13 September 2012
Good luck Nintendo, you're going to need it
Nintendo just announced their new Wii U console release date. December 8th release for Japan: 26,260 yen for basic set, 31,500 yen for premium.
I have fond memories of previous Nintendo hardware, I'd love to see them succeed with this....
However, I believe it will not be a success like the Wii and it could end up being their last TV-only console. They will probably end up converting all their games to work on multiple platforms and focus on Software. Sony will not release a PS4 or another PSP. The nextXbox will be seriously challenged (pricewise) by the Ouya and Steam box, which will make profits from day one and be easier to publish on.
The old masters are loosing out to iPad/iPhone/Android, PC gaming is coming back with the indie revolution (plus the intro of Windows 8 tablets). The risk of building a new game-focused console that only works on TV/in the living/bedroom right now is massive. Nintendo seem to grudgingly know this as they are trying take an intermediate step to handheld/portable delivery with the controller. They should have been much bolder and made a tablet-style console that can stream to the TV but has it's own screen with a wide-open software market straight away.
Personally, I feel that the 2nd TV games console era is actually drawing to a close. I think the global economy will remain stagnant for several more years and people will not buy so much new tech in the west (if they do it will be phones and tablets). China and India might be the saviours of the next gen, but they will soon be making their own kit and their own games.
In a few years - in front of the TV/on the couch - we in the west will be playing on the Ouya and Steam box, Apple's TV / Airplay, Oculus Rift/AR and streamed gaming will be making an impact. Freemium will suck out the dwindling revenue from retail sales which would have fed AAA titles in the past. People will come to expect their gaming fix for free as their money goes back on essential things like food, fuel, clothing, and saving for a rainy day and their tastes shift from demanding every new game look more photo-real than the last to expecting every game be unique to look at.