COMMENTARY | At first glance it is pretty easy to see Nintendo has a lot riding on the Wii U console heading into the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but the stakes are much higher than a single game console and a single game maker. According to CNBC, video game retail sales are down 27 percent from the same time period in 2011, and the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and PlayStation 3 are nearing the end of their lifespan, which spells a lot of trouble for video game industry.
According to the Associated Press, the Wii U garnered a lot of attention at last year's E3, but expectations for game support and a better indication of what the system is capable of will high on the charts this year. Nintendo is not just battling for their own brand, but for the entire console industry. Cheaper games on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablet computers, are capturing more and more attention from players, and the Wii U is going to be the first of the big three to try to change that.
IGN reports the Nintendo Wii U has to prove it is worthy to be mentioned alongside the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which is going to be difficult if the only games available for the Wii U involve a certain plumber. Third party support is going to be key for the Wii U, no matter how great the graphics are. In addition, Mashable reported that Amazon Video on Demand is now available on the Xbox 360, which emphasizes how important entertainment options are to the console world. These machines can no longer simply play games, they have to be media centers as well.
In short, there is a ton of pressure on Nintendo to provide a hit with the Wii U on all fronts. Another controller gimmick, even with a touch screen, is not going to be enough to keep everyone interested for the long haul, and not even a green dinosaur can save Nintendo if the Wii U is not well received.