Nintendo released a metric ton of Wii U details this morning, across every territory on the globe capable of receiving electronic transmissions, so we now have a whole bunch of Wii U information to digest. Some of these things genuinely surprised me, some not so much. What is not at all surprising to me is that I have no idea if I’d get Wii U at launch. I have long since learned that there are two things that I don’t rule out buying: Transformer alt figures and Nintendo consoles at launch. Too many times I have gone on at length about my unwillingness to buy either, only to be proven wrong by my craven need for material goods.
I’m feeling list-y today, so here, in no certain order, are ten things we know about the Wii U, and by extension, Nintendo, that we didn’t know this morning:
Number 1: Nintendo Likes North America Best
Ok, that’s hyperbole but, Nintendo is releasing the Wii U in North America first, and if that doesn’t mean that they like us best, I don’t know what does. The launch date is November 18th for North America, November 30 for Europe and December 8 in Japan. You can rest assured that the North American release date is picked for one thing, and one thing only: Black Friday. It will be interesting to see how supplies work out, given that the console launches five days before Black Friday. If you don’t preorder one at launch, will fighting off hordes of Walmart shoppers be your only recourse? I don’t know if the general public will latch on to this like they did the original Wii, but given the extended return timelines during the holidays, you can always bring it back in January if you pick one up in November and then change your mind.
Number 2: Nintendo Has Heard of HDMI
Not only will the Wii U support the highest of high resolutions, 1080p, but every Wii U will come with an HDMI cable in the box. In the box! Honestly, I wasn’t sure that Nintendo knew that they don’t make tube TVs any more, so this is a big surprise for me. The PS3 used to come with an HDMI cable and the 360 never had one in the box, at least not to my knowledge, so this makes the Wii U super, extra special. Hopefully this also means that unwary consumers won’t be talked into buying some bullshit, overpriced Monster cable, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.
Number 3: Nintendo Has No Idea What a Window Is
I don’t know about you, but in my house, windows are opened for hours at a time, maybe days depending on where the window is in the house and how the weather changes. In Nintendo parlance, a window, as in “launch window” is open for over three months. That’s not a window, that’s a hole. I’m sorry, but if you’re looking to replicate the Wii’s success, you’re going to have to deal with consumers that don’t know that a game can be made available at the end of February, three whole months after their new console came out, and still be considered a “launch” game. You tell people that they can buy Black Ops 2 on the Wii U at launch, it better be in the goddamned store at launch. Now, that’s not a great example because it will be out on November 30th, but you get the idea.
Number 4: Nintendo Thinks Two SKUs Are Better Than One
Personally, I think that$299 is too high for the Wii U. Yeah, it has “better” graphics than the Wii and it has the fancy gamepad thing, but consumers may not see that as adding enough to the system to justify it being a) more expensive than the Wii was when it launched, b) more expensive than an Xbox 360 with Kinect and c) more expensive than a PS3. Sure, those consoles are getting an upgrade soon, but Ma and Pa Kettle don’t know that. Add to the fact that in order to get a pack-in game, Nintendoland, you have to pay an extra $50 and you’re going to have consumers wonder why it doesn’t come with a game like the Wii did. I’ve seen Nintendoland and I don’t think it explains the point of the Wii U as well as the Wii did, but that’s just me. Sure you get more memory and various stands and cradles, which will appear to be “free” when factoring in the cost of Nintendoland, but I still don’t think that’s a great value proposition.
Number 5: Nintendo Really, Really Liked Bayonetta
Ok, this was the biggest surprise of them all, Bayonetta 2 coming to the Wii U as an exclusive and not only as an exclusive but a Nintendo published exclusive. Huh? I completely understand that Nintendo is looking to present the Wii U as a competitor for current gen consoles and next gen and having something like Bayonetta 2 certainly does that, but come on, Bayonetta? Not every game has to appeal to every person, but I can’t wait to see the Best Buy dude explain to Timmy that, under all of that hair, she’s totally naked.
Number 6: Nintendo Wants People Yapping At You While You Try and Watch The Mentalist
I don’t know why these new fangled electronic devices assume that I want people bending my ear while I watch TV but I can assure you, I do not. Hell, half of the stuff that I watch, I’m embarrassed to admit to mixed company. I don’t have enough disparate tastes in my house to have personalized TV choices for all of them. Here’s the TV, if you don’t like what’s on, go read a book. I certainly don’t want people knowing what I’m watching as I’m watching it and if you bother me while I’m watching Justified, I will hogtie you and Dickie Bennett your ass like you was born and raised in the Holler.
Number 7: Launch Lineups Are Constitutionally Obligated to Be Boring
I mean, come on, looking at this launch lineup, is there anything remotely exciting? A new Mario game, a new Wii Fit, Nintendoland, a bunch of EA games, some throwaway casual bullshit titles, another Rabbids game from Ubisoft and then a whole bunch of games that either will have been recently released for other consoles, or have been out for months. I know that Nintendo is banking on this lineup appealing to people who never moved on from the Wii U but I think there are few fewer of those people out there than Nintendo believes.
Number 8: Nintendo Has Realized that the Internet Isn’t Going Anywhere
Based on all of the social bells and whistles built into this thing, it’s clear that Nintendo is starting to come around to the joy that is the Internet. This is further evidenced by the fact that the more expensive bundle comes with some sort of points redemption thingy that rewards points for purchasing digital games, points that can then be redeemed to purchase more digital games. It’s not at all unlike the current Club Nintendo offerings, but being able to do it directly on the console will make it easier and hopefully expose more people to Nintendo’s downloadable offerings, of which there are many. No word on whether or not Nintendo will make playing games with real life people easier, but if they don’t, 3rd party developers will fill the void, as they have with the Wii, the DS and the 3DS.
Number 9: Nintendo Loves Breaking Bad
Well, Reggies does. Smart man, that Reggie is.
Number 10: Nintendo Is Making an Effort With Third Party Publishers
I ragged on the launch lineup, because I’m coming at this as someone who plays a lot of games and wants to see new things at launch, but honestly, this is one of the strongest third party launch lineups for a Nintendo console I’ve seen in recent memory. Darksiders II, CoD: Black Ops 2, Mass Effect 3, Bayonetta, Batman: Arkham City, 007 Legends, Epic Mickey 2, Trine 2, Monster Hunter 3 plus others we don’t know about yet. Nintendo is clearly trying to escape the stigma of being a 1st party console only and this is a good way to start. The fact that the games that have been released previously all come with content released as DLC helps too. Granted, I won’t play any of these games over again, but those nine people who haven’t played Mass Effect 3 yet are in for a treat!
As I said before, I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. I don’t know how much Wii U interest there is around here and as I’m no longer being paid to write anywhere, it’s not like I can treat this as a business decision. Nintendo will have to do a lot between now and launch to convince me to buy one on November 18th and not have it be a Christmas gift, but anything is possible. I have wavered in the past and will do so again, probably many, many times.