This day and age, when a new console launches, we have come to expect certain things. These standards range from online features to system features and even games. Unfortunately, Nintendo may have missed the memo about these expected standards. There were many things that the Wii U should\’ve had at launch that were absent; and many of these things have still gone unimplemented, even six months after launch.
Although Nintendo has been good about releasing games on the same day digitally as they are released at retail, many features that we have come to expect on the 360, PS3, and even Steam are omitted from the Wii U: the lack of a unified account system shows off how archaic Nintendo\’s online system really is. For the last 7 years, if something happened to my PS3, I could simply acquire a new one and re-download the digital games I have purchased; this is not so with the Wii U. If my Wii U was stolen, broken, or somehow lost, I\’d lose all my digital purchases on my system.
It\’s no wonder that people are hesitant to buy digital on the Wii U, as there\’s no guarantee that the games will be there for you the next day.
Several other standard online features are missing from the Wii U as well. One such missing feature is cross game chat, which is noticeably absent from the Wii U. Although missing from the PS3, Sony has already pointed out that the PS4 will feature cross game chat, while Nintendo has not implemented this feature. I fail to understand how the Wii U, with a built in microphone in its gamepad, still doesn\’t have this feature. Hell, a vast majority of multiplatform games (Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Madden, Fifa) on Wii U that have voice chat on other consoles, don\’t support chatting on Wii U. This omission is quite disappointing. Some other online shortfalls include the incredibly long firmware updates and lack of a party system.
An achievement system has become a standard on Xbox Live, the Playstation Network, and Steam. Somehow, Nintendo hasn\’t realized how much the omission of a universal achievement system is really hurting them. First off, achievements provide a great way to not only brag to your friends about your individual completion for a game, but the overall amount of gaming that you do. Sure, you can sift through all the Miiverse posts to try to find out whether your friend has played a certain game, but a universal achievement system makes it so much easier. Achievements would also provide an incentive to purchase third-party games on the Wii U. Take Assassin\’s Creed 3, for example: I could have bought the game on the Wii U or PS3, yet I decided to purchase the title for PS3 for the sole reason that I would earn trophies on the PS3 version, but wouldn\’t earn anything on the Wii U version. Let\’s also not forget that every time a trophy pops up, the game you\’re playing becomes freely advertised. I cannot imagine why this feature is not yet available on the Wii U.
Interestingly enough, another feature that should\’ve been at the Wii U launch is the ability to play with more than one gamepad at a time. Originally announced at last year\’s E3, the ability to play with two gamepads hasn\’t been talked about since. With no clear release date in site for the patch, had Nintendo allowed the use of more than one gamepad at launch, family gaming would be much easier. There are already reports being released about broken gamepads needing to be repaired, or even fights between siblings in order to use the gamepad. All these problems could have been solved had Nintendo sold gamepads separately at launch, allowing for the use of more than one gamepad at a time.
Since the Wii U launched, Wii U owners have had 3 good exclusives: Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Lego City: Undercover, and Pikmin 3. Each of these games, along with The Wonderful 101 and Game & Wario, should\’ve been at launch. The fact is that in terms of exclusives, the Wii U had an awful launch. With more exclusives only coming three-to-six months after launch, the Wii U was like a joke with a flat punchline for most of its first holiday season on the market. Had these games all been at launch, the Wii U\’s release would\’ve been one of the best in history. Either the Wii U should have been delayed until the games were finished, or the last few hours of these games should have been cut, because the lack of games at launch was easily Nintendo\’s biggest blunder of the Wii U\’s launch.
Nintendo did manage to do some things successfully with the Wii U at launch: the eShop was actually a success, especially for indie developers, Miiverse was awesome, and sales were actually pretty good for the first three months the console was out. Ultimately, however, the Wii U was missing tons of features at launch that have become standard nowadays, and Nintendo has done nothing to fix these issues.