News Article

Wii U Hopes to Rectify Problems that Wii is Experiencing

Posted by Trevor Chan

Terms like "core" and "casual" pop up, again

Without getting into semantics, the Nintendo Wii was and still is a huge success. With all the people that the console managed to please, there's naturally a percentage of people it failed to win over. With Nintendo's next console, the company hopes to fix several issues that come as a result of being labelled "casual".

In the latest edition of Iwata Asks, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and Nintendo EAD general manager Shigeru Miyamoto spoke at length about the development and goals of the Wii U. One area that was covered was the ability to output HD visuals and what it meant for developers. Iwata posited:

... there had been times up to now where you could do things on other companies' hardware, but was difficult to do on Wii. With Wii U, I also wanted to alleviate those restrictions as much as possible. I may be exaggerating by saying that with Wii U, we are posing a challenge against all creators. I want to challenge them by saying, "Wouldn't your creation be better, while keeping all of its strong points with this new structure that we are offering?"

Another subject matter that Iwata feels the Wii U will have to address is the definition and needs of core and casual gamers:

... shortly after the Wii console was released, people in the gaming media and game enthusiasts started recognizing the Wii as a casual machine aimed toward families, and placed game consoles by Microsoft and Sony in a very similar light with each other, saying these are machines aimed towards those who passionately play games. It was a categorization between games that were aimed towards core, and casual. I've been having a sense of disagreement as I personally think the definition of a core gamer is much wider, namely, someone who has a much wider range of interests, someone who enthusiastically plays many types of games that challenges different creative directions... On the other hand, I certainly do not think that Wii was able to cater to every gamer's needs, so that's also something I wanted to resolve... Of course, with the Wii console I'm sure everyone would agree that we tried really hard to go wider, but even though we worked aggressively to go deeper in certain areas, the general public's impression that Nintendo was casual grew as time went by.

Miyamoto also admitted that perhaps Nintendo failed to capture the interest of some core gamers, mainly due to the lack of HD visuals. With the capabilities of the Wii U, maybe Nintendo can break down the barrier that exists ― psychologically or not ― between the two groups and return things to a simpler era, an era when gamers were just gamers.

But one of the key reasons that such things as the core and the casuals 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... I think [the Wii U and its new controller] is an opportunity for those games that were considered to be core up to now, to evolve into something even more interesting structure. In that sense, I do wish all kinds of games would be released, regardless of the debate over core or casual. 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 towards 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 Nintendo doesn't have it in us. But there are quite a number of people who assume that Nintendo is the equivalent of being casual.

For more insights, be sure to check out the Q&A session in its entirety.

[via iwataasks.nintendo.com]

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User Comments (48)

FonistofCruxis

#1

FonistofCruxis said:

I think the wii has a great balance of core and casual games but many people just didn't look hard enough. It also didn't help that the casual wii games were advertised so much more than the core wii games.

NintendoLee

#2

NintendoLee said:

@mariofanatic128 I couldn't agree with you anymore, there's a ton of great titles out there on the Wii. It reminds me of the GCN and N64, so many classics that at the time were pretty much scoffed at.

erv

#3

erv said:

Hm, the lack of HD was exactly what nintendo was warned for before the wii even hit the market. By all of us.

Fire your marketing/ product developing department then. Hire me!

edhe

#4

edhe said:

@mariofanatic128 & @NintendoLee

That may be the case, but Capcom, Square, Konami et al weren't giving the Wii their A-game. Not to mention companies like Rockstar and BioWare who pretty much shunned the Nintendo consoles.

brooks83

#5

brooks83 said:

@erv - Yeah, they were warned and then the Wii became the best selling console this generation. I'd say their marketing/product development departments did just fine.

erv

#6

erv said:

@brooks83 hahaha, true, very true!

I have never in my whole gaming life had so much fun as I had with the wii, there was more core gaming on it than ever. It was just the casual promotion it was getting. Totally agree with @mariofanatic128

Robo-goose

#7

Robo-goose said:

It's not the console itself that defines the core/casual, it's what games it has and how the consumer plays them.
I found that there were plenty of hardcore games for the Wii.

