With the exception of Japan, which joins the party this weekend, most of the world has now had the opportunity to pick up a Wii U, or to at least be told that it's out of stock while extra supplies are brought in. Thanks to the wonders of the internet and Nintendo's own Miiverse, of course, there have been plenty of places for critics and supporters to weigh in on the system's merits.
In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime gave his reaction to what has been, at best, a mixed response to the system among game critics and industry writers. The fact that a number hardware reviews were rushed onto the web before the vital day one update had been properly considered will split opinion on its own, with some saying the system out of the box should be the focus, and others arguing that judgement should be made once the system is updated to where Nintendo wants it to be at launch. In any case, for every praise-worthy article there have been others questioning the Wii U's graphical capabilities, being critical of the GamePad as a "gimmick", and generally weighing in on the never-ending "is this next-gen" debate.
Still, it seems that Reggie's focus is not on what games writers have to say, but the thoughts and opinions of the general public that ultimately determine the fate of the system. The NoA boss feels that the reactions of gamers on Miiverse and social networks show that the company is getting things right with its new system.
Reviews of a system or review of a game really come down to the quality and capability of the reviewer. There has been a range of comments and commentary. But when I go on Miiverse and see how consumers are reacting to games like ZombiU or … Call of Duty, that tells me we're doing something very, very positive. Similarly, when I go on other consumer social networks and see other consumer reaction that is positive, I know we've done well.
In the same interview Reggie also addressed some of the teething issues that have affected the system, particularly on day one in North America — there were some system freezes reported and Miiverse went offline for a period. The executive is confident that the source of the issue has been identified and resolved, hopefully leading to a relatively trouble-free Christmas Day for new owners.
Without getting into a lot of technical details, the Miiverse [problem] was not purely driven by capacity. That gives us confidence that come Christmas morning, those servers will not be challenged in the same way. Come Christmas morning, the Wii U will be available globally. We know there will be a lot of consumers utilizing their Wii U for the very first time. So we're working very hard to make sure the initial customer experience is a good one.
Every time we launch a new system, there are significant challenges. There's everything from supply to making sure the new offering meets our expectations. In the digital, connected services area, much of what we're doing is groundbreaking, so we are having to learn as we go to make sure the consumer has the very best experience possible.
In terms of the perceived critical reaction to Wii U in some areas of the press, what do you think? Do you agree with Reggie that the reaction of gamers with the system is mostly positive, or is the Nintendo man sugar-coating matters? Sound-off in the comments below.