Some questions are hard to answer. Are we alone in the universe? Is God real? Will I ever get married? One question bothers me more then anything else, though: why is Nintendo constantly the industry joke and why is the negative news always so popular? For a company that saved the video game market after the crash in the mid-80’s, it has now become a destitute and laughable name when compared to the almighty Xbox and PlayStation brands. Why is this happening?
Nintendo fans have had to endure more scrutiny then any other brand following that I can recall. The industry hated the DS compared to the PSP, but what ended up being more successful? The DS. The Wii was allegedly a terrible system compared to the 360 and PS3, but what ended up selling more? The Wii. 3DS vs Vita? No contest. So now we come to the Wii U.
The Wii U is evidently the worst system ever in everyone’s mind. It’s not powerful enough, it’s weird, it’s not selling well enough, and it will be crushed by the technological giants that are Xbox One and PS4. Haven’t I heard this before? Doesn’t this happen with every Nintendo system, though? Of course it does, but this time, it’s evidently for real. Let’s take a look at some of the “news” that has been coming out lately about the Wii U.
1. The Wii U version of Call of Duty: Ghosts sucks.
There is a story going around that the Wii U version of Call of Duty: Ghosts is by far the worst. It has bad textures, the frame rate is choppy, it’s buggy, and it fails in comparison to all other versions. Alright, fair enough. Let’s take a look at a video showcasing a comparison of Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, and Wii U.
Look at that, the Wii U version is terrible compared to the far “superior” versions! Oh wait — what’s that? The Wii U version looks slightly better then PS3 and Xbox 360? Well, look at that. Having played the game on both Xbox 360 and Wii U on the same television, I can honestly say the Wii U version does look a little better. The PS4 has better lighting and shadows, but basically, the game looks the same.
Hey, guys, for $400, you can play Call of Duty on your PS4 and you can see more shadows! AWESOME, SIGN ME UP! By the way, if you want an efficient mini-map during online and free online play, you better pick up the Wii U version, because that is not offered on the PS4 and Xbox One. The Wii U GamePad is utilized smartly to make it useful and, after logging a good 20 hours online, I’ve had zero crashes and no frame rate issues.
Let’s say the study is correct, though, and the Wii U has severe frame rate issues.
“The situation is far less favourable where the Wii U is concerned, with an inconsistent level of performance reminiscent of Black Ops 2. Here we find that Call of Duty: Ghosts on Nintendo’s console fails to approach the smooth update that forms the basis of the series’ fast and responsive controls outside of smaller, less intensive scenes. During the regular hectic shootouts and larger set-piece battle scenes, we see the Wii U game offering up between 30-45fps, with consistency fluctuating between those metrics. While the much lower level of performance doesn’t kill the experience by any means, having the brief moments of 60fps gameplay regularly disrupted by variable and extended frame-rate drops completely changes the core feel of the experience, making it feel less like a Call of Duty game.
That said, there are also times when all three versions are reduced to a frame-rate hovering around the 30fps mark for an extended period of time. “
So to summarize, the Wii U version sometimes dips down to 30fps, which is damaging. In the next paragraph, it is stated that the PS3 and Xbox 360 version also dip down to 30fps. So all thee versions have frame rate issues, but for some reason, the Wii U version gets a huge paragraph that gives the impression that it’s not a cross platform-issue. Clearly, however, it is. So why single out the Wii U?
Call of Duty is only one game and one franchise, but the problem is that it’s so popular that it constantly outsells any other FPS game. When the main article on the Wii U version is a negative article that gets passed around, it causes a problem and causes low sales numbers. Articles like this “study” get retweeted, featured on tons of sites, and garnish mass attention because it shows which version is the worse. You have to dig hard to find the positive news on the Wii U version, which doesn’t seem right.
