Nintendo Boss Declares Wii U The Start Of The Next Console Generation

The Wii U is not the last of the first wave of high-def consoles that began with 2005's Xbox 360 and 2006's PlayStation 3, according to Reggie Fils-Aime. It's the first of what comes next.

"This is absolutely the beginning of a new generation," Fils-Aime told me during a quick interview late Saturday night, just minutes before the official launch of Nintendo's sixth home console. "With the innovation we're bringing to bear, with the social community we're bringing to bear, [and] with the video entertainment we're bringing to bear, I think this is the start of a new generation. I think those who say otherwise are clearly trying to preserve sales on their current hardware. This is definitely the start of a new day."

Those who beg to differ may wind up caught in semantics or in an un-winnable argument about whether a Wii U, destined to be vastly out-powered by the next PlayStation and Xbox as soon as late next year, is really the beginning a new gen. But it's undeniable that Wii U is a new chapter for Nintendo and, as with any new console, a big risk.

It's a risk for Nintendo to produce an interesting, unusual machine that adds a six-inch touch screen to the standard twin-stick controller.

It's a risk for gamers who, every time there's a new piece of hardware out, have to decide whether to spend a few hundred dollars investing in its future.

Fils-Aime: "This is definitely the start of a new day."

Fils-Aime believes there are a great variety of games for people to choose from, which he thinks should compel them to pick up the console. He boasted on Saturday night of having 29 packaged games hitting stores, with a promise to get 50 games out through the end of March — the close of the console's "launch window." Among the forthcoming games announced for that window are Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 and Lego City Undercover. "I think we will continue to surprise the fans with announcements and information," Fils-Aime said. "I would not go so far as to say you know everything in our launch window."

It is, of course, necessary to convince gamers that the system will be around and have good game support for a long time. Nintendo's own Zelda and Mario creations are guaranteed. It's third-party games, which have shown up in abundance at launch, that are not ensured to be there in the months and years to come. Fils-Aime thinks those games will be there, now that there's a Nintendo console that supports HD graphics and complex online play and communities. The original Wii lacked those things.

But some major upcoming third-party games for the first half of 2013 are not on the Wii U release calendar. There's no BioShock Infinite and no Grand Theft Auto V, which are slated for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Fils-Aime deflected a question about those two games, which are published by Take Two, suggesting they were too far off in the future to be discussing on launch night. "We're gratified when we read comments from companies like Take Two," he said. "We're gratified when we're inspiring the world's best developers to put content on our system."

Some Wii U versions of games released on other platforms have good bonus features. Assassin's Creed III and Mass Effect 3 both put the game's map on the Wii U controller's big six-inch screen. The latter also lets players pick weapons and powers without pausing or slowing the game's action. But if Wii U versions lack elements of these games that are on other platforms, players might hesitate on getting the Nintendo console edition of the game. Who's to blame? Nintendo? The game-maker? Or is this just a matter of imperfect launch-day ports, something that's been an issue for just about every new console ever? For example, there had been rumblings — confirmed since then — that a Wii U version of Mass Effect 3 might not have the next downloadable content that the PS3/360 versions of the game will have. "We have no policy limitation on DLC or on business model for third party publishers," Fils-Aime said, implying that any DLC would be welcome on the console. A rep for Mass Effect 3 development studio Bioware did not reply yet to a request for comment about why the Wii U version won't get the game's next expansion.

On the day after Fils-Aime and I spoke, the Wii U's online services ran into problems. Its new social network, Miiverse, kept going offline. Even when it was up, Miiverse's integration into Nintendo's own games was only operating sporadically. As of this writing, things seem better again, but it's just these kinds of issues that can worry a new consumer.

On Saturday night I'd asked Fils-Aime if potential Wii U buyers should worry about the delay of the much-hyped Nintendo TVii service from launch to December. In the US, that service is supposed to integrate a user's Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime and even cable feeds into one on-demand video-viewing portal. The Nintendo president was proud to point out that Netflix was available on day one on the Wii U but shared this answer about the TVii delay. "People should not be concerned about it at all," he said. "The fact that we are now launching it in December reinforces some key truisms about Nintendo: We launch a product when it is in perfect in our eyes, not just because a certain date in the calendar has come up. Probably any other company would have launched it tonight."

