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Wii and U

by Federico Fasce on 9 June 2011

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The name is not so good. Ok, I guess I’ll get over it. After all my first console was an Intellivision. I can’t really say if this is a good or a bad move for Nintendo, right now. We have seen to little of Nintendo Wii U to say something about it. I love the way Nintendo makes games, and in my library the space taken by Wii games is more than the one taken by Ps3 and XBox 360 games TOGETHER. And yes, I’ve played and enjoyed them all, for different reasons.

So, Wii U. The first thing I’ve noticed is the way they have totally ignored the console, putting the spotlight on the controller. Everyone wanted an HD Wii, and Nintendo is doing it. But they kinda ignored the graphics power. It’s like for them is not really a selling point. Today you need it, but it’s not that the thing making a game fun. The controller is way more important, because it defines the experience in some ways. It defines its more than the bells and whistles of HD graphics. The new controller can move the action from the screen to the living room space. It’s family centric (and family is the most repeated word during the keynote). So the controller enables a certain kind of play. Wiimote did that too, but in different ways. When Wii was presented, the console was still at the center of the show, though the controller was obviously the most discussed thing. Today, the console is not so important. What’s really important is the experience and the interaction. That’s it. In a way they learned from Apple. When speaking about iPhone and iPad, Apple never talks about technical specs. Just few developers, for example, really know which CPU is mounted on an iPhone 4, or how much Ram it mounts. But I’m digressing.

The new controller generates a lot of confusion. As I said, I’m not entirely sure of it. It looks like an experiment, and in some ways is more difficult to understand than Wiimote. But it’s fascinating. It opens possibilities. It challenges my mind like no controller did before. Sure, it screams imperfect information, and it can introduce in offline multiplayer digital games an element they lack: the possibility for the player to carry asymmetric information, which could easily lead to patterns like temporary alliances, diplomacy or simply deception. But this is only scratching the surface. As for the Wii launch, I really hope that designers will find some clever ways to use this thing. And maybe for that Satoru Iwata needs to review his thought about indie developers and to open the access to the platform as much as possible. Good luck with that.

Napolux June 9, 2011 at 10:07

I’m not sure of the controller too…
How much will it cost a single controller? Going this way maybe it will cost as much as the console… (let’s think of the current prices of XBOX and PS3)…

What about kids? What happens if this controller falls from the hands of a kid? Will it break? Will it be “kids-proof”?

Sergio June 9, 2011 at 11:25

Seem to me the perfect controlled for digitally enhanced pen & paper role playing game – that is something i have experimented with laptops years ago.

The only problem i see is the price of the controller.

And also will the controller be a standalone portable console?

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