Wii 2: Five ways Nintendo can win back hardcore gamers

Will the Wii’s successor satisfy old-school Nintendo fans? One fan, VGD’s Dylann Bobei, has some ideas about how it could.

By Dylann Bobei, April 29, 2011

1. Go HD or Go Home

Look, I am about the biggest supporter for “game play over graphics”. I firmly believe that a game’s quality will always sit with how fun it is and how great an experience it delivers with its mechanics. But I also know that Sony and Microsoft are tapping into a generation of gamers that love it when visuals make their jaws drop. Sony is even going so far as to dabble in 3D gaming and now in 2011, the Wii is really starting to show its age.

Isn't it about time we got to play Mario in HD?

To capture the hardcore market back, Nintendo needs to craft a console that is just as visually appealing and powerful, if not more so, than anything Sony and Microsoft have offered. High definition televisions are much more widespread now, and not supporting HD would be a death sentence. It’s not so much a question of “if” Nintendo will go after HD… it must. The question is, how will they make it matter? Most gamers have been enjoying HD for five years now, so it is not going to be anything new for them. I think Nintendo is going to have to showcase one of its beloved franchises, Zelda for instance, in glorious HD and in a mature light to really make gamers’ heads turn. A powerful system, HD graphics and a mature spin on a popular franchise, could be exactly what’s needed to get the right people excited about this new foray into the living room. Which brings us to the next topic…

2. Kill the princess!

Alright, that is a bit extreme, but I got your attention at least. In all seriousness, Nintendo has some very beloved franchises and characters. Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Donkey Kong… for a lot of gamers, they’re the reason to buy a Nintendo console in the first place. The problem is, a lot of gamers do outgrow Nintendo’s product for the sheer fact that the product does not always seem to grow with them. I know, I know. That’s where the next generation of gamers comes in, hence Nintendo going after them with the Wii, but it’s unlikely Nintendo is going to want to lose steam with the incredible volume of current generation gamers it has already made its customers over the last five years.

Could IGN's imagining of a Zelda movie demonstrate a way to create more mature versions of Nintendo's biggest franchises?

For myself, and speaking for a lot of others, it seems like blasphemy to consider that we would ever outgrow Mario, Zelda and Metroid games. But there are also a lot of people out there, people who play Call of Duty religiously, who just do not see the big appeal that we all do. For those people, and for us as well, Nintendo needs to do something big with at least one of their main games.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that a more mature Zelda game would be incredible. Retain all the loved themes, characters, dungeons and game mechanics, but give us a mature story that keeps us enthralled. Make it dark and ominous for the hardcore crowd that usually doesn’t play Zelda games, but tie it into the mythology and timeline of the Zelda franchise for the geeks in all of us. I just think that while a lot of us are alright following the same old “save the princess” storyline over and over, there are just as many out there who need something a little more fresh and new to pique their interest. For those people “Sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle” just will not cut it.

3. Sort online out!

I’ll admit, I’m not the most avid online gamer. I’m content playing most of my games solo and only delving into the online content when it offers something new and exciting for me. However, I also recognize just how gigantic the online community for games has become. In this department, Nintendo has been lacking for a long time. Xbox Live is phenomenal in terms of bringing gamers together. If Nintendo really is serious about going after the hardcore market, it cannot hold back any punches in this area.

It needs to deliver everything gamers want from an online experience in its new home console. This means a persistent online hub, daily news, an Xbox arcade-type affair, a retro games library like the virtual console, game demos for all big releases, voice chat, integration with social networks, Netflix, online support for as many games as possible and most of all, a system without friend codes.

Sort it out, Nintendo

Nintendo has always been cautious about online and it always seemed as though it had to do with younger gamers being exposed to inappropriate things in the online space. Enough is enough. Let the parents control what their children encounter in these environments. Include the parental lock capabilities needed to help them and then let them do the rest. The only way to do online right is to give us a system where we can chat, play and interact however we want. The restrictions need to stop for this to work. Nintendo needs to let us yell all the profanities we want after falling short in an online Mario Kart race and let the community and parents regulate the system.

If Nintendo can tackle online in the way that Microsoft has, that alone will bring a whole new flock of third party developers, games and gamers to the console.

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One Response to “Wii 2: Five ways Nintendo can win back hardcore gamers”

  1. Charles says:

    I agree with everything except 5 with the launch titles. The problem with having so many first party games at launch is that they inevitably make it difficult for 3rd parties to compete and create a market. It’ll just make 3rd party devs think there is no market for their games.

    It seems to me that Nintendo is stuck between a rock and a hardplace. If Nintendo doesn’t release to many of their games and lots of 3rd party games. People will say there are no games at all. If they release lots of 3rd party games it will hurt 3rd party game sales.


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