Are Nintendo's Console Days Over?
Yes, I'm aware that we're a PlayStation-centric site but as we put games above all else - and I remain a Nintendo fan simply due to the impact the company has had on my life - I believe this is a worthy topic.
And I'm also aware the Wii U will soon be here. However, I was one of several journalists to say the Wii was a passing fad, simply because Nintendo wouldn't support it with AAA software. A piece of hardware can only rely on a gimmick for so long and in the bigger scheme of things, despite the millions the Wii raked in, it was a flash in the pan.
Did something besides Xenoblade Chronicles even come out this year for the Wii? I mean, in using Metacritic and GameRankings, I'm seeing about a half-dozen titles that even scored over an 8 for the Wii in all of 2011. I just don't hear anything about the Wii anymore, besides the occasional article about how far sales have fallen and how Nintendo is essentially relying on their handheld business now.
What happened to the Wii U? Typically, you announce a new game system, and it grabs headlines on a routine basis until it arrives. But that thing got announced, a whole lot of people went, "mm-hm, whatever," and that was it. As far as I'm concerned, Nintendo doesn't have much of a reason to try to compete with Sony and Microsoft the next time around. The Wii U doesn't qualify as competition and I seriously question Nintendo's dedication to support it with AAA software.
I admire Nintendo for doing something none of us expected with the Wii: they managed to cater to non-gamers and dominated the industry for a few years. But without software, without continued reasons for consumers to keep picking up the controller, the Wii had a very limited lifespan. I've said that since the beginning. The Wii U doesn't look to be anything all that fantastic; they've obviously given up from a technological standpoint.
Maybe it's time for Nintendo to just focus on the portable market and leave it at that. I honestly can't remember a year where Nintendo has basically ceased to exist in the console headlines, but I just realized: in 2011, do we ever hear anything about the Wii or the Wii U? Really, maybe it's time, Nintendo. If you look at the top 10 biggest games - or maybe even top 20 - this year, I don't think any of them are on the Wii. ...that says it all, as far as I'm concerned.
10/28/2011 Ben Dutka