With its launch on November 18th this year, the Wii U shot to the top of every Nintendo fan’s “must have” list… but what does Nintendo need to do to get the rest of us?
1) Convince Third Party Developers To Publish For Wii U — This seems like a no-brainer, especially with Ubisoft‘s strong support already, but it’s key to keeping “hardcore” gamers interested and something Nintendo has struggled with since the Super NES. They’ll go where the games go, and while the days of console exclusives (with the exception of a few titles, including Nintendo‘s own; more on that later) may be numbered, the more third party titles Nintendo can bring in to match the potential offerings of the next PlayStation and Xbox, the better.
2) Even More First Party Titles — Let’s face it, most people buy a Nintendo console for one thing: Nintendo-published games, whether it’s Mario, Zelda, or Metroid… and with the threat of a new Xbox hovering closely, Nintendo needs to get as many first party titles on the shelves as possible, and as quickly as possible. Pikmin 3 is coming next year, and New Super Mario Bros. U is already being praised by critics, but we need more. Give us a new Zelda game, a new Metroid game, and for the love of Luigi, a new StarFox game. These will be snapped up so fast, Nintendo won’t be able to keep track of all the profits.
3) Continue To Build And Improve The Nintendo Network — At launch, there were tons of problems with the Wii U‘s online service… Miiverse didn’t work, there was a 5GB firmware update, and many people couldn’t even get their Wii U to connect to their wireless router. Despite all this, Nintendo‘s online marketplace and gameplay offerings are solid. Now they need to get better — offer demos in the eShop, get developers to offer DLC for their titles instead of skipping the Wii U like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Mass Effect 3 did, and make it competitive with Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Gamers love to play online with friends; getting rid of the friend codes was a good start, but more can be done… perhaps with Club Nintendo.
4) No More “Shovelware” — The Wii had a stellar lineup of games… unfortunately, it was really hard to find some of them, because they were severely outnumbered by cheap, crappy, cash-in games and lazy ports. Make that “seal of quality” mean something again, Nintendo. Challenge developers to either bring their very best or not bother at all.
5) Keep Innovating– The Wii and DS presented gamers with things they didn’t even know they wanted: motion controls and dual-screen gaming. The Wii U seems to combine both, and the GamePad has already been a revelation to me as far as I never knew how much I wanted to be able to play console games without using my TV. Innovation is what has kept Nintendo around all these years, and kept them competitive against people with more impressive – and expensive – tech. As long as the Wii U does amazing things with its hardware, and NintendoLand is a good example of the possibilities, then they won’t have to worry about what will surely be much more powerful machines coming from Microsoft and Sony.
Nintendo will make money with the Wii U, obviously. But if they can even accomplish a couple of the things on this list, then their competitors will have another Wii-sized nightmare on their hands.