Wii-u-doomedIt’s deja vu for Nintendo… A year and a half ago, their newest handheld portable device, the 3DS, was experiencing terrible sales, and Nintendo cut the price by 40% in less than six months after release. It was unheard of to slash prices so early in a release cycle. Now, it looks like they may have to go through it again, this time for the Wii U, even though in a recent investors meeting Nintendo president Satoru Iwata reassured them that they would not reduce the price as the newest system is already being sold at a loss.

There was a lot of hype for Nintendo’s new console, as it has a very versatile and responsive tablet controller (a first for consoles) and for the first time in Nintendo’s history 1080p HD quality graphics. So why are Nintendo sales now being associated with words like “abysmal”, “catastrophic lows”, “disaster” and even some are starting to call the system a “flop”? In only its second full month of availability, the Wii U sold a paltry 57,000 units in the U.S. (while the Xbox 360 sold 280,000).

Well, critics like Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter are saying various factors: “First, we think that the console was misunderstood by many as a peripheral for the Wii; second, the price point for the Wii U is relatively high, and the launch was into a weak economy; and third, first party software support was thin, and third-party software was not sufficiently differentiated to convince many that they needed a Wii U as a replacement for their Xbox 360 or PS3.”

Others are saying various reasons: Nintendo’s shoddy marketing of the system pre-launch (basically none); the rise of mobile gaming in Asia; the fact that it doesn’t really outshine existing competitors in any way; as with the company’s previous two consoles, the GameCube and Wii, the waning 3rd party support for the console.

IS THERE ANY HOPE?

Nintendo acknowledged last month that the launch of the Wii U were disappointing and confessed that it had failed to communicate its value to the end-users worldwide. They claim that they will ensure that there are more games for the platform on the market soon.

This is a critical stage. In order for the system to succeed, the only choices for Nintendo is 1. rush more games out from their 1st/2nd party development studios as there’s definitely no help from 3rd party developers on the horizon, or 2. the eventual price cut (I’m gonna say September 2013).

As a video games fan, I feel sorry for Nintendo, a company that stands for innovation and creativity. Competition is healthy for the industry, and gamers like us will benefit if Nintendo does succeed. I really hope that they turn things around.

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nintendo-historyDid you grow up playing Nintendo games? NES, SNES, Gameboy, Nintendo 64, Gamecube… Nostalgic memories of my childhood and now my children get to experience what I did, as I’ve kept all my old systems for them to enjoy (did you? do they still work?). This video posted by retrogameaddict1 is really well made! If you’re a Nintendo fan, you’ll enjoy this creation by a computer graphics designer about Nintendo’s history of the consoles and handhelds.  You can see the creator Anthony Veloso is a Nintendo fan like me. By the way, try your hand at guessing all the games between 1:54 and 2:00.

Wii_ps3_xbox_360With the recent release of Nintendo’s next generation Wii U system, it’s interesting to see how we all got here, and how Microsoft and Sony were just a handshake away from thwarting Nintendo all the way back in 2001!

I’m a video game fan, who enjoys all games, whether it’s on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo, PC or iOS games. So, reading this interesting article by computerandvideogames.com surprised me when I found out the Wii boom could have never happened! And if the Wii craze had never happened, then maybe Nintendo would have went the way of Sega, and not even be here today!

So the story (worth reading all three pages) goes that an inventor named Tom Quinn got a worldwide patent on gyrometer-based motion control technology (the heart of the Wii remotes). And in 2001, he decided to pitch his idea to Microsoft, who rudely turned him down:

The attitude I got from them was that if they wanted to do motion control, they would do it themselves and make a better job of it. I mean, they were just rude. In fact, the meeting went so terribly that one of the executives came over to me afterwards and apologised on behalf of others…

Wii-remoteNext he went to Sony and pitched again. Ken Kutaragi (the father of the Playstation), also turned him down, after inquiring Quinn if his tech can be produced for 50 cents per unit. He told him obviously no.

So finally, Quinn went to Nintendo, and for a moment, he thought that he was going to be shut out again. But after a heated debate, Nintendo jumped in, and the rest is history.

Two missed opportunities that would have effectively blocked Nintendo from making the Wii, which later in 2006 would start an unprecedented global craze!

