Nintendo pleased many of their long-time detractors with the Wii. After being chastised by the supposedly "mature" gamer for years concerning their alleged catering to a younger crowd (i.e. not giving Princess Peach a huge pair of mammaries with their own physics), the Wii saw them live up to their reputation and produce titles specifically marketed towards kids and the casual gamer.
This gave the anti-Nintendo masses the opportunity to really stick the knife in and twist, even more so than when someone noticed that the GameCube looked a bit like a handbag. Nintendo's "selling out" to the casual market for financial gain was the cancer that was killing the industry, apparently, and the Wii was the first harbinger of the video game apocalypse. The real gamers were going to continue to play war games on their Xbox 360's, whilst those sissy Nintendo fans waggled their Wiimotes at the TV like a bunch of girls.
Now we are two months away from the release of the Wii U, and the same gamers who revelled in the original Wii's descent into shovelware and sub-par mini-game collections are already predicting the same fate for its successor. While Nintendo hasn't done themselves many favours by panhandling their promotion of the console in two consecutive E3's, those who have done some further research know the potential of the hardware and the GamePad's touchscreen. But what about those who haven't done the research? Well, they mock it, of course.
Further Reading: 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Excited For the Wii U
There's no greater whipping boy in the industry than Nintendo. Despite them laying the foundations of the industry that we know and love today, ever since the GameCube failed to capture the attention of consumers they have found themselves playing third fiddle to Microsoft and Sony. Even when they broke records with the Wii and surpassed the sales of both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, they were perceived as the lesser of the three. It was Sony vs Microsoft, and Nintendo were left to hold the towels and the spit bucket.
As their consoles share many similarities, PlayStation and Xbox fanboys have always been left to argue over the small things. "We've got Uncharted and God of War!," say the Sony camp. "We've got Gears of War and Halo!" say the Microsoft camp, "our online service is free!" say the Sony camp, "our online service isn't shit!," say the Microsoft camp. But whereas PlayStation 3 owners and Xbox 360 owners were secretly jealous of many of the competing console's features, there was one thing they could both agree on: they weren't jealous of Wii owners.
However, that's all set to change with the Wii U. Nintendo have gone HD. They've got Bayonetta 2. They've got arguably the best-looking console version of Black Ops II. They've got the best launch line-up in video game history. They're directly competing with the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well as catering to their younger audience. Yes, the GamePad controller has touchscreen, but unlike the Wiimote it feels like more of a natural progression than a gimmick. Nintendo has finally acknowledged that their core audience has grown up, but a quick perusal of articles and YouTube videos regarding the Wii U will reveal comments sections filled with gamers branding the new console a "kids toy", citing heavily promoted launch title Nintendo Land an "embarrassment" and doom it to failure. But why?
With the Wii U, Nintendo is clearly marketing the console to both the casual and the core gamer, upsetting the dichotomy of the industry upheld by their detractors, which is that a console can either have gory FPS's or colourful mini-game collections, and that trying to have both will ultimately result in failure. If Nintendo make good on winning back the mature crowd, then their detractors will be forced to acknowledge that both casual and core gamer can own one console and both be satisfied, and that console will be the Wii U.
Ultimately, the Wii U is on track to being a big success, and those who are ringing the death knell for it are doing so with their fingers in their ears and their eyelids sewn shut. While Microsoft continues to awkwardly integrate the Kinect and Sony has all but forgotten the Move, the Wii U has all the potential to successfully win over both the 23-year-old Call of Duty fan and the 9-year-old New Super Mario Bros. fan.
If that happens, then those who have spent this console generation stubbornly pledging their allegiance to either the PS3 or Xbox 360, will witness Nintendo, a company who only went HD in 2012, who stuck with cartridge-based gaming until 2001, who made Wii fuckin' Music, put down the spit bucket, step into the ring and become the trailblazer of the next console generation.
Gamers don't like being proven wrong, but Nintendo are looking to do just that.
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