I bought a Wii U at launch and I was so excited to have a new Nintendo to enjoy, as I did in my childhood. Fast forward six months later, and I haven’t turned it on in two months.
To be fair, I’m busy these days and haven’t been on my Xbox either lately. But even during that honeymoon period when I was playing with the Wii U everyday, I was struggling to fall in love with it.
The controller is cool, but the battery lasts for only a short while and the touch screen isn’t responsive enough for my taste. I’m used to the sensitivity of the iPhone’s high tech, expensive, capacitive screen, the Wii U uses older, less expensive resistive tech for its screen. Then there was the absurdly slow menu system. I can’t believe people at Nintendo tried out their system and weren’t annoyed themselves at how slow this thing was. They’ve since been working hard to fix that problem, but it’s inexcusable that they released a console with what appeared to be a BETA OS.
Then there’s the games. Super Mario Bros Wii U is a lot of fun! As is Nintendo Land. But they’re not addictive the way Wii Sports was. Zombie U looks great, but every time I died, I had to start the mission over from the beginning as an entirely new person, which go old quick. Marvel vs. Capcom was the disc we were out the most, it was great to be able to play a fighting game on two screens, until the controller inevitably died in a couple hours.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the Wii U, which is why it’s so troubling to see it languish. I would like it more if there were great games that really felt “Next Gen”. I’ve heard the processor isn’t the most powerful thing on the console market, but even so, I imagine that some really incredible graphics are possible given it’s modern graphics core. We’ve yet to see anything in that arena though.
Since the beginning of the year, Wii U sales have apparently been awful. Various sites have reported that software publishers are jumping ship, and now EA isn’t going to bring even the most basic cross platform game, Madden, to the Wii U this year. Not even Madden? Not even a basic port? In my humble opinion, the Wii U is near-dead. I just can’t see a way this thing can survive without an amazing offering of games, and nothing has been announced that fit the bill yet. Now, E3 is next month, and Nintendo may have some amazing surprises up their sleeves, but at this point, that would be more of a shocker than a sad lineup, which is what I’m expecting.
Some have suggested that Nintendo would be smart to open up the Wii U to indie developers, iPhone style. Let anyone make games and make it easy to publish. That sounds like the best idea to me. I don’t see the big devs coming back anytime soon to Nintendo, so why not go their own way and make it a home-brew system? That would add a layer of “cool and interesting” to the Wii U that is sorely lacking at the moment. Whatever they do, they better do it before fall, or I fear it’l be too late.