Is the Wii U a Next generation Console?
Is the Wii U a Next generation Console?
Is the Wii U a next generation console? Answering the question is fairly difficult, because there is no clear consensus on what makes a next generation console. I firmly believe the Wii U is a true 8th gen console, but there are individuals in the gaming community that are adamant that the Wii U is just a current gen console. There claims lay on the sole argument that the Wii U is an underpowered console, and ultimately will not be able to complete with the next console offerings form Sony and Microsoft.
Are Next gen consoles just successors to the previous generation? Or do next gen consoles have to offer a graphical leap? Or is Next gen console are just mere refinements of their predecessors?
Wii U’s graphical fidelity is certainly questionable, from what we have seen so far from the system, nothing has blown the current gen out of the water. However, I do believe the Wii U is very capable and is underestimated by many.
I hate the idea, that the most important aspect of next gen console is an increase in power. I do not oppose fantastic graphics, but there has to be more to next generation console than just graphics. I believe that the next generation of console has to offer something new and/or improve upon its predecessors. These can be a variety of things, from improved graphics, new online features, peripherals or new ways to play. Personally, the most exciting aspect of next gen console is what new and innovative feature they will introduce to the gaming experience.
However most gamers expect from next gen consoles a significant leap in performance over their predecessors. After all, gamers have been accustomed to expect a graphical leap every new generation. Sure there are many perks to the increase in power. Developers can expand their creativity to push the boundaries of visuals, storytelling and interactive.
But do better graphics introduce any worthwhile innovations to games? I don’t believe so. The extra power in next gen consoles will most likely result in refinements to the current game experience. Essentially, you will be playing the same games, just with better visuals, larger environments and smarter AI. It is a natural evolution of the industry rather than a revolution.
If the game industry continues to follow the same road, I am afraid that the game industry will become stale. The graphical leap from the 6th gen to the current, has done little to rejuvenate the JRPG genre. JRPG’s this gen are arguably worst then in previous generations, they have become incredibly good looking but extremely linear (cough Final fantasy 13). Things could become potentially worst for shooters during the next gen battle.
One thing I fear is the growing trend of games becoming interactive movies will continue. The problem is that these games focus too heavily on the visual spectacular. Overusing Quick time inputs and scripted events, draws the control away from the player and becomes an interactive movie rather than a video game. When games stop being games, and become more like movies, that will be the day I quite being a gamer. Hopefully the next consoles can deliver something new, to curve this growing trend.
We already know what is on offer from the Wii U, hopefully Sony and Microsoft can offer something new and unique with their next gen consoles.
But how is the Wii U a next gen console? It may seem like I am regurgitating a Nintendo PR statement, but the answer is simple, the gamepad offers things completely new that was not possible on previous generations. Many of the functions and new gameplay designs that the gamepad offer, are just not possible on the 360, Ps3 or the Wii. If the Wii U is only a current gen console but 6 years too late – then the console would be more of the same. The Wii U would not offer anything new or innovative. Essentially it would be a Wii HD. This is the not the case, if you believe otherwise, then you are kidding yourself.
The second screen on the gamepad represents huge potential for innovations and new experiences in the game industry. We have seen a mere taste of what the Wii U can do. The competitive attractions in Nintendo Land are completely new experiences and some of the best fun I’ve had with a group of friends. ZombiU implements the gamepad in interesting ways and even adds to the immersion. Playing a full game on the palm of your hands while watching TV, is convenient and is a feature that will hopefully appeals to many. No doubt further down Wii U life cycle, we will see the gamepad put to better use. Just imagine what Nintendo can accomplish with the gamepad in their core franchises such as Zelda, Metroid and even Star Fox. Finger cross, that third party developers will hop on that Nintendo bag wagon, to give us a plethora of high quality and original games.
Like everything in life, nothing is set in stone. Whether the Wii U delivers upon its promise is still up in the air. But Nintendo should be applauded for daring to do something different, taking the risks and actively seeking innovations.
So what do you think? Do you agree with I have written? Or am I completely off the ball?