This week, upon browsing video-game blogs, I began to notice that in comment sections relating to WiiU news, comments along the lines of ‘Nintendo should drop the WiiU and develop a competitor to the Xbox1 and PS4’ were surprisingly prevelant, given that this was a thought that had not once occured to me. Some of these comments were undoubtedly the work of the internet trolls (akin to the Christmas fairies but far more numerous and toxic), but some were not. Some even seemed to come from people claiming to be Nintendo fans. This is surprising, as it is hard to see how anyone can think this is a good idea. Indeed, its hard to find much of an upside at all.
I find it hard to believe that Nintendo will go down this route. There are just too many downsides to that course of action. Most obviously, this move would be a huge slap in the face to people who had already invested in a WiiU and were perfectly happy with their machine. How would you feel if you had just forked out for a new console only to find out that it was being dropped because the company wasn’t happy with it? Now, I’m not claiming that Nintendo are above slapping their customers in the face (they aren’t; who else got a 3DS on release onlyfor the XL to be released shortly after?) but the alienation of customers that this would create is not something that Nintendo can afford right now.
Financially, dropping the WiiU would make little sense. There are many big, first party titles which are already in the late development stage. To drop the WiiU would force them to either halt or delay these games and re-develop them for a new console, which is time consuming and costly, or release them anyway. But who would buy them after the console had been officially dropped? Why not just wait for their iterations on the new super console that people are apparently asking for?
On that note, its all very well saying that Nintendo should develop a more powerful console to take on the new Microsoft and Sony releases, but we all know that its not that simple. Developing a console to a good standard from concept to release takes a huge amount of time and money,and by the time this could be completed the Xbox1 and PS4 would be hugely entrenched, so sales of the new console would not be guaranteed to be good or anywhere near the volume of sales that the current gen consoles will rack-up. A powerful machine is also not really that useful for the kind of games that Nintendo want to make. ‘I really want to see every bead of sweat on Mario’s face when he kills another Goomba’ said no-one ever. The reason that Nintendo haven’t ever gone for the most powerful system capabilities is because they don’t really want to. It isn’t their style and they don’t need it. Graphical capabilities are not the reason that people want to buy Nintendo products. Not to mention the huge undercut of confidence in Nintendo as a company if they decide to drop their console after only just over a year.
These calls to drop the WiiU make no sense and seem to be coming from a tiny minority of people. So why write this blog entry? Well, mostly just because I’m astonished that this argument is ever put forward at all. Lets hope this sets things straight, eh?