Nintendo's President Doesn't Think Your Wii U Will Collect Dust

Maybe your Wii is collecting dust. Maybe you're sick of hearing people say that their Wiis are collecting dust. Either way, it's undeniable that the Wii has not garnered the same software support as, say, the Xbox 360. Or the PlayStation 3. The Wii's release schedule over the past two years has had some serious holes.

So when Nintendo of America's president Reggie Fils-Aime stopped by Kotaku's offices Friday afternoon, I had to ask: What's to stop that same thing from happening to their next console, the Wii U?

It's generally accepted that, by the time the next Xbox and PlayStation get comfortable in the marketplace, the Wii U will be significantly less powerful than its competition.

What will ensure that the Wii U will receive a constant stream of high-quality software? Why shouldn't Nintendo fans worry about getting burned again?

Fils-Aime made some interesting points. Maybe they'll convince you that the Wii U will be different. Maybe they won't. Here's the full conversation:

Kotaku: "Even some of Nintendo's biggest fans would have to admit that the Wii's latter years were a little barren for software, and Nintendo's energy since 2010 has seemed focused on 3DS and then Wii U, while the Xbox and PlayStation were getting — "

Fils-Aime: "So you're not counting Skyward Sword?" (laughter)

Kotaku: (laughter) "I'm of course counting Skyward Sword! I loved Skyward Sword, I loved Donkey Kong Country Returns, but there were so few of those types of games, those types of big Nintendo experiences that I wanted — "

Fils-Aime: "Mario Party 9 launched in that timeframe too."

Kotaku: "It did, it did, and the Kirby anniversary game just came out. But how can Nintendo fans be sure that they won't run into that same problem again? If I feel like I bought a Wii and it got kind of left in the dust for the last few years of its existence, and I wanna buy a Wii U, how can I be sure that that's not gonna happen again?"

Fils-Aime: "So let me answer the question two ways. First I mean let's deal with the specifics. The specifics are if you look at the last 18 months and you look at the games that have come out, pretty strong games, and these are games that have sold exceptionally well: so Skyward Sword, let's include in the timeframe I'm talking about Donkey Kong Country Returns, Mario Party 9 was not too far outside of that window. So — "

Kotaku: "But hold on, now that's three games in two years."

Fils-Aime: "I could pull out my list and include a bunch more-"

(The two Nintendo PR representatives sitting in the room with us then brought up Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and Fortune Street.)

Fils-Aime: [Technical] performance has absolutely nothing to do with longevity and support.

Fils-Aime: "I think we have to be clear that from a first-party publishing perspective, we had a number of key titles, titles that sold quite well over the last — let's call it two years.

"Now having said that, it is a fair statement that typically in the latter part of a system's lifestyle, there are fewer games that come out, that is an absolutely true statement. But I think you have to put this in complete perspective. If you look at this current generation and you look at the top five [best-]selling games, four of those five are Nintendo-published first-party games playing only on the Wii.

"So we've got a pretty good legacy that if you buy our hardware, that there are gonna be some great games for you to buy, and games that you're going to keep coming back to time and time again.

"So as a consumer thinks about Wii U, asks 'Should I jump into this proposition?' Aside from the 50 games that we've talked about during the launch window, am I feeling pretty comfortable that there's gonna be a lot of great content for me to buy? Absolutely.

"And the best part is that now with HD capabilities and a strong online system, third-party are gonna bring their best content to the Wii U. Because those were two key barriers that if I'm creating the latest Call of Duty experience and I'm looking to bring it to the Wii a year ago, in an SD format without a robust online experience, they made the decision not to do that.

"Now with Black Ops 2, certanly we're getting the latest, best effort from [developer] Treyarch, and bringing it on our system."

Kotaku: "Well is the Wii U going to be able to run the newest Call of Duty in four or five years? Is it going to be able to run Call of Duty on the same level as the Xbox or PlayStation?"

Fils-Aime: "Well, so unless you've got details that you wanna share on the next Xbox or PlayStation. (laughter) You know, it's a rehtorical question — who knows?

"But the fact is that in the Wii U we've built a lot of capability. And during the Nintendo Direct that happened last night or two nights ago, overnight Wednesday to Thursday, we showed a lot of specs information for the Wii U: the fact that it has an extremely large RAM built into the system, the fact that the discs are high-capacity [25gb] discs. And so we've got a system that, based on our review of the world and our architecture, it absolutely's gonna hold up and bring the best content from third-party for a long, long time."

