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Nintendo's Wii U "Trouble" - Yeah, It Happens


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#1 chimpmeister

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 02:51 PM

Article posted on IGN yesterday about the Wii U:

Nintendo's Wii U "Trouble" - Yeah, It Happens

Moving release dates and struggles with hardware are natural.

September 8, 2011

Nintendo seems to be dominating the news these days, and often for all the worst reasons. Struggling sales, price drops, dipping stocks and awkward peripherals are stacking up, creating a grim scenario for a company that has been on top of the world for the past several years. The big guy in the yard is a big target, and given Nintendo's unconventional approach to the games industry, criticism is all the easier.

The latest from the rumor mill comes from 01net, a French site that admittedly has been fairly accurate for a number of 3DS and Vita rumors. The site's latest story dives into Wii U's supposed "development hell." The article claims all is not well as Nintendo works toward a 2012 launch of its next home console.
According to the report, there are a few key issues going on right now. Developers are complaining about Nintendo's low-cost policy, which is potentially contributing to the controller's "inadequate" chipset and three, potentially four, prototype revisions. The controller is also wired to the development kit. Those working on games are complaining that they aren't receiving updates for the system fast enough, and that they aren't able to fully test some of Wii U's features.

Continuing the list of problems is speculation that developers are expecting the release of the system to shift. June 2012 has been the theoretical target for Wii U, though it's thought that September might be a new target given some of the developmental troubles. This, of course, could be problematic for Nintendo given that the longer Wii U is off store shelves, the greater the possibility that a new Xbox or PlayStation will steal its thunder.

What's remarkable about all of the above is that none of it is out of the ordinary. A console that has development challenges? Wouldn't that be any tech project? The day a hardware company doesn't have to balance price and quality considerations is the day Mario performs a fatality. It's absurd to think there won't be bumps along the road. Any thought to the contrary is delusional. Every tech company struggles with those issues, and we've seen some cases (most recently the Xbox 360) where some shortcuts lead to devastating problems. That's why hardware designs continuously evolve as a system heads towards final production.
No doubt some developers aren't getting updates as quickly as they'd like. No doubt devkits are constantly evolving and iterating. That's sort of the point, isn't it? Developing for a console before its launch is, to some degree, like hitting a moving target. Developers get estimates as hardware publishers sort out exactly what's feasible. Final products rarely resemble their earliest iterations.

Early Wii U kits were screens fixed onto planks of wood. Early DS kits only had one screen. Wii kits were actually GameCube kits with wired versions of the remotes - Nintendo hadn't determined whether the project would simply be an expansion of the GameCube or not. Nintendo 3DS prototypes didn't feature 3D at all. As Nintendo's designs evolved, developers were brought into the fold.

Nothing is ever perfect. Nothing is ever fast enough. There is no perfect piece of hardware or development cycle, and some developers will figure things out faster than others.

As far as release dates go, the notion that Wii U is slipping later into 2012 isn't all that surprising, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. Nintendo would be wise not to ship the system until it's completely ready. Look at the Nintendo 3DS and try to say otherwise.

Of course, a shift in release date does bring risks. That Wii U will eventually have to contend with new Microsoft and Sony consoles is inevitable. Nintendo needs to have answers to those problems, and part of that will be the fact that Wii U's control scheme allows for better, more creative games than its counterparts. But we've seen consoles with hardware disadvantages dominate the industry before, and if Nintendo approaches its third party partners in the right ways, the company's software struggles will be a thing of the past.

Trying to paint a grim picture of Wii U's development is easy because it's always evolving. Is something in a fluid state part of the natural order or is it chaos? It's easy to look at the issue in both ways. One is simply more realistic.


Article Link: http://wii.ign.com/a.../1193291p1.html

#2 cochesecochese

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 03:15 PM

This rumour was posted on GAF a week ago. TGS is going to be insane.

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#3 dothog

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:11 PM

I couldn't give a damn about the WIIU, I feel the concept was rushed to meet E3 and I don't think it's a particularly compelling concept. All that is to say I won't buy it on launch and probably won't buy it at all.

However, I would imagine any piece of hardware goes through some rough patches on the way to market. It's very possible that Nintendo will have to push the release date *way* back, but I don't think they'd announce something as they did and then resign it to "development hell." This is a case of piling on Nintendo after the 3DS peripheral embarrassment.
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#4 KingBroly

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 10:09 PM

I don't know why people are so doom and gloom on Wii U.

It's not even out yet! It's coming out in a year probably. Nintendo is going to hold that system for a worldwide launch next holiday season when there's no new competition for it so it can steal headlines.
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#5 deftoast

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 10:24 PM

Wii third party dev support is nearly dead (especially in Japan) because the audience that Nintendo targeted doesn't buy games regularly. I'll be surprised if N gets decent dev support this time. N is having to push DQ games in the US themselves to hold onto that DQX.

