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I think the Wii U concept actually had a lot of potential

MilesTeg

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Apr 6, 2014
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It's just that the actual Wii U doesn't. It's clear, to me, that in order for the Wii U concept to be successful, a lot more money would have needed to be poured in. Nintendo would likely have had to take a significant loss even at $399 for the hardware required to make the Wii U idea really shine.

Imagine if Microsoft or Sony had bankrolled the Wii U concept instead of Kinect 2 or Vita. Here are some fundamental changes I would have expected if MS/Sony were the one behind the design:

The system power would likely be around where Xbox One is today or more. Doubt it would be significantly less.

The Gamepad would have a much higher resolution display, probably a bigger screen. This one is kinda tricky since we know Nintendo specifically engineered the stream from Wii U to Gamepad, however with more power perhaps at least 720p stream would be doable. It's probably the most impressive aspect of the tech of Wii U, and I'm not extremely knowledgable on the subject, so I'm not going to pretend like just because it's Microsoft/Sony/more money means it could be done. They may have opted to stream via internet.

I think they would have allowed the Gamepad to work away from the console. It would have had it's own internals for use outside the console, acting as a tablet on the go, able to run smaller titles, it's own OS when used away from console, wi-fi and optional 4G, providing remote play access ala PS4 to Vita. Able to access PSN/Live stores on the go for remote purchases.

Possibly many apps and mobile games available that are traditionally for tablets and smartphones.

Much higher system storage for sure, probably 500gb. Gamepad would also have it's own internal storage and OS.

Movies and music definitely downloadable, managed via Gamepad, can be accessed remotely.

Possibly most importantly, the weight of the AAA publishers would be behind the device given it's Sony or MS. This means more games and possibly better realized game concepts regarding two screen local (or local+online) gameplay.

Considering it's basically impossible the console would flop with this kind of money and support, there would most likely be more risk taking going on in software design for the console, both from AAA and from indies.

Basically the Gamepad would feel like a true extension of the console when away from home. And, with a nice HD screen with off screen play, plays the latest AAA and indie games, local two screen split screen, up to date graphics, satisfactory online capabilities, satisfactory internal storage, sleeker looking Gamepad, Gamepad acts as media hub and smart device. It really sounds like it could have been an awesome console.

However with Nintendo being behind the design, they obviously were not willing to release a product that expensive, were not willing to take a significant loss on hardware. The hardware is too underpowered, the Gamepad screen is far outclassed my mobile devices.

The Wii U as it exists today is a bad product that Nintendo never should have greenlit if they weren't willing to go all out. It's like a grand vision that kept getting stripped down until it's not so grand anymore. And, perhaps this would also have been too expensive for Sony and MS so it's a moot point. However, I do believe that the concept could have been truly awesome even if it is a pipe dream/$599 or more at retail.
 

Reset

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Jun 18, 2014
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If it was $600 no one would have bought it, even if it was a lot better...
 

Jakoo

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Jun 13, 2014
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So did the N-Gage.



Implementation is key.

I love the Wii U, but I understand it's lack of appeal
 

Chindogg

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Oct 5, 2010
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Wii U's a great gaming console, but that's it.

It's just a gaming console.

It's not a fancy entertainment box with all these crazy features. It just plays games to the best of it's ability. And for the most part those games are great.
 

SephLuis

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Feb 25, 2015
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It took a while but I'm perfectly fine with how the Wii U turned out to be.

This.

You can see Sony PS Vita/PS4 communication as their implementation on the gamepad capabilities. It's great, it's system wide, but it's a peripheral.

If the Wii U was selling like the Wii, perhaps we would be seeing a lot more interesting uses for the Gamepad.
 

ElTorro

I wanted to dominate the living room. Then I took an ESRAM in the knee.
May 15, 2013
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I agree with you that the GamePad and the Wii U's specifications are compromised by its price tag. The GamePad's screen and touch capability in particular is of low quality.

Nevertheless, the main problem of the Wii U is still that the GamePad hasn't been used in an essential and convincing way outside of some isolated edge cases. Instead, the concept is mostly used for rather irrelevant secondary information or off-screen play. (Yes, I have seen Splatoon, but I am talking about the general situation.) The latter use case makes at least sense, but for that the GamePad could've been nothing more than a nice but optional accessory.

