News Article

Talking Point: The Wii U Has Plenty of Opportunities for "Brand-New Types of Games"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

That "strong impact in the market" could be crucial

At the end of last week Nintendo released the official translations of Satoru Iwata's most recent investor Q & A, giving us an insight into Nintendo's current standing with that audience and providing some useful teases of information on what's to come. These meetings are intriguing as, in a sense, they provide Nintendo's management an opportunity to defend the company's performance, and clarify how it plans to return to substantial profitability in this financial year.

Of the stories to emerge, one in particular seemed to catch the eye of news and game-hungry Nintendo fans. When quizzed about the relatively 'safe' lineup of Wii U titles shown off during E3 2013 — featuring ideas that are fresh variations on established and successful franchises — Satoru Iwata made the following intriguing comments.

At the start of the E3 show this year, we announced our Wii U software lineup until 2014 mainly through Nintendo Direct, rather than holding a large-scale presentation as we did in previous years. However, we did not announce all of the games to be released during this period. Most of those who are interested in E3 are video game fans that are eager for information on so-called traditional games and we had a lot of information to be disclosed to such people. Therefore, we first tried to inform consumers of the software lineup to relieve those who might think that they should have waited to buy Wii U until more games were released or those who might be concerned whether the software lineup will be really be enriched in the future. On the other hand, when it comes to brand-new types of games, we have to announce them not too far in advance of the actual release dates in order to have a strong impact in the market and minimize the chance of others introducing similar or competing products. We are working on new types of games, but we would like to announce them much closer to their actual release timings for this reason.

We would like as many people as possible to pick up, experience and enjoy our video games. It is important to let people who originally had no interest in games, find themselves enjoying Wii U in their living room every day. We must also satisfy avid video game fans. When it comes to Wii, as “Wii Sports” spread throughout the world at a sensational speed, some misunderstood that all Wii could do is enable them to play games by moving the Wii Remote. With Wii U, therefore, we planned to satisfy existing video game fans first and provide new surprises later. But, just as you pointed out, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the consumers to be impressed by improvements in graphics alone, so we would like to seek different ways to make an impression on consumers.

Perhaps the most encouraging parts of that answer are that there are unannounced titles expected in the coming period, possibly before the end of the year, and an assurance that they're innovative enough that the company doesn't want to announce them too soon for fear of being copied by rivals. So what could this mean?

We certainly have to hope, firstly, that this is a statement that will come through with tangible and exciting products, rather than a line to appease investors with minimal pay-off; only time will tell. It's natural to be cautious when told of exciting and innovative titles if you're of a "see it to believe it" persuasion, but as optimists we can certainly fantasize about what Satoru Iwata could mean, in terms of innovation that will sell the concept of the system. We don't think we're talking new F-Zero or Star Fox here, but ideas that Nintendo would promote as unique to Wii U or, at the very least, better on Wii U in the eyes of general, uncommitted consumers.

We'd hope that, of what's to come, at least some of these ideas will be eShop releases. To date Nintendo has published exactly zero download-only titles on its latest online platform — New Super Luigi U, let's not forget, is DLC for a retail title and has a standalone disc on the way. On the other hand Nintendo has been fairly active on the 3DS eShop, showing off the system in various ways with 3D Classics and titles designed to use the hardware's functionality, whether 3D block puzzles in Fallblox / Crashmo or gyro sensor-controlled puzzling in Hydroventure: Spin Cycle / Fluidity. In some way or another these games do things that weren't possible in the same way on the DS family of systems, while offering less expensive gaming for those willing to explore the store.

In terms of the Wii U eShop, the ongoing silence to date suggests that if Pokémon Scramble U is to come to the West — it surely will — it may be targeted for a similar release period to Pokémon X & Y. The biggest gimmick of that title is that the NFC sensor on the GamePad will recognise accompanying figurines to bring additional 'mon into the game; not exactly unique or brand new, admittedly, as Skylanders and the upcoming Disney Infinity have established the collectible-toy-as-in-game-DLC idea already. Beyond that, the eShop is the ideal ground for experimentation, especially with the system opening up to smaller developers.

We've heard in earlier months that Nintendo is supporting Unity — which isn't unique — but also a Web Framework to make life easier for web developers, and supposedly a tool that allows relatively quick and professional conversion of smartphone / tablet games to the system. In the Investor Q & A Satoru Iwata cautiously stated that the company was yet to find a way to work with "a vast number of individual developers", but was open to external support. That doesn't mean the company hasn't opened the doors to some, even if the masses decidedly won't be turning around games for Wii U right away. It's here that the interpretation of "brand new types of games" is interesting, as Nintendo may attempt to be the first home console to offer games typically found on mobile platforms on the TV and GamePad, offering an intuitive option in the home with that touch screen / physical controls combination. Systems such as the Android-based Ouya are available, of course, but Nintendo would likely seek a different approach if it were to open up that kind of market and encourage developers that, previously, may not have opted for a home console release.