Fils-Aime: "We launch a product when it is in perfect in our eyes, not just because a certain date in the calendar has come up."

That promise of delivering perfection reads differently after a Sunday of Miiverse service problems on the heels of a shockingly large day-one firmware update that was required to access five of the 11 Wii U features advertised on the console's box.

Fils-Aime declined to say specifically what problems had kept TVii from debuting on launch but promised the service would be high-quality when it launches.

The Wii U is an ambitious console. Nintendo is launching a new console, a new type of game controller and a complicated new online service that includes a new online store and a new social network. Things can't possibly go perfectly. It can't all be rosy. It can be, however, the start of a new era, if not for gaming then for Nintendo. Say this is the beginning of a new generation? Sure. Let's hope it's a good one and let's hope Nintendo can deliver on what they've promised.


    lol. Dream on.

    It doesn't even have a blu-ray drive or a disc larger then a dvd, its going to be left behind

      The discs are larger than a dvd, they're 25gb each. I'm not defending the WiiU, but a facts a fact...

        Woops, i should have learnt my facts better, thanks for that, so for games that come out over the next year or 2 only the xbox will get games on 3-6 dics

      Believe it or not some people don't buy game consoles for media purposes. I have a perfectly good Blu-ray player, why would I want one in my console, especially when that will jack up the price?

        ... storage for the games so they don't take up 3 - 4 dvd's now? Games are now taking up 3 - 4 dvd's in some cases. Blurays, just 1 at this point. Bluray drives are incredibly cheap to make now, prices have plummeted.

          No Im sorry the whole ps3 Blu ray fanboy bandwagon needs to stop, do you ever wonder why. 90% of the ps3 games need mandatory installs it's because Blu ray reads way too slow and the games that don't need installs load like a ps1 game... Halo 4 is two discs and I'm fine with that because Installed disc 2 and that's that... real gamers have been dealing with multiple discs their whole life not this Jonas generation gamers who jump on cod bandwagons... As for calling the wii u next gen that is a massive joke it will be cobweb ridden come the true next gen Xbox and PS consoles releases

            Thats the biggest load of BS I've ever read. The amount of PS3 games needing mandatory installs has shrunk to almost none. Infact, I cannot recall the last PS3 game I played that required one? I install all my 360 games now, due to texture load in being affected with games like Halo 4, Mass Effect 3 etc when they're not installed on the HDD and read straight from the disc. This is fact. "Real gamers" you say? Mate, I've been playing since I had a jolly old computer called a Pencil II computer and we had to actually write the games in line for line and RUN them to play them. You want real gamers? You're looking at one. Multiple discs don't define real gamers jackass. Willigness to accept games on all platforms, despite brand, despite ignorances does. Disc 2 of Halo 4 doesn't contain any of the main single player campaign btw, it's just the multiplayer component, the entire single player campaign resides on the first disc fyi. It tells you this when you go to select multiplayer the first time ;)

            I suggest you take your head out of your rear end and wake up to reality, as far as disc based games go, bluray isn't going anywhere, dvd's are dying if not dead already. Noone wants to hold only the 8gb format any more when higher density formats exist that are possible. Higher speed bluray drives exist as well.

            "90% of the ps3 games need mandatory installs", 85.3525235% of statistics are made up on the spot, 35.2523526% of people know that and 23.544664% have an idea its true. 53.243% of people might have a clue and there's a 76.53535% chance all that was about as made up as your statistic was.

            tl:dr? You're full of it. :) Have a nice day.

              Sleeping Dogs needed an install, I think.

              But yes, the installs are due to the drives, a faster drive (which exists as of 5 years ago) would remove the need.

                Indeed, I have Sleeping dogs on PC, didn't check it out on ps3, but thanks for the clarification. No doubt when the next generation of consoles are introduced, reading from disc will be redundant anyhow, they'll likely have us installing to the hdd as it speeds up data transfer rates anyhow. This doesn't bother me personally, I install all mine to the 360 and ps3's hdd if possible as it increases performance. I will with the WiiU as well when I can.

              installation has nothing to do with blu-day. uncharted 2,3, infamous 2, god of war 3 and many more doesn't require installation. Most multiplatform games can load and run faster if its installed on the HDD. Blu-ray is a amazing technology , you cannot deny that

                Bluray initially did have some of the reason but not all of it. Streaming data from the bluray was not seen as as efficient as it could be and parts of the game were installed to the harddrive to optimise this process. Over the years it was worked out to put it simply and installations were done away with. Uncharted 2 and 3 were prime examples. Stunning looking, no installations and no drop in framerate from this. GoW I believe was one of the first to fly the 'Look ma, no installation!' flag.