I love nintendo to death, but I'm kinda tired of getting game hardware that feels ghetto straight out of the box. (the CPU/GPU/screen resolution.)

They're in a tight situation and I don't know what the answer is but the Wii-U sure ain't it.

#6 KingBroly

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 10:53 PM

Wii third party dev support is nearly dead (especially in Japan) because the audience that Nintendo targeted doesn't buy games regularly. I'll be surprised if N gets decent dev support this time. N is having to push DQ games in the US themselves to hold onto that DQX.

I love nintendo to death, but I'm kinda tired of getting game hardware that feels ghetto straight out of the box. (the CPU/GPU/screen resolution.)

They're in a tight situation and I don't know what the answer is but the Wii-U sure ain't it.


I think Dragon Quest in the West is more 'Square Enix gave up' on it.

The thing I don't like about 3rd Party support on Nintendo systems is that it's kinda like this:


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#7 Corvin

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 01:28 PM

I love nintendo to death, but I'm kinda tired of getting game hardware that feels ghetto straight out of the box. (the CPU/GPU/screen resolution.)

They're in a tight situation and I don't know what the answer is but the Wii-U sure ain't it.


Spend some of those billions in reserves on some serious R&D to put out a kick-ass system instead of putting in the bare minimum effort and putting out a system that merely "gets the job done."

With little to no attempt to offer a solid online service and lack of a traditional 'core' controller, the WiiU looks to be another "minimum-effort" system that will only cater to the Nintendo faithful. I mean seriously, what the hell have they been doing for the past 5 years that the best idea was an iPad with an analog stick and buttons?

Like CoD or not, it's the biggest game going and if your system doesn't have a solid controller or online to play said game, people aren't going to buy it. People don't want gimmicky controls. We've had 30 years of innovation in controllers, ironically mostly from Nintendo, but we've reached a point where we basically have a standard that works and that everyone loves and is comfortable with. If they wanted third party support, they would cater to the EA and Activisions of the world. Instead, they are looking to rely on 25 year old first party franchises to sell the system yet again.

Point being, they are too far out of touch to connect with the core anymore.

#8 foltzie

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 03:06 AM

I wouldn't call the Wii minimum effort. The motion detection APIs didn't fall out of trees. Nintendo invests quite a bit into R&D.

I do, however, agree that their online systems are nearing a decade behind.

#9 Blade

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 03:26 AM

given Nintendo's unconventional approach to the games industry


I stopped there when I read that as "every game system HAS TO BE A 1337 MULTIMEDIA OUTLET ZOMG."

All of your claims and opinions are meaningless until the system actually releases, dumbasses. I could troll on Sony for their PS Vita and its "zomg dual touch screens" gimmick, but I'm not. Why? It's not a finished product, and I've never used it.

This forum has seriously been tainted enough by trivial speculations.
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#10 TheLongshot

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 05:43 PM

Spend some of those billions in reserves on some serious R&D to put out a kick-ass system instead of putting in the bare minimum effort and putting out a system that merely "gets the job done."


I think without seeing an actual console, it is kinda hard to make that determination. I'll probably won't be in the market for it, but that's mostly because I usually hang a generation behind anyways.

As for "minimum effort", Sony and Microsoft has mostly been recycling what they have with hardware refreshes. Even Move and Kinect is following what Nintendo did. I don't think simple hardware refreshes is going to be enough anymore to sell consoles.
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#11 moothemagiccow

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 08:38 PM

With little to no attempt to offer a solid online service and lack of a traditional 'core' controller, the WiiU looks to be another "minimum-effort" system that will only cater to the Nintendo faithful. I mean seriously, what the hell have they been doing for the past 5 years that the best idea was an iPad with an analog stick and buttons?


Oh forget the traditional controller. The big change between the latest Playstation and Xbox is that the controllers are now wireless. God forbid you do anything different. Nintendo did, and the others copied three years later.

And it's not an ipad, genius. It's a massive DS.

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#12 chimpmeister

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 08:49 PM

Oh forget the traditional controller. The big change between the latest Playstation and Xbox is that the controllers are now wireless. God forbid you do anything different. Nintendo did, and the others copied three years later.

And it's not an ipad, genius. It's a massive DS.

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It's not a massive DS if it has no "brain" of its own; without the base Wii U console, it can't play anything. The best thing you can say about it right now (and admittedly not everything is known), is that it may have the ability to stream content (video, audio, touch control input, button and joystick input) to/from the base console, and you might be able to "play" games directly on it (really playing them on the console, and the controller just displays the audio and visual data). I seriously doubt you'll be able to play games on it by itself; and even if you could play DS games, those games were built for much smaller screens, running at much smaller resolutions. They'd look terrible on a screen the size of the Wii U controller.

