As the Wii U’s impending release approaches, we’ve heard talk about whether or not Nintendo’s new console will be their savior—or their downfall. It’s all talk we’ve heard in various iterations before, but it seems as though the stakes are somehow higher this time around, as this is the first year the company has reported a loss. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter has made no secret of his gloomy outlook for the Wii U—but over on Eurogamer, Epic Games’ vice president Mark Rein has weighed in with a positive prediction for the new system.
Speaking with the website at GDC last week, Rein said, “I like the Wii U. I think E3 will be a big eye-opener for people.”
He continued with some more details as to why he thinks the Wii U will be a success for Nintendo:
“I played Batman: Arkham City on the Wii U and they are doing some really cool stuff with the controller. Do you remember the Zelda demo they had on it? Would you not buy a Wii U just to play that? Of course you would. That’s what Nintendo is all about. Their hardware is the software delivery service for their great content. That Zelda demo was gorgeous and we can do even more than that with Unreal Engine 3. I think it will do great.”
Rein noted that a crucial factor in the Wii U’s future success is the parental purchasing factor—which is probably one of the best defenses of the system I’ve seen yet:
“It’s a great brand that a lot of parents really trust and they’re probably ready to buy their kids an HD Wii that does that much more than just being an HD Wii. I’d love it if they’d done it last year, but I’m excited for them to do it this year. I’d be shocked if it doesn’t do well. Did you play that Battle Mii game? Two players would play with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk and one would play with the Wii U controller? I would buy a Wii U to play that game in a heartbeat. And I hope people make those kind of games with our technology. I think we’ve yet to really see what the Wii U can do and I think at E3 this year they’re going to shock us.”
I must be pretty easily persuaded, because based on Rein’s endorsement, suddenly I’m excited to see what developers will do with the Wii U. The parent-factor is a big one, I think, and it certainly led to many families buying the original Wii back when it first debuted—to the point that they were impossible to find in stores for the longest time. Of course, eventually the system became just another unused gadget, whereas most people who consider themselves gamers continue to use their PS3s and Xboxes.
But there are a lot of families out there who bought Blu-ray players to go with their fancy-schmancy HD TVs, even though they probably already had perfectly fine DVD players. Could “high definition Wii” be enough of a selling point? I’m thinking that, with the “wow” factor of the tablet controller, could actually swing things in Nintendo’s direction…
But what do I know? I haven’t even put on pants yet today.