Saturday, September 08, 2012

8 Things I want to see from the Wii U conference

Nintendo will reveal final details to the Wii U on September 13 in New York. After the disappointing showing at E3 this year, and with months of silence, save of third party (Ubisoft) leaks, Nintendo can ill-afford to pull another tease next week or risk derailing their launch hype entirely.    As much as Nintendo claims to be about appealing to every gamer,  Nintendo hardware launches are propelled by their fans, who often then act as ambassadors to get friends, family and coworkers to buy in. 

Here are a number of things to consider:

Network  Functions -  Not a mention was made of Wii U’s online capabilities save for a vague Nintendo Network slide in a Nintendo Direct presentation the Sunday before E3.  This will be a good time to reveal, at the very least, the  Nintendo Wii U eshop infrastructure and on-line matchmaking hub.  Although launching day 1 is preferred, at this point, a few slides showing screencaps with a TBA release date would be better than nothing.

eShop – While matchmaking can potentially wait until 2013, eshop needs to launch right out of the gate.  And a good way to do this is to pull a page out of the current 3DS eshop and make Wii content immediately available on eshop on Day 1, and allow full transfers of Wiiware and Virtual console content as well. 
What would be even better is to finally tie in both the DSi/3DS and Wii content under one store.  Not all content may be playable on every console, but the Wii U should be able to handle the vast majority of the content available.  

Virtual Console -  Seven years after the reveal, this continues to be Nintendo’s ace in the hole branding.  While asking for Nintendo to release hundreds of brand new VirtualConsole releases may be a lost cause, making existing library on the 3DS and Wii available day 1 will be a huge plus.

What would be even better is to allow VirtualConsole to run on the WiiU GamePad directly, bypassing the TV ;

Nintendo Accounts -  Long promised by Nintendo and semi-confirmed by PR spokespersons, fans remain skittish that it’s still all smoke and mirrors.  A presentation detailing how accounts will tie into Nintendo’s future platforms and the 3DS will be very appreciated.  A confirmation of a 3DS firmware update soon to make this possible would certainly allay any fears of the promise of a unified Nintendo Network account being another vaporware promise from the company.

Games – By now, most expecting Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Brothers Wii U and NintendoLand as the marquee Nintendo releases coming alongside the Wii U; but Nintendo can still surprise and sweeten the pot by announcing know multiplatform titles from select third parties will be available.  The most obvious titles being Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and Resident Evil 6.  A bonus would be to see expanded library of Virtual Console content from SuperNintendo, Nintendo64 and GameCube games as well as offerings from Sega for their Dreamcast and Saturn libraries.

Miiverse – This received its own Nintendo Direct presentation in June and yet we haven’t heard much about it since.  More details and a solid implementation plan would be appreciated.  More information on cross platform support and the possibility of accessing Miiverse on 3DS and perhaps even the Wii would certainly make things exciting.  Come to think of it, there's no reason the Wii can't have a Miiverse channel to run low level things like status updates or access eshop content such as digital books and back issues of Nintendo Power.

Pricing – While recent rumours suggest Nintendo could go as long as $250 with two more SKU’s priced at $300 and $350, what fans want to see is value.   A $250 bare-bones starter bundle may be intriguing but with a pack-in game and extras, $300 and $350 would also be acceptable. 

What we don’t want to see is be surprised by a $350 bare bones single SKU.  Pricing it that high would be a mistake.  A non-traditional SKU would also be interesting. ZombiiU bundle sounds very enticing for someone who’s not all that hyped for NintendoLand, Pikmin or Mario.

Surprises -  Nintendo will undoubtedly have things they can surprise fans with.  We’d like to be surprised with a new game announcement, new features for Wii U or both. 

In summary, the press conference on the 13th of September should be about execution or rather Nintendo showing its fans how it will execute the primises made about the Wii U right out of the game.  We're all a little tired of promises of features that are to be determined or eshops launching six months later with a skeleton selection of games. Show us it’s worth it to spend money right away on a Wii U. Online, eshop and accounts services are the very baseline we want to see.  Surprises wouldn’t hurt either.  

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