I have been keeping a watchful eye on the new Nintendo system (the Wii) since the massive media hype around the time of E3, the yearly video game convention. The Wii showed to be very impressive, with a revolutionary new controller system. It sets itself apart from the other new consoles (the nearly-year-old Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, to be released mid-November along with the Wii) because of its controller (which is something like a motion-sensing TV remote control), its price ($249), and its focus on gameplay rather than graphics.
Last week, Nintendo had an event to tell us the details of the new system’s release, price, and to give us a look at some of the games. To make a long story short, the media got a bit mad because Nintendo has always said that it would be priced under $250. Since then, many gamers have been upset by the price, because the media had made them expect a lower price. Frankly, I really agree with Jack from infendo.com on this one. He summarizes this in just the way that I’ve been thinking since I read so many comments about the Wii.
Frankly, the conference hasn’t changed my opinion on the Wii. It’s only confirmed what I’d already been thinking. Here are a few highlights of why I’m interested in the Wii:
- Price of the system. When compared to an Xbox 360 ($299 for a basic system) or Playstation 3 ($499 for a basic system), the Wii ($249) wins hands down. For some reason, fans are upset at the news that Nintendo won’t be losing money on the system like Microsoft and Sony.
- Price of the games. A promise of $50 first-party games is great news, considering the price of Xbox 360 games I’ve seen.
- Intended audience. Since I’ve recently become a dad (and also because I want to play games with my wife), I’ve had a hard time finding games that fit the family-friendly bill (or even just wife-friendly). Most of my favorite games for my Xbox are also available for the Gamecube (X-Men Legends, Star Wars: Battlefront, MLB 2k6) and I know there are Gamecube games that my wife would like better because we still play their predecessors on the Nintendo 64.
- The Game Library. I’m very excited to play old-school Nintendo games again. My wife got me a system that plays our old NES cartridges and I love it. I’m excited to play many of the other games as well, like Super Mario World and Super Mario 3. I’ve heard the argument that you can just download the ROMS and play them on your computer, but the experience is very different.
- The Controller. This is where I’m going to be looking the most. I’m doing planning on buying a system on launch day because I want to try this out for myself. If it looks good (and it really does so far), the controller could make or break the system for me. This could make games such as Zelda (with the sword fighting) and sports games (particularly baseball) a lot of fun, so I’m really hoping for this to work out. It’s too bad that the controllers are going to be expensive, but if it means more fun with friends, I’d gladly pay for more controllers and have game prices cheaper.
- Graphics. The Wii won’t win on this one in comparison to the other consoles, but I think the graphics look great so far. I don’t own an HDTV, nor am I planning on buying one anytime soon. The idea that I need super-high-res graphics never really appealed to me, since it’s more about content and price in my book. That’s the same reason I’d have to think long and hard before buying Blu-Ray or HD-DVD: I’m very happy with DVD quality, plus they’re getting to the point that I can just encode them to a USB flash drive and watch them on my laptop.
I see too many plusses to start criticizing Nintendo here. As has been said before, what some consider Nintendo’s bad news last week has really been a confirmation of what they’ve been saying all along.