Those idiots must be shaking their heads…

— Wanna read another article that I wrote about another pivotal moment in computer history? Read about the man who started Apple Inc with Steve Jobs, then sells his 10% shares for $800 (Would now be worth $22 billion!)

Nintendo’s 6th generation console system, the Wii U was released today, November 18, 2012. Although the jury’s still out on the Wii U, early reviews have been positive! The system’s tablet controller is going to be the main feature that every kid and mom will be drawn to. You will be very lucky to find any supply anytime soon, unless you preordered.

Here is a list of first impressions by the early adopters that waited in line or preordered:

  • The GamePad feels awesome! It’s light, ergonomic, comfortable, and not as heavy as an iPad.
  • Gamers are already enjoying the added map and inventory views you get on the GamePad in single-player games. It frees up TV screen real estate, and no more need to pause to bring up your secondary screen, cuz it’s right there.
  • The charge cord for the GamePad and Pro Controller are 8-feet long (and you can play while you charge it (battery charge is 3-5 hours).
  • The HD graphics in Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros U are simply beautiful (this is Nintendo’s first HD-capable console in the company’s history).
  • Gamers were able to play certain games on the GamePad even after they turned their TV off, or when someone wanted to watch some TV – games such as Madden NFL 13, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and New Super Mario Bros. U. And since the GamePad is wireless and has a range of 26 feet, depending on your walls, you can keep playing in your bedroom, washroom, etc.
  • With a system update, the Wii U is backward compatible with the Wii (but not Gamecube games). You can also transfer Wii data to the Wii U.
  • The GamePad’s resolution is not HD (so not better than iPad), but the graphics still holds its own. And this pad has controller sticks (so better than iPad!)
  • There is no built-in system-wide achievement or aggregate scoring system.

A nice editorial of why it was made, and Nintendo’s philosophy on the Wii U:

The Wii U is the right console for this moment in history. Regardless of its future, the Wii U feels like a machine of the moment… The Wii U is for a new way we live. It’s for the era of four people going to dinner, theoretically being together, but all also being off in their own worlds via the cell phones that they keep checking… Look at New Super Mario Bros. U: four people are looking at the TV, running across a sidescrolling landscape using Wii Remotes held sideways. They are jumping on platforms and crushing enemies. They are four people at a dinner party talking about the same thing. The fifth player is on the GamePad. They control no characters. They press no buttons. They just watch the same game world scroll by and tap the screen to create blocks that catch any TV players who are falling and that make staircases for any of those TV players who need a leg up. The GamePad player is at the same dinner party, but they’re not really listening. They’re on their cell phone. This is our world right now. The Wii U is a perfect video game console realization of that. Its timeliness is exciting.

– Stephen Totilo, Kotaku.com

So, this is why the Wii U will sell millions? Oooh… Ahhh…

Comparing Wii U Pro Controller vs Xbox 360 / PS3 controllers

Credit for first impressions: kotaku.com

Only a month away from the exciting release of Nintendo’s next gaming console. Los Angeles Times writer, Todd Martens has some interesting views of the new Wii U when he tried it out at the recent Wii U press event at the W Hotel in Hollywood on Oct. 16, 2012.

You can tell from reading the article that the main draw of the new Nintendo system will be the tablet game controller and that many families will buy this system because of the currently trending popularity of tablets that the iPad originally had started.

For the casual crowd who want to know what else the Wii U can do other than gaming:

…It was the system’s TVii feature that looked to be one of its more promising aspects. If done right, the TVii  can become a one-stop shop for all  TV viewing needs. On-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are placed side-by-side with network schedules, allowing users at once to see all that is available for viewing or purchase… For sports fans, the TVii looks to be rather addictive, with previews showing the GamePad as being able to provide in-game statistics, digitally simulcast games and host all sorts of other goodies for those with short-attention spans.

An example of an interesting use of the tablet on the Wii U:

The GamePad goes a long way toward providing [an] immersive experience. Flip on its flashlight and do a 360 on your couch and the GamePad screen allows you to see more of the environment than what’s on the TV screen. Intriguing also is the social aspect — friends who are completing their own missions on their own consoles can leave in-game messages for you to find, a la “Dark Souls.”

