Staff Blog | Pew, Pew, Pew - Just What is Nintendo Wii U?

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There's no doubt about it, I'm excited about the Wii U.  Beyond the ambiguous launch plans and titles from E3 this year, there's a growing buzz around the gaming community for Nintendo's next console - it is new hardware from the Japanese game maker, after all, but what about the general public?

Part of the Wii's success initially was motion controls. The simple premise that whipping a remote-shaped plastic to hit balls about, point and shoot, caused many to flock to the system just like hackers to a Sony PlayStation. The console grew to become almost synonymous to the term "video games" in the home, virtually replacing the karaoke machine at a party and filling in potentially awkward moments with a group understanding of just how to play.

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Now Nintendo are trying to advance that with the nifty new window into the game world in the form of the Wii U GamePad. Here's where the worry sets in:  months on from E3 there's already a solid launch line-up and two hardware configurations, but how Nintendo's initial steps, or lack of, into marketing this new beast has caused some concern.

Of course I might be jumping the gun somewhat, but after the fairly bizarre debut Wii U advert the other night I'm curious and slightly weary about how the Wii U will be presented to the public.


The "Pew, pew, pew" sound-byte for the Nintendo Land mini-game continually resonates through my head, but for all the wrong reasons. The advert did do something right in starting off that it is a "brand new console and controller", but would certainly leave a lot of questions to an uninformed audience.

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"Is it a tablet for the existing Wii?" I've had a fair few ask, and my response as to just what is Wii U is difficult to convey in just a few words, but it's something Nintendo need to do.

Trying to look at what we've seen so far from a blind perspective, all I get is a zombie game and flicking tacky looking shurikens. The bulleted, numbered list of what it can do was a clever idea to get across as much as possible in 60 seconds; however the concept has been diluted by a tacky mish mash of facts.

The immediate message should revolve around completeness - in its essence, the Wii U is the complete gaming experience. Touch play, motion, dual-screen, online and all these contemporary gaming conventions have been moulded into one holistic setup.

Yes, Blu-ray and DVD playback are a topic for another day, but with the Wii U you get the complete experience out of the box.

Marketing has to convey that the TV and GamePad are one. Granted the controller is the most vital piece of kit, but Nintendo need to differentiate it from the iPads out there, showing just how it works, the social, online aspects and why I can't just download Angry Birds and go wild on my fancy Apple touch-screen.

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Nintendo could take-over YouTube and video sites with an overlay that better shows how the controller and TV can work in tandem - the video acting as the TV screen, and second overlayed video within a picture of the GamePad itself to illustrate how it works, responsiveness and innovation.

Likewise mentioning a handful of tour dates in TV and magazine advertising would be beneficial to getting consumers interested to give it a whirl - so far there's no demo stations setup in the UK, a handful of Expo tours and just a single advert in the middle of a post-watershed show on a Sunday night.

I've watched a fair bit of prime-time television over the last few days, yet the ad breaks are still flooded with Wii advertising and this has to simmer in place of Wii U, or else there'd certainly be far too many messages. Why not state that the Wii U plays all existing Wii software and move on?

There's a long way to go and Nintendo have to be clearer and less gimmicky to avoid a repeat situation with confusion on what made the 3DS different to a console everyone already had.

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Amlani (guest) 25.10.2012 19:02#1

The fact that so many people are talking about it (especially the "Spew spew spew" bit) shows it's worked anyway.  Much like the Wii name was laughed at at first, it worked in the end, because it made people talk about it.

The next day after the advert was shown, Amazon UK sold out of the Premium Wii U. Again, I don't think that's any coincidence, the advert probably helped.

I think that it's worked to get the word out, people are talking about it - but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

I don't think necessarily the Wii worked because of the name "Wii" - it drew discussion initially after Nintendo revealed the name, but became a success because it had the benefit of a controller that immediately made sense - you swing it, and your on-screen avatar does the work. A completely new brand and controller type - there was no need to differentiate it from the GameCube.

With the GamePad, there is a need to separate it from the original Wii given the name "Wii U" rather than "Wii 2" and whilst the advert has its positives, I just found it brushed over the completeness of the console and controller, coming across rushed.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I haven't heard anybody about the 'pew pew' sounds, other than some lonely nerds on internet forums. So it's probably not a big deal at all. Didn't bother me anyway, it was a fine advert that didn't influence my decision to buy a WiiUiiU or not. You should have seen some of Nintendo's commercials in the past generations of consoles...

You are not alone. I am here with you. Though we're far're always in my heart. Love u!

I don't think I've seen any commercials here yet which is worrysome. The original Wii did have a really dumb name, but Nintendo pulled the marketing off brilliantly. Two Japanese guys going everywhere saying "Wii would like to play". Nintendo needs something like this for the WiiU if they want the same amount of success. 

Why is it even called Wii U anyway? Is the U supposed to resemble a wang to wee out nobody will ever not think of Nintendo when going to the bathroom. Why? What's Nintendo's ultimate goal with this? Potty training with Dr Kawashima? A paradigm business shift to ultramodern Japanese style toilets manufacturing? You can never tell. Miyamoto so wacky!

You are not alone. I am here with you. Though we're far're always in my heart. Love u!

jb, you're Dutch right? Will you post it when you find a demo kiosk somewhere in the Netherlands? I'm checking stores every few days, but nothing so far.

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