The Wii U comes out in a little over a month and a lot of people are still either unsure about it or frustrated with Nintendo, as they have been ever since the system was announced. I personally think it’s mainly due to Nintendo’s PR channels, namely the way they handle things with Nintendo Direct.
Sure a lot of people will probably always be mad at Nintendo for one reason or another, and they’ve always been a tight-lipped company, but you have to admit that they are really moving at their own speed these days. What they’re giving us is basically a drip-feed of information at whatever pace they set. On one end it shows that they’re starting to get this whole “online” thing, but they still aren’t using that knowledge in ways a lot of people would like.
Just this week Nintendo made a bundle of announcements regarding the 3DS that almost instantly made it one of my main platforms to play this fall. We’re talking multiple game announcements for 2012 that include a sequel to the secret best 3DS eShop game, and even some English localization projects we thought would never happen.
Looking back and looking at this, on one end it shows that the 3DS eShop might really come into its own this fall. On the other end, we still don’t know enough about Nintendo’s plans for the future in regards to online.
The Wii U’s OS and online functionality were the main things left out of September’s main Nintendo Direct. They’ve talked a lot about MiiVerse but we still haven’t really seen it in action, and we still know nothing about how you’ll play online games, how the account system will work, or even what the Wii U eShop will look like. I imagine we’ll get that information at a major October ND, but that’s still cutting it a little close to launch.
Reggie has even claimed that MiiVerse will be a killer app for the Wii U, and I actually think it should be depending on how Nintendo plays things. Live has been a killer app for the Xbox, and some people are even possibly hinging their Wii U purchases on whether or not Nintendo intends to keep friend codes on the system. With that in mind, I think Nintendo should be assuring customers on that front as promptly as possible and not dragging things out.
I know Nintendo will probably never do PR the way Sony or Microsoft do, but it’ll probably feel like a whirlwind when those two actually announce their next gen consoles. Microsoft unveiled the Xbox 360 in March of 2005 and launched it in November that year. I imagine they’ll do something similar with the next Xbox in 2013. Nintendo on the other hand has slowly dragged out the Wii U over the course of two E3s, making its launch campaign feel comparatively lukewarm – it just doesn’t have the same hype.