I'd argue that the GamePad makes the console even worse. It's heavier and less ergonomically than a conventional controller, like the almost perfect Pro Controller. The dual screen concept also does not transfer well from the DS to a TV setup. On the DS, you can have both screens in your field of view. With the Wii U, you have to constantly switch focus between the TV in front of you and the screen down in your hands. It's tiering and cumbersome.
 

bernardobri

Steve, the dog with no powers that we let hang out with us all for some reason
Dec 5, 2008
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Almost every major gimmick from the past gen had potential.

The real question is: Was the techonology on par with the expectations?
 

Faustek

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Apr 25, 2013
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I think they would have allowed the Gamepad to work away from the console. It would have had it's own internals for use outside the console, acting as a tablet on the go, able to run smaller titles, it's own OS when used away from console, wi-fi and optional 4G, providing remote play access ala PS4 to Vita. Able to access PSN/Live stores on the go for remote purchases.

So what you're saying is that you want a Sony tablet? Or whatever other company has the rights to stream from PS4

EDIT:
Also whatever the name of Xbox to Surface thingy was and Steams thingamajig.
 

SalvaPot

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Aug 17, 2014
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Wii U's a great gaming console, but that's it.

It's just a gaming console.

It's not a fancy entertainment box with all these crazy features. It just plays games to the best of it's ability. And for the most part those games are great.

The Internet browser is great too, and Netflix its extremely easy to use also.
 

batbeg

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Dec 2, 2007
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I don't need all that shit, I just wanted developers to take advantage of the gamepad for gameplay. RTSs, dual game styles, more assymetric co-op and competitive play. So many great ideas to be implemented, so few actually doing it.
 
Oct 17, 2005
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That system sounds incredibly expensive, clunky, and would likely meet the same fate that the Wii U did: marketplace apathy.


 

Circinus

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Mar 18, 2015
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I think Sony would just make a controller attachment for Xperia tablets and other iOS/Android tablets if they wanted to go that route. + Expanding on the PS Vita and PS4 connectivity.

And Microsoft just expanding on SmartGlass.
 

royox

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Nov 3, 2013
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If the Wii U was selling like the Wii, perhaps we would be seeing a lot more interesting uses for the Gamepad.

Well....Wii sold like Wii (lol) and I can't remember a more interesting use for the Wiimote than Metroid Prime 3.
 

SMattera

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Jan 30, 2014
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The gamepad is at its best (brilliant, even) when used for local, asynchronous mutliplayer.

Unfortunately, this was only realized in a few games, and even then, only relegated to mini games within games (Mario Chase, Bowser Party, Wario Ware Pictionary). The Wii U really needed a full-on game utilizing this concept. Like Mario Chase but an entire retail game.

I'm not really sure, however, how the big the market is for games that not just offer couch co-op but completely require it. How many people would buy a game that was useless if you didn't have 2-3 other people in the same room to play with you? Probably not many.
 

FunkyDealer

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Mar 9, 2015
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I remember reading about how the Wii U was introduced to developers as a system designed to be small and quiet, so mothers wouldn't mind having it under the TV. Big Red Flags right there.

I do love my Wii U though, but as with any Nintendo system, I bought it just for the first and second-party games. Anything else is gravy. Hopefully Nintendo will abandon the Wii brand for their next system, and get back in the hardware arms-race.
 

spekkeh

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Apr 18, 2011
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It was never the Wii U's concept to have a full fledged ipad to go along with the console.

The Wii U's concept was to create family play through asynchronous multi-player. Not some kind of tablet you can take with you so it's a singleplayer thing again.
 

IvorB

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Apr 26, 2013
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The problem with the gamepad is not the specification but rather that it is useless gimmick.
 

Tb0ne07

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Mar 17, 2014
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I use my Wii U more than anything else in the house. Great games for the whole family, nice exclusives, convenient Netflix and internet browser, backward compatible, decent retro library, plus off-tv play. All at a relatively lower price than the rest of current gen. And most everything just works....
 

ZhugeEX

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May 23, 2013
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The people I talk to don't even know there is a successor to the Wii.

Nintendo got more wrong on the marketing/appeal side.

Also can we dispel this myth that more powerful hardware = more sales. It may be true this generation but the Wii and PS2 were the weakest technically speaking.
 
Oct 17, 2005
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The problem with the gamepad is not the specification but rather that it is useless gimmick.


For me the annoying part is that there are two core features:

1. Using the gamepad a second screen to do cool things that you couldn't with a regular controller.

2. Offscreen play.


Those two features cannot be used by the same game, so you end up with map screens, inventory, or a horn button because they want to make it off screen compatible.
 

