Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Wii U's Rotten Start & the Industry's Rotten Maturity

Phil here with an opinion piece that I'm passionate about. Now, don't get me wrong and think SPC's other works aren't passionate. This subject is simply one that really gets my proverbial goat. The Wii U has not had a good launch or even a good week. We've heard developers flat out laugh at the system, and we've heard big time publishers admit that they have no games in development for the system (EA). It seems the industry absolutely loves dirty laundry, as Don Henley once sang. They especially love it when it's against a system they don't care for, because let's face it-- it doesn't matter if you're a ten-year-old kid or a "professional games journalist" (oxymoron there), fanboys come in all shapes and sizes. This piece talks about a number of topics, including premature Wii U death calls, the idiocy of killing off the Wii U already, unprofessional Twitter tirades,  and the overall immaturity of the video game industry in general. Prepare to be holier-than-thou'd.

I've always hated it when consoles or platforms are derided and chastised because they are perceived as weak. That never bothered me, as what is most important is the games. We've seen this with the NES, the Game Boy, the Super Nintendo, the original PlayStation, the PlayStation 2, and recently the Wii and Nintendo DS. The Wii U is no doubt underpowered when compared to what Sony (and possibly Microsoft) are planning. However, as long as there are great games coming eventually, then while waiting sucks, they WILL finally arrive.

By far the most idiotic idea that I have seen in a long time comes from those who think Nintendo should just kill off the Wii U now and start fresh with a new console. We all know that this idea would work really well because it would give consumers, gamers, fans, and investors a lot more confidence in future Nintendo products if Nintendo pulled the plug on that current system. Oh, wait. It would actually do the exact opposite. We already have people who won't buy a Nintendo platform at launch because of the 3DS mess, which involved a quick price drop and Ambassador games for early adopters. Could you imagine the repercussions of Nintendo just stopping hardware and game production and starting fresh? You think people were mad when the 3DS went down in price, just think of how bad this would be.

I say this because Nintendo hasn't even put out their big hitters yet, but people (usually those invested in the demise of companies they hate, regardless of whether their games provide millions of others with fun and happiness) have already been calling for a time of death. Quite premature, no? There's been little in the way of big games for the Wii U, but they are finally coming. I'm referring to games like the first 3D Mario for the system, Mario Kart (which was a big system seller on the Wii), Super Smash Bros. 4, and even smaller titles like Pikmin 3 and the Platinum Games-developed The Wonderful 101.

Pikmin 3 screenshot
When I see people crying that the Wii U has no games, and then go right into whining when the system gets an exclusive that they want, I am dumbfounded. I know fanboys don't use proper logic, but damn if I'm lying when I say it's embarrassing behavior. Don't get me started on the Bayonetta 2 Wii U exclusive death threats. Exclusives are what makes a system worth owning, and suddenly it's a bad thing when a console gets them to improve its worth, value, and image that it has "no gaems" (as the kids spell it)?

Bayonetta 2 wouldn't have been possible with Nintendo
backing it, but who cares? Nintendo stole our game, and if we
can't have it, no one should!
Another thing that bothers me is when people ask Nintendo to go third-party. The fact of the matter is that Nintendo develops their hardware and controllers with their own games in mind first and foremost. This understandably ticks off a lot of third-parties, but it allows Nintendo to create the excellent games they do. It's my belief (and there's no way to prove this until Nintendo ever goes third-party) that Nintendo's software quality would diminish much like Sega's did. The reason for this is because Nintendo's games are so closely developed with their own hardware in mind. Having to learn something foreign would make for a difficult transition. For goodness sake, Nintendo is having trouble with HD development for their own console, and people think they could handle hardware not even made by them?

What I can imagine is how many people who have a beef with Nintendo must have suffered through the Wii and DS generations. This was when Nintendo was on top of sales charts and leading the industry. Heck, we heard so much from them: "The bubble is about to burst!", "It's a fad", and my personal favorite, "Attach rate sucks!" despite the Wii for the longest time having a similar attach rate to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It seems now that Nintendo is vulnerable and in a weak state, these same people are flocking in like vultures on a rotten corpse.

I'm not saying the criticism isn't well deserved, but when you have an EA employee flat out say the system is crap and other incredibly bitter, juvenile, GameFAQs, NeoGAF or N4G troll-worthy, unprofessional nonsense and have a bunch of gamers applaud him instead of saying, "Hey. Maybe THIS is why our industry isn't taken seriously", then you can see why it gets obnoxious (and why the industry isn't taken seriously by anyone with a brain). On a side note, publishers, you might want to teach your employees how they should behave on social media. Having an "all views are my own" disclaimer in your Twitter profile is not a get-out-of-jail-free card or free rein to act like a total douche.

How inappropriate. Everyone knows 
the name "Wii U" has a space in it.
The Wii U has a lot to dislike about it-- the empty and broken promises of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata (e.g. "We won't make the same mistakes as the 3DS"), the launch window games being delayed beyond their original intended release time periods, the laughable third-party support that is somehow worse than the freaking Wii, the anemic Virtual Console lineup, and the general "rushed" feeling the system has overall. However, there's some good things too, such as the comfortable and innovative Wii U GamePad, Miiverse, the improved online, the better relations Nintendo has with indie developers, among others.

Look at those huge hands. They must be 
where Iwata holds all of his broken promises.
I don't have any emotional involvement to corporations. I do, however, have an emotional attachment to the games industry, and hope that one day a lot of us stuck in the childish male adolescent mindset will finally grow up or at least shut up. That will finally make our industry one that the average person won't mock and laugh at. Currently, we deserve all of the laughter and ridicule we get. Just look at any message board (especially one that declares itself as the prominent gaming discussion community, yet it acts just as horribly as everywhere else) or comment section for evidence. We behave like children arguing on a playground, frat boys who never grew up, and people so attached to pieces of plastic and game companies that it blinds them completely.

A typical example of a typical fanboy, made
possible by the preeminent community for video game
news and discussion. The sad part is not this post,
but that posts like these are way too easy to find.

We need to grow up as an industry together, and Twitter tirades, message board arguments, and wishing death to systems and publishers you don't like even when they make millions of others really happy are getting in the way of doing just that.

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