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access_time September 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM in Features by Alex Co

Buying a Wii U at Launch: Why You Should and Shouldn’t Do It

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest – if not the biggest – news of the month has been Nintendo’s announcement of the Wii U’s launch details. While pre-orders for the system has been doing gangbusters for Nintendo, that doesn’t mean pre-ordering one right now is the best move.

I’m here to tell you why you should and shouldn’t pre-order a Wii U at launch. Obviously, we can’t predict the future, but I’m doing this feature with the notion that Microsoft and Sony’s next-gen offerings will be available before 2013’s over and have put that into consideration.

Important to note, I am not a Nintendo fanboy, nor do I hate the Wii U. The things listed here are what I’ve observed in covering the Wii U’s presser and based on what we know so far.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Wii U at Launch:

1. Is It Really Worth It to Fight Tooth-and-Nail for One Now?

Almost all the big retailers have their entire pre-order stock sold out. Sure, you might get lucky and see a unit or two come launch date, but if you want to pre-order one now, you’re going to find it quite difficult to do so. One alternative is going on eBay and nabbing one of those listed there. But most of them are severely overpriced. Rather than pay an arm-and-a-leg for it, I suggest waiting it out until Nintendo can manufacture more.

2. Most of Its Games Can Be Played on Current-Gen Still

Most of the games coming out for the Wii U are already out or will be out on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Not counting the ones made by Nintendo, the only third-party software I honestly see catering to core gamers are ZombiU and Bayonneta 2. Do you really want to buy a console that has most of its games available on consoles you already own?

3. Core Games Support is still a Question Mark

Remember the original Wii? Yeah, it sold a ton for the first few years but where is it now? There might be game or two still coming out for it, but third-party support – or rather, good third-party support, has been virtually absent the last few years. While EA, Activision and the other big publishers has stated that they’ll be supporting the Wii U, most of them are doing ports. Beyond that, it’s a big question mark.

Just a quick glance at the Wii U’s launch window, you can already see the core games that are going to be out for it. There’s Mass Effect 3, Arkham City, Black Ops II, Darksiders II, etc. While these games are solid ports, where’s the original core games built exclusively for the Wii U?

Why not buy one when you know publishers will support them in the long run with real (announced) games and not just take them for their word?

4. It’s Tech Will Be Outdated Compared to the PS4 and Xbox 720

Nintendo fans might not want to admit it, but the Wii U will be so underpowered compared to the PS4 and Xbox 720. Heck, even now, some are still unsure on how far it outpaces the PS3 and Xbox 360 — consoles that have been out for more than five years already.

Do you really want to buy a system which can be outdated in a year or two’s time? I thought so.

5. Price is an Issue

Make no mistake about it, the Wii U priced high. You can argue that the GamePad is a nice piece of tech, but based on what’s under the Wii U’s hood, shouldn’t it cost a bit less? Nintendo knows Nintendo fans and early adopters will flock to it regardless of price point, so they don’t need to be subtle about it. It’s up to you if paying top dollar for Nintendo’s exclusives are worth it, but if I were you, I’d wait and see the next-gen landscape first.

Okay, now that we’ve highlighted some of the issues in buying a Wii U at launch, let’s talk about why you (and a lot of people) should get it.

Why You Should Buy a Wii U at Launch:

1. Buy It for Nintendo’s Games

The only systems where you can play Nintendo staples such as Mario, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, etc. are on Nintendo’s consoles. For some, this alone is enough to take the plunge on the Wii U. Bottomline, if you want to play the next Zelda game, you’d better have Nintendo’s next-gen console.

2. The GamePad Could Be Another Game-Changer

Like it or hate it, it’s hard to deny the Wii’s impact on gaming as a whole. Motion controls showed us a completely new way to interact with games. Can Nintendo start another revolution with the GamePad? Maybe or maybe not, but the only way to know is by owning and playing on the Wii U.

2. Split-Screen Gaming Will Be a Thing of the Past…in a Good Way

Imagine the possibilities; you don’t need to stop playing when your parents/significant other want to use the TV. Instead, let them have the big-screen and just play on the GamePad. If you’ve watched Nintendo’s Wii U press conference, you might have seen Black Ops II being demoed live on the console. While what we’ve seen is par for the course, the fact that the Wii U GamePad can act as a separate screen while another user is playing on the TV is not. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. One thing’s for sure though, split-screen gaming will finally stop being a hassle for most people.

