Nintendo Wii U – November 18th, 2012:
The system itself comes with 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, DDR3 being the standard memory architecture used in most PCs memory configuration puts it on par with most midrange laptops and PCs from the time. For storage the Wii U relies heavily on its optical drive, it does possess an 8 GB internal flash drive on the standard editions and a 32 GB internal flash drive on the deluxe edition but these will fill up very quickly with digital purchases and saves. The Wii U does allow for external hard drives but caps the usable space at 2 TB of data. Oddly for its positioning as a “family living room” device the Wii U has a proprietary technology in their optical reader and despite the hardware being blu ray technology they refuse to license CD, DVD or Blu Ray playback (given any of those standards would send money to Sony it’s entirely likely an effort to stem profits to their competition). The Wii U does connect to Netflix and can use some streaming services to watch video but if you hope to use the device as a replacement to your media centre, think again.
The hardware though is somewhat dated and many big publishers are either steering clear entirely or have voiced their concerns holding back until they see improvement in the number of units sold. This could impact the longevity of the platform. Even at its lower price point people are skeptical and nearly two years on they have only sold 6.68 million units. To put that in to perspective the Wii sold 9.27 million units in their first two years even with possibly forced scarcity in the same amount of time, the PS4 has sold 8.86 million and the Xbox One which had by all accounts a slow start is at 5.02 (and outstripping Nintendo in the North American market at 3.45 million to Nintendo’s 2.95 million) with Microsoft noting an uptick in sales since they dropped the Kinect as a mandatory component and dropped the price to be in line with Sony. It’s important to note too that both the PS4 and Xbox One have had about half the time on the market that Nintendo has had going on sale in November 2013 with these numbers running in to June of 2014 compared to the November 2012 launch of the Wii U. Additionally both Microsoft and Sony will be launching their consoles in the revenue rich market of China in a matter of weeks. Nintendo cannot pin their future on a handful of first party titles if they hope to survive especially given their quarter over quarter and year over year loses.
Check back with us next week for the next entry in Console Wars the Playstation 4.