Let's be honest, things aren't going well for Nintendo at the moment. They're basically in the same predicament they were in back in 2011 when the Nintendo 3DS launched. The system had a lot of promise, but with a mediocre launch line up, people weren't too interested in purchasing the system at first, as there wasn't a single game that could be considered as a system seller. Sure, I bought it on Day One, but when it came to choosing the games I wanted for it, I wasn't very impressed with what I had to choose from. In the end, I went with Super Street Fighter IV, since it was the only one of the bunch that I thought I'd play more than a few times.
Nintendo knew that the system wasn't selling, so when E3 2011 came around, they knew they had to bring out the big guns, and they did. Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, among other games, were announced, and they were available during the holiday season, so more people would purchase the system as a gift. This helped Nintendo overcome the pressure they were under and the 3DS continues to go from strength to strength, with great titles constantly being released, including Fire Emblem: Awakening and Animal Crossing: New Leaf (the single player portion of the game anyway), as well as some terrific e-Shop titles like Pullblox and the recently released Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on The Move. The future continues to look bright for the 3DS, with titles such as Mario and Luigi: Dream Team and Pokémon X and Y coming to the system very soon. The dilemma Nintendo now face is doing this all over again for the Wii U.
The Wii U has been out for around 7 months now, and it's safe to say that so far, things haven't gone so well for the system. Nintendo learned from the launch of the 3DS and gave us a good selection of titles to choose from at launch, like New Super Mario Bros. U and Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing Transformed. However, since then, there have been very few first party titles from Nintendo, and the third party titles have been made available on other consoles, so consumers are choosing to purchase the games on those systems instead. The last time I got a retail game for my Wii U was Christmas, when I first got the system. Luckily, the e-Shop has been fairly consistent in releasing great quality titles like Runner 2 and New Super Luigi U.
Another problem that the system faces is that some of their major exclusives have now been made available on other consoles. Rayman Legends was originally going to be released in March as a Wii U exclusive, which was a major steal for Nintendo and if Ubisoft had chosen to keep the title a Wii U exclusive, the situation Nintendo are currently in might not have been as major as it is. Sadly for Nintendo, shortly before the games release, Ubisoft chose to push the game back all the way to September 3rd (in the UK) in order to make it available on all platforms. For a Wii U owner like myself, it makes you feel for Nintendo as Rayman Legends could definitely be considered a system seller because of the huge success of its prequel, Rayman Origins.
Another example of Nintendo losing an exclusive is the much more recent case of Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut. The news that the game was going to be exclusive was huge for Nintendo, as this game could also be considered a system seller, as the game was met with rave reviews when it was first released back in 2011. However, once again, the developers decided that they wanted the game on all platforms instead. Another big loss for Nintendo. They already knew that they'd have to do something big to restore people's faith it them, but with the loss of two titles as big as Rayman and Deus Ex, it meant that they'd have to do something that literally no one would see coming.
Nintendo's decision to host a Nintendo Direct instead of a press conference at this years E3 was certainly a big one. However, I believe that it was the right one. By not holding a press conference, it meant that Nintendo wouldn't be compared to Sony and Microsoft in the same way as they had been in previous years. They wanted to stay out of the limelight and let their main competitors focus on trying to better each other. To be honest, Nintendo Direct showed that they didn't have enough content for a full-length press conference. They would have had to show gameplay demos for a lot of the bigger titles they announced. Even though Nintendo showed off some impressive stuff, we already knew the three big games that were going to be unveiled, which were the New Super Smash Bros., a new Mario Kart and a new 3D Mario game. Don't get me wrong, all of the titles looked superb, and I'll certainly be purchasing them when they're released, but other than that, there was nothing shown that truly surprising. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze looked beautiful, and it's certainly on my wishlist, but even that wasn't big enough to get me truly excited for the future of the Wii U.
Super Smash Bros looked terrific, with Mega Man finally being announced, as well as the unexpected inclusions of the Animal Crossing Villager and, more interestingly, the Wii Fit Trainer. I can assure you that, whilst some people may have thought that the Villager would be included, absolutely no one could have predicted the Wii Fit trainer being announced. If anyone says they did, they're lying right to your face. I personally like the choice to include her, as it makes the game much more unpredictable and wacky, which will in turn make it a hell of a lot more fun to play. However, I'm not so sure about the decision to make the game available on the 3DS as well as the Wii U. If it was Wii U exclusive, more people would have felt the need to purchase a Wii U. I would have been all for it if a cross-play option would have been available between the two systems, but sadly it was announced that it 'wouldn't be possible' because the games have different stages depending on which version you're playing. To be honest, I wouldn't mind if the two versions had the same stages, because then I'd be able to use cross-play to fight with my friends who don't own a Wii U. It's looking likely that I'll have to buy just the 3DS version, or perhaps both. Y'know, if money ever starts growing on trees.
Oh, and my opinion on Super Mario 3D World? Cats. That is all.
The sad thing for us Wii U owners? A lot of the titles announced are coming in 2014. Sure, we've got Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, DK and Mario to look forward to this year, but the fact that we have to wait for some of the bigger titles to come out brings a tear to my eye. My wallet is feeling rather happy though.
Written by Jordan Morris (@MozPlays)