We all already know about the PS4 announcements, heck we practically were at the conference. From the new DualShock 4, to the “Share” feature, to the specs, to the “Eye”, to the no backwards compatibility, to the everything else! The Playstation 4 has intrigued many gamers even with how little we know; heck we don’t even know what the console looks like!
But, as we all are coming around to the next generation of gaming let’s not forget Nintendo already has their foot out the door with their system out and running, the Wii U. It is practically a fact that many people do not own a Wii U (evidenced by the 55,000 sales over the past month) but does this mean anything right now? No, is the answer, in case you were wondering, to the previous question. The Wii U, while out for about three months now, has massive potential as do all the other new consoles, but you know what makes the Wii U different? Games…well for now.
See, the PS4 was announced with games such as Watch Dogs (multiplatform), Destiny (multiplatform),Diablo 3 (multiplatform), the new IP PS4 exclusive Knack, a new InFamous and Killzone: Shadow Fall, along with a few other games and announcements (like Square-Enix and Final Fantasy, etc.). But at the same time, looking at this lineup isn’t going to make me spend the rumored $529 (or the other unit $429) to get a PS4, especially when a few of these games are multiplatform. In addition, we actually have no idea when these games will be coming out/announcements about their release dates and/or if the games are actually good, in the eyes of reviewers (if that affects your decision making).
A big thing for me is also familiarity of games. To clarify, it means that I know the game/series that is coming out and the next game of that series. While it may be early to speculate or even tease the thought of an Uncharted 4, seeing that at the Sony PS4 Conference would have sold me on the system faster than that of new IP’s or games we already knew about. Nintendo likes to tease games a lot, take the Legend of Zelda Demo (both the Wind Waker one and the Wii U one); that alone was enough for people to start saving money for the Wii U.
For me exclusives have and will always matter. It’s a system seller in my eyes and it’s a reason why people declare loyalties towards companies. But this is irrelevant to the next generation of gaming because all systems will have their exclusives. The point is not on how they “promote” their exclusives (like how Sony does not) but in a way to tease their exclusives. This past Nintendo Direct, the internet was jumping for joy, because of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, a new Monoloith Soft Project, Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensen, a Yoshi Epic Yarn and more. Nintendo has effectively built hype past the Big 3 for E3 (the Big 3 is that of Smash Bros Wii U, Mario Kart U, and Super Mario World U[all working titles that we've known about since the start of Wii U]).
In addition looking at Nintendo’s Wii U’s short-term future, there are games like the Wonderful 101 coming out exclusively for the Wii U, along with demos of the new Super Smash Bros, New Mario Kart “U”, and a new Super Mario World U coming out at E3, we have a little more to be excited for.
Look, before you get the wrong idea I am not saying the Wii U is better or PS4 is better, etc. In my personal opinion, to each their own. The Wii U will have its audience and the PS4 will have its own; but we’re talking about gaming and the best buy for the holidays of 2013. I wouldn’t necessarily give the PS4 the “3DS effect” that there are no good games coming out, when it releases, as we still need more information and there is plenty of time. But looking at the Wii U vs PS4 at a consumerism-economic outlook, something with more games and “now” use value seems like the better buy. The GamePad is a very unique device and when used properly is seriously next generation. The Miiverse is a new type of online communication and let’s not forget the Wii U will be getting a few other exclusives like Bayonetta 2 and a special Rayman Legends level pack for free.
So come this holiday, what will I be looking to buy? A Wii U, not because I love Nintendo’s first-party games (I mean who doesn’t) but because there is a wider variety of options open for my Wii U. In addition, I don’t believe my PS3 has become obsolete yet; in fact look at the PS2, it had about 3 more years after Sony’s PS3 launch before effectively being “shut down”. Another plus is that of my Wii games being backwards compatible on my Wii U compared to the PS4 not having this feature in both PSN and PS3 senses. Pandora’s Tower is being released for the Wii this March and there are plenty of games that new to the Wii game owners may have missed, so there library expands once again.
If you don’t want to buy a Wii U this holiday that is fine too, because the other product that has caught my interest more than the PS4 is that of the PS Vita. The Vita, while no price-cut is going to be coming to America according to sources, seems like an integral part for the PS4 and if they do not come bundled together (my personal prediction for the rumored $529 package) then new PS4 owners may want to nab their hands on that because it seems Sony is hell-bent on making the Vita relevant.
Personally looking at the Wii U versus PS4, I believe Sony has effectively stolen what Nintendo wanted to get, getting the “hardcore” (jeez I hate that word) gamers of the next generation. Nintendo’s plan all along was to get back to that audience, which is turn why they are effectively using DLC and online-integration a lot more, but name-basis is ruining them right now and many of the Xbox-shippers are jumping to Sony upon the announcement, not even giving the Wii U a chance. I think continuing to use the Wii-brand name may have hurt them…..but. In addition, I think Sony’s new ‘social’ aiming channel with streaming is a great idea that Nintendo could have done first, especially with that of the GamePad. While we do not know how this will churn nor do we know exactly how it is used, the possibilities just make the idea seem fantastic and is a big reason why everyone is ready to declare Sony the new “king” even though there isn’t a war.
Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina