As the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One approaches, we seem to forget that the next gen has already started. Or has it? The Wii U has been available for almost a year at this point, and nobody seems to care. Although it may have started the “next generation” of consoles, Nintendo is only now catching up to what the PS3 and Xbox 360 can do, with its first high definition console and many of its games being ports from other multiplatform titles that perform better on the PS3 and Xbox 360. It has some great new ideas, but way too many setbacks to be thought of as an actual next gen console.

wii u

It is fairly obvious that not many people seem to care about the Wii U. In just under a year, it has sold fewer than 4 million units. The console’s name may have something to do with it, as it seems like something that would be an add-on for the Wii, which so many people have, instead of a new console entirely. It is also much too expensive. Even with the recent price cut – the console is now $299 – it still is only $100 cheaper than the PS4, something that will turn out to have much more value in the long term. Plus, Nintendo is losing money with the Wii U, and is lucky that the 3DS sales are so high. The console is being sold at a loss, and the software sales aren’t high enough to make up for that margin.

Also, the fact that it doesn’t do anything extraordinary hurts the sales. There is nothing that will really stand out to a consumer that would make them really want to buy the console. Even the main selling point for the Wii U, the second screen functionality and playing full games on the handheld, is no longer exclusive to that console, as the PS4 and PlayStation Vita have a very similar feature, called Remote Play.

wii u 2

Another main reason the Wii U is not considered a next-gen console is that it is just now catching up to what the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 can already do. It is Nintendo’s first console with high definition graphics, something PS3 and Xbox 360 have had for a long time. Nintendo is also just now learning how to make an online network, which is still not coherent or makes sense, as there are no usernames, just friend codes. There are few games that have good online multiplayer on the Wii U.

There are also few third party publishers that consistently make games for the Wii U, making the game catalog small. This causes many people to choose other consoles instead of the Wii U, and forces Nintendo to make most of the console’s games themselves. While the first party games are good, with Mario, Zelda, and Smash Bros, there aren’t enough to make the entire package worth it over another console. Ubisoft and Activision seem to be the only third party publishers that are consistently releasing on the Wii U, but other publishers, especially EA, are less so, and seem to not take the Wii U seriously.

Let’s talk about some good things with the console. Despite its lack of hardcore games, the casual market will find something to be happy with on the Wii U. Co-op games like Mario, Wii Party U, and soon Super Smash Bros. are always a hit and appeal to the casual market. Also, while the main feature of the console is no longer exclusive, it is still a good idea that works and is fun to play. Finally, it has some experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. Games like Pikmin, Mario, Zelda, and many more games exclusive to the Wii U are special and unique, and it would be difficult to try to find something like it on other consoles.

wii u 3

The Wii U definitely has its upsides. It has some great unique games, some innovative new ideas, and is a fantastic console for families and casual gamers. However, it is just not a next-gen console. The price is a bit too high, the name is confusing, there are few third party publishers that support the console, it has an incoherent online system, and it lacks general mind share among gamers. The console is not a next generation console, and is no match compared to the PS4 or Xbox One. It has its own unique ideas, but nothing that will blow you away. It’s great in its own way, but it is not next gen.

Matt Bianucci
Loves to play all types of games, especially single player games. There are few games Matt won’t play. While he is new to the games journalism industry, he loves to write, talk and play games. He loves to share his opinions with the world through his editorials and reviews. He is PlayStation focused, writing reviews and news about the PS4, PS3, PS Vita and everything else PlayStation. Matt is currently a student based in the United States

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    28 Comments

    1. Generation is defined as release not technical power. It is the first console released of the 8th generation. It is a next generation console. No one claimed the PS2 wasn’t ‘next gen’ because it was the weakest of the three and no one claimed the Wii wasn’t ‘next gen’ people, apparently also this site, seem to believe the term next generation is about graphics fidelity and processing power.

      1. I’d agree with you, but contrary to your belief, when I talk to someone about a next-gen console, they won’t even mention the Wii U. Yes, it’s in the 8th gen as you say, but it doesn’t create that “wow” factor that the Xbox One and PS4 produce. The Wii U seems more like a console of the current-gen, even though it’s part of the next-gen lineup.

        1. Thats because of poor marketing and the earlier release date. For a while a lot of people just thought the the wii u was a gamepad that synced to the original wii. And the reason it doesnt get mentioned most of the time is because there isnt hype behind it since it’s been out for a bit now. Obviously people are going to be talking about whats coming out next. Both of those dont make it a current gen system thats just idiotic.

          1. I’m assuming you own a Wii U so that’s where your comments are coming from. It’s all just differing opinions really. As someone whose owned a Wii, and played the Wii U, there was nothing that really screamed next-gen to me. I guess, basically, the term “next-gen” can have different meanings. For someone like you, the console is the latest Nintendo console so that’s “next-gen” to you. To me, when I see a game like Ryse or Infamous: Second Son, that’s what I think of when I see next-gen.

            1. I own both a Wii and a Wii U and honestly, you dont have to look that hard to tell that there is a big advance between the two systems.

            2. I didn’t say there wasn’t a big advance. Zombi U told me that from the get go. But again, the comparisons that the consoles that are about to be released are small in my opinion.

