It’s been an anticipation quenching week this, with first Apple unveiling the much awaited iPhone 5, and then Nintendo today revealing the prices and release date of their upcoming successor to their famed Wii console, the Wii U.
Applauses of praise and cries of anguish may or may not have erupted behind the veils of the silent faces and comments of fans and on-lookers alike, but those affected most are the analysts who sat in their seats eager to predict the future outcomes for the companies based on their decisions, who now wonder in bewilderment about what exactly is going to happen. We’ll put Apple to the side for a bit now, as the iPhone 5 is a hotly debatable topic, and instead focus on what Nintendo is offering us in November.
The Wii U’s cost by itself falls just in the same price categories as that of the current-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft, and though that may be a factor of both concern and appraisal, it makes sense to not put it above its competitors in terms of pricing.
Coming in two models, the Wii U’s mainstream white model costs $300, offering 8GB of storage, and not featuring the infrared sensor bar nor including nunchuck controllers. The heavier model, termed as the Wii U Deluxe Set, will cost $350, will have 32GB of storage capacity, a sensor bar, have black components, and will also come with the new Nintendo Land game. Nintendo has not confirmed the finalized prices for Europe, though they have stated that they will vary from country to country.
Three hundred dollars for a sophisticated home entertainment console seems like a tempting idea, but firm isn’t completely stealing the show here. In fact, investors fear that hardcore gamers will be unmoved from this revelation, opting for the stream-lined gaming performance of a new PlayStation and Xbox instead, and the casual gamers will look towards tablet computers to fulfill their gaming and social entertainment needs.
Speaking of tablet computers, Nintendo will face heavy competition not only from Microsoft and Sony, but also Apple and the group of Android-carrying manufacturers. The iOS and Android systems have grown substantially strong in the gaming market in the recent few years; the ever-dynamic improvements to the Android system, and the robust and consistently reliable offerings of Apple’s iOS-based devices are making them highly trustable casual gaming devices.
This fact is particularly elevated by the revelation of the iPhone 5, which will feature new state-of-the-art electronic technology to offer a reliable gaming experience system right in the user’s palm.
However, some might feel that it’s unfair to be comparing a massive console such as the Wii U to mobile devices. Nintendo is targeting a different audience, hoping that its many Wii users will opt to shift to the new platform, and they have the attractive gaming controller technology to convince people.
The Nintendo touchscreen GamePad is the most cherished part of the console, with features that allow it to be used independently as a gaming platform itself, and also as the main controller of for the system. Additionally, it can act as a remote control for your TV, and also has the capability to display a title on its touchscreen when there is no access to the main screen.
Nintendo claims that this clever hybrid of a portable gaming platform and console can help revolutionize gaming experience. However, the gadget lacks multi-touch system, hence greatly limited its reliability as an independent-usage device. The more concerning factor though, is the hefty price tag that it bears. Though no US-based price was given, the controller has been given a figure of 13,400 yen in Japan, which is close to about $173.
This rather appalling price would mean that anyone looking to join up with a partner will have to pay round about $473 if they opted for the 8GB version and $523 if they wanted the premium stuff! Furthermore, most of the facilities the GamePad gives are already available in existing consoles; the PlayStation 3 can be controlled with the handheld platform Vita, while the Xbox 360 can be connected to tablet computers through the SmartGlass software.
Though the features of the GamePad were proudly disclosed by Nintendo a long time back, the technical specs of the console have been kept in the unseen dark. Though the November 2012 to March 2013 release window along with prices has been revealed, and technical specs have been detailed, the firm has been vague regarding the CPU and GPU strength of the console. There is no clarity regarding what kind of technology it boasts apart from the manufacturer, and whether the multi-core system is targeting next-generation gaming or is simply on par with that of the current-generation platforms. Most people seem to agree with the latter.
On the brighter side of things, gaming developers and publishers have started to show interest in the Wii U, and Nintendo states that by March next year there will be 50 different games available for the console. Renowned games on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are also being ported, though future multi-platform games like Assassin’s Creed 3 are still attempting an earlier launch on Sony and Microsoft’s consoles.
Nevertheless, the questionability of the success of the Wii U is still quite debatable. On one side, analysts sigh with a shake of the head, declaring that the price, though reasonable, is not enough to bring Nintendo up onto the rostrum. Nintendo needed to be in the Goldilocks zone to get this to work, and it was like threading a needle. Since March, the firm’s stock has fallen by 26%, and many believe that there was something additional needed than what the Wii U is currently offering.
On the other hand, there are those who are optimistic about Nintendo’s future, and believe that the Wii U and the strong launch window give an advantage. The GamePad, despite its demanding price, is an excellent entertainment tool for all age groups, and is a point of strength for the console.
So, the questions remains: will you be looking forward to the release of this family entertainment based system, or will you save the money and opt for the next PlayStation and Xbox consoles, believed to be released by the end of next year?
Have your say in this debatable launch of the Wii U by commenting below.