Opinion: Why people shouldn’t worry about the Wii U – Part 2
It was a breath of fresh air to have Microsoft’s Xbox One take some of the negative pressure off the Wii U. To this day, I strongly believe that all of this Nintendo Wii U hate is not fully justified. Yes, the Wii U sales are anything but good, but this is a different generation with a different story to be written. Who can claim what will work or not work with a system that is only 8 months old? There was doubt Microsoft could enter the video game race or the idea that motion controls would even work, but they both succeeded. It is too early to judge what this generation will hold. There are still a lot of factors yet to play out that no one can truly predict the outcome. Before I go on, I would like to point you back to Part 1 of “Why people shouldn’t worry about the Wii U”
Welcome back! Do you agree? no? Well, let me go a little further. If you are the type of person who loves all those crazy numbers, wrap your brain around this. Back in the day, 66% of surveyed 360 owners stated they were interested in purchasing a Wii to go along with their 360. Later reports had estimates of the Wii/360 attachment rate at around 40%. If this number stayed true throughout the life of the 360, around 35 Million 360 owners purchased a Wii.
Here is something for those of you who dislike numbers or feel these numbers are pulled out of the air, which I will be honest; these are not 100% solid numbers. Ask yourself this simple question: how could there be such a high attach rate? If you are a gamer, it is safe to say you enjoy playing video games. No matter what shape or form the video game comes in, you enjoy it. As long as a game is fun and provides enjoyment, you play it.
During E3 2013, some of the staff were invited to attend the Microsoft E3 press conference. While sitting through the Microsoft presser, I started having the feeling of exhaustion. It wasn’t necessarily the pace they were announcing games, it was more what they were announcing. Game after game was a shooter, fighter, or intense, action-packed slaughter. This bombardment of killing took a toll on my mind. This is the advantage Nintendo now has with the Wii U. It offers a different variation of genres/experiences for gamers. Games link Mario, Donkey Kong and Pikmin are all extremely enjoyable without shooting and blowing everything up. There are as many different types of games as there are types of humans. Now that games like Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy 15,* and rumored Gears of War are losing their console exclusivity, the reasoning for owning both an Xbox and a Playstation is shrinking. This is why the Wii U, and Nintendo, will always have a place in the gaming world. The industry is shrinking itself to give gamers less options. If it’s intentional or not is another question and another debate.
Now let us go back to these numbers. We can universally agree that probably around 40% of PS3/360 owners bought the Wii system. Let us say that attachment rate transfers over to this generation, because again, the Wii U provides a different experience. Both PS4 and Xbox One sales should easily combine for 100 million. If we take 40% of that, we can expect around a 40 million attachment rate for the Wii U. This 40 million doesn’t account for the Nintendo fan that purchased the system out of love for Nintendo or the casual player purchasing it because it’s Nintendo. If these other aspects only add up to, let’s say, what the GameCube sold, these two numbers would add up to about 65 million units. If we look at the numbers that way, the Wii U sales would be right up there with the other systems.
Now I know this is all hyperbole, but the idea of gamers wanting a wide range of gaming experiences still stands true.
With the Wii, Nintendo made it clear they were choosing not to go processor to processor with the other two systems, but instead offer a different opportunity to enjoy games. This strategy banks on gamers’ willingness to purchase a second system for the pure fact it offers a different gaming experience for them to enjoy. In the business world, when it comes to dealing with competition, there are really only two options: take on the competition head to head, or offer customers another reason to choose your product. Nintendo has taken the latter approach, which leaves Sony and Microsoft to fight it out for pretty much the same crowd.
This passive approach worked for the Wii and as of right now we shouldn’t expect it to fail the Wii U. But the only way for this approach to work is by getting gamers excited for what the Wii U can offer, and the only way to do this is with great marketing and most importantly, games. Referencing back to the article linked above, the launch of an HD Zelda, Metroid, and Mario games is going to be very hard for any gamer to ignore. Until these titles launch, we cannot know how successful the Wii U will become.
With this, there could be the perception that “Why should we have to own two systems to play all the games?” The answer to that is very simple; because that is how the industry has set itself up. Microsoft and Sony decided to keep their course and Nintendo decided to stay their course that they have been doing for over 20 years. There honestly isn’t anything wrong with either of these courses. It is what it is until something changes it.
Playing video games is a hobby, not a necessity. Neither of the companies owe us anything nor should we be demanding anything from them. They create games and we buy them. Would it be nice to have one system to rule them all? To be honest, yes it would, I may be out of a job, but it would make things a whole lot easier and cheaper. Until the big three decide to do this or they fail and something different takes ahold, we are stuck with this good dilemma of having to purchase two or more systems.
The title of the document while writing this piece is very much inappropriate for Pure Nintendo. Basically, to put it in a G rating, it tells everyone to calm down and take a step back from all the Wii U hysteria. At the core, Nintendo is who they have been for the past 25 years. They are a video game production company (both hardware and software) that also creates some of the biggest games we all have grown to love. I will not speak for the whole Pure Nintendo staff, but I personally will be buying, probably, an Xbox One to get my taste of games like Halo. Hobbies take time and money, but we love them. It shouldn’t matter what system you support. If you are a true gamer, all you care about is playing great video games.
*As of this posting reports have surfaced that Final Fantasy XV will not be coming to the Xbox One.