EDIT: And if what you wrote was meant to be a joke, I apologize. It's sometimes hard to see sarcasm/jokes in plain words, and maybe you meant it that way.

#13 Corvin

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 01:40 PM

I wouldn't call the Wii minimum effort.


In regards to luring the core it does. The only thing the Wii offered that was attractive to the 'core' (in terms of features) was the virtual console and Nintendo basically abandoned that anyway.

And it's not an ipad, genius. It's a massive DS.


:lol: And that changes my point... how?

Oh forget the traditional controller. The big change between the latest Playstation and Xbox is that the controllers are now wireless.


And both are considered two of the best controllers to date. They refined what was already a good thing last gen. It's an evolution dating back to the NES.

God forbid you do anything different. Nintendo did, and the others copied three years later.


Nintendo wants to have their cake and to eat it too. There's nothing wrong with going off the rails and creating some crazy-ass input device, just don't expect the core and third parties to flock to it when it doesn't control half as well as a traditional controller. It's never going happen.

Granted, the WiiU at least has a couple analogs and is going back to four face buttons, but they are still undoing 30 years of ergonomic evolution just so you can look at the sky in Zelda without using a second analog stick. :lol:

#14 Crunchewy

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 02:19 PM

Even Move and Kinect is following what Nintendo did. I don't think simple hardware refreshes is going to be enough anymore to sell consoles.


You can certainly say that about Move, but Kinect is taking things in a different direction. It's not simply a clone of the Wii Remote and sensor bar. Microsoft did produce something genuinely different and unique with Kinect and it can definitely do things that neither the Wii nor Move can do. On the other hand there are some things that the Wii remote + sensor bar do better, such as tracking hand movement for things like bowling (the bowling in Kinect Sports is pretty poor in comparison, but somewhat made up for by having good online play). Still, you can't claim that Kinect is just an updated Wii remote+sensor bar. It's a very different tech.

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#15 moothemagiccow

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:44 PM

I'm just saying, "the core" are a bunch of predictable doofuses. They want Game Sequel 8, better graphics, glitchy software and 18 buttons. I'm glad Nintendo is taking the opportunity to be weird. Their controller hasnt been "normal" since the SNES still they've managed to stay afloat.

It's not a massive DS



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#16 chimpmeister

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:49 PM

Take a look at the picture again


Yes, I do understand the concept you were trying to convey. And conceptually, the Wii U tablet/TV combo does work like a DS.

#17 Corvin

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 03:59 AM

I'm just saying, "the core" are a bunch of predictable doofuses.


oh come on... like it's any better in the Nintendo camp:

They want Game Sequel 8


Like Super Mario 78? Zelda 35? Metroid 18? Why even own a Nintendo console if you are against sequels? It's the only reason to own a Nintendo console.

They want better graphics


Isn't that always the case for anyone? We'd still be rocking our 2600's and Commodore 64's if everyone remained content.

They want glitchy software


Huh? I'm not quite sure I even get this.

They want 18 buttons.


Don't the DS, 3DS and WiiU basically have infinite button possibilities with touch screen and waggle?

#18 spmahn

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 05:22 AM

The problem is that Nintendo has pretty much marketed themselves into a corner this past decade. I'm sure at this point they would love to spend million in R&D and release a new next gen console that would top them all. The problem is, Sony and MS have the traditional gaming market locked up, there is no room for a third console that would be competing for the same market.

I also think that after more than a decade of disappointing games, there is almost no chance that the traditional gamers and developers would be able to take Nintendo seriously anymore. Nintendo is the king of silly add ons that add little to the overall experience and quickly go unsupported. I'm all but certain this new add on for the 3DS will quickly fade away like the Wii Motion Plus did.

I know Nintendo fanboys will argue to their grave that Nintendo has nothing to worry about, but they're wrong. The times they are a changin', and they've all but passed Nintendo by and left them in the dust.

#19 soonersfan60

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 05:16 PM

Nintendo has not marketed themselves into a corner. They need to release something that's "different" so that the item will be profitable from Day 1. If they go the route you're suggesting, they would have to follow suit with MS/Sony and lose money on their consoles when they're first released... and Nintendo is not going to do that.

#20 Corvin

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 03:37 AM

And that is why they'll never recapture the core. If they aren't willing to go all in why should the gamers?

This being the information age isn't helping them either. The core gamers know Nintendo is sitting on a money bin that would make Scrooge McDuck blush. One example, it makes it hard to swallow force fed PR lines about giving online control to publishers when we know they're just too cheap to develop their own service.