Will U buy Wii U?

I’m not sure if that whole “full-disclosure” thing applies to me or not, but I must admit that I’m a bit of a Nintendo fanboy. Plain and simple. I’m probably going to be getting the Wii U when it comes out. I mean, seriously, who can resist swinging the sword around a few times in “Zelda” or totally pwning your friends in “Super Smash Bros.” every once in awhile?
Moving past that, I can still see that Nintendo is in a very vulnerable position right now with the release of their next-gen console. I went to Nintendo’s E3 press conference this year, and what I saw wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring. Immediately after the presentation I booked it over to the Nintendo booth on the show floor and played almost all of the demos available (yes, even Wii Fit U with the ridiculously fit staff members there yelling at you to “squat lower!”).
Some of what I saw on the floor, namely “Takamaru’s Ninja Castle,” “Animal Crossing: Sweet Day,” and “Luigi’s Ghost Mansion,” were quite fun to play and are the mini games that are going to help sell “Nintendo Land” and the console.

The accuracy of my ninja stars using the Wii U GamePad was ridiculous, and the flat out fun that resulted from pitting several players against one single opponent were concepts that aren’t seen or just not well executed on other consoles.

Other demos like “Pikmin 3” and “Just Dance” were either too similar to their predecessor or were just not as good as their Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 alternatives.

Also absent from the floor were games for players who like to, well, play video games using a standard controller. Even with a couple of exceptions (“Assassin’s Creed III,” “Mass Effect 3”) there is not enough software availability to prevent anyone other than the casual gamer from jumping ship to Microsoft or Sony.

Gamers who aren’t fans of Nintendo’s overly-saturated, colorful games are not going to suddenly flock back because of the announced Wii U Pro Controller. But does Nintendo want to appeal to this type of gamer right now?

It’s like a theme park without the sweating and lines.

From someone who loves seeing products evolve instead of simply upgrade, I applaud Nintendo for the advances that they’ve made with their hardware and some of their software. The Wii U platform has given developers a memo that says, “Go forth and develop!

Many of the feelings of inadequacy felt by visitors of the Nintendo conference are due to the fact that the games that are going to excite them and reinvigorate their trust in Nintendo have not even been shown yet. Instead of encouraging manufactures to simply put the latest GPU in their console to crank up the polygon count, we need to encourage developers to take a step back and develop a game that is an evolution from existing gaming methods instead of an incremental upgrade. Nintendo is making the radical move of trying to change gaming, and that takes a lot of guts.

Another big point of contention is the company’s forthcoming attempt at a dedicated online service, Nintendo Connection. No one has been able to match Microsoft in terms of online playing experiences, and the Wii wasn’t even in the same universe when it came to online play.

At their E3 conference, Nintendo talked about all the communication that Nintendo Connection was bringing to the plate: video chat, message boards, etc. All of the things they talked about sound good in theory but I doubt how easily they are going to allow players to connect (Friend Codes, I’m talking about YOU!).

By being first out of the gate with Wii U, Nintendo has both a lot of power and vulnerability. Play their cards right, and Nintendo dictates early on what the playing field looks like when Sony and Microsoft release their next-gen consoles.

Releasing with a competitive price point, selection of 1st and 3rd party games and a Nintendo Connection that can compete with the likes of Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network are all crucial to a harmonious release that would put Sony and Microsoft back on their toes. Play their cards poorly, and competitors already have a favorable playing field when they release.