Optimism Prevails: Part Five of Wii U Week

A week ago I talked about my initial reaction to Nintendo’s unveiling of Wii U at E3 as being one of skepticism and disappointment when this series of Wii U-related articles kicked off. In the time between the E3 unveiling, a hands-on demonstration and now, I’ve warmed up to Nintendo’s strategy for their next home console. At least what we know about it so far.

I now look at Wii U as a package with untapped potential. We know the basics of what I can do, but there’s so much more it could potentially do. The mind races with possibilities, so I’m going to wrap up my Wii U Week series by sharing some of the features I want Nintendo to include, as well as some more outrageous ones that would be icing on the cake.

Master of Your Online Domain

Wii U’s online design is perhaps its biggest question mark as I noted in the previous article. Sony and Microsoft have found success allowing users to create their own identity and subsequently tie all their game and media playing and purchases to that identity. It’s a relativity simple concept that Nintendo must adhere to.

Nintendo has already shown an interest in paying attention to online profiles with the Super Mario Bros. Mii demo, which could very well turn into a launch title. I’d like to see them use the front-facing camera to create new photo-realistic Mii heads, then make sure that the profiles attached to those heads are usable in any online multiplayer game.

Sony has Trophies and Microsoft has Achievements. I want to see Nintendo have something to track game accomplishments. Whether it be coins, mushrooms or whatever.

What happens if you take your Wii U controller to another person’s house who has a Wii U? It would be cool if your user profile could be stored on the controller or called up on another Wii U console via the controller. This references a cloud storage element where the sky really is the limit.

Master of Your House

It’s no secret that the Wii U controller resembles a tablet computer. It also resembles a touch-screen remote control that you might find in high-end home theaters. The kind that cost hundreds of dollars not necessarily for the software, but the hardware that powers it.

It would be fantastic if Nintendo could find a way for the Wii U controller to act as a master media control device for a home with the console acting as the media hub. You could – in theory – stream movies off the Internet, the console or a storage cloud right onto the controller.

I’m also wondering if the controller could control house systems such as alarms, motorized windows, TVs, receivers, etc. You’d obviously want parental controls for something like that, but it wouldn’t be much different than having those functions running off an iPad or other control device.

Master of the Web

I stick by my assessment that the Wii U controller and monitor combination is essentially an “Untethered DS.” The two screens can also be so much more. Let’s say your deep into Hyrule while playing Zelda HD and you find yourself completely stuck. I want to see a way to hit the Internet and look for help on the controller while the game remains up on the main monitor. Gamers the world over would LOVE the ability to do this.

I’d also like to see Nintendo use the web to transfer game saves and downloaded games from Wii to Wii U. There are a lot of people out there with scores of games saved on their Wii. No need for them to go away when Wii U comes into the house.

Master of Reliability

I really, truly hope that Nintendo has come up with an incredible solution to cooling Wii U. If it runs faster than Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, it’s going to need it.

With more complex “guts,” the extent of which we don’t know yet, Nintendo needs to avoid the issues that have sent many Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles into an early grave. No one wants to buy a fancy piece of hardware and be afraid it’s going to bite the dust in a year or less.

Nintendo, the ball is in your court. If your competitors choose to follow the touch-screen controller idea then they’ll be considered copycats (again). If they go for more of a straightforward tablet approach, then they’ll lack the combined gaming and touch-controls on the same piece of hardware. And if they ignore touch-screen altogether then you’ve got the most advanced kid on the block.

I hope my optimism for Wii U maintains and continues to build as it has over the past several weeks. Deliver the goods, Nintendo, and you won’t get merely great sales, you’ll get extraordinary sales.

– Dan Bradley

Wii U Week Part 1: Announcement Reaction
Wii U Week Part 2: Hands-On and a New Nickname
Wii U Week Part 3: Third Party Support
Wii U Week Part 4: Questions and Concerns
Wii U Week Part 5: Optimism Prevails

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