As should be well known by now, plenty in the media have not looked favorably upon the Wii U's performance to date. Yet while some say Nintendo should throw in the towel when it comes to hardware or dive headlong into the new hotness of mobile games, Sam Byford on The Verge holds a different perspective.
While Byford doesn't argue that the Wii U can't be considered a failure, he sees no reason for the considered misstep to throw Nintendo off the current track of its plans. He cites Nintendo's considerable financial war chest earned through the vast successes of the original Wii and DS systems — further buoyed by the growing success of the 3DS — as reasons Nintendo can take a hit from the Wii U and continue running. Byford also quotes Jesse Divnich, Vice president of insights and analysis at Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, who appears to share Byford's sentiments:
The company is far from being at risk or in any type of trouble of having to transition to becoming a software-only company. They can and will thrive off of the success of the 3DS and reinvest the gained resources to improve their home console strategy going forward.
Byford also brings up Reggie Fils-Aime's recent interview regarding Nintendo's interest in mobile and tablet opportunities, and agrees with the NOA president that the company is at its best when taking advantage of its own unique hardware. That notion, however, has faltered so far with the Wii U's tablet, according to Byford, who believes it was made too much in response to competition and not with enough regard to maximizing its use--and even then, Nintendo isn't fully out of luck:
At this point, it’s clear that the Wii U was simply a bad idea. Nintendo found itself in the rare position of looking to competitors for inspiration, and launched a me-too system with nothing in the way of compelling software to set it apart. What’s Kyoto to do? In all likelihood, nothing. As Super Mario 3D World demonstrates, the Wii U is more than capable of delivering gorgeous experiences that hold their own against the next-gen systems — Nintendo’s simple, colorful art direction works in the company’s favor when compared to the endless war zones and zombies found on competing systems.
Nintendo, Byford says, will likely not win over the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 in terms of units sold, but can still function well within its own different set of parameters:
Nintendo certainly doesn’t have the same intentions to take over the living room as part of a broader ecosystem, and appears wholly unconcerned with market share. The GameCube — commonly thought of as a failure — quietly helped Nintendo turn a profit while Microsoft sank billions of dollars into the original Xbox, which only sold about 2 million more units worldwide than Nintendo’s diminutive console. And the Wii U may even make sense as an alternate system for those who want to play Mario Kart in HD as a palate cleanser between rounds of Battlefield.
Divnich also sees direct comparisons of the Wii U to Microsoft's and Sony's systems to be somewhat irrelevant, believing the company will continue going in whatever direction it wants to:
Nintendo isn’t one to go with the grain; they’ve built a successful company off of introducing hardware that revolutionizes the way we interact with game content. They may not win the living room this generation, but I wouldn’t count them out in the future.
Do you agree with Byford and Divnich regarding the Wii U and Nintendo's future path? Let us know below.