6 Problems Nintendo Needs to Fix Now
Nintendo is in the middle of a major transition between the spectacularly unsuccessful Wii U and its next console, currently known by the code name NX. The company’s other piece of hardware, the Nintendo 3DS, has done well enough, but it has sold far fewer units than its predecessor, the original DS. All of which indicates that Nintendo is swamped in a mess of problems at the moment. If it wants to remain relevant in the modern world of gaming, it needs to make some big changes.
Here are some of the problems Nintendo needs to look at fixing as soon as possible.
1. Announce the NX already
One of the most baffling things about the NX is the complete lack of information about it coming from Nintendo. Aside from saying it’s in the works and slated for a March 2017 release, Nintendo has revealed nothing about the NX at all. We don’t know for sure whether it’s a handheld device, a standard TV-based game console, or something in between. We don’t know how powerful it will be or what games Nintendo has planned for it aside from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Despite that its release is approaching fast, it’s still a giant question mark.
This information vacuum has created a fertile environment for leaks, rumors, and speculation. Fans are already forming rigid opinions about the device before it’s even been unveiled. An easy way for Nintendo to begin taking control of the conversation would be to give an official unveiling.
The NX is Nintendo’s future. It’s time to start letting fans know what to expect.
2. Confusing messaging
All of the recent Nintendo consoles have been based around some concept — or, to be less charitable, some gimmick — that often seems strange until you play the games. For instance, no one knew why the Nintendo DS had two screens until they got their hands on it and were able to use the touchscreen in interesting ways. As for the Wii, motion controls sounded like a bizarre concept until we played Wii Sports, which proved the strange new controllers could offer fun new experiences. Those devices sold in droves.
The Wii U was a different story altogether. After Nintendo announced the console, some people didn’t even realize the Wii U was a new console at all. They just thought the GamePad controller was an add-on for the original Wii. The confusion continued as Nintendo released a decent lineup of Wii U games without managing to convince gamers to pony up the cash to buy in.
The problem is poor messaging. For anyone to care about the NX, Nintendo needs to explain what it is and why gamers should buy one. If they’re not convinced, we could be looking at the Wii U all over again — which could spell doom for the future of Nintendo gaming hardware.
3. Lack of new games
The Wii U has a decent lineup of worthwhile games, but they were spread so far apart that we’d often go months (or all of 2016) without getting anything worth buying. With most of Nintendo’s development teams currently huddled away to work on NX games, the Wii U has been all but forgotten about. Even releases on the 3DS have been slowing to a crawl lately. For Nintendo to succeed in the future, we need a steady stream of noteworthy games, either made by Nintendo itself or by third parties.
4. Lack of third-party support
Speaking of third parties, one reason the Wii U suffered from a lack of games is because third-party developers abandoned the system early on. Since the Wii U isn’t nearly as powerful as Xbox One or PlayStation 4, third-party developers couldn’t easily port their latest games to the system. And because the Wii U sold so poorly, they couldn’t justify devoting teams to making separate Wii U games, either.
For Nintendo to succeed going forward, it needs to convince third-party developers that their system is worth making games for. Unfortunately for Nintendo, if the NX fails to take off, that could be a tough sell.
5. No new Metroid
Seriously, Nintendo. Your core fans would love nothing more than a new Metroid game, whether it’s a new first-person installment like the Metroid Prime series, or a side-scrolling one like Super Metroid. We’ll take anything we can get! Yet after years of nothing, what you offer us is Metroid Prime: Federation Force, a game that looks and plays very little like any other Metroid game in history. We want Samus in her bounty hunter space suit, we want her alone on a mysterious and hostile planet, and we want it now.
6. A bold new Mario game would be nice, too
The Mario games on Wii U were great fun and all, but they didn’t have the incredibly vast scope and creativity of the Super Mario Galaxy series on Wii. They felt too familiar to be fresh. Now is the time to go big once again in a Mario game. We’ve had our fill of side-scrollers like New Super Mario Bros. and relatively small-scale installments like Super Mario 3D World. Let’s either blast into space once more, like we did in Super Mario Galaxy, or find some new way to make the greatest series of platformers feel new again.