TrevorTheChan

#8

TrevorTheChan said:

Regarding the comments here about the marketing ― and I guess I'm playing devil's advocate here for a sec ― it's much easier to sell a product to a consumer who already has intentions of buying it than it is to convince someone who is either on the fence, unaware or uninterested.

The fact that most of Nintendo's marketing campaigns look and feel the same regardless of what game is being promoted is something I think needs to change. Switch things up a little. Stop making adverts that are interchangeable.

@edhe - I wouldn't say Rockstar "shunned" Nintendo consoles, it did try. I thought Bully: Scholarship Edition, Manhunt 2 and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars are all good games, especially Chinatown Wars. Whether reported poor sales were because of game concepts or advertising/marketing, I don't think it's fair to infer Rockstar didn't bother. I certainly hope more Rockstar IPs arrive on the 3DS and Wii U, but even if they do, it's no use if the target audience doesn't see the 3DS or Wii U as consoles that cater for those types of games.

With the recent interest from third-party companies regarding the Wii U, it seems Nintendo finally realises that imposing restrictions on developers because it doesn't want to do what others are doing is counter-productive no matter which way you look at it.

thanos316

#9

thanos316 said:

@3 why fire your marketing person. the wii sold like hot cakes. it just got a certain tag put on it. im enjoying my wii for the many things it does. you just gotta look for the good games and you will be rewarded. nintendo is innovating, and just look at xbox and sony using motion and aiming games towards families, hmm i wonder where they got that from. and oh yea nintendo has the handheld market on lock. just stop putting labels on things and have fun playing games u like

y2josh

#10

y2josh said:

If they are trying to get the "hardcore" back into Nintendo systems, they should have eliminated the the term "Wii". Oh well, I'm definitely waiting a year or two, if at all, to buy one of these though.

Sylverstone

#11

Sylverstone said:

Maybe Nintendo can break down the barrier that exists ― psychologically or not ― between the two groups and return things to a simpler era, and era when gamers were just gamers.

Oh, how I wish that would happen again.

edhe

#12

edhe said:

@TrevorTheChan

I was mistaken about Rockstar (despite owning and enjoying "Bully"), but there are plenty of third party companies who skipped the Wii entirely.

Hopefully, the WiiU will catch their collective eyes, and they'll start releasing games for the Nintendo console.

Squiggle55

#13

Squiggle55 said:

I know I'll love the new console, but i'm still disappointed in it still being called Wii. I know they aren't out to please me because I'll buy it anyway, but it's still lame.
I was also hoping to see the wiimote and nunchuck disappear. let it be backwards compatible with them and everything but just give me one normal controller please.

It's not too late! name it Nintendo HD and release nice pretty optional controllers more like this: http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2011/04/rumour_wii_2_to_cost_usd350_support_3dtvs_out_in_october

TrevorTheChan

#14

TrevorTheChan said:

@y2josh - Initially, I thought the same. The first thing that came to mind was, "Why have 'Wii' and 'U' in the name? The former has been done already and the latter is no different to having a lower case ' i '." The second thing that came to mind was that it sounds too much like the European Union (EU). I still can't get that out of my head and hopefully I've spread it on to some of you readers now.

But now, I see why Nintendo's kept the "Wii" part. If it didn't, it would essentially have to start all over again in building a brand. With "Wii U", it seems to me Nintendo is building on what it has already created (much like Sony and Microsoft's continuation of their respective console names). I'm still not convinced with the chosen suffix. The whole "This product is made for 'you' concept" has been done to death and I personally think it's a bit of a cop out.

Squiggle55

#15

Squiggle55 said:

i just can't believe we have to live with the pronoun puns for another 5 years. It's weird but I feel really strongly about the lameness of this idea and I hope there is a chance they will change it.

