No gaming console has ever been “about” it’s controller as much as Nintendo’s Wii U. Games like New Super Mario Bros. U and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 can be played right on the GamePad’s screen, leaving the family television free for other purposes. For that matter, the GamePad can be used to control that television, browse the web, watch movies and more. The GamePad is everything that makes the Wii U special – we said as much in our review of the system.
For Peter Molyneux, famed founder of Bullfrog Productions, Lionhead Studios and 22 Cans, Wii U is not quite special enough. According to Molyneux, Nintendo’s new console, with its tablet-influenced controller, fails to measure up to the “amazing technology” of iPad and Kindle Fire.
Speaking about the Wii U and its first-week sales of 400,000+ units, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime noted that his company’s competitors - namely, Sony and Microsoft – would need to “react to what we’re doing” with their next consoles. Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Molyneux makes a similar argument, but he takes a broader view of the competition.
In Molyneux’s opinion, Wii U isn’t competing solely against other game consoles, but against consumer electronics devices generally. As such, it’s incumbent on Nintendo – on all three console manufacturers, in fact – to react to developments across the consumer electronics landscape, and to deliver technology that can go toe to toe with high-end offerings from companies like Apple. In Molyneux’s opinion, Wii U falls short of that goal.
“…we really need these new pieces of hardware to be great in today’s world, because the competition is not just consoles anymore. The competition is everything, all the technology. When you’re holding a Kindle Fire or an iPad in your hand, it’s just amazing technology. It really is. It’s expensive, but it’s amazing technology. And people like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft need to match that. They need to match that in my mind, and exceed it. And I’m not sure the Wii U really did that.”
It’s not that Molyneux thinks Wii U is a failure – he doesn’t. Instead, he believes that Wii U is merely a “good” system in an industry where that may no longer be enough.
“I think the Wii U is good, but I don’t feel it’s great. I’ve played the experience, I’ve played Nintendo Land, I’ve played ZombiU, and they’re good. I find holding the device in my hand–looking up at the screen and looking down at the device–slightly confusing as a consumer. It’s good, but it’s not great.”
The difficulty with Molyneux’s critique is that it’s not clear what, in his mind, would have made Wii U “great.” Better graphics? A multi-touch screen? Better build quality or materials?
I agree that new game consoles should deliver “amazing technology,” but that phrase means something different to nearly every player. Nintendo invests in innovation – personally, I value that. If new reports are accurate, Microsoft will release its next-gen Xbox in 2013. Sony’s next console probably won’t be far behind. How will those systems measure up to Molyneux’s “amazing technology” benchmark?
What do you think, Ranters? Is Kindle Fire a better example of “amazing technology” than Wii U? Are game consoles really in competition with “everything”? Let us know in the comments below.
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Source: GamesIndustry International