Maybe Sony and Microsoft will soon jump the bandwagon:

When playing with a friend locally, the GamePad is a vital tool –  clunky split-screens become a thing of the past; I found I’d much rather view the action on the GamePad than the large flat-screen TV in front of me. Maybe that says a lot about the strength of the GamePad’s slick 6.2″ LCD touch screen, or perhaps it’s a simple acknowledgement that smart phones and tablets are transitioning the living room of the future into a place populated with multiple, more intimate screens.

Will you be buying the Wii U at launch? Are you the wait-and-see type? As for me, I’ve long been a Nintendo fan since the NES days, so I’ve already pre-ordered the black bundle! How ’bout you?

Read the entire LA Times review here.

To hear more about the TVii feature, view the Wii TVii trailer below or click here:

To see how the tablet gamepad is used within the New Super Mario Bros U game, jump to 0:34 sec (or click here):

So, you learned your lesson from past launches of console releases and remember that you don’t wanna be left out of the water cooler chat after Xmas. Everyone will be talking about the Wii U and how fun it is (it has happened to me when the original Wii came out, and I hated it). Well, get your butt moving, because the black Wii U is sold out almost everywhere (at time of this posting). However! As of Oct-04-2012, you still have three chances left: Toys R Us and Wal-mart have not yet started taking preorders (watch my blog), and The Source (Canada, no in-store pickup) is still accepting preorders (for now).

The question is: should you fork over the extra $50 for the Deluxe Bundle at $349? The answer is an absolute OMG yes! The Basic set doesn’t even include a game! The deluxe set comes with the game Nintendo Land, hard drive space increases from 8GB to 32GB, a Deluxe digital points system (a Rewards system to use for later purchases), and accessory stands (as well as everything in the base set including the tablet controller). Remember, you can use your old Wii remotes to play on the Wii U (so you save money there).

So, how is this Nintendo Land game? Game critics and hardcore gamers usually dismiss Nintendo games as too casual or one-dimensional, especially mini-games collections. However, watch this newly posted eye-opening game review by GameInformer below (or click here), they explain how the game is originally deceiving in its gameplay depth and yet extremely addicting. Below that video is the E3 gameplay presentation of Nintendo Land that GameInformer was referring to in their review (or click here).

How quickly did the first set of Deluxe bundles sell out? Just three to four days at Gamestop, EB Games, Bestbuy and Futureshop. I expect the same for the others that will sell preorders. I highly recommend to take the safe route and NOT to go to the store to buy after the release date, November 18th, unless you enjoy waiting in huge lines for hours or enjoy being disappointed with sold out signs. You will not see supply until after January 2013.

REMEMBER, you snooze you lose!

I can just see it… Soccer moms hearing about the new Wii U thinking, “What a steal for $300 for a Nintendo iPad!” They rush over to the store, hoping to surprise the kids with the best Xmas present of 2012, then leave disappointed when they learn they’re all sold out and no supply till next year (or they settle for the basic and not realize they could have saved some money with the Deluxe).

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Also, this is historic for Canadians: This is the first video game console launch where both the US and Canadian prices ARE EXACTLY THE SAME!!! I’m really shocked! Go Canadian Loonie Go!!

Holy smokes! 51 launch titles?!! I’ve seen the game demos of Nintendo’s launch titles for the next-gen Wii U video game console, and I am anxiously awaiting how Nintendo (and its 3rd party developers) will be using the iPad-like controller in creating fun and addicting games that will be hitting the console in the coming year. Looking at Nintendo’s track record, you already know several things: guaranteed family fun games based on Nintendo’s characters, innovative use of the features of the new system, Nintendo satisfying the HUGE appetite of the loyal fan base eagerly awaiting the next iteration of Super Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, et al. Here’s one video game fan eagerly awaiting for Sunday November 18.

Nintendo of America’s President Reggie Fils-Aime sat down with NY Times just two days ago and talked about where Nintendo is heading with the new Wii U.

What we recognize is we own that most desired space in the home, and it’s the big screen TV in the living room. We own that because of the games that we offer that are targeted toward multiple players in the household sitting down and having fun together. By owning that big screen TV we can branch out to other services like Nintendo TV and continue to really solidify our footprint.

– Reggie Fils-Aime, President, Nintendo of America

Read the entire interview here:

Curious how the Wii U’s unique tablet controller works and how it will be innovatively used in games? Check out  Nintendo Land trailer to see it in action, as well as ZombiU trailer, and Rayman Legends further below: