Friday, December 6, 2013

Nintendo Dropping the Wii U Is One of the Craziest "Solutions" We've Ever Heard

If you recall, we previously wrote an editorial going against the suggestions that Nintendo should drop the GamePad controller for the Wii U. Now GamesRadar's Justin Towell has written an interesting article suggesting that Nintendo should simply fold up shop with the Wii U, cut its losses, and invest in creating a new console. While the article itself was a fun read and all, its message and thesis just rubbed me the wrong way. It is my intention with my own piece to explain why such a premature decision would in the long-term be disastrous for Nintendo as a whole.

Essentially there is a core group of gamers that wish for Nintendo to drop their gimmickry and build a "real next gen console"-- whatever that means. However, were it not for Nintendo's past gimmickry, we wouldn't have many features in consoles that are now standard today. I'm alluding to things like the d-pad, the analog stick, shoulder buttons, four face buttons in a diamond pattern, rumble, wireless controllers, and motion control. Now, obviously didn't invent all of those, but they made them popular, with the gaming world following behind them soon after. Frankly, I'm glad Nintendo continues to try to innovate with its hardware, because it allows the industry to have diversity and not three similar boxes with only a token of different features.

What many gamers (the writer of the GamesRadar article included) who desire that Nintendo kill off the Wii U prematurely don't understand is that making a new console is not something that is done as quickly as pushing out a new piece of software. No, there's lots of research and development, quality assurance testing, and huge costs in designing and manufacturing a new platform. It's not done overnight.

Nintendo's early elimination of the Wii U would cause a perilous path for the company's future. Forget about all of the Wii U owners who would be jilted because of such an amateur action. Forget about consumer trust being broken. Forget about Nintendo not even being prepared for HD development now, so them working on newer, more foreign hardware would be even more of an issue.

No, let's focus on this question: what guarantee is there that third-parties would jump on a Nintendo platform that is just as powerful as its contemporaries? The answer is there isn't any. Nintendo is infamous for its horrid third-party relations in the West, and the company has burned a lot of bridges in the past, which it is still recovering from to this day. What happens if Nintendo invests in a higher spec system after killing off the Wii U early and its new console ends up where the Wii U is now? The system would have virtually no third-party support whatsoever, and Nintendo would have to support it by themselves.

Then there's something that console warriors dream about, even though they supposedly hate Nintendo. This dream is for Nintendo to go third-party and to place its games on these gamers' favorite consoles. Not only would the destruction of Nintendo as a first-party most likely result in a mass exodus of key talent and other employees, the same ones that make the critically acclaimed games the company develops and publishes today, but Nintendo software is always based on the hardware the company creates.

Nintendo's developers know the ins, outs, and all of the secrets of their own hardware. This is how the developers are able to create excellent looking games without compromise. Without Nintendo creating the Nintendo 64 and utilizing its specially made analog stick, we probably wouldn't have the revolutionary Super Mario 64. Without the Wii Remote, we probably wouldn't have Wii Sports. Whether you like these titles or not, their impact on the industry is clear, and if Nintendo hadn't had its own hardware to base these games off, they might have never existed.

What is the solution, then? It is my thought that Nintendo should simply ride out the storm. The Wii U will be lucky to sell to the levels of the GameCube, but at least the company wouldn't be cutting off its nose to spite its face or taking a panicky position in dropping its console. There is no easy way out for Nintendo, but as the company has proven time and time again, even in its darkest hours somehow Nintendo survives. I think it will keep its head above the water for the most part. Times may be tougher than ever on the home console front, but if history is any indication, never bet against Nintendo.

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