As Nokia and Microsoft know all too well, stellar hardware is nothing without stellar software. And in the case of the Wii U
, even the hardware is lacking. The last time a batch of new game consoles were launching, pundits doubted the Wii's staying power. It was weak, it was odd, and it used a new control paradigm that was unproven. But lo and behold, the console held a sold-out status for nearly two years, and went on to sell millions and thrill casual gamers the world over. But a lot has changed since the middle of last decade.
Game consoles are no longer "just" game consoles. They're entertainment boxes, do-it-all machines designed to take over the living room. Now that the PS4 and Xbox One have been revealed, one thing has become crystal clear: the Wii U is the weakest of the three, and by a large margin. While the Wii U got a jump on the other two, it did so by shipping with less powerful innards. And with developers focused on the bleeding-edge hardware offered in Sony and Microsoft's next-gen consoles, Nintendo is getting left out in the cold by a major player: EA
That's the first blow in what could lead to more. While Nintendo is working
hard to push updates to the Wii U, one has to wonder if it'll help. The confusing control scheme (player one uses a massive gamepad, but others use last-gen Wii Remotes), the weak hardware, the half-baked user interface, the slow movement between menus, etc. -- all of that adds up to a sub-par experience that developers may chose to ignore. As we've seen with less popular mobile operating systems, a lack of developer support can kill an entire platform.
One has to wonder: is Nintendo on the road to becoming
the next Sega? Producing only software for the ecosystems that survive the fallout?