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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 10:07am 13/01/14 | 11 Comments
Eurogamer's Digital Foundry has run a Secret Developers piece from an anonymous dev who has had the misfortune of being one of the first studios to work on Nintendo's home console.

While this might sound run of the mill, the full piece is a fantastic insight into how The Big N effectively failed to fully understand the gravity of their "next-gen" leap. Established systems like basic online networking are revealed to be so far out of their own expertise or vision (so far as to it being assumed they never even looked at how Microsoft or Sony ran their successful online platforms), that it all came down to the absolute last minute for anything being truly finalised. And even then, it was much less than perfect.

In many ways, this piece is also a reminder of just how far behind modern gaming culture and understanding Nintendo is, and paints a pretty clear picture that Wii U may have been doomed from the outset, rather than just dropping off due to the arrival of competitor systems.

From the article:
Well, we eventually released our game and it was generally well-received, so the management sat back to see what kind of sales figures we would get for all our efforts. Without going into detail it would be fair to say that the numbers we were seeing were less than impressive. In fact we would be lucky to make back all the money that we had invested in making the game in the first place, and although the management publicly supported the Wii U platform, it is unlikely that we would ever release another Wii U title.
Head on over to Digital Foundry for the full eye-opening piece and have your say in the Comments section below: Is it time for Nintendo to give up on hardware they clearly aren't capable of producing? Should they shift to a third-party developer?

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Latest Comments
Posted 10:52am 13/1/14
IMO the dramas the Wii U is having now go all the way back to the GameCube. They got lucky with the Wii but ultimately it was a terrible console that sold way more units than it should have and gave Nintendo this crazy idea that what they were doing was on track. It's a shame, cause I love Nintendo and feel they bring the world a bunch of joy, but I don't know how long they will last if they don't take a good hard look at there failings.
Posted 10:55am 13/1/14
all the wii-u needs is the equivalent of 'bowling' to begin a cascade of sales that excuse all the retarded design decisions.

personally, i'd like to see nintendo ditch the gimmicky controller and online functionality entirely and create a system dedicated to the metroid / zelda / mario style of game.
Posted 11:05am 13/1/14
Honestly if they just brought out a half decent pokemon game, it would set the WII U up *cough*pokemon snap*cough*
Posted 11:53am 13/1/14
They won't get out of the hardware business. 3DS is looking at 40+ million and with China opening their doors, those numbers could completely sky rocket. That said, Wii U will be looking at GameCube numbers and will be an expensive lesson.

You can never really rule out the big N but it'll be a great shame to the industry if they ever do drop out.

all the wii-u needs is the equivalent of 'bowling' to begin a cascade of sales that excuse all the retarded design decisions. There's no real "Nintendo" alternative out there.

personally, i'd like to see nintendo ditch the gimmicky controller and online functionality entirely and create a system dedicated to the metroid / zelda / mario style of game.

So you want a Wii U with the Pro Controller? :P
Posted 12:02pm 13/1/14
I recently got a 3ds for pokemon (I know, but I'm a huge fan) and the online is better than it used to be, but still completely s***house.

Nintendo need to look at Sony and MS. They are doing online right. They are doing the consoles right too. None of this gimmicky bulls*** controllers, and huge libraries for every age. The wii had so much potential for being awesome, but it ended up just serving for shovel ware and the occasional first and second party game.

I hope the wiiu just drops off the face of the planet this gen so they completely rethink their methods and release something that can actually compete with sony and ms.
Posted 12:14pm 13/1/14
It's almost like the designers of the Wii U have never slumped back on a couch with a bag of Doritos and just played games in a zoned-out, "I'm wrecked" state, wanting to rest. Instead, they've designed a console that requires people to be in an energetic state to get in to.

Frankly, using the Wii U controller is effort, and that ruins the experience.
Posted 02:25pm 13/1/14
Nintendo has never really been "doomed" and people saying such seem like the type to jump on a bandwagon to prove a point. I don't see Nintendo moving out of the industry any time soon, not with their hugely popular It's and warchest of money they have.

It's clear they are learning from their mistakes though, in building a R&D building that will house both hardware and software developers to better encompass the needs of both. It's also clear that just making a high-end system won't help, it isn't the bandaid fix they need to stay relevant, instead combining new features with old.

I find it interesting that while the doom and gloom has been happening for ages, Nintendo has actually become worth more compared to Sony. It will definitely be an interesting few years, but I see them killing off the Wii U in 2016, which is a shame because I've thoroughly enjoyed the system. The future is definitely going to look interesting.
Posted 02:28pm 13/1/14
As much as I like Nintendo, I have a 3DS and a Wii U, I would rather they get out of the home console market and just release games! That has always been their strength. Hardware innovation is happening in the PC arena now, and not just consoles.
Posted 02:48pm 13/1/14
Agree get out of the hardware, make the games available on PC, iOS and Android devices :)
Steve Farrelly
Posted 03:08pm 13/1/14
I don't think anyone is saying all is doomed for Nintendo, but like the GameCube and even the Wii in its last year, the Wii U really just doesn't have a breath left. One game isn't going to change that either, they'd need to have a consistent string of first or second-party releases of the highest caliber to move consoles off shelves, and the hardware's price would need to be right in order for that to happen.

The problem is pride, and as a Japanese company, bowing out of the home hardware market right now would cost them a lot of face, so Wii U will likely be around for a while longer.

On the other hand, the handheld market is owned by them (excluding mobile devices), but 3DS is beginning to show its age and there's a very good chance it too will be buried by the strength-to-strength growth of mobile devices over the next one to two years, and unless their next entry in this field can actually compete with a regular and affordable all-in-one smartphone or tablet, they could be in serious trouble. The most alarming thing I learnt from the Digital Foundry piece was that it appeared no one at Nintendo had ever looked at or even drawn from the likes of the PSN or Xbox Live (and likely PC equivalent), which back in the day might have been fine, but there's a standard for gaming that needs to be met now, and single-minded 'innovation' alone won't overlook basic gamer needs and requirements.

Nintendo needs to suck it up, get their heads out of the clouds and actually look around at the gaming world as a whole, not at the now non-existent Wii crowd they drew in for two years.
Posted 03:57pm 13/1/14
Yeah that is one problem Nintendo has right now, the Wii U looks to have tried chasing the Wii crowd but the problem is that crowd moved on pretty quickly to smartphone/tablet gaming and won't be back. I would never want Nintendo to close up shop though, it would hurt not just their company but also the industry as a whole and no one wants that.

What I'd really like to see is a hybrid. They own the handheld market, and won't be budging from there as long as customers are eager for Pokemon, Mario, Zelda and all the other huge titles so why not meld the two markets together? Make a really high-powered home console that works well, caters to the interest both socially and technologically and join it up with a powerful handheld.

Want to game at home? Easy enough with the home console portion. Thinking of heading out and want to take your game with you? Grab the handheld portion and off you go. Utilising similar features to the PlayStation 4/Vita sharing and current Wii U GamePad and you could essentially combine both markets together having Pokemon on the big screen or the smaller screen.

Of course, who knows what exactly Nintendo will do. The company has always been their own force, doing what they want (which is obviously hurting them) so they may just have some surprises left. I don't ever see them pushing games to other platforms, it would water down what makes those games work well in that they cater to the Nintendo hardware idea, but I guess the future will tell us all sooner or later.
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