Earlier this week Nintendo announced their plans to move into the mobile space, which prompted some questions as to whether or not they would remain in the business of making dedicated gaming hardware. Obviously, considering their legacy, the answer is yes.
Not only did Iwata confirm that Nintendo will be staying in the business of making consoles to no one’s surprise, but he also confirmed that development of new hardware is underway, which most people assume will be their next generation of home console.
It’s easy to imagine if that is the case that Nintendo is abandoning the Wii U. It’s no secret that the console hasn’t fared well with consumers, and so far has received very lukewarm reception, prompting a lot of criticism over the name of their latest console.
But it’s only been a few years since the Wii U launched worldwide, and hardware cycles typically last between five and ten years. To announce new hardware this early into the cycle must surely mean that Nintendo plans to abandon their ailing platform, right?
Well I certainly hope not. While there is a debate to be had over whether or not Nintendo needs to move on, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s only been three years. Sure, in the past companies have only spent a few years in between new machines (the sixth and seventh generations were merely four or five years apart), but it seems that now companies are focused on the long-term.
No longer do you buy a console, have it on shelves for a few years, and move onto the next thing. Sony supported the PlayStation 2 years after the PlayStation 3 shipped, and they’re now doing the same thing with the PlayStation 3 — it’s still going strong. Games are still being published on the Xbox 360 as well.
But Nintendo seems to have completely ceased support of the Wii, instead prompting people to upgrade to the Wii U. It’s a move that makes sense, considering every Wii U comes with backwards compatibility. But it doesn’t seem to be working, and that’s a problem.
Some people will argue that the Wii U should be put down. The hardware was already outdated when the machine launched. But that doesn’t mean that the console can’t still flourish. Nobody out there buys a Nintendo console because they want good graphics — and while they certainly are a plus — it’s not detrimental to the gameplay experience. publishers be damned.
As much as I hate to admit, I looked at the release schedule for the Wii U while I was writing this article, and you know what? There isn’t much in store for the Wii U this year except for Nintendo titles. That’s a big problem. Sure, it’s only March, and there’s bound to be more games on the way — but looking at the calendar on Nintendo’s website is disparaging. It may not be by choice, but it certainly feels like the Wii U might not have much longer.
But this is simply conjecture, we don’t know what Nintendo has in store for the Wii U and we don’t know enough about NX to know if it’s even a real console yet, much less when we’ll see it at retail. As a Wii U owner, I hope that Nintendo continues to support the Wii U well into the future, even if I do look forward to the potential of a new piece of hardware.
At the very least, we can rest easy for now knowing that Nintendo has a few games up their sleeves. Mario Party 10, Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Mario Maker and a new Zelda title will keep us busy for a while.Tweet