Round Table: Looking Ahead to Nintendo in 2012

Should be a good 'un

Thomas Whitehead: Ok, let's move on to home consoles. We agree the Wii is fading away, but will titles like the new Mario Party help Nintendo achieve their goal of making it another PS2, ie selling well beyond its generation?

Christopher Ingram: I honestly don’t think Mario Party is a title to keep a system alive. But, I do think that the back-catalogue of cheap games will no doubt keep families purchasing for their little ones for years though.

Marcel van Duyn: Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit and others are still selling like mad despite being 2-3 years old so I think that won't be a problem.

Mark Reece: I think the Wii U's more controller-y controller design is going to scare off a lot of the people who bought Wii's. The reason my mum can work a Wii Remote is because it's like a TV remote. You just point and press buttons. People like her are likely going to stick with what they know, so I think the Wii has a good few years left in it yet.

Ron DelVillano: If it's still selling, then there's no reason to stop producing it. I'd like to see it fade out (which I also think should have happened to the PS2 years ago), but that's probably not going to happen.

Mark Reece: To be fair, if the PS3 hadn't cost the same as a second-hand car at launch, the PS2 probably would have faded away years ago.

Dave Frear: I think it will quickly die off. There will be little (if any) new games and the shops would rather sell you the newer, pricier model.

James Newton: Wii sold so much by expanding the market, but has it reached saturation point? Families are moving to Kinect now, and what can Wii bring to non-gamers that they can't get elsewhere? That's the obstacle, I think.

Marcel van Duyn: A cheaper price.

Mark Reece: Motion control that works less than six feet from the TV.

Thomas Whitehead: I agree with Marcel and think the only remaining plus for the Wii is its exceptionally low price: an Xbox 360 with Kinect etc is still a fair bit more.

Moving onto the Wii U. Firstly, are we all confident it'll hit this calendar year, or is a disappointing 'early 2013' window a possibility?

James Newton: It's coming. It'll be out in October. You heard it here first (I may be making this up).

You hear that Reggie? Make it happen.

Mark Reece: Q4 2012 I reckon.

Ron DelVillano: I can see that happening. Nintendo isn't afraid to push back the release on games, but they'll throw the first iteration of a console into the market whether it's complete or not.

Thomas Whitehead: I agree it'll hit in time for Christmas, they'd be fools to use the same launch window as the 3DS.

Marcel van Duyn: Q3 or Q4 would be a good bet, they're probably gonna want to have it out a while before the next PlayStation and Xbox.

Christopher Ingram: Rumours are stirring up that we could see Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen systems by years end or early next year, which I’m doubtful of. But the Wii U has to be released before those systems hit the market, or Nintendo’s push to appeal to core gamers with Wii U could be rendered useless. Both Sony and Microsoft usually double their specs between hardware releases and if this holds true once again, both systems will be superior to the Wii U. Wii U needs to release this year, and do so with a vengeance if they really want to pull gamers away from their PS3 and 360s.

Ron DelVillano: I feel like I'm coming off as very bitter and angry in this whole discussion. I think the Wii U is going to come out this year, but I would gladly wait an extra year for Nintendo to make it an amazing console.

Dave Frear: I think it will be out towards the end of the year, but I agree with Ron: if it ends up as a rushed release and there are features missing I'd rather they delay it a bit.

Thomas Whitehead: Since E3 actual details, apart from speculation and rumours, have been thin on the ground. It's been stated that this was to focus on 3DS. Are any of you worried that this is because the console is still actually in a fairly early stage, could it be undercooked on launch?

Wii U needs to release this year, and do so with a vengeance if they really want to pull gamers away from their PS3 and 360s.

Christopher Ingram: Possibly a bit of both: 3DS got overshadowed by the Wii U confusion at last year’s E3 and the fact that the Wii U unveiling didn’t draw massive hype, but instead outcry, meant Nintendo had to let Wii U fade off the headlines for a while. They’d be best to not drop a home console on the market undercooked after last year’s 3DS hiccup!

James Newton: Nintendo announced it way before it was ready just to plug the leaks, really. I'm confident this year's showing will be much stronger, and will have real games and everything.

Ron DelVillano: Like I said, I'll gladly wait longer to give Nintendo the time to make the Wii U great.

Mark Reece: I certainly hope not. Obviously, any console needs the games more than anything else to succeed, but look at the features present on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3... then compare them to the Wii. Nintendo are going after the audiences of the current HD consoles with the WiiU, so they'd better make sure that it's up to scratch when it's released.

Oh, and ditch Friend Codes, Nintendo.

Marcel van Duyn: Yeah, they only showed tech demos last year and didn't even announce a single game of their own aside from Smash Bros. (which wasn't even supposed to be revealed yet) so it definitely was revealed earlier than they wanted, but I'm sure they'll have some good stuff at this year's E3.

