Nintendo, The New Wii And Building A Faster Horse

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Henry Ford said that, after revolutionising the motor vehicle industry with the Model T.

I thought of this quote whilst reading the various speculations on the rumoured ‘Wii 2’ - and the glut of ‘What We Want From the New Nintendo’ posts popping up sporadically across various websites.

The suggestions, even on this site, were depressingly predictable.

HD, moar power Cap’n, go back to the old controllers, no more motion control rubbish, better graphics.

A faster horse.

It’s a sad thing, but those who find themselves ingrained in the day to day business of talking about video games tend to think cyclically. We become entangled with the products we’re given that we have no choice but to ask for more of the same. So when the time comes to reflect, to ask ourselves what we really need from gaming, what it needs to do to evolve, the answer is resoundingly similar - like the primitive bark of some weird hivemind.

Give us a faster horse.

Nintendo has gone about amassing their huge pile of Yen by refusing to give us a faster horse – why should they change now? Sure, they rely on stalwarts, brands like Mario, Zelda, Metroid... but the method of delivery is always fresh. They continue on, in their own stead, in their own unique way, finding fresh ways to cruelly separate us from our hard earned dollars – and I love them for it.

We have our Xbox 360s, our PS3s. I have absolutely no inclination to play a console from Nintendo that tries to imitate the arms race in which gaming has been embroiled in for the past three decades. Nintendo, you're better than that.

“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” Henry Ford also said that – he was a clever bastard.

Nintendo – please. Surprise me. I want to see something new. I want to see something I haven’t even imagined yet. That’s what I want from a new Nintendo console. I don't want the same old shit.

I don’t want a faster horse.


Comments

    The two aren't mutually exclusive though. They can provide an increased in the processing power of their hardware, as well as have it do something unique, a-la the wii's motion control scheme back in '06

    That would be having the best of both worlds, and almost everyone would be happier for it.

    PS: HD is a must, come on now ;)

      I don't care about the graphics - the Wii graphics is fine imo (take it for what it is).

      All I care about is the connection type. CAPTAIN LAZY (me) hates having to turn the amp on, change to the Wii's input, AND have to change the TV to the AV input from HDMI.

      Make it HDMI so all I have to do is change the amp hah. I'm so lazy I even bought an RCA-HDMI powered converter, but that was mega fail with the refresh rates and screen cropping etc :(

      Seconded, or is that thirded. Not fast enough it seems. Moar speed plz?

    I agree, but they charged too much for what is, essentially, 4 year old hardware (at the time of release).

    Still, I'm looking forward to the future with Kinect and similar motion-based peripherals. I still want the damned VR goggles they promised would arrive by the year 2000. YOU'RE ALREADY MORE THAN A DECADE LATE, EPIC FUTURE! COME SOON... OR ELSE!

    I'd really like to see a step away from the use of frind codes :| So damn annoying having to get codes before you can play a game online :|

    The question is why do you want more processing power and HD graphics?

    Was the original De Blob or Mario Galaxy crap because of the SD Wii graphics? I don't think so... What about the Wii fit and Sports/Resort games? It's not all about graphics and megahertz.

    Do we just want faster CPUs because it makes us feel more important when we own them? Or do we want to think about what we want our games consoles to be able to DO, and let the engineers work out how fast the thing needs to be to deliver that?

      On a HDTV that is 50inches or more, the games dont look as polished as they otherwise would on smaller displays. and it's not for lack of effort put in by the developers, it's simply due to the fact that they arent running through a HD input.

      I Myself would not approach most of the games you mentioned there regardless of how good they looked because they don't entice me.

      All I'm saying is that better graphics should not really be seen as a bad thing, or as a trade-off for something else.
      If we continue with car analogies, Imagine if the new model ferraris had 4cylinder 1.8l engines, but really supercool amazing holographic GPS onboard computer interface systems (whizz-bang!). I would still be very upset :P

        Sooo.... Aren't Ferrari's bought by people with small doodles? :S

        Sure, not going to argue the point though. But making the Wii 2 into a PS3.5 isn't going to do anything for anyone. The people who want a PS4 are still going to buy that, and the people who will not want a PS4 will not buy the new Nintendo.

