The Wii was an unstoppable juggernaut. The underpowered console has sold over 100.9 million consoles worldwide since it was released in 2006. Nintendo didn’t just beat Sony’s PS3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 in lifetime sales; it destroyed them both. But the Wii was a fad. After everyone got sick of waggling around Wii Remotes in Wii Sports, the Wii started to lose steam. At the same time, HD video games and movies became the de facto and smartphones and tablets started to eat away at the casual gamers the Wii catered to.
After six years, Nintendo needed a new console, one with HD graphics, better online features, and most importantly AAA games from third party publishers.
At E3 in 2011, Nintendo of America president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aimes took to the stage to reveal the Wii’s successor: the Nintendo Wii U, an HD-ready console with another revolutionary new controller. Fils-Aimes said the Wii was a console that stressed playing together with friends and family. With the Wii U, Nintendo would make “you” special with “asymmetric gameplay”, where you can use an innovative GamePad with a touchscreen while others can use Wii Remotes. The one with the GamePad would be able to look at the smaller screen while everyone else could look at the HDTV to see something different.
Uninspiring name aside, we (and everyone else) were very excited for the GamePad’s potential and the idea of playing games with Nintendo characters in glorious high definition.
We missed the boat to review the Wii U when it launched on November 18, 2012, but since Sony and Microsoft both launched new consoles, it seems like a good time to evaluate Nintendo’s latest console, now that the next-gen wars are in full swing. (more…)