2. The Wii U is Dead in 2014
Here is another fun one. Industry “analyst,” Michael Patcher, has proclaimed the Wii U will sell 20 million systems and it is “toast.” Sam Mattera of the Motley Fool proclaims Nintendo will have to discontinue the Wii U in 2014 because they can’t “afford” to support a failing system. CNET decided to release a Top 5 Worst Holiday Tech Gifts with, guess what, coming in at Number 4? The Wii U! Donald Bell goes as far to say, “But trust me, there are only two game consoles anyone wants this year and the Wii U isn’t one of them. Sorry, guys.”
Let’s start out with Mr. Patcher. Who is he? No, really, who exactly is he? He is a video game “analyst” who pretty much says things without basing them on anything of substance and, most of the time, he’s wrong. All I have really gathered from Mr. Patcher is that he hates Nintendo and likes Microsoft. Alright, that’s fine; he likes what he likes and he dislikes what he dislikes. He, however, is also often quoted and deemed important, and no one really knows why. He could be right: the Wii U might be “toast” and only sell 20 million units — or it could go on to sell triple that. He will never really know for certain, so he should stop acting like he does.
Next up, we have Motley Fool’s Sam Mattera saying that Nintendo will discontinue the Wii U in 2014 because it can’t afford to support the system. Once again, some quality journalism going on here. The article states that the Xbox One will steal away “casual” gamers, and that Nintendo cannot sell things at a loss like Sony does.
First off, the idea of a casual gamer is one that plays games casually. They don’t spend a lot of money on games and they don’t really care about graphics or ratings; they want to just have fun. So where does dropping $500 on a brand-new system exactly “fit in” to the casual market?”
“Similar to the Wii, Kinect-based games use body movement instead of button-mashing, making them far easier to play.Certainly, for those who bought Wii Fit, the Xbox One should be enticing.”
Really? If anything, I would think the Xbox 360 with Kinect selling for a MSRP of $249.99 would be more enticing to casuals, because it doesn’t cost a month’s rent just to buy the system. Also, the Wii U has a free trial of Wii U Fit for those who enjoyed Wii Fit in the first place.
Second, and the most glaring issue, is the fact that Nintendo cannot afford to sell systems at a loss. Unlike the the “Fool” article, I’m going to use something called a “fact.” A fact is something based on proof, which the article seems to lack. Nintendo has a market cap of 14.4 billion dollars as of May 2013. Cash on hand? 11.6 billion dollars. Assets? 16 billion dollars . Man, Nintendo is a sinking ship, huh? These people seem to have short-term memory issues, because last time I checked the Wii, DS, and 3DS made Nintendo a ton of money, so is a slow market and sales of the Wii U really going to destroy the company? No, it’s not. Basic math will tell you that.
While the term “all press is good press” is a common thought, there has to be positive to go along with the negative to balance it out. The positive also has to be showcased as prominently as the negative, but it never seems to be. It seems to be more fun to bash the Wii U to get views on your site than to give an honest, quality assessment of what is actually happening.
Yes, the Wii U has a very slow start. However, when key franchises such as Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Brothers haven’t had a release on the system, is it really fair to claim the system as a failure? It takes one hot game to move a system. Everyone knows that. Will it happen? I hope so, not as a “Nintendo fanboy,” but as a fan of video games in general. Competition is what drives the industry to excel and Nintendo has always tried to innovate. It’s not fair to assume that the PS4 and Xbox One will dominate the Wii U when they haven’t even hit their stride in the market yet.
Maybe gamers won’t want to shell out big bucks this holiday season to play mostly ports of games already released. Maybe the Wii U will dominate sales with a lower price point, a new Mario game, and a solid first quarter of 2014 game line up. Maybe Sony or Microsoft will see their system fail in terms of sales and have doom articles written about them next year at this time. Maybe the status quo will continue and Nintendo will be “dying” a slow death. I can’t decide that, because I can only report on what is happening and what the facts are. The fact of the matter is that the Nintendo Wii U is not as dead as many sites would like for you to believe it is. So why does the negative Wii U news always become so popular? The world may never know.