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Thursday, June 6, 2013

(Games) 2013 E3 Pre - assessment - Nintendo

Nintendo's performance this year has been worrisome to say the least.

The Wii sold like crazy as it was cheap compared to the PS3 and the Xbox 360, had a unique casual oriented controller so that anyone could easily pick up and play a game, it was the right idea at the right time.
It flew off shelves and became the "It" Item, where people who didn't really play games or need a console were told about it and suddenly had to own it. Places like nursing homes bought it so that they could have Wii parties, and the Wii Fit sold a ton as a great way to lose weight and have fun. It wasn't a HD console and as the console lifespan continued, it's game looked less and less attractive. Third party games didn't sell near as well as Nintendo's own titles, and they stopped making games for it. The people I know that bought a Wii barely played it compared to their other consoles, and broke it out for parties mostly. The casual gamers that bought it, barely played more than a few titles the entire time they owned it, literally buying it for Mario Cart, Wii Sports,Wii fit, and older downloadable SNES and NES titles. Some of the Wii owners I talked to thought the Wii-u was just the controller, and not a new console. The marketing early on really made it seem it was the controller, and not a completely new console. Most of the casual Wii owners I knew didn't show any interest in it. When i explained that it is a whole new and better unit, these casual gamers told me they were happy with their Wii and didn't plan on buying one.

Last year at E3, Nintendo announced it's new console the Wii-u. I had hopped to be wowed by the console, I was thinking about buying one right up to the E3 reveal, and then was no longer interested. It wasn't much better than what we already had in the Xbox and PS3, it was more expensive than both, and didn't have the titles I expected. I had hoped for a Super Mario 64 style game, and it didn't happen. None of the shown titles really excited me, I was disappointed. The crowd at the end of the 2012 Nintendo conference was much more laid back and reserved compared to usual Nintendo console reveals. I remember watching the crowd at the end as they viewed the Nintendoland fireworks and noticing they were quiet, I think they were all going "This is it?"

It amazes me that a year has past and I still feel that way. The Wii-u sold well at first, and then sales have been a trickle ever since. It's been outsold by the Xbox 360 almost every month, and even the Wii has outsold it at times. Nintendo really needs to up it's game at this years E3, or else the console is dead in the water. MS and Sony are showcasing their new consoles with all these abilities and power, and the Wii-u is really underpowered compared to them. The only way Nintendo can save the Wii-u is to bring the franchises that Nintendo fans love,. but will it be enough to save the console?

Things already look bad when Nintendo announced that they wouldn't be having a conference this year. Instead, they are going to do a Nintendo direct, have games playable at best buys across the country, and
show some on the floor. They evidently feel that they cannot compare this year to the glitz and power of what MS and Sony are going to do, and are doing their own thing. I think this will be fine for Nintendo fans, but might be a negative when it comes to the main news media. I hope Nintendo knows what it's doing.

I figure we will see a new Zelda game (Windwalker remake?), a new 3D Mario game, a new Mario cart, a Wii Sports like title, and maybe a new smash brothers. The only title that could get me to buy a Wii-u now is a direct sequel to Super Mario 64 and a price drop. The Wii-u started at $350 and the 32GB deluxe edition is selling for $358.99 on Amazon right now as I write this. If the PS4 and Xbox One is around $399 as I expect, then I bet they drop the price to $250, otherwise the console isn't going to sell. This could be a tough year for Nintendo, Third party publishers aren't really supporting it heavily as their initial titles didn't sell that well.
Ubisoft is really the main holdout and Square Enix is releasing an updated version of Deus EX:Human revolution. As I bought that title on Steam with DLC for $7.50 and it's free on PS Plus this month, It's hard to say whether that title will sell at newer prices on a new system. I hope it does, its a fantastic game!

In closing I'll just say that this E3 Nintendo has much to prove and show to get interest in their system again.
Nintendo needs to wow and gather excitement, I hope they manage to do so.

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