Talking Point: Should Nintendo Try to Recapture 'Hardcore' Gamers?

What is hardcore anyway?

So what approach should Nintendo take with Wii 2? It shouldn’t, for one thing, create an Xbox or PS3 competitor that forgets, or underestimates, the groundwork established by the Wii. Nintendo’s strength is its distinction from competitors, a willingness to forge its own path and gaming experiences. There are strong rumours that Wii 2 will be HD capable, and there is much talk of a more conventional gamepad with dual thumbsticks; of course the same rumours claim that a screen is also included in the middle of the controller. It can only be hoped that this doesn’t represent an abandonment of concepts such as the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.

Nintendo would be well served to seek the best of both worlds. On the one hand, cater for the so-called ‘hardcore’ audience with a conventional controller and HD visuals. Should Wii 2 incorporate these features, it will help to encourage developers to include the console in their biggest releases, vanquishing the anguished cries of the abandonment of core gaming.

However, let’s not forget what the Wii has achieved. Beyond motion controls and party games, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk also proved themselves as terrific controllers for genres such as RPG and FPS titles. The freedom and comfort of using both hands separately, as well as the gaming opportunities provided by the pointer controls, have been a major part of the console’s success. The ability to use the Wii Remote sideways as a NES controller, or to simply plug in a Classic Controller, also allowed for more conventional control schemes to be used. If the Wii 2 loses sight of these advantages in favour of a single new controller it would be a major loss, so backwards compatibility with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk is an absolute must.

Most importantly, Nintendo’s next console should provide fun, innovative experiences at an affordable price. Not all Wii owners bought the console for Wii Fit and motion controlled mini-games: some bought the console to enjoy new Mario, Zelda and Metroid titles, at a price that didn’t completely empty the wallet.

If ‘hardcore’ means HD visuals and M-rated titles controlled with a dual analogue controller, then Wii missed out. However, if ‘hardcore’ means challenging, varied, innovative and fun gaming, then the Wii was, arguably, a resounding triumph. The Wii has had its share of mistakes and problems, but it has also provided some glorious gaming unmatched on other consoles. That is what Nintendo must continue with the successor in 2012.

What do you think Nintendo's next console should aim to do? Should the next big innovation aim to expand on the Wii's enormous market share-grabbing antics, or reach out to hardcore gamers? Do you think the Wii was already hardcore enough? Let your thoughts be known in the comments section below!