The Wii U has a dismal library of games to this point, but according to a report by the Japanese Times, it is about to get a little bit bigger in the near future, but not in the way that many gamers will be excited about. Attempting to recover from a couple of horrid years for the company in which they posted consecutive losses for the first time in company history, Nintendo has been scratching their head to push out the Wii U which has not sold well by any means. With the exception of giving gamers first party titles, the sell to third party developers has been difficult as many just don’t see where the profitability will come from in releasing a title. So Nintendo has a dilemma, how do you boost sales with no games that gamers are interested in? Enter the cell phone. While some will question the move, it is clear that Nintendo has embraced the casual market as pushing to get cell phone games on to the system so that people can play the same games from their home or on the go proves that the “hardcore” gaming sector is not in their immediate plans.
While we don’t know when the service will launch, we have to assume that the announcement will come at E3 and will be at least demoed on the floor for the company as they work to show off why the Wii U is still relevant in the console race for the next generation. Nintendo isn’t offering something that we haven’t seen from Microsoft with the Window’s integration to the Xbox 360 as many games are playable on either console or home computer, cell phone, or tablet, and on top of all of that offers achievements to be earned. So why is Nintendo, yet again, attempting something that has already been done?
This is for a couple of reasons, and actually isn’t a bad ploy to boost sales for the struggling system. First and foremost, is the tablet functionalities on the Wii U. Casual users will find the touch pad much more user friendly when playing these titles at home, versus a controller that, to many has too many buttons and functionalities. If you can see it, and mimic the actions that are to be done it make more sense to the demographic that Nintendo is attempting to re-invigorate. Secondly, it is for the simple fact that the Wii branding has been more recognizable with the casual market.
Many people chastised Nintendo for naming the Wii U, the Wii U, because it would only confuse people when wanting to make the jump making many feel as though it is an added attachment and not a full blown upgrade. Although, with this announcement the criticism may have been a bit premature. When people see the name Wii they automatically are taken back to the fun that was had on the first system that could be shared by the whole family, essentially they associated it with simplistic gaming for all.
For these very reasons Nintendo might be on to something. Some may say that this is no different than SmartGlass for the Xbox 360, but again the comparison is wrong. Casual gamers don’t care about all those extra functions, they simply want to play a game for a small duration of time and set it down. There is not want or desire for deep engrossing story, or seeing the achievement pop up across the bottom of the screen, instead they want a quick “time filler” or a simplistic relaxation tool.
As a gaming community it is easy for many to criticize a company that has been synonymous with video games since the platform sprung into the spotlight and received public acceptance as something more than child’s play. However, the shift has been coming since Nintendo realized that competing with the new kids on the block was not going to be a small task, and instead of joining them; they found a way around with the Wii. The Wii U is struggling, there is no doubt about that, so Nintendo has to think of something to build the sales and backing of the console without breaking the bank again with something crazy like a new console. So yet again Nintendo isn’t attempting to join the Xbox Fusion (720) and the PlayStation 4 in the next generation, because they have their own ideas of another way around them once again.