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Avoiding a Repeat With Wii U

29th December 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

The importance of the Wii U fitting in with Nintendo's core values is something I touched on in yesterday's feature. Stemming from that discussion on the state of the Wii, I think it'll also interesting to see how the Wii U fares as the 3DS grows stronger next year. As we all know, Nintendo didn't set things up for the 3DS to have such a notable growth from the get-go. Despite being determined to "meet the needs of every consumer" from the moment the first handheld was sold, whether they actually met those needs is a very arguable point. On a larger scale, while this might have applied in retail sense without having a supply shortage to sustain demand, it became more and more clear that the 3DS' launch was lacking in more ways than one. It's been a learning experience for Nintendo, and as we've seen over the last few months, they've taken positive steps to rectify whatever problems they were having before. Do you think any of those lessons could be applied to the Wii U as well?

In considering how best to approach their new system, Nintendo would do well to reflect on the 3DS' operating system and the somewhat unfinished state it was in at launch. For the sake of the company, none of this "rushing to launch" business can exist with the Wii U where important looked-forward-to features are not made available out of the tin. Downloadable content, for one, was something I really desired, but we weren't given access to this until roughly two months later. With a promised overhaul with their online system, I certainly expect them to have that up and running right away. Anything less than that will leave Nintendo supporters feeling like they misplaced their confidence, as though Nintendo has lost sight of the bigger picture. 

On the subject of colour choices, I feel they made a mistake with the Wii in releasing additional models too late in the game. This was clearly something they realized with the 3DS as it's currently available in a mix of colours, and I trust that this will continue with the Wii U's models. This gets into my point further down about supporting early adopters, but failing that, people who hold off on purchasing a Wii U will luck out with better colour options while others feel stuck with a neutral colour. Originally they'll probably be content over it and just be happy to own a Wii U at all, but over time, I wouldn't blame gamers if they were suddenly less grateful for owning the original mode.

Normally this next point goes without saying, but given the mixed reaction to the 3DS' initial line-up of releases, I consequently deemed it important to bring it up. Simply put, Nintendo needs to exercise caution in choosing their launch titles for the Wii U. If anything, the situation that occurred in March should underscore the importance of being very selective in what they put out and ensuring that they offer a good range, even in the third-party games on offer. Who wants to bet that the 3DS would have sold more units had Super Mario 3D Land launched with the system?

The fact is, people want (maybe even need) to see those familiar characters, and considering the reach such properties as Kirby and Donkey Kong have, Nintendo needs to take advantage of these icons early on to ensure a strong showing out of the gate. The launch just didn't cut it for some who felt that the Nintendo flavour was underrepresented. When presented with no other comfortable alternative for first-party efforts, Nintendo was likely counting on people giving Steel Diver a try, but we all know how that went.

I realize they can't please everyone, but if you'll recall, negative press about the 3D's alleged impact on a person's vision deterred some from purchasing the system right away. Should any early adopters voice concerns about the Wii U, Nintendo would be wise to nip these comments in the bud before they develop further. Otherwise, they could have a situation on their hands where people start to lose in faith in the company's ability to provide for longing fans -- something Nintendo has been working to rectify this year with buzz words like "price drop". As respectable as it was to see Iwata take one for the team, as it were, with the significant price drop of the 3DS, capturing the right audience right away seems like a goal that Nintendo cannot afford to miss this time around.

More on that very subject, Nintendo has to make sure that those who purchase the system up front -- especially their loyal fans -- don't feel cheated half a year later with something like a major price drop. Worthwhile incentives are very important in this regard, and while some may argue that these are just proofs that Nintendo rip off early adopters with consolation prizes, Nintendo needs to bank on tangible benefits for the first batch of people who come to own a Wii U.

It's going to be very easy for Nintendo to view this new system as a "second chance" effort to prove that they do care and they do know what they're doing, which could be good and bad at the same time. But I think we're all hoping they will spend the time and make sure the Wii U acquires those endearing Nintendo qualities and that it gets put to market when the timing is right. Hopefully by looking at the pros and cons of the 3DS thus far, they'll be in a better position to apply what they've learned this generation towards the Wii U's potential.

Feature by KnucklesSonic8