2011: A Year Nintendo and it’s Fans Would Prefer to Forget

As Microsoft, Sony, and to an extent, Apple, went on their merry way in 2011 with their gaming ventures, it seemed like Nintendo sputtered all the way through. As a lifelong Nintendo fanboy and a Nintendo-only console owner up until this generation, it’s tough seeing what Nintendo has done (and not done) in 2011. If you’re a Nintendo-only household and you’re as hardcore into gaming as I am, I feel your pain.

Let’s look at Nintendo’s fronts, discussed what went wrong and their outlook going into 2012.

Nintendo Wii

Nintendo made a conscious decision back when they were designing the Wii to make it a non-HD system aimed at a more casual audience. While it may have ultimately given them first place in the console race, they also alienated millions of hardcore console gamers in the process. The system will likely stand as the #1 best-selling console this generation, but it came at the cost of losing many of their core fans and having their system bottom out in 2010 while the XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3 are still picking up steam.

On the software front, Nintendo decided to let the Wii go early and focus their efforts on the upcoming Wii U. Outside of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, there was nothing worth playing for us on the Wii in 2011. With such a long gap between when the Wii software dried up and when the Wii U is scheduled to be released, it’s not hard to forget that the Wii even existed this year. Unlike the SNES, N64 and Gamecube, which had some of its best games come out towards the end of its life-cycle, it looks like the Wii is going out on a whimper.

Nintendo DS

I may not be the best person to gauge the health of the Nintendo DS, as I haven’t bought a Nintendo DS game in 2.5 years. The last game I purchased was Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. To be fair to Nintendo, the DS is still selling well. However, the majority of DS sales are going to kids at this point in the system’s life-cycle. I’ve moved onto smartphone gaming on my iPhone, and I think the end of the era of the dedicated handheld system is looming. Speaking of which…

Nintendo 3DS

I had high hopes for the Nintendo 3DS. In spite of my desire to not carry around a dedicated handheld gaming system, I really hoped that Nintendo would prove me wrong and make the Nintendo 3DS worth my while. Whoops. While the 3D works as advertised, the system came out at a price-point that was too high, the 3D doesn’t change the core experience and the software lineup has been atrocious. Say what you will about Nintendo’s first-party support, but two Mario games coming out way after launch and two Nintendo 64 remakes isn’t going to be enough to shore up this a software library that’s thin on games and even thinner on games worth playing.

Now the 3DS finds itself in a weird spot where it received a dramatic price cut a few months ago, still isn’t selling so hot, and third party publishers are cancelling games like crazy. The Nintendo 3DS is out of Virtual Boy instant-bomb territory, but the platform fell on hard times very fast in 2011, which makes its future in 2012 look bleak.

Nintendo Wii U

The successor to the Wii did not set the world on fire when it was unveiled at E3 this year. In fact, Nintendo stock prices dropped shortly after it was announced due to the system’s lukewarm reception among journalists and the gaming community. While it’s still too early to pass final judgment on a system that isn’t due for another few months, to say that I’m concerned for this platform is a gross understatement.

Why am I concerned? Well, for one, the system’s horsepower only puts it slightly ahead of the XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3. While this is fine in the short term, the moment the successors to those consoles come out (which likely isn’t too far away), the Wii U will most likely get left in the horsepower dust yet again. That huge controller still freaks me out, as I really can’t think of many good applications for such a device. It’s also discomforting to know that the Wii U will only support one touch-screen controller at a time, which really limits its uses. When you’re not using that touch-screen controller, you’ll have to use regular Wii controllers, which I really dislike. Also, what’s Nintendo going to do to get third party games back onto its systems? I don’t think this is going to be the thing that brings them back. Unless something dramatic happens, I’ll likely only purchase a Wii U to play Nintendo games and play everything else on other platforms.

In Conclusion

2011 sucked for Nintendo and its fans. There was virtually nothing good to play on any of its platforms, and Nintendo’s future is looking really shaky going into 2012. If they can’t turn things around for the 3DS and if the Wii U is a bust, it may spell disaster for the Nintendo we know and love.

What are your thoughts on Nintendo’s performance this year? And where do you think Nintendo is going into 2012? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

One thought on “2011: A Year Nintendo and it’s Fans Would Prefer to Forget

  1. Josh December 6, 2011 / 2:26 AM

    2011 sucked for everyone who has only one system. SONY had a truck full of exclusives that were tainted with a disappointing game for every 2 good ones, needless to say that made many PS3 fans upset and confused. At least Uncharted 3 cleaned up the year for SONY very nicely 😀
    As for Micro($)ft, what is there to talk about really? Forza 4, Gears 3 was awesome, 4 new Halos announced on the same night. You can look at the last one either way really.
    On to Nintendo, if Zelda takes me away then all is forgiven ;D

    Okay now I have my serious face on T.T

    2011 sucked for everyone! Xobx had only 2 games to brag about and a remake. Sony fans have trouble standing up for their quality exclusives, Killzone 3’s multiplayer is a ghost town! That’s because they don’t know a good game when they see one and go straight to whatever their chums are playing. As for Nintendo no one wants to make games for something as outdated as the Wii any more except for Nintendo so here’s hoping that the WiiU is exactly what console players need to shut up PC fanboys/girls.

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