          Except Wii U discs have 25gb storage space, so... No problems there.

            Exactly. Storage space goes up, doesnt matter if it's bluray etc etc. As storage space goes up, possibilities for developers will increase when they're not limited by 8gb space. Just like when they realised they weren't limited to 700mb any more and had 4.7gb to play with on dvd's when the ps2 came out...

    Call me cynical but how is playing catch up starting a new generation?

      They haven't even caught up. In some respects, like user accounts tied to hardware, they are still behind!

      Playing catch up to what? Last time i saw they sold more consoles and software then either manufacturer, and made massive profits throughout the Wii's life. They are also releasing a new console 6 years after the Wii. Compare this to its rivals, who need 8-10 year lifecycles, High console launch prices, still havent paid of the billions of dollars invested in trying to get their console to 2nd or third place and we have to question who needs to catch up.

      Powerwise its fine if people wish to believe that launch titles and ports represent the maximum potential of a console - not even waiting for a few years like the 360 or ps3 needed before it was reaching its peak, but yeah lets not give Nintendo any chance, thats fair right?

        Strawmen everywhere. Do you want to compare attach rates as a measure of success here? Much different picture.

          here we go again. Attach rates? Are you still telling me thats an ACCURATE way to determine success. Let me give the example again,

          CONSOLE A sells 1 console and 20 games
          CONSOLE B sells 200 consoles and 200 games

          Now which is more successful? If you use reason and logic Console B is the most successful.
          If you subscribe to the attach rates console A is the most successful. lets do real world

          Wii 90mil consoles 800mil games
          360 70mil consoles 600mil games

          so you gonna use logic and reason, or attach rates? Dont worry i already know your answer

          Attach rates are a manipulation of the facts to get the out come you want. Its flawed and useless, but makes fanboys feel better - thats about the only use they have. If this measure of success is perfect why in a perfectly legitimate example i gave above i showed clearly that it very easily misrepresents the truth? Let me say it again, anyone who believes in that nonsense known as attach rates lacks any real credibility.

          Last edited 20/11/12 2:05 pm

            Lol, your spouting your nonsense around again. I thnk you need to go back to your "nursing" home take the pills the doctor ordered and leave the discussion to the sain :)

            Seriously stop pulling your bogus game sales numbers out your rear end, the only one trying to manipulate facts is you in your fervent defence of any bad word against the wii u, its hilarious.

            Last edited 20/11/12 6:56 pm

              Says im wrong, but fails to give any evidence - wow what a surprise NOT. Oh did i just tear apart your beloved attach rates. Boo Hoo. Im sorry its easy to manipulate. I simply stated facts, why not visit Wikipedia, or google the game and console sales, but maybe thats too hard for you. The truth must be a bitter pill to swallow. Hey i cant help the sales numbers but someone needs to get a reality check.

              since you have trouble researching facts i'll simplify it for you


              dont let the facts hit you on the way out

              Hypocrite much? So you can take a swipe at Nintendo and no one can refute your obviously incorrect statements (attach rates what a sucker)? What a sooky biatch you turned out to be. Cant hack it i see. Well its not hard to believe, after all you cant accept the facts, or logic or reason, so your comments seem fitting for you. Completely wrong. Figures

              LOL the spelling is SANE maybe you should know what your talking about before you start calling people out.

              Finally i love how they completely ignore perfectly legitimate example i give showing how attach rates are clearly flawed. You cant get any blinder then that.

              Last edited 20/11/12 8:27 pm

    Kotaku reader "Spaghett" calls Bullshit

    Sorry Reggie, no. This reminds me of the Dreamcast. A great quote I once read, I cannot for the life of me remember who said it...

    "The problem with the Dreamcast wasn't that it was the first of the next generation, it's that it was the last of the current generation..."

    That's what the Wii U is Reggie... sorry my man :( The controller is nice, but we're quickly seeing it's the Emperors new clothes.

