The Wii U Wish List
Nintendo’s next-generation home console, the Wii U will be released this holiday, giving the Big N just a few more months to tease us with new information in regards to price, launch, and upcoming software. For all that we know about the Wii U there is just as much that we don’t. Speculation regarding the Nintendo Network, blockbuster first party titles, and major third party support from Western developers are still swirling. Here’s a wish list of things the Wii U will hopefully be able to do right out of the box:
1. Play Nintendo Land!
Throughout E3 week Nintendo of America’s COO Reggie Fils-Amie kept comparing Nintendo Land to Wii Sports. If you’re so hastily comparing the two, they need to be given the same treatment. NO ONE is going to pay $50-60 for a Nintendo branded mini-game title. Sales numbers for experiences like Wii Sports Resort, Wii Play Motion, and Wii Party dwindled as gamers grew wise of the shenanigans. The era of full priced minigame compilations has come and gone. Nintendo took full advantage of this trend and now they need to let it die.
2. Improved eShop & Virtual Console Support
One of the Wii’s major selling points, and most neglected features was the system’s ability to play games from every previous home console, making it the only console to be compatible with a companies entire gaming legacy. With the Wii’s VC having a lack of quality third party offerings, and Nintendo’s own lack of updates; especially as of late with dwindling disc-based releases. The Wii U’s virtual console needs to sport gamecube support, especially with the lack of hardware backwards compatibility, not to mention if the Wii U’s line-up of classic titles are parallel to the Wii’s then the service will again fall flat on it’s face. Nintendo is basically sellings an emulator and roms, and making 100% profit on them. Just a few titles a week would keep the retro gaming fans happy.
We already know that Nintendo is working on a way for Wii owners to transfer their game save files, other data, and previously purchased WiiWare and Virtual console titles over to the new Wii U console. This is a good thing! As long as it’s not a hassle, no one wants to send their Wii and recently purchased Wii U system to Nintendo for a system transfer, then consumers won’t have the new hardware, or purchase new software for it – effectively delaying the launch after launch. Make it easy, make it seamless – transfer kit’s are a pain, and pretty expensive since they are a one time use deal but it it means not having to wait 6-8 weeks to get my new console back. I’d rather throw $20 at Nintendo to transfer my data.
In terms of the Nintendo eShop for Wii U, the accessibility of demos will be crucial to consumers – especially those who felt “burnt out” by the Wii’s abundance of shovelware – For the core gamers fearful of seeing a plethora of Nintendo Land rip-offs and the likes demo’s for titles available on the day or around the release of titles will give players the opportunity to try games before they purchase them, make assessments of the titles they are interested in, and even help consumers discover games they may have never heard of before. Miiverse takes a step in the right direction with “trending” titles appearing on your console’s home screen, but the ability to look at information, gameplay videos, screenshots, or even demos from the central hub would be a big step in the right direction for greater exposure; ultimately leading to greater sales.
3. Interacting with others through Miiverse – No More Friend Codes!
During a recent Q&A with Global President Satoru Iwata during the week of E3 Iwatasan brought up a more simplified version of friend code integration in the Miiverse:
“We’re not completely getting rid of Friend Codes, but a function of the “Miiverse” will simplify the process of making friends with another user in the platform by eliminating the need to input Friend Codes.”
Not many details in terms of logistics or details of adding or interacting with other through their console have been released. The Nintendo Direct Pre-E3 presentation – while in concept – showed pretty seamless and easy use of connecting for video chat with other users, who presumably have been added to each others friends list. I’m guessing each system/account will have a friend code, and account names are linked to them allowing for ease of interaction. Hopefully friend codes are more of a behind the scenes feature that the console identifies with rather than the users. But make this feature available day one! No one wants to download a system update three months into the system’s lifecycle to be able to interact with their friends!
4. Full Backwards Compatibility with Existing Accessories
This one seems like a gimme but we’ve seen Nintendo do some wonky stuff before. At this time we know that wii remotes, nunchuck controllers, classic controllers, and balance boards will all be compatible with the Wii U system. What about third party accessories? Nintendo branded wii remote controllers still range between $40-50, and for games like New Super Mario Bros. Mii, and Kirby’s Return to Dreamland most folks didn’t want to drop an extra $150-$200 for extra controllers and nunchucks to have four-player experiences. In addition, since Nintendo didn’t release rechargeable batteries/packs for the wii remotes if you own one of these charging kits/docks it’s most likely made by Nyko or Energizer.
“There are 190 million Wii Remotes out in the marketplace around the world. As Reggie pointed out in our presentation at E3 yesterday, there are also quite a large number of Wii Balance Boards. We look at both of those as important assets that we would like to continue to leverage.”
With the large amount of existing accessories on the marketplace as mentioned above by Iwatasan it would be foolish not to fully support all of them in some degree. It would alienate customer’s who didn’t have the option, because of cost, to purchase all first party accessories and potentially detract from customer’s willingness to re-purchase accessories because of compatibility. However, Wii remotes, nunchucks, and classic controllers could all see price cuts when the Wii U launches canceling out possible this possible detractor.
5. Full Accessory Pack-Ins
“The only thing I can say clearly is that we will definitely package the Wii U system with one Wii U GamePad because without those two elements, you do not have a complete Wii U system. But beyond that, in terms of what will be going into the box, I will talk about that more in the future when we go into more detail on pricing and other information.”
Although only the console and one GamePad is confirmed as a pack in, Nintendo would be wise to include the following accessories with the Wii U Console:
- Sensor Bar
- Wii Remote
- AV/Component Cable
This offers consumer’s who have gone with the competition during the current console generation the ability to fully experience all of Nintendo’s first party software (I’m looking at you, Pikmin 3/NSMBU!). Another way to counter a higher priced full package is releasing two different SKUs for the system. One designed for previous Wii owners at a lower price point which only includes the console, connections, and a GamePad. Thus making those who have invested in the Wii brand feel rewarded by “saving money” on the next-gen hardware even though they’ve pre-paid for these accessories.
These are just a few things that could/should be packed with the Wii U and made available for launch. Anything we missed? What do you expect or want from the Wii U when you finally bring it home and set it up? Do you even want to pick one up? Let us know in the comments below. Stay cool my baby metroids!
All quotes are from the Q&A from the Investor’s Conference that Iwata had during the week of E3. The full write-up of the presentation (which is worth a read!) can be found here: