A lot has happened with Nintendo in the 15 plus years since the Super Nintendo was still around and kicking. Nintendo is getting ready to release their sixth home console with the Wii U but many are wondering if the system will be able to compete with the competition, not to mention actually having Third Party success on it. Why so much worry and apprehension? I think people are noticing a pattern with every system Nintendo has launched after the SNES, take a look:
Nintendo was on top of the world with NES not only because of lacking competition but also because the games were great from all parties and not just Nintendo. The SNES had Genesis as competition but it still out shinned it in almost every way.
Ever since the SNES, there has been a "but" after each system Nintendo has released.
N64: Carts were expensive to sell and made games expensive (Turok 1 was $79.99!) and due to this, less games were released on it and less developers made games on it.
Gamecube: Got off to a good start actually but was priced too high at a $199.99 launch and did less than the other systems but not enough to make it unique to stand out as better besides some great games. There was also a big shortage of games in early 2002 while Halo 1 on Xbox was making a name for itself. Third Parties slowly started releasing games but it was a little late and while they sold decent on Gamecube at first, they were outclassed by PS2 and Xbox sales, sans a few gems like Soul Calibur 2 and Timesplitters 2. The Gamecube also got left behind Xbox and even PS2 with the advent of console online gaming. The system just didn't have much to offer anyone who was not a hard-core Nintendo fan.
The Wii: Third Parties didn't believe in the system at all because it was a radical change from the norm. The system sold insane numbers it's first 3 years but by that time Third Parties were just starting to release original games on the system after 2 years of PS2 ports with waggle it was too late for them to really make a dent with good sales. Big Third Party games missed the Wii entirely due to the system not being able to port from HD systems without complete overhauls. Hard-core Nintendo fans who loved the Gamecube were disappointed by all the ports, sub-par graphics and cookie-cutter online experience that was still way behind the other systems. Also, Nintendo's own lack of support of the Wii in the entire year of 2011 and so far in 2012 really shows the Wii going out with a thud and not a bang.
What about the Wii U?
This system doesn't really have a downside that I can think of yet, with the only thing being that Third Parties will judge what has just happened in the past 15 years and will need a few hit games that sell a lot in order to put more faith in Nintendo. The Wii U will support all play controls, have a streamlined online experience and offer Next Generation HD graphics and should be able to accept all ports from the next systems that Sony and Microsoft release. When you look at what has happened with Nintendo over the years, they have been very successful with the exception of Third Parties not finding a solid foundation to put their games on Nintendo systems.
The Wii U has a chance to change a lot of this gradually, but the biggest opportunity will be this year and throughout next year while the Wii U is the only Next-Gen system available. The Wii U may look like another causal gamer console, but it really could be a system for everyone since it will be able to support all the types of games.
No "but's" this time.....