The battle for next-generation supremacy began last year at E3, and it continues today. Unfortunately, there are only two participants: Sony and Microsoft.
After the debacle that was the PS3 launch, Sony worked hard to please gamers over the course of that console’s life, and with the launch of the PS4. Microsoft, the darling of the last generation, got a bit full of itself with the launch of the Xbox One, but today’s announcements show the company is committed to righting its wrongs with that console.
The odd company out is Nintendo, the grandfather of console gaming that seems unwilling to help its own cause.
Like the Xbox One, the Wii U is bundled with a fairly expensive accessory that isn’t all that necessary for gaming on the system. Like Microsoft, Nintendo claims the Wii U Gamepad is a major selling point; a “differentiator.” And, like the Kinect, the Gamepad has shown small flashes of brilliance, but it’s mostly been underutilized and has added to the price tag of a system that is more expensive than it should be.
Microsoft, whose Xbox One is outselling the Wii U substantially despite having only been on the market for six months (compared to the Wii U’s year and a half) made tough decisions in order to play for first instead of second. I have no doubt that we’re going to get a better next-generation contest as a result. But it could be a whole lot better if Nintendo were playing for first itself, instead of being satisfied with a distant third.
Perhaps today’s move by Microsoft will change Nintendo’s mind about dropping both the Wii U Gamepad and the console’s price.