The Wii U is still failing to keep our attention after having three years to get up to speed. Is it too late for the console to make a comeback?
The age of the Wii U has been a roller coaster of emotions for Nintendo console fans like myself. The console is only coming up on its third birthday, but many enthusiasts in the video game industry suspect that the machine is rapidly approaching the end of its life cycle. In an age when Sony and Microsoft are predicting ten year life spans for the PS4 and Xbox One, it's hard not to feel like early adopters of the Wii U may not end up getting their money's worth out of the console.
There's no denying that the original Wii was a hard act to follow. The family-friendly console sold like gangbusters thanks to a unique lineup of games and gimmicks that appealed to casual gamers, hardcore Nintendo fans, and everyone's moms. The Wii U's launch lineup didn't have quite the same mass appeal, and after three years, even the most hardcore Nintendo fans are starting to get frustrated with the wait for exciting exclusive IPs.
Don't get me wrong – I was a day one owner of the Wii U, and I've definitely loved my share of its games. In the last year, Splatoon, Smash Bros., and Mario Kart all turned out to be great hits. Unfortunately, Wii U owners are left with very few options to fill the time between these blockbuster games. With Zelda still a mystery and Star Fox delayed until 2016, Wii U owners are left with very few options this holiday shopping season.
When we look at the numbers, Sony and Microsoft aren't actually releasing that many more high-quality exclusive titles, but both the PS4 and Xbox One offer plenty of other sources of entertainment in the downtime. Both consoles have been building up solid selections of indie and arcade titles, like Geometry Wars and Rocket League, to give gamers cheap and easy reasons to use the machines. Each console's online service also offers free games every month to give users an extra bit of motivation to log in once every few weeks and keep their subscriptions active. Aside from rotating events in Splatoon and the great Mario Kart DLC, the Wii U doesn't really beckon players back until another great game is released (sometimes half a year later).
I want to love the Wii U. I'm a fan of the GamePad, I dig of all the IPs, and I've been incredibly patient with the console's slow rollout of highly requested games. All of that said, the console still gathers dust in my entertainment center. While I use my Xbox daily to control my cable, and I check my PS4 messages on my phone, the Wii U hasn't managed to make itself a part of my daily life. I'd like to say I've learned my lesson, but honestly, I just hope the NX brings a lot more to the table. Because let's not kid ourselves, we're all going to buy that one too... Or at least I am.