Next-gen consoles!

There was, or still is, confusion about what the WiiU even is, at least by people who don’t ordinarily keep up with gaming news. I think it was originally assumed to be just some kind of tablet add-on for the Wii, not a whole new console. Even my kids are talking about the gamepad when they ask to “play on the WiiU”. And as long as it looks like Nintendo is trying to sell you a $300 Wii add-on, the reluctance to jump in makes total sense.

Sony has been able to tack on a number to “PlayStation” and avoid confusion. Microsoft avoids it too, although I think it has more to do with XBox gamers just being more inclined to keep up with that, rather than the product of their seemingly wacky numbering system. Maybe if Nintendo had launched it as the “Wii 2” it would have just naturally clicked, what it was. It might have kept people thinking that it was another system primarily for motion-based gaming, but maybe that would have been better than them thinking it was just an overpriced Wii peripheral.

I wish they had called it the Xbox 720 or Xbox Infinity. I heard about the nickname for the Xbo[x O]ne, and now I can’t forget it.

Ahhhh, so the WiiU is a brand new console?

I honestly didn’t know that. True, I honestly didn’t care much, but it never really clicked. Thought it was an upgrade of some such.

The thing is, compared to jumps in PC hardware, the next gen consoles (WiiU especially) aren’t really that huge a leap. A significant part of the Xbone’s GPU has to be set aside for the Kinect and (just like with the previous generation) it’s going to be a while before studios manage to develop games that make full use of the potential power of the consoles. On launch it’s mostly imports and sequels. In anticipation I just put together a new PC instead.

That all said, the WiiU’s pad is great fun when used in inventive ways (like holding it up to use as a rear-view mirror in racing games) and the new Kinect has amazing skeleton recognition and, as it’s a mandatory feature, I can really see in mabye three or five years a studio using the possibilities inherent in the technology to make something astounding.

Yep. It’s Nintendo’s late entry into this crazy HD craze. It’s on par with current-gen consoles (PS3/360) although some say it’s maybe a little bit behind even those. It still plays Wii games (but no GameCube compatibility) but WiiU games ditch motion controls and use the tablet controller instead (which is pretty cool, and allows for completely off-TV play of some games). The tablet controller works like any traditional wireless control, with the same restriction of being kind of limited to just a few feet from the console before it cuts out (you probably couldn’t take it upstairs to play off-TV, and definitely couldn’t take it on the road). But if you’re using it in the same room where the WiiU is, it can be a blessing. Kids can watch Netflix on it or whatever, or play certain games, without tying up the TV.

But I think you hit on a big point there. More important than people not knowing it’s a whole new console, people just don’t care. I don’t know if that’ll get better or worse with PS4/XB1 just around the corner.