Wii U's Identity Problem
Nintendo has been having problems with new console identification lately. First came the 3DS, which many people in the general public thought was just a regular DS with a 3D screen, rather than an entirely new piece of hardware. Now, especially thanks to the company's focus on the GamePad controller over the main console box, many people are under the impression that the Wii U is simply a new tablet controller for the original Wii.
The mistake has made it into the popular media several times lately. During E3, a CNN story repeatedly referred to the GamePad as a controller for the original Wii, until throngs of trolls stormed the comment section in order to not-so-kindly tell the article's author about the mistake. Then Jimmy Fallon did a post-E3 bit on the Wii U and told his audience that the GamePad was a controller that could work with the Wii or just be used without a game console at all. Neither piece of information is correct, and later Reggie came onto the show to attempt to correct Fallon's misconceptions.
Nintendo has some work to do if it's going to convince ordinary moms and dads to pick up a Wii U this Christmas. The company needs to hit the fact that this is a brand-new piece of hardware very strongly, or the Wii U risks falling into obscurity. Then again, if New Super Mario Bros. U is truly a launch title, that might be enough to break through any confusion and spur sales. People really, really love Mario games.
Nintendo 3DS Goes XL
Nintendo made me stay up late on Thrusday night for a Nintendo Direct conference. Why hold a conference aimed at consumers at 9pm Pacific, Midnight Eastern? I have no idea. Unlike the late night I spent watching the E3 3DS conference, at least this one was worth it. The company announced the release of new Nintendo 3DS XL hardware on August 19, the same day New Super Mario Bros. 2 launches for the 3DS. The XL hardware has a larger form factor, better battery, and bigger screens, but does not have a second circle pad, as some gamers hoped the second iteration of the 3DS would possess.
Nintendo also announced two more 3DS games for North American release: Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, which will come out in November, and a new Art Academy game for 3DS. The company even briefly remembered that the Wii exists—that machine will be getting Kirby's Dream Collection, which consists of six classic Kirby games and other Kirby-related extras. The final big announcement made at the conference is that the next Super Smash Brothers will officially be for the Wii U and 3DS, and will be developed in partnership with NAMCO Bandai. Smash Bros. guru Sakurai is still the director, so never fear.
Now that I've stayed up way past my bedtime, it's time to send this week's industry news along to you. If you live on the East Coast like I do, I hope you're keeping cool. I recommend an indoor location with an air conditioner and a copy of Pokémon Conquest.
Date: June 22, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*