Many people would already consider the Wii U a failure based on the January NPD numbers. Doom and gloom is the order of the day, very similar to the way annalists chronicled the demise of the 3DS early on in its lifecycle. Clearly Nintendo benefited by launching the 3DS before the Sony Playstation Vita, judging by the latest sales data, but can the same be said for the Wii U?
What do you think? Did Nintendo do right by releasing the Wii U ahead of Microsoft and Sony?
Releasing a console first doesn’t necessarily mean success for any console manufacturer. One only needs to look to the Dreamcast for the evidence of that. The Wii U surely hasn’t gained as much traction as Nintendo has hoped in the few months that the console has been on the market. The lack of new, compelling games has certainly hurt the console in the short term, but does that mean that the console will be a failure in the long run? Not in the slightest. Why is that? Because Nintendo is Nintendo.
Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Pikmin, Metroid. All of these properties are games that will only be possible on Nintendo consoles. Nintendo banks on this, they understand that there are consumers who only buy Nintendo consoles to play Nintendo games. This has been the case since the beginning of time. I have a buddy that only has 6 games for his Wii. Wii Sports (which barely counts), Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Donkey Kong Country Returns. All Nintendo published titles, and all arguably some of the best games released this generation.
In this aspect, Nintendo could certainly survive solely off of their own independent properties if it was completely necessary. Sure third party titles such as Boom Blox and Carnival Games certainly help the bottom line, but if it comes down to it, Nintendo could survive on their own.
So should Nintendo have waited to release the Wii U until Sony and Microsoft revealed their plans for their own home consoles? Not necessarily. Sure they may have been able to better understand what the PS4 and Xbox 720 were able to produce spec-wise, but Nintendo hasn’t necessarily been concerned with that as of late. What is really important to Nintendo is that their consoles offer the best experience to play Nintendo games on, and in that aspect they have consistently succeeded.
If I only played Nintendo published games on the Wii U, I would be a happy camper. If the Wii U doesn’t sell quite as well as the next Microsoft or Sony box, I won’t lose much sleep. All that matters to me is that I get to play the next Zelda and Mario title on the console, and that they are as excellent as their predecessors were.