Next generation gaming is here now. That is if you truly consider Wii U next gen. While it is arguably only as powerful as current gen consoles, it is the newest console from Nintendo. Although Nintendo has the luxury of being the first out of the gate, it has been a bumpy start to say the least. The launch lineup was not great, and that’s putting it mildly. Even though they had a new Mario game, which is always a good thing, many “launch window” titles have still not been released as of this writing. Nintendo has already admitted they did a terrible job marketing and making the consumer aware that this is a new console, not just a tablet controller to go with the Wii. But I think the problem goes deeper than that.
I believe Nintendo, who is still the best at making great games, alienated the core gamers with the Wii. They did a great job of targeting the untapped market of non-gamers and the fickle casual gamers. They moved a record number of units with the Wii Sports pack in game. It was simple, it was fun, and it was easily accessible to people of all ages. But that was where the problem started. Casual and non-gamers bought the unit and were happy with the pack in game. Nintendo tried to focus on a market that had no interest in paying $50 or more for new titles. Big developers stopped porting big titles to the less powerful and more “gimmicky” system. The “core” gamers were buying the “better” versions on Xbox 360 or PS3.
Nintendo’s greatest strength has always been in it’s exclusive titles. Sadly, this seems like it will remain the case in this generation of consoles. EA has already stated they will no longer support the platform. One executive even tweeted the following…
The WiiU is crap.Less powerful than an XBOX360.Poor online/store.Weird tablet.Nintendo are walking dead at this point.
Actually he tweeted more, but you get the point. My experience with the Wii U has not been great. I enjoyed New Super Mario Brothers U and the gamepad was interesting, but it was distracting. I like the idea of being able to play some games on the gamepad without the TV, but you can’t go too far from the console. It is not a portable. Which brings me to a new piece of news, Nintendo is trying to get mobile developers to work on games and apps for the Wii U. Why?
I get that the industry is afraid mobile gaming is eating into the gaming dollars being spent, but these are not the “core” gamers. I have yet to play a game on a mobile device as good or complex as a dedicated gaming handheld, let alone a gaming console. This is as ridiculous as the whole “console games are going to kill PC games” or vice versa argument. They are separate markets. But in Nintendo’s case, I have to ask, why would someone want to use a gamepad to do something they could do on their existing mobile device without having to stay close to the console?
The Wii U console and games are already being marked down as much as 20% at Target and Amazon. While a price cut helped spur 3DS sales, I’m not sure it will be enough when the XBOX One and PS4 launch. Although, this is Nintendo and it’s hard to count them out just yet. I know we will see some great 1st party games come out for the system, but I don’t believe this is going to be the horse to bet on. Either way I believe this will be their last actual console.
Sony’s PS4 looks like it is targeting the “social” crowd. The ability to instantly share video, have friends talk to you while playing, and even take over control of the game to help you out with some games all sound great. Also the ability to play a game while it’s still downloading is a great thing. With more and more people buying downloadable games this is huge. There is nothing worse than buying a game and not being able to play immediately. Depending on your internet speed, it may even be faster to run to the store to buy it. The games look amazing and they have great 3rd party support. They even have Bungie, a long time Microsoft only publisher, developing a game for them.
Another plus for PS4 is the Vita cross play. Right now are a limited number of PS3/Vita cross play games, but it looks like it will be more integrated with PS4. In Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s tablet play you can play certain games through the Vita or use it as a controller for the system. And it is a portable, a big win for Sony there. One area Sony has always been behind Microsoft in is the online. Sony offers free online play so you really can’t complain but XBOX Live has better set up. I do like PS+ that gives subscribers free games each month as long as account is current.
No price has been revealed for the system yet, though I’m guessing the price and solid release date with be announced at E3. Holiday 2013 is what we know and I wouldn’t be sad to see one under my tree. While I think this PS4 is going to rock and I will own one I believe it will be my number #2 console this year.
Microsoft XBOX One, I think this is going to be the console to watch. While every console maker has been talking about making an all in one set top box for years, it looks like Microsoft is finally ready to deliver. It is voice activated and motion controlled. It even recognizes you to provide you with you’re favorite content.
Seeing how the system fully integrates media like TV, movies, games, even Skype, is a game changer. The ability to multitask, opening multiple windows is brilliant. Everything from Skype with a friend while watching a movie or playing a game and looking up cheats or video while you play. The possibilities seem endless.
Microsoft will have no shortage of great titles, though Nintendo and Sony have more quality exclusives, most of the big titles will be available for all consoles. As previously feared by some the console does not have to be always online, but you will limit what you can really do with it if you’re not connected. One downside is, I’m sure XBOX Live subscription will continue to be needed to get the most from your console. Microsoft has also confirmed that discs will be needed to be installed on the system. You will be able to buy used games but there will be a “small fee” that needs to be paid to play it.
More details on used game fees, launch games, release date and price most likely will be revealed at E3. I think this is Microsoft’s generation for console domination. What do you think?