shortly after. Instinct is telling me that Nintendo probably would have revealed a title like that at E3, because if they didn’t, then we have to assume that monkeys have actually taken over the company and are smoking cigars in offices and comparing tailor made suits.
Just release the console at a later time. Work on one, just one, amazing first-party title (that isn’t Pikmin, seriously, out of all the franchises, Pikmin) and bring it out with the consoles launch. If the plan is to make a console that’s affordable, the wait in between now and whenever a decent game will come for the Wii U won’t go against that objective. Even better, it won’t be during a period where I’m deciding if I want to buy a tablet, who isn’t getting Xmas presents because I can’t afford it, and what I’m going to buy for myself with that money instead, which will probably be a tablet.
There’s no race against time, the technology is old, Professor Farnsworth old. No-one cares about third-party support, because that ship hasn’t just sailed off, it has evolved into a spaceship that’s settled on Mercury, looking back at Earth through a telescope and thinking ‘I can’t believe I used to live there’. Nintendo is for Nintendo, no-one else, and no amount of gimmicky, borderline aggravating tech is going to make Nintendo any more special than what its core franchises have already accomplished. Nintendo isn’t Wiimotes and Gamepads; it’s Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Kirby and so on, and people will wait for these experiences.
But, if it must happen, just remember the 3DS and the Vita. Hardware is only as good as its software, and at the moment the Wii U is only offering day old pizza with recognisable and boring toppings.
God I’m hungry.