A stopgap between the horrendously outdated Wii and the next generation. That’s what the Wii U is and how it will prove to be successful.
It’s not the next generation nor is it meant to be. Nintendo needs to play catch up, as Sony and Microsoft deliberate over what is expected from their new consoles. The Wii did well to make it to 2011 producing memorable games. It was never going to make it until the end of 2012 within the confines of standard definition.
The days of a new piece of hardware signaling the end of one “generation” and the beginning of the next are long behind us. Nintendo developed the DS without replacing it with the DSi, Microsoft evolved the Xbox 360 with Kinect and Apple has become the master of revising its hardware on a yearly basis without ushering the beginning of a new era in technology.
Nintendo is simply following the current trend in hardware development. A new console doesn’t mean next generation, and it shouldn’t have to.
I won’t be surprised when Nintendo launches a new console in three years shortly after the PlayStation 4 (Orbis) and Xbox 720 heralded as the true beginning of the next generation.
The Wii U is to the Wii what the DSi was to the DS.
There’s a reason it has retained the Wii tag and a majority of games give the user the option to use the tablet or Wii Remote. The Wii U is to the Wii what the DSi was to the DS -- only, future games will be restricted to the new hardware due to the massive leap to HD.
Looking at it in that light, the Wii U won’t disappoint. It will be a console that caters to the more serious audience with a magnitude of multiplatform releases, and hopefully a few fantastic third party exclusives as well.
The tablet could be hit or miss, but that’s almost irrelevant. We will almost certainly be able to choose to play games with the bulky input or the more comfortable control pad inspired by the Xbox 360. The Wii Remote also looms as Nintendo’s preferred input device. The tablet is merely a means to make the Wii U look like more than a HD upgrade on par with the Xbox 360 and PS3, which is all it really is.
Talk is cheap, as is the term "next generation". Those words don't mean anything because we're not ready for it yet. The current technology will suffice for another year or two, but the Wii commendably ran out of steam after giving everything its petite SD casing had to offer. Nintendo had no choice but to act, but that doesn't mean it needs to rush into advancing technology beyond its means.
If you adopt the Wii U for what it is -- an updated HD version of the Wii with an eye towards the serious gamer -- you won’t be disappointed. It’s not the next generation, and it isn’t trying to be.
By Ben Salter - Bio