      Eh? Quoting wikipedia here, but...

      "The Dreamcast (ドリームキャスト Dorīmukyasuto?) is a video game console which was released by Sega in November 1998 in Japan and later in 1999 in other territories. It was the first entry in the sixth generation of video game consoles, preceding its rivals: Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube."

      How is that the last? It was first out of the gate. It didn't belong to the "Playstation/64" generation.

        You miss the entire point. Whoever said it was talking in terms of its performance, power etc. It underperformed in all areas compared to the rest of the market. The Dreamcast essentially was for all intents and purposes WAS impressive when compared to the PS1, the N64 etc, but when you put it up against the Gamecube, the PS2 etc, not so much.

        Stop taking things so literally.

          Was that the only reason the dreamcast failed? I dont think so. Main reason was it lacked the thirdparty support (i remember EA practically abandoned them) the ps2 had an abundance of - thirdparty so vast the ps2 still sells to THIS DAY and for along time it continued to outsell its successor the ps3 after it launched. Hardware plays a small part. This is fact. Enjoyable gaming experiences is what makes or breaks a console, and if it has plenty it will succeed. Its that simple. If you think other wise your in denial.

          has the gamepad concept may have at launch not fully proven itself but to write it off completely before developers have the time to create interesting new ways to interact with games is extremely short sighted of people. But its not that it surprises me. Why should i expect sony or microsoft fans to give Nintendo any credit.

            "Microsoft or sony fans"?

            *looks at his 3ds*
            *looks at his Wii*
            *looks at his gamecube*
            *looks at his SNES*

            Fail buddy.


              Only reason I cant look at an N64 is because it got ruined in the floods ;)

              did i say you were either? but if the term applies to you you are more then welcome to that, theres nothing wrong with being either. Doesnt change the comment though. You seem to have already doomed them to fail. Is the Wii U launch been a success - not completely but its a reasonable start plagued with issues - that can be fixed, and a feature that infuture provide something new and interesting to games. All im saying is why write it off already? Surely you dont believe that the launch is the best that the Wii U has to offer?

              Last edited 20/11/12 2:03 pm

                I don't 'doom it to failure' but I do think it will have the lifespan of the Wii. Great for 3 - 4 years, but then settle into a forgotten niche as Nintendo exiles it in favor of its next upcoming product/handheld as it's done with the 3DS over the Wii in recent years.

                  Thats great 4-5 years seems perfect in a world were technology changes every 6months, better then 10 year lifecycles i say. I dont believe it will be forgotten like you say, but i dont believe it will be as memorable as the Wii.

        The Dreamcast's hardware specifications lived in this weird middle ground between those 2 generations. It was significantly more capable than a PS1 or an N64 but was pretty out gunned when stacked up against a PS2 or a Gamcube.

        The Wii U is in a similar situation, only by the same measure the hardware's capability is considerably closer to the competing platforms from the generation before it.

          I was thinking the same. It's not next gen, but it's not current gen. It's stuck in the middle.

    Man selling Wii U says Wii U is good! Pictures at 11!

    And also...

    "We launch a product when it is in perfect in our eyes"

    I would have thought that a product that was perfect wouldn't have required a 4-5Gb firmware update?

      I think he's referring to the console itself. The firmware has probably been continuously worked on since the console went into production, if they'd waited for the firmware to be complete and loaded on the console the thing wouldn't launch until next year.

        But that's exactly what I'm getting at. His own words: "We launch a product when it is in perfect in our eyes, not just because a certain date in the calendar has come up." But they've basically rushed it out to hit a certain date in the calendar because they can't afford to not have this christmas shopping season. So they've sent it out when it probably needed a little longer in the oven. And they're certainly not the only company guilty of that (look at the recent Apple maps fiasco, for example). Just seems strange to me he'd publicy say something like that when the evidence to the contrary is staring him right in the face.

          microsoft rushed out the 360 with its red ring of death issue - which they fixed and people forgave them. So long as Nintendo fix the faults on the Wii U same deal should apply. Poor PR comment though, perfect and launch rarely go hand in had in the console world.

