I'm not worried (Yet) for the WiiU. Yes, it's sales suck hard right now, but with the Price Cut and the avalanche of first party titles coming, I'm hoping that the WiiU will pick up fast.
If it doesn't have a decent Christmas, then I will worry for the WiiU.
I would give it until Smash and Mario Kart comes out. If those can't move enough consoles, nothing else can.
And then they'd be up to what? 5 solid new games after over a year after launch?
Trickle releases isn't going to work. I do expect an increase in sales but the price tag is enough to demand those titles be something new/novel before considering several hundred bucks to play a handful of . Heck, those two games are their most popular titles. But I don't think it'll be anything but short lived. If Nintendo keeps barreling through then sure, I'll buy a WiiU in a year or two at a steeply discounted price and scoop up all those IPs I've wanted from the used bin because they'd be so old by then and they won't get any profit off of it except from their hardware (if they aren't still taking a huge cut).
Nintendo is safe. They can weather this storm. But they missed the mark with the WiiU.
1. Games: Losing most third party support without first party support would drown any machine. Hell, the Gamecube was the most powerful machine of its generation and the cheapest by far and it still held dust. The Wii DEMANDED third party support because they flew off the shelves faster than anything else. The WiiU is shaping up to have the same problem as the gamecube's IP problem while not having the advantage of a drastically lower cost and without having the power to play many of the titles available for the other consoles.
Nintendo also promised some first party IPs for core gamers rather than their regular children and elderly offerings on the Wii. This promise remains utterly unclaimed. Maybe Bayonetta 2 will count.
2. The main peripheral: That it is unnecessarily expensive due to a $140 gamepad that no one really needs that should just be an optional peripheral would also kill most machines like it harmed the PS3 for being so high over the expected price point. That the peripheral is less impressive than our phones regarding its touch technology (the only part of the gamepad that makes it unique as a controller interface) is even worse. It's a single touch (not multi-touch like most of our phones are now) device and only has an inner facing camera which is less beneficial to gaming than an outward facing one. Whether you like the gamepad or not. Consider this, dropping a $140 gamepad and replacing it with a $40 controller of some sort could bring the WiiU down to $200. That or lower, things become a question of what console to get in addition to your Nintendo console rather than what to get instead.
Not only that, but I'll add that you can't buy a Gamepad seperately right now and no game supports multiples anyways. If yours is lost/stolen/broken it'll set you back $140 plus shipping from Nintendo.
Let's keep in mind that we also know that the ps4 is going to allow the use of iDevices and Android devices as gamepads. Likewise, the $140 gamepad price isn't great when considering the Vita is only $60 more and not only allows remote play anywhere in the world but is its own device with exclusive content and media capabilities. The gamepad is just something that recieves and displays information with no processing of its own. You are basically paying for a wireless touch monitor+controller with the gamepad and that's it.
3. The price of the console compared to the alternatives: That the console is only $100 from the ps4 which is undeniably the most powerful console of the generation (now that Microsoft has finally admitted it with their "power isn't everything" speech) makes it look like a worse deal and the ps4 like a good deal. That it doesn't play DVDs or Blurays makes it worthless to the people who still use those things (especially the elderly who went to the Wii in droves) and seriously lessens its value. Remember, the Wii grabbed a lot of business because it was $250 NEW. The alternatives were often double that amount. Failing to have a low price point alienates the casual market that had who enjoy gaming but are looking for the cheaper alternative.
4. The hardware: The initial scheme was already really bad. 8GB for $300, 32GB for $350. This made people evaulate the difference of the console based on GBs in a day and age where $50 gets you 1TB and the alternate consoles have 500GB standard. That the ps4 actually managed to come in at $400 and make a profit there really puts things in perspective. But Sony as a company has the greatest advantage in hardware production so it shouldn't surprise us that a hardware manufacturer beat a software company and a gaming company at the most powerful and low cost console fight.
5. The hardware again: There's no significant jump between this console and the 7th generation. Technologically, it could easily be the most powerful of the 7th generation but the problem is it's comparable to them while still trying to compete with the 8th generation. Honestly, just like Nintendo's late entry into the first generation of consoles (the last year of that generation) that also proved to be their only entry for the second generation, I'd have no problem viewing this console as the last 7th generation console and eagerly await their 8th generation entry. But, regardless of anyone's opinion of what generation this really falls in, the point it isn't significant enough to be percieved "next gen".
WiiU Specs vs 360 specs:
CPU: Both are three core PowerPC CPUs (very similar), 360= 3.2GHz , WiiU=1.243125 GHz (unknown cache
GPU: 360= 500MHz, Wiiu=550 MHz
Memory: 360 = 512 MB (32 MB reserved for OS), WiiU = 2GB (1GB reserved for OS)
So the WiiU has a slower CPU, marginally faster GPU, and just over twice the RAM for gaming. So, it is more powerful, but debatable as to whether or not it's even twice as powerful compared to the 10x the other consoles tout. I also think the flash memory would improve it at least a little so I'd personally put it just under or around 2.5 times since modern gaming doesn't rely on CPUs the same way they did back in the 2000's.
6. Harddrive specifically: 32GB of RAM means that several third party titles won't be available at all even if they wanted to. Not only does it mean that you can't use the system for basic storage, but it means that you'll have to very carefully decide what games you want to download if any. As what must be some kind of joke, the 8GB version of the wii couldn't even download Nintendoland. They've all but killed regular use of the downloadable content.
7. Games tied to the console rather than account: On the ps3/ps4 and 360/XBO, if your console is lost or stolen, you can re-download games on your replacement system because they are linked to your Sony/Live account. On the WiiU, you're screwed.
8. Minimal Online capabilities. From games like Black Ops 2 not including the COD Elite online service to Nintendo announcing that their online gaming focus would be minimal, this makes the console decidedly bad for online gamers. Whether you like it or not, that is a significant portion of the gamer market getting snubbed. Add this to the crappy chatting peripherals and it's pretty bad. The WiiU pro controller doesn't even have a headphone jack.
9. Region locking. Why? They're the only ones sticking in that decade.
10. Marketing. This could easily be first. But people still don't know it's a new console. They think it's a $300 peripheral for the Wii.
What can Nintendo do to bounch back? Drop the gamepad and reflect that in the price. If your console is going to be significantly weaker it should be significantly cheaper. The gamepad should be made an optional peripheral. Patch the handful of games that require the gamepad but can do without and leave the few that can't behind to save the console. Continue to make attractive bundles like they're doing right now by tying the console to popular games they should fare a little better.
I don't know how they'll resolve the game issue. It's not like they could magically have more games in a month if they haven't already been planning on it. Honestly, they really half-assed the lineup this time and that's not something I believe they can come back from. That hardware will continue to bottleneck the third party support and the network being so weak really limits online games.
Not sure how to resolve the marketing problem either. Perhaps changing the name or something like that to make it easier for people to understand that this is the Wii's successor.
All in all. I think they're screwed. They're selling at an even slower rate than the dreamcast did. Slower. That was two generations ago so even selling the same rate would be worse due to a larger target market but this is worse.