With the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 4 behind us, the world turns its attention towards Microsoft and the November 22nd launch of the Xbox One. The launch of a new video game system is always exciting, so it makes sense that we pay close attention and find out the answers to all of our questions. Will it have a successful launch? Will the launch titles be enticing enough to convince people to purchase the console? Has Microsoft been able to successfully repair the damage done earlier this year (regarding used games, always online DRM, etc.)? Should I get a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One? Actually, I have a much better question. On November 22nd, why don’t we all go out and buy Wii U consoles instead?
Before I answer that, let me just provide full disclosure here. First, I did buy a PlayStation 4. Sony convinced me of the value of their system during E3 2013, and I stuck to my decision and followed through on my pre-order, and stubbornly ignored the fact that there aren’t any games on the PlayStation 4 I particularly need to have (yet). This year’s Call of Duty didn’t quite reach the bar set by its predecessors and Killzone has always been a bargain bin title in my opinion. And as far as the rest of the cross-platform titles, I’d rather play them on PC. Though I am enjoying the heck out of the PlayStation 4 exclusive Resogun, it’s hardly a game worth $399.99, but I digress. I probably should have listened to Sean, Gamer Horizon’s “always right” guy. After hearing me talking about the upcoming Mario game, he told me to cancel my PlayStation 4 pre-order and order a Wii U instead, and I probably should have… but once again, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Continuing my full disclosure, I do intend to get an Xbox One, just not on launch day. I love video games and play nearly all genres, and all three consoles will have exclusive titles that I simply have to play. But I also have a limited budget. When the Wii U launched, I didn’t want to spend $349.99 on a system with a small collection of games and no killer apps. I didn’t see the value. Likewise, I don’t see the value of the Xbox One at the moment. At $499.99, it’s the most expensive choice for next gen gaming, and while there are a couple of tempting launch titles that I want to play—Forza Motorsport 5 and Killer Instinct come to mind—they are not enough to motivate me into a day 1 purchase.
Late to the Party
That leaves the Wii U, the not quite next gen offering from Nintendo that has been lurking in the background of our industry for the past year, unable to meet desired sales numbers and generally failing miserably. Somehow, amid all of this madness and excitement of the next generation of gaming, it is the Wii U that is tempting me to whip out my already overused credit card (whoops).
The most obvious reason for this is the November 22nd launch of Super Mario 3D World, which is already earning a great deal of praise from reviewers all over the internet. I have to admit that as I read through the reviews, I get an uncontrollable urge to completely ignore my responsibilities and spend money that I don’t have. But as tempting as that one game is, it cannot be the only reason to purchase a Wii U. What’s interesting is that over the past year, the Wii U has actually developed a somewhat respectable library.
If we were to pretend that the Wii U, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One were all launching on November 22nd, which would have the most compelling launch lineup of exclusive titles? Obviously I’m leading the conversation in favor of the Wii U, which—on top of the new Mario game—has New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Zombie U and The Wonderful 101. Whether or not that’s a better lineup than the current PlayStation 4 and Xbox One offerings is, of course, a matter of opinion, so let’s ask a different question. Would you rather spend $499.99 on an Xbox One, $399.99 on a PlayStation 4 or $454.96 (give or take a few bucks) on a Wii U system bundled with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and a handful of other games including New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3 and Super Mario 3D World?
To me, the answer is obvious, and I’m kind of kicking myself for my PlayStation 4 purchase at this point. Even with my PlayStation Plus subscription, there isn’t much on the PlayStation 4 that I really want to play right now. There are a ton of games coming out for it in the next year that I will have to play, such as Infamous: Second Son and South Park: The Stick of Truth, and those games and a few others down the road will certainly justify my purchase, but that’s a conversation for another day. Right now, I want a Wii U. Finally.
It’s been a long year since it launched, but Nintendo has at last convinced me that the Wii U is worth owning. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the Wii U is the best of the next gen systems. Obviously it has its fair share of weak points, not the least of which is a huge graphical disadvantage compared to the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Third party support is also an ongoing issue for the Wii U, and that will likely continue to be a problem going forward. I’m also not suggesting that there’s anything inherently wrong with either the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One. If you are happy with either of those consoles, enjoy them and feel free to ignore me! But when I look at what I can buy for $454.96 and compare it to the other next generation consoles, I can see a clear value in choosing Nintendo that the other consoles do not yet offer (with all due respect to the fantastic value of PlayStation Plus and the improving quality of Xbox Live).
To me, November 22nd is all about Nintendo. Between the Wii U having a lower price and a bundled game and the release of Super Mario 3D World, there’s never been a better time to buy a Wii U. And beyond that, Nintendo is also releasing The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the 3DS on the very same day. It too is earning very good reviews, and as a lifelong fan of video games, Nintendo and both of those franchises, I can’t help but look forward to those games. I know some people just don’t like Nintendo or their games, and that’s fair enough. I hope they enjoy the heck out of their PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. But to anyone that has grown up with Nintendo and still considers themselves a fan, November 22nd might as well be a party, and the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 need not attend.