I still don't have a Wii U. I don't know if I'll get one. An awesome new Metroid game might make me get one. Mario... eh. There's a demo unit at a nearby Target store, and I played a couple of levels of the New Super Mario Brothers U demo. It is kinda fun, but I stopped 'getting' Mario quite some time ago. I still have to finish Super Mario Galaxy one.
Blasphemy, I know.
(Since I'm in a blaspheming mood, I'll also that I preferred Nero in DMC4, I didn't like Bayonetta at all, and the main reason I would get the new DmC Devil May Cry is because I'd like to see what Ninja Theory did with the story and storytelling.)
But what I really wanted to talk about was the new controller, and something interesting I saw when this little boy was playing the Mario demo. He wasn't looking up at the TV screen with its fancy "Mario's now in HD!" graphics. Instead, he was looking down at the screen on the controller.
At first I thought this was just another example of how Nintendo has lost the plot, but my brother had another idea. He said his 4-year old son just doesn't get games being on the TV. They have an Apple TV setup in their house, which means that my nephew could, if he was interested, put Angry Birds or Jetpack Joyride or Cut the Rope on the big TV. But whenever his dad does this for him, he's not interested. Instead he wants to look down at the iPad, where he can touch and swipe the screen and make funny things happen. (And sometimes ask, "did the Angry Bird just die?!?")
The little boy at Target playing NSMBU and looking at just the touchscreen? This is probably because playing games on the iPad and iPhone are what he's used to. Like my nephew, he probably doesn't get games being on the TV either.
Suddenly the touchscreen controller of the Wii U, and the fact you can play games on the controller while others use the TV, makes sense. This is so that Nintendo can target the next generation of gamers, and have the touchscreen control that they're so used to, included right from the beginning of the Wii U.
I understand that Microsoft is looking at some sort of integration with smartphones, and Sony would be mad not to. Smartphones have exploded onto the casual/portable gaming scene in the past few years. To completely ignore them would be mad. However, Nintendo is far in advance, and has an integrated touchscreen controller with their new console.
If Nintendo can pull this off they will do massively well. They've got a ways to go - for example, NSMBU has very little touch controls involved.
The sticking point is, well, us, the gamers who are used to playing non-casual games on the TV with the console under it. We want fancy HD graphics and surrond sound and the abiltiy to frag our friends online in AAA summer blockbuster Call of Modern Warfare's Duty Special BLOOPS games filled with chest-high walls. We don't want touchscreen kiddie stuff.
Apparently. After all, I never really got into Dante or Bayonetta or the chest-high wall craze. What do I know about modern gamers and what they like?