Slapshot

#16

Slapshot said:

@Sylverstone I honestly don't see it that way. All gamers are gamers, no matter what the game preference is. Casual gaming in a major part of gaming and it doesn't need to go away. The issue is - like Trevor mentioned before me - that when Nintendo markets their games like Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, etc to look like children's games and non-gaming adults, the game marketing looks to appeal the same crowd that is playing nothing but Wii Fit.

This is what I've been saying here for years. It's not that Nintendo has abandoned their hardcore gamers, but Nintendo themselves had made it look like they had forgotten about them. If you owned a Wii since day one, I remember buying nearly every single half decent game released for months, desperate for a new Nintendo title to release, as it was my main home console at the time, and I'm not even going to begin on the huge online disappointment that was Smash Bros Wii. Wii U looks to rectify this issue though with multiple quality games in the first year, as 3DS has done as well.

Take a look at the World Record Times on Mario Kart Wii and try to see how you hold up to them (I held 5th on Delfino Plazao for a longtime ;) ), and then explain to me why the game doesn't have any hardcore appeal. But with that said, take a look at the trailers for the game, it looks like a game for small kids and non-gaming parents only. Us Nintendo fans bought it up, but what about many of the guys my age who have owned everyone since the SNES? Most everyone of them I know that grew up on Nintendo has shunned the company because the videos make it look like it's for their kids only, and they are playing other systems.

Nintendo has definitely gotten the point, and I'm honestly glad to see it. Loyal Nintendo fans have been held out in the dark - missing out on great 3rd Party titles - for too long. :)

y2josh

#17

y2josh said:

@TrevorTheChan: I see what you mean with the building on something that's already there, but in my opinion they have dug their self into a hole with the Wii. It sold boat loads, but will the "casuals" that bought the Wii think they got enough out of it to buy a Wii U, which sounds like the same system with a update of some kind. Will the "hardcore" xbox/ps3 fanboys go back to another Wii. Nintendo is being too vague about it. The Nintendo higher ups are acting more pompous year after year.

MasterGraveheart

#18

MasterGraveheart said:

The problem was that the Wii was a standalone, whereas PS360 was comperable, so it was easier to develop for the two more pricy platforms. When the market becomes PS360U, we'll see that third party issue change. But if you want MORE third party goodness, hold off on those purchases of Darksiders II, Ninja Gaiden III, and Batman Arkham City for your Wii U purchases. Trust me on this one. Make it a point to buy them for Nintendo and third parties will begin to develop MORE for Nintendo. That's what I did during the GameCube era when things were more even keel between the three/four platforms.

Slapshot

#19

Slapshot said:

@y2josh That is what investors are now nervous about apparently, as the Japanese Nintendo stocks took a nose dive last night. This is a current gen system and most 3rd party games will likely be ports, so the chance of them buying the system to play the same games is quite slim.

Then there is the direct competition with iPad, and Sony's upcoming Pad as well. How it takes off is going to come down to pricing and marketing, because the Wii U has serious competition already, and it's a year from release.

TrueWiiMaster

#20

TrueWiiMaster said:

@edhe
Capcom released 2 new Resident Evils, re-released several others, and made Monster Hunter an exclusive. Those are all A-game titles.

LightSamus

#21

LightSamus said:

"The Legend of Zelda games were something geared towards the toughest audience,"
Well not anymore, with Ocarina of Time containing video hints or 'visions' it basically kills all challenge, many people I've talked too say Nintendo are 'bringing down' their hardcore games with Super Guides etc turning them into selling points for casual gamers. I'm not sure where I stand, but they do have a point..

SKTTR

#22

SKTTR said:

To speak in terms of hardcore and casual, I think most Nintendo games are hardcore disguised as casual, Mario Kart Wii was a good example. But let's go back to the start! What about Wii Sports? Did you ever got all Platinum medals in that game? Truly hardcore. But all that means nothing!

Really, it's not the gameplay that is hardcore or casual, as Nintendo produces some of the greatest games on the planet. Hardcore and Casual, these two dumb words do nothing more than describing the looks and the theme of a game.