        I am not making arguments against graphics per se, just that they are like increasing the word count in a novel. Its possible to make a better story with more words, but at some point it won't matter. AND its no guarantee that the games WILL be better with better graphics.

        Oh and for cars, the Wii is a Toyota anyway. The PS3 is a Ferrari, maybe. What would the XBOX be... a Corvette maybe. Nice and fast but made of fibreglass.

          I don't like the argument that having strong graphics processing is vital, because I think games like Mirror's Edge or Okami are actually very visually impressive despite being on graphics engines nowhere near as powerful as something like Crysis.

          That being said, graphics happen to be one of the more marketable aspects of video games. "Look how pretty it is" can work wonders on people and that is easier to achieve when the system has greater graphics capability.

          When you consider that HDTVs are incredibly common now and that it is no longer prohibitively expensive to create a console that is HD capable, I think it would be foolish for Nintendo to release a console that can't output at least 720p.

          If the new console is just a Wii with HD graphics though, I'll be sorely disappointed.

          TVR

          Beautiful, Hardcore, and it'll break on you if you look at it even remotely funny.

      Graphics usually aren't that important to me, but when I was playing No More Heroes I remember often thinking how awesome the game would look on PS3 or 360. It doesn't help that my TV is huge.

      console designers should put in the biggest reasonable processor anyway as it gives games developers the best chance of putting the game they want on the console anyway.

      limiting the processor is just limiting your possible buyers and developers

    With great power comes great innovation!

    That's a nice little point to ponder on. I suppose it is pretty true when you put it like that, and it's probably a subconscious reason which contributes to why I've been a Nintendo fanboy for oh so many years. I suppose a lot of the fears are just coming out of the Wii having such a sad sad life, people just don't want a repeat I suppose and are scared. BUT that being scared comes from a good place I think: for me at least, being a lover of Nintendo and what they can do, I WANT to love the next thing, but I have tingling fears of another Wii incident. In Nintendo we trust I suppose.

    As melodramatic as that sounds, I really have played/loved more games than I tend to realise/remember on the Wii...

      What was sad about the Wii? Didn't it sell more than either of the other consoles?

        Yeaaaah but is selling really a signal of how good or bad a console is? Maybe for Iwata I suppose, but not for me. I'm just saying that I spent more time sitting around waiting for something to be excited for, and ended up making myself excited over the first semi exciting thing to come along. Spent much much more time on the other consoles, and I'm a self confessed Nintendo fanboy. So something is wrong there...

    I have always wondered how Nintendo were going to follow up on the Wii.

    Targetting the casual market was a good idea, however the casual market does not care for graphics. So if this is a "super Wii" with the same control mechanism, many current Wii owners are going to question what's the point?

    Nintendo are going to have to come out with something revolutionary again to make people buy their next console. Not sure what it could be, but it'll be interesting to see what they come up with.

    What a shitty post, Mark... I didn't even comment in the Kotaku article asking those questions, but way to insult your readers.

    How is going back to a traditional controller and games with some precision (that don't involve knocking down pins)... asking for a "faster horse"?

    That would be a step forward, IMO, and I hardly think something as subjective as video games can be compared to a completely new technology like when cars came along and no one had any clue what they were talking about. It isn't like people are playing board games and won't accept video games... people usually know what they want, and gamers with any kind of experience want deeper games... motion controls have a way of making games extremely shallow and gimmicky.

    It's such a stretch to say that because I don't like motion controls and want better graphics, that means I basically don't know what I want. Could that be any more pretentious? Give us a break, dude ;_;

      I wasn't talking about the readers - I was talking about posts in other websites. I would never insult the readers. Didn't mean to give you the wrong idea mate.

      And when I was talking about 'on this website' I was talking about one of the US posts where he listed what he wanted from a new Wii. Wasn't talking about the readers, but see how it could have been misinterpreted as that. :)

        Fair enough, I guess it just read a bit that way..

        However I'm still not in agreement about the faster horse thing, haha. I can't buy the idea that in order for a console (or a controller) to be innovative, you have to cut all ties with traditional controller gaming and fully embrace arm flailing.