SOME WII U TIDBITS

  • You can watch Netflix or Nintendo TVii on the Wii U's GamePad, but not while you're playing games. No real multi-tasking here.
  • No Wii games on your GamePad either. Wii channels and games will be accessible on your big screen, in SD. "Think of this as having a Wii inside our new console," Fils-Aime said.
  • The Wii U will launch with video chat, an internet browser, Nintendo TVii, and the digital eShop. Fils-Aime says there are no other included games or software like the 3DS's Face Raiders or Find Mii.
  • The Wii U's game download store, the eShop, will be region-locked. Fils-Aime wouldn't tell me whether packaged software would be too.

Kotaku: "But again, let me play devil's advocate, as a sceptical gamer, if I'm listening to what you just said, there are two things to that: First of all, the list of top-5 best-sellers, not all of those are games I'm playing as a Kotaku reader, as an intense hardcore gamer, I'm not playing a lot of Wii Sports, I'm not playing a lot of Wii Fit.

"So that's the first element of that, right? The second element of that is if we're looking back at history, obviously we can't predict what's going to happen four or five years from now, but if I'm looking back at history and I'm saying hey, the Wii kinda tapered off during its last two years as far as third-party support, even if first-party support, as you mentioned, yes, has been solid, but as far as third-party support it was all going towards those other two machines. Why should I not think that same trend is going to continue in four or five years?"

Fils-Aime: "But again, you could go back and have the same conversation looking at the original PlayStation. You could have the same conversation looking at PlayStation 2. You could have the same conversation looking at the original Xbox. The fact of the matter is if you look at the generation before this one, you look at GameCube, you look at PS2, you look at the original Xbox. From a performance standpoint, GameCube was, if not #1, certainly #2 from an overall performance standpoint. #3 was PS2. So performance has absolutely nothing to do with longevity and support.

"The basis is how big is the installed base, how robust is the ongoing conversation with key licensees, that's what's gonna drive the level of ongoing support at least from a third-party perspective, whether or not a system holds up six years or seven years after launch."


Comments

    That sort of intellectual gymnastics and prevarication makes me not trust him.

    I really do hope this system does better. I have such a soft spot for Nintendo.

      Yeah... it's like reading an interview with a politician.

      I agree. Fils-Aime's responses sure are... Flim-Saie.

    Also, can we make sure that we gamers don't accept this "launch window" guff? It's great that there are a log games coming out in the first 3 months but that's a very different thing to the games being available on launch.

    Does anyone remember if anyone has pulled this "launch window" PR stunt before?

      Vita =/

        Many, many times. "Launch window" has been around for ages, but Nintendo certainly spam it once it's time for a new console

      Wasn't the "launch window" for the Xbox 360 about 6 months? Alternatively you could call it 2 years if you consider the launch window of an xbox console to be from whenever the hardware is available until there's a Halo game to play on it. :P

      Yes. A company called Nintendo did it when they launched the 3DS. :\

      I don't have a problem with the idea of a Launch Window. The system's release across the various territories is staggered so the US gets it 3 weeks before Japan and stuff, and I don't think it would be unfair to say the Launch 'window' is from mid November through to even the end of December.

      Taking it through to the end of March is completely disingenuous.

      Nintendo did for 3DS -- Zelda: OoT was a launch title ... about 3 months after the system was released...

      That is about the only other time it has been used as far as i am aware. (Vita's launch titles were all within 2 weeks... its a pity SONY didn't plan anything after that though)

    Of course HE thinks so. He's payed to say that.
    There were only six worthwhile games in six years of Wii.
    I'm not buying into a gimmick again. Lesson learned.

      There was more than six. Maybe to you, six, but to some people, the Wii could have had more quality games than the other systems. Personally, I found about 15 games, each would have been enough to purchase a Wii, just for it.

    I pre ordered my Wii U a couple of days ago and hope Nintendo can succeed again, but wouldn't it be nice if people like Reggie were a bit more real? I mean, blind Freddie's dog could even tell you the Wii died off quite a while ago. People were 'wiping off the dust' to play skyward sword, and since then it's just got all dusty again. Why can't Reggie admit and directly address this in order to reassure normal people the Wii U won't suffer the same fate?

      He can't. If he said that and wii u collect dust again, internet trolls will quote him based on that and a lot of shit will happen. Not easy to speak as a PR

    It's a given the next PS/Xbox will be more powerful. And since they are pushing third party support it could bottleneck the next gen or devs just give up on wii u and become shovelware.

    He sounds like your typical PR machine, as McGarnical put it, intellectual gymnastics. Lets look at a single fact.... with the exception of Skyward sword, whens the last time anyone got excited about a WII game?

      XENOBLADE

      And the other 'Operation Rainfall' games I guess (The Last Story, Pandora's Tower)

    It’s a given the next PS/Xbox will be more powerful. And since they are pushing third party support it could bottleneck the next gen or devs just give up on wii u and become shovelware.

    My health has improved dramatically since my wii began gathering dust. For the first time in years I have been allergy free and my sinuses are unlocked. Thanks Nintendo! Making sick kids better since the NES.

