When the Wii U was first announced at E3 2011, an overwhelming amount of industry analysts and game journalists dismissed the new console as another example of Nintendo focusing on casual consumers over the hardcore fans that, arguably, kept the company afloat through the Game Cube era. Nintendo made sure to fire-off slide after slide of mature third party titles that would be coming to the Wii U (Assassin’s Creed 3, Batman: Arkham City, etc) as well as promised that the new console would feature an HD experience on-par with current competitor consoles.
However, despite all the grand-standing, many gamers and industry professionals remain skeptical about the system – as well as Nintendo’s interest in (sometimes gimmicky) innovation over polished modern gameplay experiences.
Speaking to Industry Gamers, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter is, as usual, offering up his Wii U predictions – this time commenting on whether or not gamers should believe Nintendo’s claims that the console will enjoy significant third-party support.
“Nintendo has to simply stop living in the past in 2012. They had a great deal of success since 1985 by making proprietary hardware and supporting it with proprietary software. They attracted third party support based upon the large installed base they generated for their hardware. They appear to me to be confident that ‘if they build it, third parties will support it’, but I don’t think that is the case for Wii U.”
“By trying to be ‘different’ with the tablet controller, they have complicated game design for developers, who can’t figure out if the Wii U will ultimately support only one or multiple controllers. Nintendo made the device sufficiently different that they are all but assured of limited third party launch support, which ultimately will lead to modest hardware sales.”
It’s easy to poke fun at Pachter, since he’s made a big name for himself in the industry by offering-up predictions that come across as common sense to gamers in the know. However, his comments on Wii U third-party support offer some solid insight into what made Nintendo a major player in the first place – as well as how the company’s shift in focus could be their undoing.
There’s no doubt that many gamers can recall visiting friends and seeing a Wii hooked into the TV – with only a few pieces of software available on the entertainment rack (probably Mario Kart Wii and Wii Sports). Will these same people pick-up a Wii U? Maybe, maybe not, but even if they do – unless Nintendo can truly get third party developers on board, it’s unlikely that casual consumers are going to support the system longterm. Not to mention, with the Xbox 720 and PS4 set to arrive in the next few years, it’s even less likely that hardcore gamers are going to purchase software on a less-powerful Nintendo system.
That said, the final Wii U tech specs are still somewhat in flux – so time will tell how much juice clever developer can pull out of the system over time as well as whether or not game designers choose to bother with the new tech when they can just as easily stick with traditional controller gameplay on the Sony and Microsoft systems.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.
Source: Industry Gamers