The Company That Steals the Show at E3: ...Nintendo?
Just go with me on this.
Obviously, the Wii U is going down. It just is. A gimmick only goes so far; re-releasing that gimmick in a high-definition format just wouldn't cut the mustard. I knew that the instant I saw the Wii U unveiled, and I wondered how long we'd have to wait before Nintendo announced their next move in the console world.
At the time, my prediction was as follows: The Wii U will be a miserable failure and at E3 2014, Nintendo would announce either a new direction or business goal and abandon (perhaps temporarily) the console world, or they'll reveal a new system. You know, one that's actually competitive and might pose a threat to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Coming into E3, I can't help but think I may have been prophetic.
Don't misunderstand; I've been wrong about Nintendo before
Hell, I figured after the GameCube, they were through with consoles. I thought they'd continue to dominate the handheld world and that'd be more than enough. But they produced the Wii, an absolutely ingenious machine that magically catered to the one demographic we never thought we'd get: The non-gamers.
Oh, calm down. I'm not saying no hardcore gamers bought the Wii. I'm saying that for the first time, we started seeing mainstream consumers with Wiis in their homes; people who really had never had a video game console before (unless it was an Atari way back when). They got senior citizens playing games, for crying out loud! They even managed to pioneer in yet another area of the industry: Motion sensing.
However, I know a gimmick when I see one. Gimmicks hit hard right out of the gate, which is why the Wii shot out to an immense lead in the previous console generation. Everyone was saying, "oh, there's no chance the PS3 or Xbox 360 catches the Wii." To date, it hasn't happened, but I think before all is said and done, the PS3 will hit at least 90 million, not far from the Wii's 100 million. And don't forget that during the last few years of the Wii's run, you couldn't give that thing away for free.
The Wii U was a mistake... and Nintendo knows it
There's just no other way to interpret it. How many systems has it sold? 4 million? 5 million? I mean, the PS4 and Xbox One have both sold as many or more units in their first six months at market. And while the future is bright for both those consoles, it's basically over for the Wii U, as far as most are concerned. So, the question is, how will Nintendo steal the show at this year's E3?
Well, think about it: They can't limp along with the Wii U forever. People are already losing interest in Nintendo and this business is all about timing. The Wii U might not survive another year being beaten into the ground by the PS4 and Xbox One; hence, Nintendo may have yet another ingenious plan. You can't expect them to pull genius out of their butts twice in a row, right? But if they did it before with the original Wii, they can do it again.
It's their time to derail some of Sony and Microsoft's combined momentum and announce a new console. Or, at the very least, make a big splash in the portable market. A new and improved follow-up to the 3DS, one that might effectively kill off the Vita...? Who knows? I do know that if Nintendo wants to even register as a presence at E3, they're going to have to make some noise somehow.
And like I said, I'm pretty sure they're aware of this fact. So, hold your collective breaths...