Last night it seemed as though Nintendo's conference disappointed many. I count myself among them. So I spoke to Daniel 'Vooks' Vuckovic, founder of Nintendo site Vooks, to discuss what Nintendo could have done better.
MARK: So Mr Vooks, time for our annual E3 Nintendo chat. We always discuss Nintendo's E3 conference, and sometimes we even agree! Just a second ago you mentioned to me, over email, that you had finally figured out how you felt about the conference — what did you mean by that? And how do you feel about the conference?!
VOOKS: Well my immediate reaction post conference was, 'well that was that'. I was feeling just a tiny bit angry with what was shown. Well, to be more precise, with what wasn't shown. But now, after sleeping on it, I'm not angry. There's no real reason to be and there are some great things to take away from the conference. Still, I'm disappointed. Nintendo did the absolute bare minimum yesterday and gave people plenty of reasons not to but the console. I'm still going to buy one, but they did no favours in winning people over. That's what disappointed me.
MARK: At the start of the conference it felt as though this was a chance for Nintendo to blow people out of the water – to just show a barrage of games. Quality games, franchise games, maybe even new IPs. It should also have been a chance to truly show that Wii U had 3rd party support.
I saw very little of that. ZombieU is great, but Ubisoft has always been massive supporters of new tech. That’s nothing new. And time spent discussing a game like Batman: Arkham City – a game that's been out on other platforms for over six months — that’s not ideal. A massive, lumped together trailer made up of poor, uninteresting third party titles that'll be available on other consoles and most likely look and play exactly the same? At that point I started to worry a little.
VOOKS: Nintendo started off like it was going to do focus on games. It got straight into Pikmin 3 (which looks really nice), then Reggie came out and said they only have an hour so it will be all about the games. The next 10 minutes at least were then retreading what we learnt from the Nintendo Direct event. Then as you say, the old games got rolled out. Sigh.
The problem with Batman, Darksiders II, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Mass Effect 3 is that by the time the Wii U comes out at least one of those games will be over 12 months old. Ports and re-releases happen all the time, but to fill a new console that's going win the hearts and minds of core gamers with games they've already played? It's a bit worrying, even I've finished Batman: Arkham City and I don't finish anything. Oh, and are Nintendo fans really going to buy Mass Effect 3? No.
It wasn't all ports though as you say, ZombiU sounds like a great idea and should have been showed off more, let's hope it doesn't go 'Red Steel' on us though.
The worst thing though, about the conference, was the lack of things to look forward to after launch. At E3 2010 when they showed off the 3DS for the first time they showed off games like Paper Mario and Animal Crossing for the 3DS — those games still haven't been released yet. So far all we've seen from the Wii U is a handful of new titles (Pikmin, Nintendo Land, Scribblenauts) and ports. There's no 2013 games to get excited about.
MARK: The thing that really surprised me was the fact that Nintendo finished its presentation with NintendoLand – a concept I barely understood during the conference (probably because I was too busy liveblogging). Is this a product that's supposed to define the Wii U? To convince us of its worthiness? It started off as a diversion to me. I thought, 'this is filler before some big reveal'.
Turned out that was the big reveal. Such a bad way to end the conference...
VOOKS: The thing was, once they wheeled out the game, it took all of five seconds to figure out what it was (after I stopped live blogging too). It's the Wii Sports of the Wii U. And I mean that in the sense that it's the game everyone will buy with their Wii U, get to grips with, then buy something else. Nintendo somehow felt it had to spend 20 minutes discussing it.
You're right though Mark, this game won't define the Wii U. And a lot of the other games Nintendo showed don't really use the Wii U GamePad in interesting ways, we also didn't see too many compelling arguments for asymmetric gameplay. This morning we're hearing about more games and more ways this will come to fruition, but last night it was all a little bit underwhelming. The next few months are going to be interesting — we'll hear about the good and bad parts of the Wii U. Last night it was the 3-5 hour battery life, a negative. This morning we learnt you can transfer your WiiWare and Virtual Console games over, that's a positive.
Nintendo's going to have to do some serious courting over the 6 months to get us to open our wallets.