          Me neither - I don't want motion control either. I want something I haven't thought of yet.

          And I do want HD. :)

            Something you haven't thought of: Hammock Controller

      Personally, i didn't feel insulted by any of it even if it were directed at us. I for one think going to traditional controllers only would be a step backwards. Sure have them as an option (like they do already with the snes style controller) but to limit people to that alone would really be a limiting factor in creativity. I dread to think how bland the types of games would be if there were no option for motion controls and the likes.

      "How is going back to a traditional controller and games with some precision (that don’t involve knocking down pins)… asking for a “faster horse”?

      That would be a step forward..."

      Going back to go forward yeah?

      I feel like this is exactly what Mark/Ford are talking about. You are saying that you do not want an innovation, you want a better version of what we already have, ie traditional controllers as an example. No one is saying you or anyone else doesn't know what they want, only that they can't want what they haven't yet imagined.

      There is a huge difference between improvement and innovation.

    All I want is to see games come out for Xbox/PS3/PC and Wii2. A Nintendo console with access to the best multi platform games would be a formidable beast indeed!

    HD graphics? Faster processing? Keep some of the motion controls you say? OMG Nintendo are making a PS3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The 3DS was more of an incremental update to the DS and apart from the 3D and more grunt it's basically the same machine as the DSi. I think the next Nintendo console will be the same sort of deal in comparison to the Wii.

    I reckon they'll update the sensor bar so it has a camera and microphone, which I know screams Kinect but they'll have their own twist on it and use it for making Mii's and AR games.

    I really do think the controller will be a merging of the motion controllers and standard controllers. I can't think of a way this will happen that isn't ridiculous (like I suggested in the other comments, chopping a Gamecube controller in half) but Nintendo make some nice controllers so I'm not worried there.

    For more 'immersion' I think the controllers should glow different colours or (if possible) even heat up or cool down, so if Mario is jumping through fire land then the controller will glow red and be slightly warmer to hold. Force feedback on the sticks and buttons would be pretty sweet too.

      ooh now I'm having all sorts of crazy ideas.

      Imagine the 'Sensor Bar/Camera/Kinect Ripoff' being made up of a long thin screen of LED's which could display messages or simple graphics depending on what you're playing.

      You get an extra life in Mario and a 1up! appears on the little screen, the sun rises in Hyrule and the little screen slowly glows brighter. Stats and whatever could be kept there leaving a game with a completely clean screen on the TV with no need for an in-game HUD because it's all on a separate thing.

    Nintendo went the more power route. 64 was the most powerful of the gen, GC second of it's gen, both were smashed by the competition. People act like it's the wii's hardware that's the problem. It's not. Like the powerful 64 & GC before it, they are doing something different which means goodbye multi-platform titles. Thus why first party titles dominate. If they put out a same spec machine with a gamepad a COD they would just be splitting sales with competitors.

    This is the real reason why the Wii Vitality Sensor has never been released.

    The new Nintendo console will be entirely controlled by your heartbeat felt through your finger.

      But lets hope that is wirelessly connected to the console like Pulsar heartrate monitor

    Part of the reason I haven't bought a 3DS is that it just seems to be a "faster horse". I look at it, and see impressive visuals, better screens, but nothing worth putting down my DS for.

    There are a lot of problems with the Wii that people have been griping about since the launch. Internal storage, lack of Hi-def, terrible online experience. These are things Nintendo could have fixed within a few months of launch, six years ago. Instead, we got better motion controllers, and SDHC compatibility.

    Look at the 360 and PS3 (No, I'm not being facetious). Microsoft and Sony saw real flaws with their systems, and set about correcting them, mid-generation. No more red-ring-of-deaths. No more $600 price tags. The ability to install games to the internal storage, and correspondingly larger hard drives. Online features that got better and better as time went on. Microsoft is rolling out a new disc structure!

    Most of the things Nintendo fans want from Wii2 could be implemented on the Wii. But they weren't. It's too late now, but if you're going to put out a brand new system anyway, you may as well make sure you don't have the same old problems.

    What if Henry Ford made a wonderful new car that still pooped all over the road?

