Anirudh RegidiOct 10, 2016 13:10:09 IST
It’s been four years since we saw a new console from Nintendo and ten years since we saw something worthwhile (since the Wii); fans are getting restless.
Nintendo’s USP has always been the “Nintendo experience.” It’s a gaming experience that’s uniquely Nintendo, akin to the iOS vs Android debate, but on a different scale.
If you really think about it, Nintendo’s always been less of a hardware company and more of a software one. Unlike Microsoft and Sony, both of which are invested in the creation and maintenance of a gaming platform, Nintendo has been about games as Nintendo expects them to be played.
As such, Nintendo’s consoles and related hardware are built with Nintendo’s needs in mind. Third parties only get in on the action if they’re willing to adapt to those needs. In hindsight, the Wii U was clearly a mistake because Nintendo opted for the latter.
The Wii was built in 2006 and even at that time, it lagged behind both the Xbox 360 and PS3 in terms of horsepower. That never stopped the Wii from stomping all over the Xbox 360 and PS3 though. At first anyway.
The Wii saw booming sales between 2007 and 2009, all thanks to its Wii Remote and a stellar lineup of games that took full advantage of the new control scheme. Did it matter that third-party developers didn’t know what to do with it? Of course not.
If you’ll look at the list of top 10 best-selling video games of all time, you’ll see that Nintendo hogs six of those spots and three of those are courtesy of the Wii.
The Wii U came at an odd time for Nintendo. It grew complacent with the success of the Wii and despite the fact that sales were waning, expected a one-year head start over Microsoft and Sony coupled with third-party developer interest in the Wii U’s traditional control scheme see another winner.
Sadly, this was not to be. Nintendo pandered to third-party developers and left its fan-base in the lurch. Apart from a second screen, the Wii U offered nothing unique. Microsoft and Sony had already implemented their own version of gesture-based interaction and had tremendous developer support after all.
Yes, you could play Assassin's Creed on the Wii U, but why bother when the game looked and played better on other platforms.
The Wii U did, eventually, get a whole slew of incredible titles from Nintendo, but by the time they came, it was too late for the console.
Nintendo’s strength has always been first party titles. With their upcoming console, that’s all Nintendo needs to focus on. It doesn’t need to pander to other developers and it doesn’t need a beefy new console. The “Nintendo Experience” is all that matters.
Thankfully, it appears that Nintendo may have actually learned from that mistake. Rumours surrounding the company’s upcoming console, the NX, suggest that Nintendo is actually opting for something different this time around.
We’ve already heard rumours that the new console will use game cartridges rather than DVDs or streaming, which is the norm these days. We’ve also heard that the console will be priced at $299 (around Rs 20,000). Other rumours also suggest that there will be four launch titles, with Mario playing a prominent role and that "Interact with your game on the go" is a prominent tag line.
When is it coming? Maybe in February. We can’t say for sure.
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