ForsakenLotus

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Jun 28, 2014
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I don't really think it does, because the conceit of the GamePad is either giving off TV play, which is nice but not worth driving the price of the console by $100, or as a similar function as the DS, which doesn't work properly because there is a big difference between holding two screen separated by a couple centimeters versus the GamePad and the TV.

The GamePad is a novel peripheral, but it doesn't work as a primary controller. Imagine of the Wii U had the Pro controller and launched $50, maybe even $100 less. The Wii U wouldn't be some smash success, but confident it would be doing better today.
 

tebunker

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Nov 28, 2006
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Honestly the biggest hurdle to the WiiU concept is that in this current era of games development it just doesn't pay to have a game custom tailored to one system.

It is smart of Nintendo to try and differentiate itself, but also by doing so they alienate themselves from all the devs and pubs that need to be able to easily and affordably make a game across multiple platforms.

I don't any amount of power or changes would actually affect that truth. About the only thing that could prove out the concept would have
Been Wii Like sales. So it is kind of a self fulfilling prophecy.
 

Raide

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Oct 29, 2007
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Their inability to explain what the hell it was clearly to prospective buyers was their biggest downfall. Downhill from there. They thought they could just ride the Wii wave and they would sell a billion Wii-U's. People can be pretty fickle if they are given no good reasons to purchase something.
 

MilesTeg

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Apr 6, 2014
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So you want an overpriced overpowered "jack of all trades" system with even more lack of a general appeal that the "current" Wii U.

As opposed to the overpriced and underpowered Wii U we have now, with no releases remaining aside from indie games and whatever Nintendo has left? Yes.
 

FunkyDealer

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Mar 9, 2015
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The problem with the gamepad is not the specification but rather that it is useless gimmick.

It's most certainly not useless, just not as useful for everything. Wind Waker HD, Nintendoland, Mass Effect 3 and Splatoon prove it's got great uses, but not every game can be made to suit it as well. If anything, the problem with the gamepad is the batterylife (even with the bigger battery) and the build-quality. Creaky plastic and rattling buttons are a shame for a Nintendo product.
 

FunkyDealer

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Mar 9, 2015
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I don't really think it does, because the conceit of the GamePad is either giving off TV play, which is nice but not worth driving the price of the console by $100, or as a similar function as the DS, which doesn't work properly because there is a big difference between holding two screen separated by a couple centimeters versus the GamePad and the TV.

The GamePad is a novel peripheral, but it doesn't work as a primary controller. Imagine of the Wii U had the Pro controller and launched $50, maybe even $100 less. The Wii U wouldn't be some smash success, but confident it would be doing better today.

I agree on most points, but the Gamepad most certainly wouldn't work as an optional peripheral. Nintendo had to go all in and make it part of everyone's system if it was to stand a chance.
 

RoboPlato

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Oct 29, 2006
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The tech demos Nintendo showed at the unveiling were truly exciting but unfortunately very few of those ideas actually made it into a game. My favorite was a golf game where the screen on the gamepad was the tee, you used the wiimote as a club, and then you saw your shot fly on the TV. Constant feedback between inputs like that, while a bit impractical, could really have been immersive and exciting.
 

Solid Samus

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Feb 26, 2010
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Part of my disappointment with Wii U is that having a screen, and microphone, and camera combo on your controller does have a lot of potential, for feedback and interaction, for bridging the local and online multiplayer experience, etc. potential which aligns itself with Nintendo's preexisting philosophies, which Nintendo doesn't and will never explore because Nintendoes what the fuck nobody else capable of logic and reason would.
 

ShinUltramanJ

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Jan 21, 2011
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I thought OP was going to give a bunch of interesting gameplay ideas that could've benefitted from the Wii U "concept". That's what the gamepad needed above all else, not a higher resolution screen, or apps.
 

Balb

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Dec 14, 2007
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To be honest I was never all that interested in most of the capabilities of the GamePad. I'm actually just fine with being able to play off-TV. Worth it for that feature alone.
 
Jan 23, 2015
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Can someone explain what part of the gamepad is a useless gimmick? That's the buzzword that everyone around here throws around. I freaking hate it.

The gamepad gives you a second screen that allows you quick access to maps, inventory, or other game specific pertinent info. It also allows you to shut the TV off and play from the pad itself. Neither of these is a gimmick. They're actually great additions to gaming and everyone that disagrees 9/10 times doesn't even own a damn Wii U.
 