Aside from eShop games and the potential output from the Nintendo Web Framework, however, Nintendo will likely reserve any big guns or experiences it deems as "system sellers" for the retail domain. In this respect Nintendo is tough to second-guess. Back in 2004/2005 the idea of a Remote-style motion controller surely had plenty scratching their heads in terms of how it'd be used effectively, and one of the company's strengths in the past decade has been its ability to surprise. Let's not forget that the Wii U GamePad has already been used in clever ways, with examples in Nintendo Land, Game & Wario and, in all likelihood, Wii Party U designed to show consumers why they have to have a GamePad in their lives. There are plenty of "experiences" on offer, so perhaps we'll see a change in how they're packaged.

Nintendo has already confirmed that free-to-play and other business models are on the agenda, so we're left to wonder whether snippets of Wii U fun will appear in retailers as download cards, or inexpensive discs that connect to an integrated store to access more content at small additional costs: think of the Tank! Tank! Tank! eShop DLC model, but less clunky and with mini-games. We've seen the GamePad used for off-TV, asynchronous multiplayer, dual screen single-player gaming, motion controls and most things besides, so perhaps it's all about how those experiences are shared and sold to consumers. Rather than a $60 Wii Party U retail disc with everything includes, maybe it could be a $10 disc with a structured $50 worth of content to choose from.

With Nintendo, it's hard to say what it's hinting at with new experiences that'll give Wii U its Wii Sports moment. As Iwata-san said, E3 was for gamers that want a HD Zelda, platforming and more Mario that's new but ultimately familiar, and we can only wonder what these unannounced projects could be. GamePad-only games, new collections of mini-games sold in a different way, interactive novel or movie experiences, a slew of experimental titles on the eShop? Nintendo's pulled some surprises before, so who can say whether it'll hit the mark with something fresh enough to make rivals jealous of the idea, or whether it'll be more of the same with a different ribbon tied on. As we said early in this article, we don't think the likes of Star Fox will be the mass-selling innovation targeting a non-E3 audience, so don't hold your breaths on that score.

This is a topic with few answers right now, but lots of possibilities. As a result it'll be the subject of our second Your View article this coming weekend, where we publish the opinions and ideas of the Nintendo Life community. To that end we've set up a new thread in our community forum where you will have a chance to have your voice heard in that feature; it'll be open until 10pm UK time / 5pm Eastern on Thursday 11th July, at which stage it'll be locked. By all means sound off in the comments below as always, but if you want an opportunity to have your comments posted in that feature, head on over to the forum thread.

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User Comments (51)



sinanziric said:

Almost 1 year has passed and we are still stuck with New Super Mario Brothers U.... that's only REAL Nintendo exlusive.



rmeyer said:

They should put taboo on the controller and other table games. Nintendo should think about partnering with board game companies.



hYdeks said:

There's alot of promise with the GamePad, too bad developers are very lazy now-a-days and more worried about the feel of the joysticks and triggers acting like gun triggers on the controller.

@sinanziric New Super Mario Bros U, Game & Wario, LEGO City Undercover, Nintendo Land, all from Nintendo. Next month they have Pikmin 3 and New Super Luigi U in retail, month after it's The Wonderful 101, in October their suppost to have Zelda Wind Waker HD and Wii Party U. And we still don't really know when DKC Tropical Freeze and Super Mario 3D World is coming out, but it's suppose to be by Winter. That's actually pretty impressive amount of releases just from Nintendo alone.



DualWielding said:

"as “Wii Sports” spread throughout the world at a sensational speed, some misunderstood that all Wii could do is enable them to play games by moving the Wii Remote. With Wii U, therefore, we planned to satisfy existing video game fans first and provide new surprises later."