Dave Frear: It seems rather underwhelming at the moment but hopefully we'll get more excited as we learn more about it.

Thomas Whitehead: Looking at the functions that have been unveiled, do you think there's enough of a selling point with Wii U. The main focus is surely on the controller and its possibilities, rather than HD visuals?

Is it enough to excite like the Wii/Revolution did?

James Newton: I'm a big believer in Wii U. Big believer.

Mark Reece: HD visuals will be a bonus, but Nintendo should be opening its chequebook and securing stuff like NetFlix, ESPN, Facebook, Twitter and the TV-On-Demand services that both Sony and Microsoft provide on their consoles. A fancy controller is one thing, but give the punters a reason to consider your console over the competition from the off. And don't be relying on promises of things yet to come. Give us a console worth owning on release day.

Thomas Whitehead: I actually think it can change gaming, if the price point is right. Vita/PS3 may be able to do similar things, but it'd cost a fair bit to complete the setup. If they can hit a price of £200-£250, with a launch game, it could sell like crazy: especially if the tablet controller is marketed to impress those who like iPads etc.

Ron DelVillano: I see the potential, but it's really up to the developers to really utilize the Wii U controller's capabilities. I feel the same way about this that I feel about the 3D technology in the 3DS. Some games like Super Mario 3D Land use the 3D to actually enhance and change gameplay, but other games just use it as sort of a gimmick.

Dave Frear: I'm not particularly fussed about the controller right now and whilst that could change when I see more of what it could use be used for, it doesn't seem like it will attract new people the way the Wii Remote did. A decent launch line-up is needed, which I hope will consist of more than Wii Sporty Pets U Like and some old PS360 games with tacked on tablet waving.

Marcel van Duyn: They have said that the graphics can match that of other current consoles, but since we haven't seen any games yet that's kind of hard to confirm. The second screen doesn't really do that much for me yet but I'm sure they can come up with some unique ideas for games that use it. I don't think it will be as big a system seller as the Wii's motion controls though.

Christopher Ingram: It all depends on what happens at this year’s E3! It’s a neat concept, but I’m just not sold on the system yet. Nintendo has to give me, as well as the millions of handheld console and pad owners a reason to go out and buy their Wii U, of which it’s quite similar too. Also, if either Sony or Microsoft shows any gameplay footage of their next-gen systems, then Wii U could be in for a serious uphill climb trying to win over core gamers and the casual crowd alike.

Mark Reece: Maps and HUDS, that's what third parties see in that controller's screen. I can see it now.

Thomas Whitehead: I still think price and iPad style apps will be absolutely vital. If a consumer sees an iPad for £400 and a Wii U, with similar functions and a genuine console to go with their Wii Remotes thrown in, it could be huge.

Marcel van Duyn: I'd like to see it used for something like that Fatal Frame game on 3DS, where you would look around with it and see hidden stuff.

Mark Reece: Can I point out: when are Nintendo going to put the right-hand analogue stick and the face buttons the right way round?

Just sayin' — face buttons below analogue stick = heresy.

Thomas Whitehead: We need to wait for E3, they've already said that a new iteration is in the works before it launches.

James Newton: Yeah, the final form will be shown at E3, so I guess there may be some tweaks. Maybe proper sticks instead of Circle Pads, please!

Thomas Whitehead: To round things off, what are your hopes and dreams, or expectations even, for Nintendo Life in 2012?

James Newton: Nintendo Life is going to be even better this year. That's all.

Thomas Whitehead: I’m looking forward to all of the improvements and content we’ll be working on, and it’s thrilling to have the prospect of covering a new Nintendo console release for a second consecutive year.

Mark Reece: I’m proud to have been contributing to Nintendo Life in the past few months, and thank James and Thomas for their support and guidance. I look forward to moving upward and contributing more in 2012.

Christopher Ingram: I have to say that I’m definitely honoured to be a part of this awesome team and glad that I was able to charm our lovely Nintendo Life Towers receptionist into letting me sneak into all of these Roundtables – I just hope she continues to like white roses and dark chocolate treats this year too! 2012 is already lining up to be a fantastic year for not only Nintendo Life, but our other network sites as well, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

Ron DelVillano: We're definitely growing, and we'll be busy this next year, but I think it'll be a good one. I feel like we're really contributing, especially now with the 3DS gaining steam. We're doing a damn fine job, and it feels great.

Marcel van Duyn: I just hope we continue to be as awesome and keep growing!

Dave Frear: I also hope Nintendo Life continues to grow; maybe start a new site or launch a breakfast cereal.

Thomas Whitehead: Thanks guys, it’s been as enjoyable as ever. Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2012.

What do you expect from the 3DS, Wii and Wii U in 2012? Are you excited, worried, unsure? We'd love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

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