    2. What a strange and bizarre article.

    3. This guy clearly has never used a Wii U. It’s actually more powerful than the 360 and the PS3, it doesn’t require friend codes, and the online is actually really solid. Also, why are you complaining about the price, the XBox One and PS4 are more expensive, so it’s actually a good thing that the Wii U is 100 bucks cheaper than the PS4 and 200 bucks cheaper than the XBox One. Also, how the hell does the confusing name not make it next (excuse me, CURRENT) gen? Console generations have to do with release date NOT with the hardware itself. Where did that dumbass stigma come from, anyway?

      1. I’d have to agree for the most part. The console itself is quite impressive. There have just been very few games thus far that really take advantage of it. Which is pretty standard for new consoles. How long did it take for games to make full use of the capabilities of the PS3/360? How long will it take on the Xbone and PS4? You can hardly say the Wii U doesn’t live up to its contemporaries when the other consoles aren’t even out yet. I’d also like to see sources for sales statistics (those can’t possibly be worldwide, and ignoring how much better they sell in Japan is misrepresentation). Finally, the article doesn’t even try to really explain why the Wii U is lagging, instead giving completely subjective theories like “it’s too expensive” or “the name is silly.” The only thought to take away from articles like this is “Uh, okay?”

    4. Your article is extremely closed minded and biased. If anything what defines the generations? At launch, how much different will the next gen consoles really be compared to current? Graphics will only be slightly better until devs know how to fully use them (but same goes for the wii U), controllers are basically the same lets be honest, and new features really arent all that exciting. The Wii U adds a huge step up in graphics compared to their old console (who really cares about graphics though thats not why you buy a nintendo product), a new way of playing, and BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY (which is fucking amazing seeing as everyone else has basically dropped this). If you dont think this is considered next gen then you probably just arent a fan of nintendo or that much of a gamer.

    5. I’m sorry, but this article is just insanely biased and uninformed.

      “Nintendo is also just now learning how to make an online network, which is still not coherent or makes sense, as there are no usernames, just friend codes.”

      This is flat out wrong. There are no friend codes on Wii U, it’s all user name based, called Nintendo Network ID. You can friend anyone you see posting on the Miiverse (the online Nintendo social network) with a simple click and you can send your real life friends your user name and add it. NO friend codes involved what-so-ever. Just ask Shuhei Yoshida, President of Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, he has a Wii U: https://twitter.com/yosp/status/275760694912237572

      You also completely ignore the fact that the gamepad is included in the Wii U box. This is what bumps up the price of the system. A PS Vita is not included in a PS4 box. If you were to make that comparison, please put the PS4 price + the PS Vita.

      A Wii U is $299.99, gamepad included.
      A PS4 + PS Vita is $399.99 + $199.99 = 598.98.

      A price difference of almost $300!

      Also, the simple fact that the Wii U is bundled with the game pad makes a huge difference, as not many people will own a Vita AND a PS4. The same thing happened with the GameCube and GameBoy Advance. The connectivity thing never caught on because no one had all those devices. Reality is that the majority of PS gamers will never use this feature, while Wii U gamers will be doing it straight out of the box. The difference here being that it won’t be a limitation for developers, as they know for a fact that people can use this feature, allowing them to integrate it in the gameplay. In case of the PS4/Vita, it will likely be limited to optional things that don’t impact the gaming experience much.

      Also, the fact that the PS4/Vita can now mimic this mechanic doesn’t suddenly put Wii U in the last generation of games consoles. You are not making any sense.

      Also, “That guy who just commented” is correct. Next gen is simply implied in the name, next generation. It’s is nothing more.

      “However, it is just not a next-gen console. The price is a bit too high, the name is confusing, there are few third party publishers that support the console, it has an incoherent online system, and it lacks general mind share among gamers.”

      A confusing name, really? There are many problems with the name, but it is not something that defines it as a last gen console, neither does any of the other things you mention.

      I honesty don’t care much for this console war stuff, as I see good things in all the consoles and the competition is good for the industry as a whole, but when I see an article as bad, biased and uninformed as this one, I simply cannot let it slide.

      I don’t know if you got paid by Sony to write this article or if you’re just a fanboy, I don’t really care. But you just need to be told, that you sir, are a bad writer, and your attempt at appearing objective in this article through your “upsides” section does not really fool anyone.

      Shuhei Yoshida, wants the Wii U to succeed. You should too.

      https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2013/11/sony_worldwide_studios_president_shuhei_yoshida_wants_the_wii_u_to_succeed

      1. Oh yeah and if its multiplayer go ahead and add on the price of Playstation+. It’s cheap but still not free.

      2. We don’t get paid by any companies for the articles we write. We have no bias towards one console or another, just simply opinions.

        1. I don’t condone Dude’s comments about the writer, but otherwise he does make some very good points. Respectfully, you can’t say that you have “no bias, only opinions.” Bias is showing favor to one side of a conflict. Opinions, by nature, ARE a form of bias. They show what you favor. But presenting those opinions as facts, with evidence that is poorly researched, doesn’t do the best job of supporting your position. Recognizing bias in journalism is part of being a good writer.