This is total doggiedoodoodingleberry, when they unveiled the console it was all about the gamepad and nothing else... they bundled with Nintendo Land because they want to showcase assymetic play and thought it would caught fire like Wii Sports they always repeat in interviews that the main problem of the Wii U is that NIntendo Land has not been able to showcase what the console could do like Wii sports did...... so are we now to believe their plan all along was to satisfy gamers first then try to push the gimmicky controller to the casuals later?.... If they wanted to satisfy gamers they would have launched the console with games, but they didn't because they thought gamepad and and NIntendo Land was all they needed like the Wii sold on Wii Sports and the Wii Mote alone



WingedSnagret said:

I don't know, the way Iwata worded it,

"Most of those who are interested in E3 are video game fans that are eager for information on so-called traditional games and we had a lot of information to be disclosed to such people."

makes it sound like the unannounced games are going to be casual based, not more niche like the previously mentioned Star Fox and so forth.



zionich said:

I would love to see Nintendo make a large fantasy sadbox game similar to Elder Scrolls games.



DreamOn said:

It's gonna be like math word and trivia games with a fruit ninja twist with really simple smooth graphics that says "play me I'm sophisticated"



MaximusMansteel said:

I would think that large scale strategy games like Civilization or Rome: Total War would be great on the Wii U. The main map could be on beautiful HD on the TV and all the menus and interactive stuff could be on the gamepad. Don't know about anyone else, but that sounds interesting.



World said:

@iMii While I don't like any of those games either, there's a bit of irony in hearing the guys who show up for the Math and Word games called the "maladroit."
Unless by word games you mean stuff like CrossworDS with those asinine fill-in-the-blank hints. Then I am with you 300%.



Dogpigfish said:

Basically it's him referring to virtual console and indie games. We can twist and turn, but that's all he is saying. Last Thursday we got to view an upcoming indie title and listen to the developers. That's relatively positive, but I'm not going to bank on a potential wii sports or triple a title, however it would be nice if that's in the cards.



DreamOn said:

@World Gaming maladroit. I have friends who are "casuals" so while they may be adept individuals in general they have a hard time with games that aren't about breeding frogs or the like lol.



World said:

@iMii Haha! I understand now. Yes, I know a few of these as well. Living proof that a PhD in something doesn't necessarily gift you with taste in games. I say give it time. Before long the literati and such will be cozying up to "high-brow" games like they do with everything else.

Hold on now, FROG BREEDING GAME? Is that some kind of Biology simulator or something? Sounds like a riot.



DreamOn said:

@World Pocket Frogs by NimbleBit for iOS. If its popularity is to be taken seriously then yes, a riot is to be had by any "herpetoids" out there lol



Squiggle55 said:

The Wii U has lots of potential for new ways to play. This is obvious, and it's no surprise that 3rd parties aren't going to take as good of advantage of it as Nintendo themselves. The huge surprise to me so far is Nintendo's complete lack of support for their own eshop.



Varia01 said:

@Geonjaha: Well, almost all Metroids released the year after the console and handheld released.
The NES released in 1985 and Metroid released in 1986
The Gameboy released in 1988 and Metroid 2 released in 1989.
The Gameboy Advanced released in 2000 and Metroid Fusion released in 2001.
The GameCube released in 2001 and Metroid Prime released in 2002.
The Wii released in 2006 and Metroid Prime 3 released on 2007.
All right, Nintendo may do what they did with Super Metroid (The SNES released in 1992 and Super Metroid released in 1994). I just gotta be patient....



Doma said:

Oh Nintendo... Why don't you understand that the same casual gamers who bought into the Wii have since moved on and are no longer interested in your products? It was cute of you to think the Wii built up some kind of brand loyalty with this type of audience - they bought the system on the whim of an interesting fad, nothing more.

The U gamepad has relatively zero mass-market appeal, otherwise you'd have seen them flock to it already by now. No amount of “brand new” game types will turn things around for you this time, it's too late, the chance was missed.... You deserve no sympathy for this ignorance. Now, get back to making real games.



GN004Nadleeh said:

there are only like 5 types of games, all the rest are variations of the original. the wii u is bringing the game play of the ds to home television. which sounds like fun!



GiftedGimp said:

With a bit of thought then yes the touch pad could introduce new game types, especially mp games if/when dual gamepads can be used.
Thing is, Given that for the most part Command & Conquer type RTS and any type of PC game that involves much use of keyboard shortcuts to manage inventary item etc, don't really work on Consoles with traditional controllers, or at least as effortless for the console player as the PC player I am suprised that nobody has brought these typically Mouse/Keyboard games to WiiU. With a bit of work, a row of 'f key' short cuts at the top of the gamepad screen and the rest of the screen could be used to select groups of units, buy tapping/circling chosen units on gamepad and setting thier movements/targets again by tapping the on gamepad map, (using a rts game type as an example). Sure beats having to hold l1+l2 using the left stick to draw a box around a group of units, press A to select, while holding l1+l2 use the right stick to scroll to your target/destination for your chosen units and press A again.
Yes Pikmin is out soon, but there are numerous RTS games, RPG's and MMO's on PC aswell as other game types not usually associated with consoles on pc that woukd work well with the WiiU gamepad controller, better than traditional console controllers.