            Yeah, that's what I'm getting at. I don't think the Wii U's launch issues are much worse than any number of other consumer technology product (and better than the 360's, since at least software issues can be fixed with a patch, as opposed to a fundamental hardware design fault). I just don't think the comment was particularly smart given the well documented issues with the system so far. Like you said - poor PR.

    Screw the semantics, the console looks like fun. And you just know that the Nintendo first party games will be as solid as ever. I don't care whether the Wii U will outpower the future MS or Sony consoles - I'll buy one of them for power.

      I think people focus too much on the negatives. There is problems for sure, but will you have fun with it all? Thats the question people should be asking. I'm with you Cracks.

        Moooooonnnnnssssstttttteeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrr HHHHHHHuuuuuuuuuunnnnnntttttttttttttteeeerrrrrrrrr!

    I love all you trolls that just come here to talk bad about a system you have no interest in. Just leave and play your consoles and let people who actually care read in peace!

    Im waiting to see if something catches my eye and makes my jaw drop which both Wii and U are yet to do. The last game or anything that did that on a Nintendo console was Rogue Leader by Factor 5. Not the greatest game but at the time, damn I wanted some tie fighter butts

    The Wii U is actually new hardware?? Gee I thought it was just more pointless addons to the Wii. 1 week from Oz launch and the promotion of this thing has been non existent.

    I think Nintendo has their shit together this time, nice price ,nice developers onboard , nice release titles, different controls again which work and a year before the competition or more. Sony and Microsoft can put all the power in their consoles they want but the price will be jacked compared to the Wii U and by that time Wii U's price will be dropped in time for next year christmas sales.
    Waiting to see what the other consoles will be like though, if it's just more of the same old shit with some more grunt I think I will skip them and stick with Nintendo.

    Reggie is that kid you used to keep in your social group because you found all the bullshit he says so stupid that it's amusing.

    The console was not ready for launch, but it was released with the "We'll patch it later" mentality. People are seeing that it is underpowered compared to this generations consoles; and I'm already hearing "It's ok for a WiiU game" from industry friends and reviewers.

    Weresmurf is correct, this is the Emperor's new clothes.

      U say it like Sony and Microsoft never did that ever..............please !

      It's been out, 1 day...

      Are you the guys that sold your 3DS's two weeks after launch because there were no games?

        Actually Mr Nintendo Defender, I still own my 3DS-XL and play quite a few games on it weekly. It's a good console.

    You cannot compare a console that has just been released to consoles that haven't. The Wii U might be underpowered compared to the upcoming consoles form Microsoft and Sony, but remember, people were saying the Xbox 360 was underpowered compared to the PS3. The whole debate about power is ridiculous. It's the games and infrastructure behind the Wii U that will decide if it successful or not.

    So what they're saying is, it's not lagging quite as far behind PC as the rest of them? Gotcha.

    I can't wait for new console wave, after this generation once the big 3 have gone under (they will, Nintendo is already showing its lagging, Sony as a brand is treading water at best and Microsoft can't figure out which market it wants to compete in most, which isn't looking good for gamers (just look at your xbox bashboard, how much game material vs all the other crap)).

    As for what will come next I imagine it will be something like what is happening with the Ouya, unique hardware, someone elses OS, if a bunch of companies build around an OS so developers can make for a single platform imagine the games they could make, instead of making sure it works on a bunch of different OSes. It will be the PC glory days all over again for consoles.

      Nintendo's not lagging it's their strategy, also generations are defined by periods of time not opinion. The WiiU is next gen.

        I did not mean just in hardware, though that is an aspect of it (not embracing new media formats is going to hurt them in the next few years), but as a company in general, its great they have a "strategy" but that strategy is unfortunately to try to compete for the attention of the casual gamer who is quite clearly already deeply invested in the mobile sector. Nintendo's time as a hardware developer is in it's sunset, as is Sony and Microsoft if they all keep playing the same game (which is completely exclusive software).

        Also never said Wii U wasn't next generation.

    It feels more like the release of a new Apple product than a new game console.

    This is the first time a major non-portable console has launched since the Sega Saturn, where I have had ZERO interest in the console at all.

    Saturn Panzer Dragoon! Thanks for the memory

    Zelda in HD is all the "next gen" I need. I couldn't care less what other consoles do.

    The beginning of the end

    "New generation" "Next generation" Same thing right guys?.

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