    The few games they released sold well because that's all that was available to buy. I'm over Nintendo because it is a company that relies on past successes and uses the audience it created with certain games (Mario, Kirby, Metroid, Zelda, etc...) to re-sell them "newer" versions of the same game.
    "Guess what, we've got a new Zelda game coming out on the system!" Really? I am shocked.
    "Oh... well if that morsel didn't grab you, how about a NEW NEW Super Mario Brothers? ... not in 3d, not in 2d but in GIVEMEYOURMONEYDUMMYD"
    I had a soft spot for Nintendo but when you can count on one hand how many great games you played on a system over its entire life cycle, that's saying something. I feel as a past Nintendo fan we would defend them for what I feel is their worst trait - mediocrity and recycling. "New Pikmin!!!"

    When I traded my Wii in for a PS3 the guy at the counter said, "You're trading it in? But Mario Galaxy 2 comes out in 4 months!" I passed the time playing many many great games and can't see things changing with the Wii U. I had the same reservations at the end of the Gamecube and I bought into the whole Wii changing things BS that we were spoonfed. I hope there are no gimmicks with the next Xbox or PS3, just a bit more grunt which helps produce more of the same; good games.

      You contradict yourself a little by saying Nintendo keep releasing the same games, but then conclude by saying "produce more of the same good games". Essentially that's what Nintendo will be doing

    I am finding what doesn't get talked about in these Wii U conversations far more interesting than what is.

    So far there seems to be very little info on the online functionality of the Wii U. Is online play available at launch? How does chat work? Is there cross game chat? Are eshop purchases locked to the console or the profile? What is the pricing on games and peripherals? What games use which controller setup?

    Also a region locked eshop means we will probably see a big mark up in Australia for purchases....again.

    I will wait until well after launch to make a decision about the Wii U. There are still too many unknowns in my opinion .

    I can remember him saying "No Game Droughts" for the Wii when that was released, but he can only guarantee games from his own company. At least it sounds like they're trying this time.

    I predict 1-2 years of blissful 3rd party support while they are still making games for the PS3/360, followed by 2 years of scaled down ports of games on the PC/PS4/720 which I will probably buy on PC/PS4/720, followed by 2 years of a few Nintendo titles and crickets chirping before they announce the WiiU2MiiWii.

    But that's ok, I'm prepared for that. I mostly buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games.

    See the brown stuff on his lips? That's from talking sh!t. Having said that - I too have pre-ordered.

    my wii collects dust. so does my ps3. unfortunately, when they sit on a shelf in my living room dust tends to settle on them. although, once a week, I go along and remove said dust. the only console that doesn't collect dust in my house is my 360. that's because it was taking up valuable real estate on my entertainment unit and is now packed up in it's box.

    5 games in 2 years isn't even enough for the time poor. Nintendo essentially continues on "good-will", rather than actual substance.

    i was sold on the wii U from day one.
    bottom line is this. explain to me how much more graphics are really going to improve next generation? unless you have a PC which is a graphical powerhouse, what will microsoft/sony bring that will revolutionise the market? Nintendo has waited for the right time to introduce good technology at an affordable price. the gamepad is unique in an otherwise stagnant market and definately brings something new to the fold. interesting to see whether the competition will innovate or immitate. my bet is immitate.

      The Wii controller was unique, too, and the Wii was shit.

      You obviously dont know much.
      In the past 6 months it has been confirmed by insiders of sony and microsoft the the 2 future console will be about 4-6 times stronger then current gen consoles and the graphics will be 4 times better then the Wii U.

      And the Wii U is a money making tactic. Buy the console but in order to use the innovative aspect of the console in 2 player form, u gotta spend an extra $150.
      The graphics still arent better then ps3 and 360 since Batman arkhum city is looking like it might be worse on Wii U.

      And wats innovative about the Wii U, the free Online Services has allready been done by Sony, the gamepad was allready being planned for use by the Vita for the PS4 and microsofts future gamepad for the 720.

      So buy the ps4 or xbox 720 for what... $4-600 and get the best games that can be made or buy the Wii U for $400 and then have to spend another $200 for each gamepad and get a stream of bad games, cause the Wii U might get some great games at start, but once the PS4 and 720 come out nintendo will struggle, here is why:

      Developers have allready developed games for the PS3 and 360 so there isnt gonna be much more fun to have developing for the Wii U so developers will move to the PS4 and 720 cause they will be able to develop some intence and innovative games.
      There is more fun to develop for a console that gives them 4 times the power and fun of the Wii U.
      The Wii U's online service will fail since Nintendo have never had luck with that department.