3. Curiosity Will Get the Better of You

Whether you’re a fan of Nintendo’s games or not, once the Wii U inevitably sells through its initial stock and is seen as a resounding success, you will want to know what the hoopla is all about. This is the same phenomenon that made the original Wii sells boatloads. Gamers and non-gamers wanted to know why everyone was buying it; regardless if they were core gamers or not. I predict you’ll feel the same way come November 18.

4. Being Late to the Party Sucks

Let’s face it. We, as gamers, are suckers for anything new. Don’t believe me? Why do you think people fall in line to buy new games or consoles when they can just wait a few months (or years) when the price drops? See that triple A $60 game? If you wait just a month or two, you can shave off a couple of dollars just by getting it second-hand or at a sale. You know why you don’t want to? Because we have this need to be up to date on what’s new.

This will be the same case for the Wii U. Regardless if you think its graphical horsepower is good enough or not, this is still next-generation of consoles. Do you really want to be the last one playing on “old” consoles when the next-gen rolls around? Being an early adopter is not cheap, but we do it anyway.

Well, that concludes why you should or should not buy a Wii U at launch. As you can see, both sides have compelling arguments. It’s now up to you which ones you heed come November 18.

Do you agree with my sentiments or did I miss out completely? Let me know in the comments! But please, no flaming!

Will you be getting a Wii U at launch? Why or why not?


  • Steve Masters September 30, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    Yes! I’ve pre-ordered one for the GotGame studios! From what I’ve seen and played so far, Wii-U will be good for Nintendo fans, and casual gamers. It might take a while to convince hard-core gamers to move over from PS3 and Xbox 360. Great article Alex!

    • Alex Co September 30, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Thanks, Steve! =) I agree. Most core gamers are taking a wait-and-see attitude on it, no?

  • Ramon Aranda September 30, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Nice piece Alex; you make some good points on both sides of the coin. Got my Wii U pre-ordered so I’m ready to go.

    • Alex Co October 1, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      Thanks, Ramon! 🙂

  • Hermii October 1, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    Good article. I will definitly buy it at some point, but not for launch. Nintendo games compensate for weaker tech with gorgeus art and gameplay. Games will definitly look better than current gen once devs get used to the architecture. Having an actual motion tracker on your controller just sounds like the right way to play aliens, so I will definitly get that version of colonial marines. Off play also eppeals to me.

    I am getting this and one of the others next gen. Cant go a gen whitout Nintendo.

    • Alex Co October 1, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Yeah, Nintendo games might not look the prettiest, but they always have their own unique art style that makes it look better than it should. I completely forgot about Colonial Marines. Gearbox has stated that you can use the GamePad as a way to detect Xenos within your vicinity. People should be getting Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games though and not for core games. Mario Kart, Smash Bros., Zelda, etc. are often a must for anyone who plays games.

  • todd October 1, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    Lol over priced you gotta be nuts. So your telling me Sony and MS already told you their next gen prices are lower then the WiiU now. Nintendo will release new hardware kits and a update to unlock the WiiU to have more access on better specs for the developers so that they will compete with the next PS4/720. That is why Nintendo didn’t release the full specs because if they did Sony and MS will no what it is capable of doing and counter it back with better stuff. Keeping it a secret will make Sony and MS think harder on what to put in their next gen. If Sony and MS knew what the WiiU can do then Sony and MS can spend their money wisely and produce their gen cheaper. But since they have no clue how powerful WiiU is, they are going to have to risk a lot of money to out gun it and Sony is not in a good position now to release PS4 when losing so much money over PS3. Nintendo did good not to release their specs to give them a harder time. Any way I got my self a deluxe set, 9 games, pro u controller, and much more to get my gaming on this year and next. Let the Monster Hunting begin!

  • eec84 October 1, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Good job! I can’t wait for the Wii U to come out already. But as more of a hardcore gamer, I’m waiting to purchase. I almost never play games when they first come out anyway =(

    • Alex Co October 1, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      Thanks! 🙂 I’m excited for the Wii U, too. Although it’s more to do with Nintendo’s franchises than the core games coming out for it. Except maybe ZombiU. That one has lots of potential that I hope Ubisoft can deliver on.

      • eec84 October 4, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        I agree! In all honesty, I’m getting the Wii U mainly for the Mario games and other first party titles. Lol. Also, I got to see ZombiU in action not too long ago and it looked great

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