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Is Wii U Really the Next Generation?
Nintendo’s Wii U has been commonly referred to as the first of the next generation consoles, however, this moniker is up for much speculation in light of the current console market.
Seeing as how the aforementioned market, up until this point, has been able to accommodate three home consoles much like the previous generation’s Playstation 2, Gamecube and Xbox it is not a stretch to assume that this trend will continue in light of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft’s respective success in the past. With the Xbox 360 having been released first among current-generation consoles in 2005, it definitely met the criteria of a long-awaited media hub that console-maker Microsoft promised to consumers, however, the Xbox 360 and the subsequent release of the Playstation 3 proved to be nothing compared to the incredible success of the Nintendo Wii.
Nintendo’s console made me loathe the prospect of waving my hands around in an effort to gain any form of psychological benefit from engaging in what seemed to me the lowest form of interactivity. I mean, we have all played Duck Hunt, right? To me, that game encompassed all my fears for the future of gaming in its extremely juvenile, almost mundane form of interactivity. Yes, to all of you who now have a raised eyebrow at the incredulous opinions on the screen in front of you, I thought every game on the Wii would be comparable to Duck Hunt.
Fortunately, my fears and inner lamentations were put to rest upon the Wii’s release and my first opportunity to play with the device. I played Wii Sports and to my surprise it was actually enjoyable! Now, you may be thinking: “This guy must have had some sort of religious awakening to go through such a drastic change of opinion upon a first run-through”. However, you would be horribly wrong. Was I entertained? Yes. Was the game fun? Yes. Was I impressed with the Wii? No! No! No! No! No! No! And a resounding no!
The game that I was playing looked to be a polished Gamecube title in all its artistic simplicity and lack of innovation. The only redeeming factor about the title was simply the nuance of waving your hand around while throwing a punch rather than mashing on an over-sized A button. In addition, I found that the only form of physical exertion I felt was on my one arm and legs which were both subjected to my insistence to follow the “Wii experience” portrayed on ads which encouraged players to stand whilst acting like a complete fool. So, in a sense, all my fears were replaced by new feelings of disappointment. Despite how I felt about the white box, Nintendo still managed to sell an astounding 4 million units before the clock struck twelve and we entered the year 2007! Wii-syndrome, as I have come to call it, ran rampant. With everybody, AND THEIR GRANDMOTHER, going out of their way to purchase, play and talk about playing the white box which, in astounding contrast to its competitors, didn’t even have CD support! So, having said all this, you might be wondering how all of this pertains to the original statement at the top of this post.
To be frank, Nintendo has taken a drastically different approach to the console market ever since the release of the Gamecube – another box that was not as powerful as its competitors though on a drastically closer level of competition than its 2006 successor. Come to think of it, the Nintendo 64 was Nintendo’s last attempt to out-“power” its competitors with the Wii clinging to that philosophy like a flesh-eating fungus on an increasingly derelict corpse. The Wii, an astounding commercial success despite its lack of computing power, has managed to cling to the number one spot for the past 6 years of its life. An impressive feat on Nintendo’s part.
With the upcoming release of the Wii U, however, can Nintendo encourage everybody AND THEIR GRANDMOTHER to purchase another white box to add to their ever-increasing collection of Nintendo relics ranging from classic controllers to Wii-Fit Balance Boards? I think not.
With the Wii U having comparable graphical capabilities with those of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 do Sony and Microsoft have to respond with even more powerful consoles? It would be safe to assume that they will but it would only be a response to a company like Nintendo being in direct competition with their market having now achieved a level of power capable of rendering high-definition visuals.
So, much like the Wii, the Wii U will be severely underpowered in the next generation of consoles assuming, of course, that Nintendo’s console release warrants a response. So, in terms of being a “next” generation console, the Wii-U only qualifies because of its status of being a successor to the Wii. For when Microsoft and Sony decide to announce their appropriately named Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 successors, Nintendo’s Wii U will bite the dust.