Nintendoom! (Early 2013 Edition)
by Mike D.
Whether it was back in the days of Sega being a vital rival, or to the days of Sega going bust in hardware, you’ve probably heard the sentiment expressed that Nintendo may, in effect, go Sega on us.
It’s not an uncommon point of view. If you don’t trust the above-linked analyst (and really, why would you when “gaming analysts” are akin to political pundits at this point?), teh interwebz has also deemed it fit to store the recent creative stylings of ex-G4 host Adam Sessler. The Sess channels the same sentiment, telling us Nintendo is in “dire circumstances” (skip to the 4:07 mark). Click there, and you’ll hear that Nintendo is in “a great deal of jeopardy.” Or, to be more precise on the future of the Wii U and Nintendo, in general:
It’s not gonna work out. It’s not gonna bear out. I know people wonder if they should just start making games for other consoles. I don’t think that’s a choice they’re going to have to make very soon – it’s gonna be made for ‘em.
Despite the company being financially solvent until the 2050s. Despite the fact that the 3DS is now profitable (and a new money printer for Kyoto), and despite the company returning to profitability overall recently. (Now that I think of it, maybe it’s actually a good thing that G4 is going metrosexual on us.)
But sparing you the fever-dream nonsense of the wish fulfillment division of the gaming media Illuminati doesn’t mean things are rosy. Saying that January was not kind to the Wii U would be the understatement of the year (unless this theory on speculators returning consoles en masse turns out to be true, making the overall picture a touch murkier). As Menashe brought to our attention (via GAF), this is the sort of thing that can cause a CEO to lose their job. You’re only as good as your most recent success (or failure), and despite Iwata-san bringing Nintendo to the top of the gaming mountaintop, his gainful employment (and perhaps the future of the entire lot in Kyoto) relies upon staying near the summit.
A lot is expected of the Wii U, and for good reason. Its potential is glaringly obvious (the DS, iOS and Android have shown the vibrancy of touch screen gaming), but outside of Zombi U (our 2012 GOTY), that potential has pretty well been left unfulfilled (with all due respect to Trine 2). While the 360 and PS3 continue to see quality software (and while the PS4 has shown its wares), the Wii U has been left with software delays, a sparse release schedule, bad press on underperforming sales and a Hatfield-McCoy feud with Electronic Arts.
You never know. This time could be different. We’re in a brave new world, with mass mobile gaming, console Android gaming en route, plus a new PlayStation and whatever Microsoft is cooking up. We’re enthusiasts here, not apologists (or shareholders), so the possibility exists that Nintendo is out of its gourd and in for a very rude wake-up call, indeed.
Of course, I still remember when PC gaming was dead, as premature a proclamation as saying Don Vito took his last trip to the fruit market. So I hope you will forgive a healthy dose of skepticism on these matters; we’ve heard them for a very long time, and covering them like a tabloid is not really our bag (thus a slight change in tone this week, and now your early, quarterly “Doom” report – all the gloom in one convenient location). Plus, the slate of incoming releases gives us a lot to be enthused about.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Lego City Undercover and Need For Speed: Most Wanted all hit next week. The Wii’s swan song, Pandora’s Tower, will soon follow. Pikmin 3, Bayonetta 2, The Wonderful 101 and Monolithsoft’s dazzling X are all in the pipeline, along with an HD remake of the eternally stunning Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker. There’s also this little gaming industry event called E3 waiting in June, where I’d wager Nintendo has…plans.
I know I’ve been nearly silent on the Wii U myself, because things have been so quiet. That’s all about to change, though. We haven’t even gotten a proper chance to rave on Bit.Trip Runner 2. We’ll have to remedy that…