Wii U a promising prospect for online gamers

Nathan Mendelowitz

The upcoming console from Nintendo has garnered a good deal of attention. With speculation of powerful graphics and an innovative controller, the Wii U has already achieved cult status.

With what I’ve seen and heard, I have my own questions and hopes for the console.

Nintendo is finally making the jump to HD graphics. The processing power is also going to be better than the PlayStation 3. It’s about time Nintendo does this.

With the Wii, Nintendo played it safe with graphics and decided to focus more on gameplay. Nintendo is realizing that people want beautiful graphics and visuals to go along with great gameplay.

The only downside is when Microsoft and Sony release there next gen consoles, the Wii U is going to pale in comparison. The reason for this is because Nintendo doesn’t want to compete with other companies and wants to stand-alone.

I have a problem with this. If history has shown us anything, it’s competition is great for consumers. It makes developers work hard to come out with bigger and better things.

It was the competition between Nintendo and Sega that made the 90s so great for gaming. Each company was trying to out do one another and it led to some great advances both software- and hardware-wise. 

Nintendo is doing something different, with an innovative controller.

The new controller for the Wii U is ambitious and looks like an iPad with two joysticks. In the middle is a screen that can either be used to supplement a game menu screen or can be used to play the game like a handheld with the TV off.

The only problem is the controller is only available to those who buy the console; it will not be sold separately. The reason is because the controller isn’t cheap and it will be too expensive alone.  

I understand that, but what I don’t like is how this will affect playing with others. Friends can play with a regular Wii remote while only one person plays with the new controller.

This defeats the purpose of playing a new console, which is built around a new controller. If only one person gets to use it, only one person is having fun while others watch in envy.

Manager of Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development Shigeru Miyamoto, in an interview with News.com.au, hinted people might be able to use a Nintendo 3DS as a controller for the Wii U. This comment feels like a slap to the face. Miyamoto might as well of said all you have to do is pay over $150 if you want to use a cool controller.

This notion of one controller per system does have me intrigued in regards to online play. I hope this means Nintendo is finally encouraging players to play games online.

With the Wii, people had to use friend codes to play with others online. This was a horrible way of having online multiplayer because each game had its own friend code and these codes were not easy to remember. It effectively negated any sort of fun to be had online.

Thankfully, Nintendo is dropping the friend codes and moving to a universal online community similar to Xbox Live. Gamers will be able to have a home page and traverse the online landscape for downloads and online multiplayer support.

The Wii U won’t be released until the 2012 holiday season so gamers will have to wait to see if the Wii U will be worth it. If online play is as easy as Nintendo is making it out to be, I will be in line to pick one up. 

Nathan Mendelowitz can be reached at [email protected]