What I’m about to say might be deemed blasphemous, but hear me out: Nintendo should make moves to become a third party developer for other systems and abandon the console race. Why, why would I say something so craaazy?
Let’s face it, the Wii U just isn’t gathering the sales or accolades that Nintendo consoles are known for. It only sold 57,000 units in the U.S. within 2 months of launch, as compared to the 435,000 Wiis sold in the same amount of time. They had to cut back sale projections from 5.5 million to 4 million for the fiscal year; it only ended up selling 3.5 million. EA is dialing back support and Ubisoft announced at E3 they will not be creating anymore exclusives for the console unless sales increase.
While they are putting out major franchise games (Smash Bros. For example), is it enough to get people to buy? For some, yes. I’m not going to say I don’t know at least 3 people who have told me they will buy a Wii U just for that game alone and I believe them because I’ve known them to be big Nintendo fans. A couple are die hard and will follow Mario and friends to the end of the earth.
I was one of those people too, for years. So before you think I’m anti-Nintendo get this; every console I owned on my own was a Nintendo console. I say “on my own” because all systems prior to the N64 in our household were really my brother’s (Genesis, NES and Turbografx 16). When I was old enough to branch off and do my own gaming thing I had an N64, then GameCube, then Wii. I only bought my Xbox 360 about 4 years ago. And the PlayStation 4 will be my first official Sony console.
But I’ve seen the change over the years. The innovation of the Wii U just isn’t there. There’s nothing particularly outstanding about the console. Taking a look back at the Wii, it had poor releases in later years, with only stand outs coming from it’s popular franchises like Zelda and Donkey Kong. Ports to the Wii were, for the most part, abysmal. Other third party exclusives were just alright at best.
But if we take away the Nintendo console, what will happen to having an option for the younger set, casual gamer, families, you cry?! They’re options wouldn’t disappear if things were done right. You could still have your same genres, just reflected on other consoles. Turn existing consoles into true well rounded ones, giving options to all, not alienating gamer types (not that I think they are all that exclusive, but it’d be even less so).
Think about a suped up Zelda on PlayStation or a decent Metroid you can play smoothly with an Xbox controller (and forgetting Other M every happened). Think about not having to abandon your Nintendo favorites because the console doesn’t have enough to offer overall, to be worth the cost. Or on the other hand, not dishing out cash for a console because you want to play three games coming out in the next 3 years.
Sure, Sonic sort of died when Sega abandoned consoles but was that due to the change or due to a lack in development? Nintendo loves their franchises enough to make sure they don’t falter. And just because they’d be taken to other consoles doesn’t mean we’d all of a sudden have Zelda: Gears of War edition. They wouldn’t let the franchises change to harshly because they wouldn’t have to.
Now, truthfully the only way this would work is if others stepped in to the console race. I think people would be upset if they felt they only had two choices, if the industry was dwindling. PC is always an option, I game on a home built one so no hate there, but I’m looking strictly at consoles. Though with rumors of Google getting into consoles (though it may be another Ouya, way things are sounding) it could just open up the race to other, new companies.
But, they love their money enough to keep making consoles. And maybe eventually they’ll come out with something that wows us all. And maybe there is plenty enough left to go on to keep making consoles, for now. But I personally think if they don’t grab a foothold soon, it might be the way to go.
Maybe I just really want a console where I can get all the different kinds of gaming experiences I want in one place. Is that so much to ask?
Nintendo would be pretty nifty as just developers. As I said to a co-worker today, the world is ready for it, they just don’t know it yet.