Iâ€™m pretty disappointed by the debut of the Wii-U, Nintendoâ€™s next iteration of the wildly successful Wii console.
Iâ€™m not disappointed by Nintendo â€“ who I think continues to honor its adventurous DNA and will deliver a revolutionary product.Â Iâ€™m not disappointed by the Wii-U, at least not yet, because my impression will ultimately depend on the quality of the software.
Iâ€™m disappointed by the myopia of the journalist and investment communities.Â Itâ€™s been 6 weeks, and press coverage has dwindled to halfhearted blather about tech specs.Â Wall Street certainly made their opinion heard, dinging Nintendo stock by 5% after the announcement.
These so-called experts have missed the point: the Wii-U represents a bold wager on the future of the living room.Â Nintendo envisions a world where family members seamlessly share content and gaming experiences over multiple screens.Â Sitting in the hub of it all is the Wii-U.
Iâ€™m excited because traces of today point to Nintendoâ€™s vision of the future.
Anywhere between four to five screens already co-exist in many households, including a smartphone (or two), a tablet, a PC and a wide-screen TV.Â For the most part, however, these all operate independently of one another.Â The most progressive (read: geekiest) of my friends have been integrating them for years; for example, using an iPhone as a remote control (thereâ€™s an app for that!) or running their PCs through their flat-screens.
The Wii-U plays off that inter-connectivity, simplifies the experience, and makes it user-friendly for the average family.
Iâ€™m excited because Nintendo stuck to its innovation mantra.
That is, they innovate around human behaviors, not technological brawn.
Competitors still seem convinced itâ€™s all about faster processors and high-def graphics.Â Sure, that helps some, but what statement does your latest product make about our relationship with technologyâ€¦and with each other?Â It canâ€™t always be about pumping out more bits and pixels, can it?
The Wii-U seems content to hum quietly in the corner, focused not so much on the â€śwhatâ€ť of gaming, but more so on improving â€śhowâ€ť we game.
Iâ€™m excited because Nintendo has stayed true to its positioning.
We may soon witness an ambitious evolution of the Nintendo brand, which is firmly entrenched around family fun.
The original Wii wholly delivered on this brand promise â€“ in a way that was refreshing, relevant yet still oddly familiar.Â The key was simple, easy to pick up, hard to put down, gesture-based gaming.Â Since then everyone else has added motion control and â€ścasual gamesâ€ť to the mix in a play at the family.
Nintendo hasnâ€™t taken its eyes off the family â€“ far from it.Â Its approach is now more complete. Â The Wii eased the family into gaming by way of the physical. Â The Wii-U wants to introduce the family to the future of gaming by way of the digital.
The path to success is far from easy.Â The pack of dogs chasing Nintendo has only gotten larger and smarter, and is gaining considerable ground.Â And like any bold gambit, the risks are high for Nintendo.Â For example, tablets may successfully convince consumers that social gaming is best done remotely, and not in person.Â Or Nintendo could be overestimating how much extra hardware the living room is ready for.
One risk Nintendo doesnâ€™t seem too concerned with is naming.Â Theyâ€™ve more than earned the respect and buzz that any â€śWii-relatedâ€ť product generates.Â Just donâ€™t ask me to explain what the heck Wii-U means.
Gerald Lam, StrategistTweet this | Tags: brand strategy, family, gaming, home entertainment, innovation, Nintendo, positioning, wii, wii-u