Nintendo Announces the Next Generation – My Predictions for the Wii’s Successor

Say what you want about Nintendo, but they know how to make money. If this past generation wasn’t enough of a wake up call for gamers everywhere, then it’s time to reconsider your stance on the validity of gimmick gaming. Our first look at the Wii had many of us rolling our eyes at the idea of shaking our bon-bons in front of our TV screens; but take another look under, beside, or on top of your entertainment center and what do you see? A Wii! On November 19, 2006 Grandmas and Grandpas all over the US were shimmying their way into retail centers to buy up the cheap hardware; and Nintendo made billions.

The hardcore audiences that loyally barnacled themselves to underside of Nintendo’s ship felt neglected as it seemed like casual gamers were getting the high-scale treatment on deck. Many of them, understandably bought up other systems in hopes of filling the void that Nintendo had left them, and the recent video game converts eventually left the Wii to dust and abandonment. Now the executives at Nintendo are left to count their money, and have no one to share it with. So what’s the next step? A new console, of course.

The next generation is here, though much later than normal, and Nintendo is tasked with regaining the loyalty of their broken-hearted fans. I won’t sugar coat it, Nintendo’s success balances on their ability to fulfill the fragile hopes of hardcore gamers and finally give what they’ve been asking for. Nintendo can’t hope to win grandma and grandpa back either, they’ve had their fun, and are probably realizing their mistake in purchasing the console in the first place. They have to take two steps forward and hope to quash the steady stream of fans entering the veins of Sony and Microsoft.

If you’ve been following the gaming feed, then you know that rumors have leaked about an upcoming console that may live up to the hype; but don’t get too excited, most of us saw this coming. Rumors point to HD graphics, powerful processors, backwards compatibility, and an intuitive game pad featuring dual joysticks and a gaming screen. Perhaps it’s too little too late for Nintendo. They are known for being one step behind in the most recent console generations, and I can’t imagine Microsoft and Sony not having prototypes in the works that will once again, put Nintendo in the dust. But gimmicks are Nintendo’s forte, and gaming is about getting you to spend your money, not make you happy.

Our very own Dawna Wood commented on the rumors by saying,

Personally, even if some of the reports about its power are true, it still won’t matter. Xbox’s userbase is too loyal and invested to hop over to Nintendo, and more or less is the same for PS3 buyers not to mention the millions who have already purchased a Wii. It’s far too late in the game for a new HD console…
I have to echo her sentiments, because I can’t imagine Nintendo being successful in using HD graphics as a ploy. When we think back on the most recent waves of consoles, we see a few areas where Nintendo has failed to produce. Outside of standard definition graphics the lack of easy-to-use controllers, online capabilities, built-in hard drive, and third party support are just a handful of the issues Nintendo has faced. It’s important for these issues to be resolved or the fans may leave them for good.
We’ve seen feeble attempts to support the classic controller, and then watched as it came crashing down. We watched as Nintendo laughably tried to emulate online interaction to no avail, and cringed when we watched the beauty of Super Mario Galaxy stretch across our flat screen TVs. But in my opinion nothing hurts worse than the lack of third party support for the Wii console. It’s unfortunate to see such great talent go to waste, but when your console doesn’t support HD graphics or provide a controller with logical and easy to use functions you run the risk of alienating yourself.
It’s a shame that Wii owners won’t be able to experience the Mass Effect trilogy, or watch the beauty of a sunset over the Tamriel skyline. There are great games on the Wii like Super Mario Galaxy or the Twilight Princess, but you will quickly notice that most of the top-tiered titles are games created by Nintendo and are sequels to increasingly stale IPs. Unfortunately for Nintendo, many gamers did experience the glory of Mass Effect and the Elder Scrolls and as a consequence Nintendo lost a steady cash flow from these dissatisfied gamers. Check out what SFX-360 writer, Stoney has to say about 3rd part support:
It’s a very much needed console for Nintendo. 3rd Party Development sucks on the Wii due to the Wii’s graphical limitations. Developers can port games from PC to 360 to PS3 with little effort and cost. Porting to the Wii is nearly impossible so a new game pretty much has to be made from the ground up. You can’t blame the controls for this difficulty because look how quickly Heavy Rain and other titles accepted new input from the Move controller.
People will always buy the latest Nintendo franchise releases, but without solid 3rd party titles to collect revenue from Nintendo is pretty much dead in the water right now.
Despite the Wii’s success with pushing out old franchises, we are starting to notice a trend of mediocrity in the quality of these games. Since the release of the Gamecube, Nintendo has only had one stand out IP, Pikmin; but what’s sad about this dilemma is that Nintendo is known for its brilliance in the creation of new game worlds and characters. Link, Mario, Donkey Kong, and Samus almost single-handedly made Nintendo a successful brand, but since their creation, Nintendo has done little to introduce new IPs.
The overarching theme here is that Nintendo has to focus on its games this time around by making their system easily accessible for developers and by offering new games for their audience. There is no doubt that if Nintendo manages to hit on all cylinders then we will witness a phenomenon. Nintendo is a name that sells itself; whether they are selling a console, a Mario game, or a wooden block, people have an affinity towards the name. Add on the updated specs of a current generation console and we may finally relive the competitive days of the SNES and the Genesis.
I’ve got a feeling that Nintendo has been planning this launch for a decade or more, and the Wii was simply a product created to pull in billions of dollars. If my theory proves correct, then Nintendo will launch their new console at a very affordable price despite it’s power. It has been confirmed that Nintendo will be showing their new system at E3, and not only will we see the capabilities, but it will also be playable. I would expect a price announcement, and a line-up of launch games by the end of the show. Only time will tell if my theories prove true.
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