If E3 2013 taught me anything, it’s that not only are the doom and gloom scenarios for Nintendo wrong, but that the company has put itself into an incredible situation heading into the next generation. While Sony and Microsoft are bashing each others brains out with system wide stipulations and games that look and play marginally better than what we’ve seen in the current generation, Nintendo is plugging along with what could be their strongest lineup of first party titles in many years.
We got a chance to go hands on with Nintendo’s many new games at E3 2013, and irrespective of whether third party publishers are going to support the console going forward, Nintendo has got all the gaming goods that any fan needs with their lineup of titles that were revealed at the show. Nintendo hit all bases at E3. From the impressive first showing of Bayonetta 2 gameplay, to the confirmation of a new HD 3D Mario Game, the company has proven that they’ve heard fan concerns loud and clear.
Come this fall, when consumers are at stores looking to plunk their dollars down on new machines, Nintendo will be there with a less expensive system and a more robust lineup of first party titles than either Sony or Microsoft. Sure, for those that are looking for increased graphical fidelity and online features, the Wii U might not be the best choice. But if it truly is all about the games, Nintendo might have had the best showing at E3 2013, a showing that could set them up to do better than Microsoft or Sony this fall.
After going hands-on with many of these new games on the show floor, I came to the conclusion that the HD leap might just be enough for Nintendo to compete in the coming years. The real strength of Nintendo is in their first party games, but they don’t make the same types of bombastic experiences that can be found on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The games they are making simply don’t require the sheer power that either Sony or Microsoft’s new console have. You can put Super Mario World 3D side by side with Knack, and for many people it will be a matter of preference.
Nintendo fans have very specific tastes. Why else would Nintendo offer iteration after iteration of the same franchises that have spanned decades. The simple answer is, people like them. The cartoony art design for many of these franchises will allow Nintendo to put out a product that is on par with their counterparts. Getting a closer look at these games and being able to compare then to what’s coming from Sony and Microsoft, you can’t really tell that Nintendo’s machine is significantly underpowered compared to PS4 and Xbox One. And that’s all that really matters, the small slice of consumers that actually compare physical specs is probably marginal in the overall scope of Nintendo’s target audience.
There’s no doubt that the Wii U struggled in 2013 thus far, but we haven’t seen much by way of Nintendo’s first party developers. That should change in the coming months, and it will be interesting to see if this onslaught of new games from the company will light a fire under the system for the all-important sophomore holiday season for the Wii U.