          1. You are correct in saying that having an opinion is also being somewhat “biased” towards a subject. The author may have not done the required amount of research for this topic and we apologize for that.

            1. No reason for apologies, and you were right to say it wasn’t fair to make a personal accusation. But facing criticism comes with the job, and if this was one of my writers, I would want him to learn from the experience.

            2. Oh, trust me, as a site that focuses 75% of our content on creative pieces, criticism is more than part of the job lol. I just like to try and keep the discussions on OnlySP civilized and informative rather than having people fight with each other and so on. I’ll be truthful in saying the topic was my idea, so can’t put all the blame on the writer ;)

        2. Of course anyone is entitled to an opinion. But your writer is stating things that are straight up wrong and omits other things in order to portray his statement of “Wii U not being next gen” as a fact, when it is really just an opinion. Stating incorrect “facts” and omitting others to manipulate the truth is bad journalistic writing. This is a professional critique. Not a personal one. I am sorry it came across that way by using the term “fanboy”, but I think a good professional writer should be able to remove himself from this kind of obvious bias. Yes I stand by that statement. My reply is in no way directed as a personal insult, it is a professional one.

          1. Not a problem, as I stated in a comment below, the writer probably didn’t do the required amount of research to fully express his opinion on the topic. We’ll be sure to take a second look at this topic with more research conducted before hand. The Wii U obviously isn’t a console of focus on our site.

            1. There was potential in this subject matter.
              (1) It is true that the Wii U has been seen by some as an expansion.
              (2) It is true that Nintendo do not support 3rd party games very well.
              (3) It is true that Nintendo’s online networking has been irksome.

              These are all issues worthy of discussion, but this piece takes the wrong approach — it is fatalistic, a bit premature, and not founded on personal experience. The subject matter would be better spun to challenge the ignorant opinion that the Wii U is not “next gen”, rather than feeding into it with dubious terminology and poor research. Advertisement can correct the misconception that it is an add-on. The necessity of 3rd party titles is contestable. Nintendo have also embraced the power of online gaming, linking with the importance of advertising.

              This piece isn’t really defensible. It is something to learn from. That you as an editor are engaging in a dialogue and conceding faults is something to be commended. I do not think I’ve ever seen major site, like IGN or Kotaku, apologize for any of their numerous blunders.

          2. Had it not been for this: “I don’t know if you got paid by Sony to write this article or if you’re just a fanboy, I don’t really care.” Your comment would have been an excellent explanation of why this article is a poor piece of journalism, supported with well considered counter-arguments. Sadly, any form of personal attack is undermining, especially one that implies immaturity –“kid”, “fanboy”– and a lack of integrity — “paid”. Such remarks have the unfortunate consequence of being all that people focus on when responding, which means that your compelling arguments are in danger of being overlooked. In this case, you also ended up guilty of the same poorly evidenced conclusions as that which you criticize!

            Anyway, I loved your arguments. You obviously have a good understanding of the industry and that you apologized makes you better than 99.9% of the internet.

    6. Oh yeah another huge benefit of a Wii U: Constant sales and price drops on games.

    7. This is what happens when you cater to children and forget about the children that were playing the NES.

    8. Regardless of how you feel about Nintendo and the Wii U, they will ALWAYS dominate Handheld markets. I just read that the 3ds outsold the N64. That’s a pretty huge achievement for just a handheld. Not dissing on the Vita or anything. I like what it offers too. But Nintendo has and always will do their own thing, and to me, that’s what makes them unique. Yeah they may not be super high def, have blu ray players, or enough diversity of games- but one thing Nintendo will always achieve at least IMO is making me feel like a kid again… and that’s something Sony and Microsoft has yet to do (even though I enjoy both of their consoles as well and will be buying both next gen versions as well).

    9. I also think Nintendo released the Wii U much too early. I know they wanted to beat Sony and Microsoft to the next gen, but if they would have waited until the new Super Smash Bros or the new Zelda game was ready, and have those as launch titles, there would have been much more of a demand. REVOLUTION would have been a better name for the console, too. But like I said, Nintendo will always continue to do their own thing no matter what the competition is doing so I respect that.

    10. A lot of people here are getting extremely upset about the Wii U. The fact of the matter is that the hardware of Wii/Wii U has always been behind that of Microsoft and Sony’s offerings, it’s untrue to say anything else. Also, I believe the writer is saying the Wii U is still expensive because the original Wii was cheaper on release and price dropped to $200 after a year.

      I am personally a PC gamer and I am trying to be objective on the matter. It just really seems that many of the Wii U adopters are extremely defensive of their console. It only seems fair to question whether the Wii U is a next-gen because it is fairly weak and and only now does 720p, this is a legitimate point. Technological advancements are a large thing that differentiates generations.

    11. Wii U has a price cut, and how the heck is Smash Bros a “Casual” game? A game isn’t just hardcore because it has blood and killing in it, Hardcore means that there is a lot of depth and such.

    12. This is one of the worst and uninformed articles about wii u.

      Yea, journalism at it’s best. Let’s not do research before making an article about a product we know nothing about.

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