redsoul91 said:

I totally agree that the Wii U has lots of potential. So many franchises could benefit from the Gamepad, and despite how it feels sometimes, the console is still very young, and there is much time for the true potential to really shine.
Starfox, for example, could really be reinvented to bring out the power of the Wii U. Like, what if different members were assigned to different vehicles (i.e., Fox - ground, Falco - arwing, Slippy - Landmaster) for different missions, which would allow for the Gamepad to be used in a unique way accordingly.
Patience is a virtue that is ever decreasing among gamers.



CAM290 said:

if casuals help drive the system sales, i can stand to see a bit of shovelware on the shelf next to more hardcore titles. I long for F-Zero and Starfox....



rjejr said:

@Doma - "they bought the system on the whim of an interesting fad, nothing more."

I wrote about 13 paragraphs somewhere on this blog this morning trying to convey that point. Well said

The 5 people in that picture are individually and collectively too white.

Have they made a spaceship shootting game yet like Faceraiders? 1 person flys the ship on the tv w/ the pro controller while the other person shoots around the room using the Gamepad as viewer like that 3D iOS game. Would make a cool Starfox game if the ship was 2 player, Starfox flying thru the rings while Slippy shoots stuff. Basically Double Dash in space. Or Han and Chewbacca in the Falcon.

They need to do something that looks "exciting" yet "simple". NintendoLand is neither of those for me.



BossBattles said:

I honestly think most have it wrong about the Wii U. it already is a fantastic console with a bright near future ahead. I've loved my time with the downloadable and disc based games, and will be getting a minimum of 7 more by the end of the year. Not bad for its first year at all.

What is disturbing is these developers that stick their nose up at the system, as if they are so superior because they choose to limit the consoles they provide content for. It's insanity on a large scale. Gaming culture is in a death spiral with its intended focus on DRM, no backward compatibility, charging for online, ect. ect., yet Nintendo bucks these trends and continues to deliver a fun and NEW console experience, with Miiverse, the gamepad, and Nintendo greatness in HD....

people are cynical and sad to have nintendo fly right past them. Gamers have forgotten and don't know how to have fun anymore. I know i do, and since i do, i happily play the Wii U.



BossBattles said:

@rjejr nice racist comment. if they were all another color you wouldn't have said anything, so thanks for displaying your racism for us all to witness.



AtomicToaster said:

Wiiu is pretty perfect for survival horror, stealth, rts, mmos, rpgs, etc. Devs just aren't in a position where they're going to take too many risks in this economy!



kyuubikid213 said:

Plan to increase Wii U sales...

1. Bundle Nintendoland with every Wii U.
2. Accept majority of third-party titles.
3. More advertisements.
4. ???
5. Profit.



Mahe said:

@LunaticPandora Haha, first reply gets it.

@kyuubikid213 Nintendoland is a mediocre game compilation, and it was already bundled with most Wii U's. Most people bought the Premium version that had more storage space, the Digital Deluxe Promotion and other accessories, and they also got Nintendoland thrown in. It didn't help the Wii U and it didn't help spread word of mouth, because Nintendoland just isn't very good.



Araknie said:

WRONG! Figures in Pokèmon Scramble U are optional, they are for shiny Pokèmons, you can find every normal version of every Pokèmon within the game without having to buy any figures.

Don't compare if you don't care.



XCWarrior said:

"This is a topic with few answers right now, but lots of possibilities."
Then WHY THE HECK did it take you 1,616 words to get there?!

My god, websites love to complain people read a headline then go straight to the comments. 1,616 words does not help with this problem. As an editor of a newspaper, you cannot write stories this long. People will lose interest quickly if you can't keep their attention. And you're rambling too much.

Concise good sir! Be concise!

"Wii U needs Mario Kart. It will sell systems." Boom, 9 words, and I solved Wii U's problem.



FineLerv said:

@BossBattles I'm also enjoying my Wii U. It's mostly the Wii60 owners complaining who are only planning on getting first-party Wii U games, and who will spend the rest of their time playing their X-Box.

I've already got a back-log on my Wii U. I'm slowly working through my pile of unbeaten games so that I can start buying again.



Henmii said:

Of course Nintendo (and other developers) should use the Wii u gamepad for very different gameplay (not only for multiplayer purposes, but also for single players), but so far it isn't happening! Wich is a great shame!!

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