      And once Call of Duty games starts getting released for the ps4 and 720, the Wii U ports will just become what the Wii ports were, just a half assed effort.
      It wont take long for Nintendo to demage the relationship with the developers like they have in past

      Sony and Microsoft are really pushing the limits for there next consoles.

        pftt 4x the power does not equal 4x the game or 4x the innovation.

        First things first, A comparison of yet not released hardware with the Wii U is useless, it is a matter of fact that these upcoming consoles will be more powerful but please keep it in mind that you might also need to upgrade your HD TV to an Super Hi-Vision HD TV (4K / 8K TV), to get the full glory of the next gen, the PS4 and presumably xbox720 will be able to put out 4K resolution with ease and I bet with you guys Sony will make sure that this features will be used because it open up an entirely new market...

        But back to the current, the only fair comparison at the moment is with the PS3/Xbox360, and the Wii U will be able to keep those competitors in check I have no doubts what sort ever regarding to the process power of the Wii U even I am a Xbox360 owner, I looking forward to new things to discover and Nintendo will give (us) these experience very soon, just think of the Wii U Gamepad the possibilities are endless only the imagination of the developers will mark the end of line....

    I have to say that Regi did a pretty amazing job of arguing the un-arguable. I still don’t agree with him but that dude is impressive and should go into politics.

      5 policies in 2 years, he'd get eaten alive.

        Actually with that record he'd be the best Prime minister that Australia would ever have

    bleh, i like others have a soft spot for Nintendo but (at least for me) it's no longer enough to get me to buy their consoles and the only reason i got a wii was because i got it for free and got it running homebrew.

    Nintendo need to pull their finger out and lure back the "hardcore" gamer crowd that brings in the real money and developers. The best way to go about that is to rejoin the console wars with a powerhouse machine and a normal controller (they can choose to sell some form of motion/gimmick controller as an add on if they wish like the Xbox Kinect) and while they are at it drop the kiddy OS and make it a little more mature and add simple things like dvd and media playback.

      The "real" money? Did you see how much money they raked in with the Wii? They don't *need* to do anything of the sort. That's just a bunch of wants from you, and nothing that would actually do them any good.

        yes the real money, the only reason tehy made money on the wii was the hype around wii sports getting family's involved. well before the wii reached the end of its cycle most people stopped playing it.

        not to mention it was cheap to produce meaning they could sell at a profit immediately, that was probably the one thing that really saved their ass.

        and yes in part my post did include some of my "wants" for me to be lured back to Nintendo. And fwiw i don't even consider myself a "hardcore gamer" but i recognize that's what draws developers to consoles long term and keeps people interested.

        As for "nothing that would do them any good" i disagree, i think it would do a lot of good like having a console that's able to run the latest games it's competitors are capable of instead of having a chopped down barely working version or no version at all.

        The fact of the matter is Nintendo stopped competing and started selling gimmicks and rehashing the same tired old franchises.

    There were maybe two games on the Wii that I actively wanted to play, and three others that I would have liked to play. Five games in six years is not worth the cost of a console. Ignoring my personal preference, I think he stated the problem quite well: "I think we have to be clear that from a first-party publishing perspective, we had a number of key titles, titles that sold quite well"

    They've been concentrating on first-party stuff, meaning the number of games for the Wii is abysmal by comparison, and just about every one of them is a rehash of a much older IP.

    And performance means nothing? Compare the specs of the last gen - GameCube/Xbox/Ps2 - and you see they're all fairly close, and the competition was pretty close. This gen, Wii/360/Ps3, you have two that clearly out-perform the third, and consequently, the third is seen by many as an optional extra.

      I always have a nintendo hooked up to the tele- and my PC is still a far better HD gaming machine than PS3 / 360.

      Never once did I consider the "big two" as a viable purchase.

        You said it yourself - you have a PC capable of HD gaming. The PC falls into the same niche as the 360/Ps3 - a powerful system (in this case, potentially much more powerful), to which you may have a Wii on the side.

        Had I had the opportunity, foresight, and disposable income to invest in a powerful PC ten years ago, I would have, and I'd likely be a PC gamer now. I didn't have any of those things, so now I prefer Xbox. Point is, I see no path I could have taken that would make me willingly own a Wii over a PC, a 360 or a PS3. And even with as little knowledge I have about the next generation (PC/Orbis/Durango/Wii-U), I don't think that will change.

    While I'm well aware of what to expect from Nintendo by now, that was some major defence stance spin right there.

    Doesn't bother me either way, My Nintendo consoles have always been nothing more than a delivery platform for Nitnendo 1st party titles, and on that front they've delivered in spades. Most normal people don't buy more than a handful of games a year anyway (if that). So if you can't find 20-30 great games to play on your Wii, there's something wrong.

    This and the Madden13 news has made my decision. No wiiU for me.

    Not for a long time anyway.

    Bummer.

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