Here's an example:
Wargame? Hardcore! Partygame? Casual
Shooter? Hardcore! Jump&Run? Casual.
Realistic racer? Hardcore! Comic racer? Casual.

Looks are so deceiving.

Henmii

#23

Henmii said:

"Of course, with the Wii console I'm sure everyone would agree that we tried really hard to go wider"

Well, I disagree! If you tried so hard, I would have seen more titles that the xbox360 and PS3 are seeing!!

And HD is not the main problem. When you console is graphically weak, with weak online possibility's and bad third-party support you can't expect many hardcore gamers buying your console. Besides, the downloadable games are overpriced!

SMEXIZELDAMAN

#24

SMEXIZELDAMAN said:

omg miyamoto is sooo smart __ I really hope the Wii U fixes this too. Althoguh i dont care if people hate on mah Wii (it's better than theirs) ;)

Graph

#25

Graph said:

I personally don't understand all this multiplayer craze ... it's probably why I stick with Nintendo. It seems to me that most games on XBOX, PC and PS3 are all about online and frankly, this annoys me. Because it takes away so much from the single player part of the games in favor of online and when I go home, I want to enjoy my game without having to deal with a bunch of little kids screaming and insulting everyone.

And not being HD wasn't an issue, and I know why Nintendo did it. Back then, HD tvs weren't really as widespread as they are today. As for third party support, I agree somewhat, but lets face it .... Nintendo brand games is where it's at.

I don't consider people who don't like Nintendo games, hardcore. To me, they are missing the key part of the console industry. But I'm glad Nintendo will go get those people with the WiiU and keep what I like about Nintendo.

My Wii never collected dust.

Slapshot

#26

Slapshot said:

@SKTTR You're exactly right man. But, it all goes back to marketing. The games were put out there to be casual. Do you remember all the news reporters going to retirement homes where elderly people were playing Wii Sports? ;)

vio

#27

vio said:

Likewise Graph. I just fail to understand how people can get "bored" with the Wii and let it collect dust. Between all my Virtual Console games(of which i still have plenty i'd like to download and play), the good new games(and yes, there are plenty of them on the system) and Netflix streaming, my Wii gets used just about every day. I more than feel it was worth the money. And I'll probably be using it every day for years to come. Well, unless I buy into the Wii U hype and purchase one at launch.

komicturtle

#28

komicturtle said:

I own 55 games for Wii- not counting VC and WW games. Logging in 1,500 hours in Brawl, this whole issue hasn't affected me much at all. HD, to me, is nothing but a layer. It doesn't add much of anything to a game other than a pretty layer, finner edges- that's it. I'll always look at it that way. I'm really surprised people are still raving about HD.

Isn't it the standard these days? So, I don't understand the rave about it. In terms of Wii not having enough good games- that's all an opinion. Just as I don't find a majority of games on the other systems in the least appealing- you don't see me saying "There are no good games on PS3/360".

Even if or when those games roll on over to WiiU, I'll still overloo,k them because those games do nothing for me. I could go as far as saying "They suck"

Then, some people want to bash me and think their opinion is superior- I don't think mine is in the least. I could be thinking far into this, but being called a fanboy and all these silly names just because you don't follow what other people say shows how close-minded gamers are this generation.

Calling someone a fanboy because they don't think the console they like are inferior to the rest is just a cop out.

I think the Wii is the best console of the 3. And it's nothing to do with power, but it's because it has most games I like. It's not to say I don't enjoy Halo, LBP, Ratchet&Clank and other titles across all platforms of this gen, and I play my PS2 occasionally.

I do wish the whole Casual vs Hardcore would end but we all know that'll never happen. It would be nice if Nintendo does indeed destroy that cocept, but it just isn't going to happen.

In terms of WiiU, I hope they use the same strategy that was used for DS. That system had loads of suuport from 3rd party that's being carried over to their new 3DS.

