Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you know about how the Wii changed how people played gaming. When it was unveiled, there were strong pulls toward dual opinions: the Wii would flop because Nintendo’s consoles had done progressively worse with each new generation or Nintendo’s position as a market disruptor would allow them to introduce motion controls into console gaming permanently. The former couldn’t have been more wrong, but the latter is still up for debate. The Wii didn’t have the gusto to do motion controls particularly well (aside from tossing a few bowling balls down the lanes) without a few extra peripherals. But things are different this cycle.
In part because of the Wii’s flagging sales over the past few years, spun on a dime from years of persistent sellout status, and also in part to the 3DS’s slow debut, Nintendo is bringing out the Wii U as quickly as possible. And while our impressions of their offerings were mixed, it’s obvious that their trip to the console generation well isn’t going to be quite as disruptive as the Wii was. For one, their tablet-style controller is going to extremely limit movement, despite a very accurate gyroscope inside it. Unless publishers are willing to invest a huge amount of effort in creating drastically different games than what they currently offer on the Xbox 36o and PlayStation 3, much ‘movement’ is going to be restricted to swinging your arms around a couch, even for secondary players without the tablet controller. Even with Wii Fit compatibility, it seems that Microsoft, oddly enough, may be the ones winning over the fitness-friendly crowd with a rumored high-definition Kinect due to be released for their rumored console next year.
But if Nintendo created this “scene”, wouldn’t it serve them best to play to their strengths, rather than try to emulate the more standardized games of their competitors? Or will the Wii U escape being a port box from current-generation consoles?