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It’s All Over but the Heavy Discounts

May 21st, 2013 - 8:10 am

On the heels of EA’s announcement that it has zero, zilch, nada in development for the Wii U, the UK’s Matt Martin writes:

The Wii U has been defeated by the most humbling of challengers – consumer apathy. When the inevitable “Nintendo halts Wii U production” stories hit, the majority of those that bought the original Wii won’t even notice. The mainstream bought the Wii because it was a fun novelty, they didn’t buy it for a new Zelda game. What’s the Wii U’s novelty? That it does everything a current-gen console does but a little bit slower and with a Fisher Price tablet attached?

Retailers have given up on the Wii U. It’s not discounted at the supermarkets because they want to sell more, it’s been cut in price so they can get rid of it quickly. Software drives hardware sales. But there are no credible software sales because there are no games being released. Retail is desperate to sell anything, that’s why GAME is now selling sci-fi and fantasy books and HMV has cans of Coke and sweets at the till – anything to squeeze a penny out. They aren’t going to sit around and make space for a handful of Wii U games near the end of the year. They’ll be pushing the Wii U to one side to make more space for the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and hopefully the PS4 and next Xbox.

One reason Windows Phones have fared so poorly is that consumers want iPhones, and retailers are paid handsomely by Samsung to push Samsung phones. That leaves Microsoft without consumer mind-presence, and without retail allies. Try it sometime: Go into a Verizon store and tell the salesman you want a smartphone, but you’re not sure which one. Odds are he won’t let you anywhere near a Windows Phone. Samsung’s spiffs are just too good.

If Nintendo finds itself in a similar fix, then it’s game over, man — game over.

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"The mainstream bought the Wii because it was a fun novelty, they didn’t buy it for a new Zelda game. "

I'm not at all sure he's right about that - Nintendo's *properties* are huge, huge, huge.

(And contra Shawn... so? Everyone already has a BR or DVD player, and the future is *streaming*, as far as anyone can tell.

"Oh, it only has USB2..." so? What the hell does any console need USB3 for? [No, seriously - what's the use case?]

RAM? My i7-3770 has the same DDR3-1600 that the Wii U does. Calling it "older" is baffling, since it's the highest *non-overclock* speed any Intel CPU supports - and seriously, who cares? It's *more* than fast enough for even power-gaming purposes.

And 1gig/1gig is ... four times as much ram as a PS3.

The Wii U might well be underpowered [and may well be failing!], but those complaints suggest a complete misunderstanding of the target market and the needs of non-"pro" gamers.

If, as seems increasingly likely, the Wii U is a flop, it's not "because it didn't have USB3 and BluRay" or "not enough RAM!" - it'll be because developers decided all the money is in mobile, and that it's not worth porting Call Of Dishonored to it.

And if that happens I'll buy one cheap to play Zelda and Mario on.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The game streaming future is a generation or two away in the console world. High capacity media is still required, which is why Microsoft just announced it was going into the XBox One. Since Nintendo made their own high capacity media at an untold expense, why not just throw in BR instead?

USB3 has transfer rates about 10x higher and would charge controllers faster. Which is why PS4 and Xbox One are including it. It's also dirt cheap and the standard on any new PC build over the last several years.

DDR3 is old. I've run it for 4 years. And even 4 years ago, I ran 4GB of it. Your i7 is likely paired with at least 8GB. DDR3 is dirt cheap, especially since DDR4 is right around the corner. MS is using 8GB. PS4 is using 8GB GDDR5.

The PS3 ran 256MBx2 of DDR2-based RAM and it has almost double the bandwidth of the Wii U's 512MBx4 DDR3. A 7-year-old system has nearly double the memory bandwidth. Do you really think that a system with half of the performance of a PS3 is more than enough to port a next generation game? Absolutely not.

The Wii U is not marketed to Wii owners. Wii owners are largely casual gamers who enjoyed a niche product. Problem is: They still enjoy it. Zumba and Just Dance are more than enough for them. They don't care about specs or hardware. Or that the internal storage is less than my cell phone. The market for this system is actual gamers. And aside from the huge lack of quality games at launch (Repeating PS3's mistake), the system is an underwhelming pile of junk that would be best suited for 2007 or 2008.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Wii U reminds me of a tablet or cell phone when I read the specs. SD card slots to expand on the 8GB (!) internal memory. 2GB of older DDR3 RAM - 1GB used by the OS. Watered down CPU and GPU. It's not capable of BR or DVD playback. Old USB to miniUSB 2.0 ports.

Really, it sounds like a computer I would have built in 2005 for $400. Except the computer had more storage and at least played my optical discs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

And after the heavy discounts comes the open-source vultures. XBMC for Wii U, anyone?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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