Henmii

#29

Henmii said:

"I just fail to understand how people can get "bored" with the Wii and let it collect dust"

I also use my wii almost everyday. I sure have fun with it. But at the same time it pisses me of that I had to miss out on so many great third-party games. Games that all went to the xbox360 and PS3.

So if Nintendo can secure good third-party support that would make me very happy. But I just have to wait and see!

rjejr

#30

rjejr said:

I know it's easy to talk about HD (my son played Spiderman Web of Shadows today and dam is that ugly, good for a Wii game I suppose) but the horsepower matters too and I just don't think even in SD the Wii could handle a lot of this generations games. I mean, the PS3 and Xbox360 can both be hooked up to SD tv's and the games can be played, but even in SD the Wi probably isn't going to output God of War or Gears of War. The HD is important to me and I'm sure many others, but for developers having current hardware should probably help get some games on the system. A truel Madden game or realistic racer would be nice.

Edwrd

#31

Edwrd said:

Nintendo games all have cartoony looks to them, they are non-bloody, and everything is cute, which gives a kiddie, uber casual vibe, even though some of their games, the difficulty curve is way steeper if you go the completionist route than the blockbuster PS3, 360 or PC games that is very very short.

But if devs want to make the best looking and best sounding game they can, to wow players, beat the competition, I imagine the Wii can't be on their minds.

Even though this iteration Nintendo kept the Wii name which is very recognizable, I think as time passes and more core 3rd party games appear, core gamers will start accepting it, but there are still a lot we don't know, like the online capabilities and the rest of the hardware specs. Online play is important since it is one of the main selling points of, it seems all blockbuster FPS games nowadays. Of course Wii U owners have to buy the Wii U version of these games too and not the 360 or PC version because their online is better.

JebbyDeringer

#32

JebbyDeringer said:

While the Wii's thunder has really died over the past year the system was still a huge financial success. Talking about hardcore gamers is a bit silly because the Wii's market was so much bigger than the Xbox & PS3. Nintendo will never be able to compete for the same market, it's obvious they don't really want to be on the same playing field. That said they do need to appeal to hardcore gamers this time around because I doubt that non/retired gamers will be ready for another gaming console.

Capt_N

#33

Capt_N said:

Nintendo is a business. Like any, it both goes, & markets to where the money is. This time around, the Wii was mainly marketed to ppl who didn't use to play games @ all, or haven't for some time. Will Nintendo recapture those same ppl this time? I don't know. Will they try? It seems like they are w/ the branding of WiiU.

I prefer to call myself a traditional gamer, not hardcore/casual. Because I play games as a hobby/pasttime. I always have. I am not the "new" crowd that Nintendo is trying to, or rather was trying to attract, w/ the Wii. That said, I think the industry is large enough for both, but co.s will generally go w/ the money, so whichever "side" makes them more, they will more openly support, & market to. W/ the Wii, the "new" crowd made Nintendo money, & so openly they went after, & marketed to that crowd. That doesn't mean Nintendo forgot my crowd of gamer, they simply more publicly went after the newer crowd.

Hardware is important, but only to the extent that a game console can have little trouble staying close in hardware specs to the competition, & that more importantly, the hardware gets whatever job done required of it.

Furthermore, Nintendo's games are mostly kiddish appearing on the outside. W/o taking a deep look at the gameplay, etc., Nintendo games generally erroneously get branded as only for kids, or babyish. I remember I had a co-worker @ a place I worked a few years ago. He told me in front of my other co-workers that I was playing kiddy games, because I was playing Mario, Zelda, etc., while he was playing god of war(Garfield put it best: BIg fat Hairy Deal!). A gamer is a gamer, no matter what they like to play. The difference is mostly in how often, & how intensely a gamer plays, as those casual/hardcore definitions really apply to gamers themselves, not games. Although, games can require certain types of gamers/players.