MilesTeg

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Apr 6, 2014
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The main thing here is trying to imagine a competitor's Wii U. People are fixating too much on what the product is like now as opposed to what it would have been with a different company and branding behind it.

If it's Sony or MS with this device, the product could have simply been called "PS4" or "Xbox 720" for example. No confusion about the controller. Also, a standard controller could also be included in the box. I've always felt that Nintendo failed in that regard by not having at least a Wii Remote in the box.

AAA publishers hand would be forced, there is no way they can't support Sony or MS (the reason why PS3 bounced back after a rough start) therefore support is all but guaranteed. So you also get a much longer and better AAA support than current Wii U.

Anyway, I'm really just speculating on how much better the console could have been. I do like the Wii U, my only real issue is the remaining game support. Just imagining what the product could have been like in a different reality I guess.
 

FunkyDealer

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The tech demos Nintendo showed at the unveiling were truly exciting but unfortunately very few of those ideas actually made it into a game. My favorite was a golf game where the screen on the gamepad was the tee, you used the wiimote as a club, and then you saw your shot fly on the TV. Constant feedback between inputs like that, while a bit impractical, could really have been immersive and exciting.

I don't remember exactly how it looked, but Wii Sports lets you do this when playing Golf.
 

ElTorro

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May 15, 2013
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The gamepad gives you a second screen that allows you quick access to maps, inventory, or other game specific pertinent info.

That's not faster (or even as fast) as having relevant information on the screen or in an on-screen menu that you can popup with the press of a button. With the GamePad, you have to switch focus from the TV to the second screen, and that's not instant. It's rather annoying when the game is continuing to run, for instance in Mario Kart 8.

It also allows you to shut the TV off and play from the pad itself. Neither of these is a gimmick. They're actually great additions to gaming and everyone that disagrees 9/10 times doesn't even own a damn Wii U.

That's nice, but for that the GamePad could have just been an optional accessory, leading to a console with a smaller price tag or better specs.
 

IdreamofHIME

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If it was $600 no one would have bought it, even if it was a lot better...


That's a hell of an assumption to make, especially looking at his poor performance of the relatively cheap WiiU.

If you build a quality product, people will pay the premium. Cheaping out is more likely to put peolpe off with fears over quality.
 

spekkeh

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Apr 18, 2011
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This is the basic problem the console had, it delivered too late and the industry doesn't seem to have patience. Well it has some amazing games so I don't mind.

Apples and oranges maybe, but I feel the PS4 is easily taking as long as Wii U to deliver (probably longer), but has no such qualms.

First and foremost Wii U was/is a marketing disaster. The real core gamer demographic is pretty tiny. The rest hasn't been reached.
 

feint_ruled

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May 31, 2011
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Can someone explain what part of the gamepad is a useless gimmick? That's the buzzword that everyone around here throws around. I freaking hate it.

Off-TV play works great and is a technical marvel, but the fact it has to be done in very close range to the TV does make it a bit of a gimmick. It's cool, but why choose to look at the small slightly crap screen when you could be looking at the big one right in front of you?
 
May 18, 2012
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So you want a system that can match $400-$500 systems in raw power that also has a more expensive controller than the existing Wii U system? Somehow, I don't think a $600-$800 Wii U would succeed, no matter how great the technology was.
 

vcc

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Jun 4, 2013
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The main thing here is trying to imagine a competitor's Wii U. People are fixating too much on what the product is like now as opposed to what it would have been with a different company and branding behind it.

If it's Sony or MS with this device, the product could have simply been called "PS4" or "Xbox 720" for example. No confusion about the controller. Also, a standard controller could also be included in the box. I've always felt that Nintendo failed in that regard by not having at least a Wii Remote in the box.

AAA publishers hand would be forced, there is no way they can't support Sony or MS (the reason why PS3 bounced back after a rough start) therefore support is all but guaranteed. So you also get a much longer and better AAA support than current Wii U.

Anyway, I'm really just speculating on how much better the console could have been. I do like the Wii U, my only real issue is the remaining game support. Just imagining what the product could have been like in a different reality I guess.

Publishers can walk away from Sony as well. The vita has very little major publisher support. It's now primarily a peripheral to the PS4 anda indie game machine. I love it but the PS4/Vita combo basically the $600 Wii U from Sony.
 

Peltz

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Apr 26, 2014
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Xenoblade Chronicles X is the game which justifies the Gamepad more than anything else. It's sort of the ideal controller for a console MMO experience.

If the Wii U were an MMO-machine, I think such a controller would be more than justified.