Friday, June 10, 2011

The Wii for the rest of us.. Wheeeee!

Unless you've been living under a rock, then you've probably heard about Nintendo's Wii U announcement during the second day of the E3 show. In case you have been in dire need of sunlight, here's the snip of the Wii U announcement video from Nintendo's press conference

The question of whether this would be the triumphant return for Nintendo to the hardcore gaming market segment was answered in parts by the independent testimonials from developers and publishers as well as the followup video montage showing current titles in development. The next generation Wii U certainly has the graphics chops to go head-to-head with the current HD heavyweights from Microsoft and Sony. But that by itself wouldn't be enough to set it apart from the competition.

In line with Nintendo's continued push to expand the gaming accessory envelope, they also debuted the much talked about new controller with built in display/touchscreen functionality. This new controller can be used in conjuction with your main display or in some usage cases, in place of the main display through wireless video streaming. It also offers new ways to interact with the Wii U in conjunction with the Wii-Mote - and we've all got a boatload of those. In particular, the new contoller brings DS-like dual screen funtionality for your large display.

As developers seem keen to support this new console, the inclusion of a BluRay player might be enough to allow the Wii U to displace the PS3 as the all purpose gaming and A/V console of choice for watching movies. Full third party support on the software side will negate much of the advantage that both Microsoft and Sony currently have over Nintendo for the hardcore gaming market.

The only nitpick I have with the new console is its name. Wii U seems to be even sillier than the initial Wii announcement from a few years back. If Nintendo wanted to convey inclusiveness for all gamers, especially the hardcore, why not call it the Wii-All? That would have automatically gotten most of the southern states in the US behind Nintendo 100%. Or for the more tech-saavy why not the Universal Wii, or U-Wii for short? This would also be popular with people who can't make up their mind what direction they're going. Alternatively, you could pronounce that "Ooohwee" as in WOW! Certainly, these names are much more catchy and display a bit of humor that would work great from a marketing standpoint.

Oh well, I guess you just can't win them all.

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