We’re sometimes hard on Nintendo around here, but it’s (for the most part) out of love for what Nintendo was and could be. The Wii U, Nintendo’s latest stab at relevance in the gaming world, has been met with a lack of enthusiasm embodied by abysmal sales.
So how does something like this happen? If you’ve ever wanted an inside look at the development process of an entire console, EuroGamer presented the latest in its series, The Secret Developers. The premise of this feature is that developers write candidly and anonymously about particular subjects. This edition of the Secret Developers just happens to focus on the genesis—and troubling development— of the Wii U by a major third party developer.
And it’s certainly…interesting, to say the least.
While there are a number of areas of the Wii U’s initial vision that sounded problematic from the very beginning, one of the most notable would have to be just how unconcerned Nintendo was with meeting the next generation of consoles pixel for pixel. Rather, their biggest concern seemed to be about power consumption, of all things. Instead of competing with rising graphics, Nintendo opted for a slower clock speed, in order to keep a small footprint with fewer fans.
However, the biggest shocker (although maybe it’s not that surprising when you think about it) would be the way Nintendo handled the development of its online infrastructure. How did they handle it? They basically had their heads in the sand. From the article:
There were apparently issues with setting up a large networking infrastructure to rival Sony and Microsoft that they hadn’t envisaged.
This was surprising to hear, as we would have thought that they had plenty of time to work on these features as it had been announced months before, so we probed a little deeper and asked how certain scenarios might work with the Mii friends and networking, all the time referencing how Xbox Live and PSN achieve the same thing. At some point in this conversation we were informed that it was no good referencing Live and PSN as nobody in their development teams used those systems (!) so could we provide more detailed explanations for them?
Again, considering Nintendo’s history with online gaming, this manages to be surprising and expected all at once. I’m a bit baffled that after all the complaints leveled against them with the Wii, that they didn’t study the competition at all to develop a superior experience.
There’s much more in the article, which is definitely a fascinating read. If you’re interested at all in how a console is made, I’d highly recommend it.
What do you guys think of Nintendo’s Wii U development? Go!
Source – EuroGamer