Thursday, August 4, 2011

No Wii U release date, price till 2012 says Nintendo president

When Nintendo revealed their next console at E3 this year, they said the company was expecting to release Wii U in spring 2012. Gamers hoping for a more concrete date will have to wait till 2012 according to Nintendo’s president.

"Since the Wii U we showed you at the E3 show in June was still in the development phase without very specific proposals on the software titles, we are going to announce the release date and the price next year when we are able to explain the specific proposals,” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said.

With declining Wii and DS sales and the lackluster performance of the 3DS to date, many expected the system to come earlier than later. Nintendo simply can’t afford to prolong the drought they are facing for another year. Based on Iwata comments, it seems highly unlikely gamers will get their hands on Wii U in the first half of 2012.

It comes down to software as it always does. A new console means learning all new hardware and that takes time. Pin pointing hardware for a new console is the easy part for companies. Taking the two years to develop quality software is what always throws a monkey wrench into the equation. Nintendo could have Wii U on shelves by April 2012 but even a company as big as Nintendo, with as many resources as Nintendo, won’t have games ready by then according to our exclusive analysis of their development studios.

The 3DS is experiencing this problem; the PSP Vita also appears to be on a similar situation, as the system won’t be released in the west till 2012. With Microsoft and Sony both fast tracking their next consoles, they may also experience the same problem. Until the day comes and all console hardware is uniform, the problem is only going to get worse.  Games are only getting more complicated, graphics are getting more photorealistic and production values continue to increase (e.g., voice acting, art direction, story, online integration). Game droughts will happen at a higher frequency during the next generation.

Maybe that isn’t a bad thing. With so many games coming out every month of the year (excluding July & August) maybe gamers will be able to finish longer games like Red Dead Redemption, Fallout and Mass Effect or be able to replay a game again (what a novel idea) or have time to actually play dedicated handheld gaming consoles (i.e., devices that don't also make phone calls).


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