A thing I keep repeating over and over again without much good examples is that modern video game developers need to learn from the past mistakes and not repeat them. Similarly, the developers need to learn from the past successes but not copy or repeat them but to see the inner workings of the customer mind.
Nintendo made an announcement of sorts that they will not abandon the Wii U. The game industry hated this. There is a recurring motif in the electronic gaming industry where Nintendo is absolutely hated, despised even, when they put out a product will sell like hotcakes. The NES was hated on many levels, but the customers loved it and it sold. The GameBoy, for what I can recall, is a surprising exception if you ignore how the competition barked at its performance power and computer side more or less hated it. The DS was hated when Nintendo changed it into a portable SNES and became a success. The Wii is still despised by the industry and the hardcore crowd despite almost everyone owning one.
The Wii U is a different thing, a console not really hated by the industry, but neither it is celebrated by the consumers like the Wii. At this moment, Wii U has gotten some steam, but it lacks uniqueness. Same goes for Xbone and PS4.
Why Nintendo shouldn’t abandon the Wii U, many have asked. The single most important reason for this is that it would be stupid.
Customer relations is hugely important, and losing customer trust is the worst thing a company can ever go through. SEGA will tell you that, as will any company who screwed up.
The SEGA Saturn was supposed to be a beast of a console. Technically speaking it is a very competent 2D machine for its time, especially with the RAM expansion carts, but the games did not attract customers. Well, most of the good games stayed in Japan because certain individuals pushing 3D games on the front. Actually, the whole console release was a disaster and SEGA ultimately just said that Saturn is not their future. That was a bitchslap to customers’ faces. Dropping promises and support for a product that demanded large amounts of money. Saturn was a disaster and one of the final nails on SEGA’s coffin.
Personally, I do like Saturn. It has some gems and the number of arcade games it has is nice. What I think of the Saturn doesn’t matter, only that it sucked, bombed and was buried.
If Nintendo were to abandon the Wii U now, they would repeat SEGA’s mistakes. Nobody wants that, except hardcore fanboys and people who would prefer one console with every game on it.
This would be a horrible model. A competition needs and demands a one-two beat. Another one needs to beat the first one, and another needs hit the second beat. It’s sort of dance, and there is need for disruption every now and then, if not in regular intervals. Everything different is not disruptive, but the keys that hit the points just right are. The NES, GameBoy, DS and Wii were all disruptive and allowed the competitive dance to hit the one-two beat.
Wii U can become a great console yet. All it needs products to hold it high. I doubt this, as Nintendo seems to fail to realize the full potential of their products. One thing everybody was thinking for the Wii was either a damn good Star Wars game, or a really good sword fighting game. It could not have been Zelda, because Aonuma hates fighting and masturbates over puzzles. The very moment we saw the Wiimote, we all knew what we wanted. That, and the light gun games, which could’ve worked slightly better. We never got any good sword fighting games, thou the Wii Sports Resort had a good basis, but it was far from being anything good and proper.
Another game customers thought when they saw the camera and tilt function in the 3DS was Pokémon Snap 2. It was a couple made in heaven, and nothing. Pokémon Snap is one of the most fondly remembered games on the N64 as well as one of them most well made camera based games, despite everything that went against the N64.
Often it is not all too good to give the customer what they want, but what they need. Sometimes it’s very recommendable to listen to your customers. This sounds stupid and may show hypocrisy to some extent, but in all reality it is about choosing the time when to put either choice into action. In reality, while market research follows very straightforward methods, but how, when and where changes with time and what were are researching as well as what we are researching for. Despite Nintendo promoting new ways of playing games, they haven’t pushed their new ways as far as they could have and without a proper example no company wanted to follow.
Actually, if we want to really talk about dropping system in the middle of their life, Nintendo did drop the DS and the Wii like a dead fly. Both systems saw very little supports from Nintendo in the last few years of their life. The Wii got software like Wii Music, which was hated practically everybody in and out of the industry. Those people who bought a Wii and experienced Nintendo taking their resources to 3DS, then to Wii U, never moved up a console. Why would anyone buy a console from a company that doesn’t even support it to the very end?
Nintendo wanted to have the Wii U as the console Wii users would move on to. Fat chance. The Wii U is not the Wii but in mere name similarity. It is a very opposite console. If I were to observe the current consoles from personal view, there’s very little games that catch my attention, and those which do are all multiplatform par few exceptions like Splatoon. While sequels are the things that seem to draw in most money, they cannot be repetitions.