Why the Wii U will be the next generation’s top dog

wiiu

Last week, Josiah wrote an article claiming the PlayStation 4 will reign supreme come the end of the next generation. However, I’m here to explain why that won’t be true.

There’s no argument: the Wii has completely dominated this generation of consoles. Despite a lack in technical horsepower when compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3, the Wii has sold over 96 million units worldwide. The other two competitors have sold 67 million and 64 million, respectively. In fact, Nintendo’s little white box was so widespread that it was almost impossible to just conveniently pick on up in-store for almost two years. It was the piece of tech that everyone had to own.

That bit of information was relevant because its success was attributed to the effectiveness of word of mouth. Your family came over one evening, played Wii Sports for the first time and were instantly able to get a grasp of the game because of the simplicity of motion controls at the time. Gaming had never been more mainstream. Which brings us to our first point…

5. Backwards compatibility with software and hardware

All those games, Wii Remotes and other accessories you currently own will be compatible with the Wii U. And if rumors are to be trusted regarding the PS4 and its distinctively different programming architecture compared to the PS3, then the Wii U will have the upper hand. Nintendo has already confirmed that its new console will still utilize the Wiimote, Nunchuk and Balance Board, plus it still plays Wii games. One of Nintendo’s winning features from the current generation is the Wii’s vast library of games spanning multiple generations available to play at a moment’s notice. Even the PS3 and Xbox 360 have seen complications regarding backwards compatibility, resulting in a surge of HD remakes (which could be a good or a bad thing depending on where you sit).

4. Promising third-party support

There’s no denying that the Wii has some big low points since its launch. One of the more well-spoken downfalls was the plethora of cheap cash-ins publishers dumped onto the system in the hopes of foolin’ Mum and Dad into buying little Jimmy and Lilly some licensed games/mini-game collections. It was an epidemic that everyone was aware of, and one started way too early in the life-cycle of the system.

Things are looking up this time around, though. Ubisoft and EA (among others) have already confirmed a bunch of titles that will be making their way to the Wii U. In fact, many have been announced to release alongside the console, or at least during its launch window. ZombiU, Project P-100, Assassin’s Creed III, Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition, Darksiders II, Bioshock: Infinite and Rayman: Legends (which is now a Wii U exclusive) are just some of the third-party titles baking in the oven. Given the strong assurance by various developers that the Wii U is surprisingly easy to develop for, there’s no doubt that Nintendo fans will see some great experiences only available to them thanks to the myriad of control options.

3. Nintendo is listening again

Admit it – you were shocked and stumped like the rest of us to see that Nintendo was making a much more traditional gamepad available to “hardcore” gamers. The Pro Controller reveal came pretty much out of left field, and is just one of the many legitimate steps Nintendo has made towards enticing traditional gamers back to its products. It came as a surprise because die hard-Nintendo fans have felt as if they were being neglected. Apart from a handful of Nintendo-developed titles (which were mostly crafted with widespread accessibility in mind), gamers looked towards Sony, Microsoft and PCs for their hardcore gaming experiences. Thankfully, it looks like that will change.

Another improvement was ditching the sliders of the Wii U GamePad from last year and replacing them with clickable analogue sticks. Shooters, racers and platformers will all be far more accurate to play. Then there’s the emphasis on online distribution of video games the Big N has been making, with its first prolific effort of New Super Mario Bros. 2 seeing a simultaneous retail and downloadable release. This is just its first big step in embracing the online realm.

2. Nintendo’s taking the Internet more seriously this time around

Nintendo has always been known as a company that didn’t nosedive into being a part of the online trend. Friend codes, limited means of online communication, a lack of support for the Wii Shop Channel; the Xbox 360 and PS3 did well to surpass the Wii in the online space. However, Nintendo has taken the reins of this online thing and used it to its advantage. Twitter, Facebook and its own Nintendo Direct live broadcasts have all been avenues for Nintendo to talk directly to the fans and control what gets out. Even the 3DS has seen some strong support on its eShop, not to mention the Nintendo Video app that pushes content straight to the user’s 3DS via Spotpass – a service that automatically receives content from the Internet while the system is in sleep mode. Nintendo’s realized that it’s behind with integrated online services on consoles, and this time around, the company’s pulling out all the stops. Which brings me to my final point…

1. Miiverse

The epicenter of Wii U’s user interface, Miiverse is a gaming and social networking platform that blows every other available service out of the water. Right from the moment the system boots, gamers are connected to their friends to see everything they’re playing in conjunction to what games have been played on their own system. Taking advantage of usernames this time, connecting with friends is a much more substantial ordeal that can have real-time effects on the games being played. Players can leave notes for each other in their games to either give a heads up on a difficult boss fight, or seek assistance if they require a specific item. The Wii U is also capable of quickly initiating video chat thanks to the GamePad, or transmitting pictures to one another via it’s touch screen. The system shows a wealth of potential, and given that these features will be available right from launch, there’s no telling what Nintendo may have up its sleeve later on in the generation.

It’s all well and good for me to sit here and preach about the Wii U and how it could dominate the next generation, but what do you think? Will Nintendo rise to the glory of its earlier times, or will it be cast to the way-side thanks to the superior horsepower of the PS4 and Xbox 720? Sound off below, or continue the discussion in our forum.

Having been an avid gamer for twenty-two years now, I've come to appreciate all facets of gaming (music, culture, development, etc). I originally started out with a Sega Master System II, then moved onto a Nintendo 64 and the rest is history. Though my focus is all things Nintendo, I still love having a taste of everything. No one console is perfect, and that's the way I like it.