Winter

#34

Winter said:

I think the controller will do it for me. It looks less family and more hardcore. I want to play my games with buttons. Hopefully we will see more rpg's, more huge titles etc. And of course for us who still love the SNES and other old consoles, give us more love with VC :) I could be very very happy playing say Earthbound on that controller!
I wish they had some rights to ICO though. I can imagine myself get lost in it again on that controller screen sigh But will probably never happen, so why start dreaming :)

luminalace

#35

luminalace said:

People who are not enchanted by Nintendo software (which we all agree is the best) will always find a reason to complain about a Nintendo system. If 3rd party support is on par with the other consoles then we can all be happy! 3rd party games must succeed this time and all that hardcore nonsense should cease...or not!

motang

#37

motang said:

Hmmm...I wonder if Nintendo will keep casual market on the Wii for sometime and concentrate on "core" market on the Wii U, now that would be an interesting move.

Hokori

#38

Hokori said:

@25 yep thats how I feel, and my wii collected dust only the 1st week after the 3DS came out

JebbyDeringer

#39

JebbyDeringer said:

If Super Mario Galaxy 2 isn't hardcore I'm not sure what is. That game gets hard especially if you want to complete it. It's accessible to kids, sure, but it demands serious skill/brain power to complete. I'd recommend it to kids because they'll have fun and it will also increase their dexterity ten fold.

It seems that the definition of hardcore gaming are games that appeal to an immature audience that can't see the weak game through all the blood, boobs, and bullets.

SwerdMurd

#40

SwerdMurd said:

nintendo really doesn't do a terrible job of catering to so-called core gamers...i just feel the other two do a slightly better job.wii u's capabilities seem able to change that....sadly it seems like a bit of a redundant purchase for me. We'll see as time goes on/games are announced.

TikiTong

#41

TikiTong said:

It's not the games that defy the hardcore to casual,its the gamer him/herself.Hardcore means youre a big fan of games,play them all the time,you consider it a hobby,and dip into all genres.Well that's what it used to mean.....

paburrows

#43

paburrows said:

As a Nintendo Zombie I'm kind of worried about the "Hardcore" talk. I love Nintendo as it is as a Family Friendly console thats low priced. I'm really dreading the idea of the Wii U coming out next year with a $600 dollar price tag like the PS 3 did. (I'm probably remembering wrong on the price)

Henmii

#44

Henmii said:

Well, yeah I also fear a bit that the new console will be very expensive because of the controller. But keep in mind that the screen on the controller isn't HD (according to IGN anyway), and wonders never cease. PS Vita only costs 250 Euro's/Dollar, something nobody expected. Maybe we will be surprised at how cost-friendly the wii u will be!

Mandoble

#45

Mandoble said:

1 - Nitendo Sofware is not the best, not even close. PC software is the best and the cheapest. Nintendo software has just the very worst ratio dev cost/public price.
2 - For once I do like the new concept behind a Nintendo design, but I really hope they dont try to justify the console only basing games in the new controller as they did for the Wii, resulting in a bunch of nonsense games (tech demos) abusing of the Wiimote or M+.
3 - They should take a lot of care with the price. Now they have a 3DS more expensive than PS Vita but totally outclassed by Sony.

Plastifish

#46

Plastifish said:

I'm an old guy. To me hardcore gaming has just come to mean you play on line - which I don't think is a correct definition, but what people think something means is all that matters, right or wrong.

An active on line community and HD is what the Wii didn't have and is what differentiated it from the the other system. I have friends who asked me what I was doing when the PSN server went down... come on, man. I love playing the PS3 when I want to play on line. Other than that, it hasn't been a difference for me this generation.

Hardcore gaming means you play a lot of games. It doesn't matter what kind - it's just a person who is dedicated to the hobby. I did some hardcore gaming back in the day... before Al Gore invented the internet.

ToastyYogurt

#47

ToastyYogurt said:

If this is your goal, Nintendo, why did you name the system Wii U? If you gave it a name that didn't tie it to the Wii and didn't sound as stupid as Wii did, "core" gamers might think twice about the system and look at it. But with a name tying it to the Wii, said gamers won't even glance at the Wii U, thinking "it's just another Wii."

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