    HD graphics should be an expectation. A system designed to be announced in 2011 is going to have HD support. They'd be crazy to stick to SDTV - it's not like when the Wii was being designed, where HDTV adoption was just starting. Getting commodity hardware to output at least 720p if not 1080p video is trivially easy and very cheap now. This doesn't mean they have to compete in Sony and Microsoft's arms race - they could build a system on par with the specs in the 360, release it at the Wii's release price and make a killing off it immediately. Five years is an enormous amount of time in computing hardware.

    What I want to see in a new Nintendo system:

    - Compelling games available *at launch*. This doesn't mean they should hold back Skyward Sword though. I want to see at least one quality game available for the system when it releases, and I want to know there's more coming in the pipeline, ideally from third party developers.

    - Improved controls. Nintendo could surprise us all and have some kind of new technology. If they do, expect it to be some kind of augmented reality system, probably involving video processing and controllers. I'm thinking a hybrid of the Kinect and Move ideas. Perhaps Kinect-style depth mapping from two different angles. Who knows. I think Nintendo's home console business is comitted to motion control as their centerpiece still, and they are usually pretty conservative with hardware so they can price competitively without selling at a loss. That leads me to believe that we should expect a retread of existing ideas with a Nintendo angle. At the very least, the Wii sensor bar system could be improved on. The way it works at the moment is very sensitive to sources of infrared light (like the sun) and never feels particularly accurate, though I admit I haven't played anything with MotionPlus.

    - Region Free. I'm probably dreaming here, since appears to Nintendo hate everyone that isn't in Japan or the USA and loves to make us wait forever and then bend us over a barrel for the privilege, but really there's no justification for segregating the markets any more. Everyone runs the same HDTV standards over the same cabling, and stuff like PAL/NTSC switching etc is all done in the video hardware for non-HDTV cases too. The only reason for it is profit maximisation. And maybe so they have people to laugh at while swimming through their huge piles of cash in their money bin, Scrooge McDuck style. :(

    - Assuming they don't have a radical new control system, Wii backwards compatibility. Ideally this would also involve upscaling to HDTV resolutions as well. Render 3D at higher resolutions, scale 2D with a decent scaling algorithm such as the many that are found in emulators. In my fantasy dream world, they'd remove region coding and also drop the price of obtaining a Wii dev kit license to be within range of hobbyists and idependent developers at the same time, but this is Nintendo so this has pratically no chance of ever happening.

    You know what makes a game? GAME MECHANICS! Not graphics. I have no problem with the graphics on the wii, especially if the game is actually fun to play.
    All this bull crap about "give me HD graphics or give me death" is by people who don't truly appreciate a game for what it is. If you want great graphics, go watch hop or something. Leave the interactive fun to the people who enjoy it.
    Also, a quick note, do we really want HD graphics when all the games on 360 and PS3 look brown or grey?

    1080p. If Nintendo demand 1080p in all games and refuse to allow 720p format to be released on their console. They will easily win the HD war. Bringing over everyone's WII virtual console accounts, and Making the hardware reasonably specd/ HDD upgradeable and it'd be quite simple to topple sony and Microsoft.

    Here's the thing though Mark...

    Nintendo have painted themselves into a corner, a very profitable corner mind you, they've owned the casual console market for years. But it's been at the expense of the core gamer.

    The people who buy Zelda and Mario, they're going to buy it no matter what... so let's discount them from consideration.

    The casual now have their console, and I doubt 3D is what's going to get them to buy another one.

    That leaves the segment of the market who currently have 'next gen' consoles. If Nintendo want them, they are going to have to offer certain things that they've already come to expect... Achievements, Online Connectivity, HD Graphics, Multiplatform releases, Integrated Media and a bunch of things that I haven't thought of.

    Now it being Nintendo they're going to offer something different and new as well, but the things people have been asking for are the things Nintendo is going to have to offer anyway to at least meet that market segments expectations.

      Solid points all round.

        If they demo the hardware like they did at Spaceworld 2000 with Zelda I will actually wet my pants.
        No seriously, you don't understand how hot and steamy I'd get.
        So steamy...

    I'm not a fan of Nintendo at all but if they announce the power glove us back I'm all theirs!!!!

    Just give me Zelda in HD

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