Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nintendo bosses say Wii U will cater to all types of gamers

Nintendo will put more effort into reaching gamers their previous console missed with Wii U next year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and designer Shigeru Miyamoto wrote in their column, Iwata Asks.

“This is something that has been pointed out by developers outside of the company. Including HD support, there had been times up to now where you could do things on other companies' hardware, but was difficult to do on Wii,” said Iwata. “With Wii U, I also wanted to alleviate those restrictions as much as possible.”

Since Wii’s launch, Nintendo combated the view that the console was for casual gamers. Nintendo on numerous occasions even supported this view in that they wanted to expand beyond their core audience into the untapped casual market.
Hardcore gaming
"That core vs. casual debate seems like something that can never see a resolution, but with Wii U, I have a feeling that it all may change. I even feel that the barrier that separated the two genres was only something psychological, just an impression that people had about them. For example, The Legend of Zelda games were something geared towards the toughest audience, and it has been so from the beginning. So it's not like at Nintendo we don't have it in us. But there are quite a number of people who assume that Nintendo is the equivalent of being casual,” Iwata said.

HD was one of the first bullet points Nintendo highlighted when revealing their upcoming console. The company repeatedly said their lack of HD support with the Wii was based on household HDTV penetration rates in 2006 and they didn’t expect the growth the technology saw.

“One of the key reasons that such things as the core and the casual exist today is that we decided not to adopt HD on the Wii console. Of course, besides that there are things like issues with the controller and the challenges that it brings, network functionalities and many other things, but I think HD was the biggest factor that everyone was able to clearly understand the difference,” said Miyamoto.

HD resolution is only a part of the issue. Right out of the gate, the Wii was handicapped technology wise. New consoles, as history showed, provide a generational leap in hardware horsepower. The Wii was an updated version of the 2001 Gamecube hardware and the hardcore audience knew that.

“If we are able to break those psychological barriers with Wii U, I feel like we will be able to take our goal of expanding the gaming population even further,” Iwata said. “ It would even be possible to expand our customer base and bring in more people, and out of those new people, there will be those who will find certain controls or elements of deeper gameplay intriguing, and eventually will become passionate game fans. That was the way the history of video games has been, and I want to keep the tradition going so it doesn't fade away.”
It was pictures like this that helped create the
image that the Wii was a casual platform.
It’s still unclear that this point how powerful Wii U is. Nintendo has stated the new console can surpass anything on PS3 and Xbox 360 but that technology is over 5 years old now. From the numerous comments Nintendo has made since E3 2011, they acknowledge their shortcomings and are attempting to resolve them. HD resolution, hardware power, online connectability, selection of games and 3rd party relations have been at the forefront of Nintendo’s mission to continue their first place stance in the upcoming generation on new consoles.

“In terms of the HD capabilities, Wii U can do something similar, and on top of that, it is equipped with this new controller that adds an entirely new structure to games. I think this is an opportunity for those games that were considered to be core up to now, to evolve into something even more interesting, structurally,” Miyamoto said.


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