The Wii U is a failure. Sorry to be so blunt but that’s the way it is right now. Consumers aren’t purchasing the console, developers are reluctant to release games for it and even Nintendo themselves seem to be more concerned with the 3DS. The Wii U’s future has been the subject of many debates over the past few months and with E3 approaching, most Wii U owners were hoping that Nintendo would finally silence their critics on our industry's grandest stage.
That was until April 25th 2013, where all hope of the Wii U making an epic recovery was diminished. April 25th was day Nintendo announced that they would not host a press conference at this year’s Electronic Games Expo. At a time when Nintendo had to fight harder than they’ve ever fought before, the company decided that they would not be fighting at all. Naturally this news set the Internet on fire and caused virtual riots on forums across the globe. Nintendo later clarified that will have a conference at E3, just not in the grandiose fashion that we’ve come to expect. Instead the company will have two smaller “gatherings” and rely on web shows like Nintendo Direct to fill in the blanks. Of course hardcore gamers are still unsettled by this news but rather than focus on the negatives, let’s discuss what Nintendo could do to overcome all obstacles and still have a great E3.
In this industry there’s never a good time to lay all of your cards on the table, but it seems that Nintendo no longer has a choice. With the Wii U in danger of becoming the next Sega Saturn and new consoles from Microsoft and Sony just months away, this E3 has the potential to make or break Nintendo’s future as a console manufacturer. Nintendo’s back is firmly pressed up against the wall and they need to come out swinging like Little Mac against Mike Tyson! They need to treat this E3 like it’s their last because it very well might be. We all know Smash Bros, a 3D Mario game, Wind Waker HD and Mario Kart 8 will be on display but Nintendo also needs to give us a glimpse of their 2014/2015 line-up. No one is expecting Star Fox or F-Zero titles to be at the show so Nintendo has an opportunity to wow us with EPIC teaser trailers, even if they're all CG and not indicative of the final games. Nintendo could also gain some much-needed Internet Points by showing us more lame Nintendo Land fireworks… but this time have Metroids crash the party which prompts Samus to fall from the sky revealing her beautiful HD form! People would lose their minds!
Seriously though, Nintendo needs to makes GAMES a focus of their E3 presence, games and nothing else! We don’t want to hear about MiiVerse launching on the iPhone or how many idiots watched the Super Bowl on Nintendo TVii. Save that crap for a Press Release! We also know that the likes of Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U and Game & Wario are coming soon but we don’t need to hear more about them at E3. These games were due out months ago so just release them already! We don’t care about new Pikmin colours or Wii Fit poses, we want to see brand new games from the geniuses who helped shape our childhood… even if we won’t be able to play them until next year. We also need to see third parties supporting the Wii U with new, original titles. Sonic Lost Levels and Beyonetta 2 and both cool, but let's be honest, most gamers would rather play those games on true next-gen platforms. We need to titles like Rayman Legends and Zombi U that fully utilize the Wii U's unique properties and reminds us why having a giant screen on our controller is actually a good thing.
The 3DS is doing great right now. Really great! 3DS owners have plenty to look forward to in the coming months including A Link To The Past, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokemon X & Y, Donkey Kong Country and so much Mario! In the fight against the Vita, Nintendo are kicking ass and taking names just like Reggie said they would back in 2004. So take a break 3DS, you’ve earned it! Now is the time for Nintendo to sell some damn consoles! Time is precious at E3 and every second Nintendo spends bragging about the 3DS is time that they could have spent trying to resuscitate their dying console. That’s not to say the 3DS should be ignored. Nintendo can still release trailers and new information for those great titles listed above but the Wii U needs to be their core focus if they wish to sit at the same table as Sony and Microsoft for the next 6 or 7 years.
By not having a traditional press conference, Nintendo are in a unique position where they don’t have to cram all of their announcements into a confined time slot. While the mainstream press will be focused Microsoft and Sony this year, Nintendo can ensure that they won’t be buried on sites like IGN by announcing new titles throughout the 2-day event. By not blowing their whole load at once, Nintendo can give each of their announcements the breathing room they deserve. Games like Smash Bros. and whatever title Retro is working on deserve more than a trailer at the end of a conference and I'm pretty sure Nintendo knows that.
With weak console sales, fierce competition and dwindling third party support, Nintendo have to fight for survival come June. Even against the 360 and the PS3 the Wii U is struggling to make an impact so attempting to compete against next generation consoles seems like a lost cause at this point. As both a Nintendo fan and a Wii U owner I’ve never been as nervous about the company’s future as I am right now. By having a severely underpowered console, Nintendo will have to rely on quality software to see them through the next several years. The fact that popular titles such as FIFA 14, Madden 25 and Call Of Duty: Ghosts aren’t announced for the system suggests that the Wii U is already dead in the water and E3 2013 might be Nintendo’s last chance to prove otherwise.
If Nintendo takes a "f*** specs, check out all these franchises you know and love in HD for the very first time!" approach, E3 2013 could be theirs for the taking. I guess we'll find out in 3 weeks...