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Sega appears to have leaked the Wii U's release window. But if so, is Nintendo's new machine launching soon enough?

If you read my rather schizophrenic personal appraisal of Nintendo's Wii U following its reveal at E3 last week, you'll know that my biggest worry for it at the moment is the potential longevity of the machine (or not) resulting from the proximity (or not) of its launch date. Basically, as brilliant as it looks, I fear that if it takes too long to release it could end up being the new Dreamcast, packed with power and innovative features but smashed to death too soon by more advanced succeeding rival hardware.

Now, rather ironically, Sega seems to have let the console's release window slip in a recent interview. Speaking to Gamespot about Sega's near-future plans and prospects, the company's Vice President of Marketing, Alan Pritchard, blurted the following when asked about a Wii U version of the upcoming Sonic Generations:

"The timing just doesn't work. Generations releases this November, and the Wii U is coming out next spring/summer. I think one of the things we don't have to do, or reduce where possible, is we don't want to port games. I think if there's going to be a Sonic game for the Wii U, it needs to be built from the ground up. It's more likely that it would be a separate stand-alone installment or in conjunction with a multiplatform release in the future. But to bring out Generations on a platform six or eight months after we release PS3, 360, and 3DS probably won't be the best strategy."

Spring or summer, you say? I'd say that's the absolute latest Nintendo wants to launch the Wii U. Assuming that this console generation will run for at least another two or three years (and all current signs hint that it will), then that just about gives NIntendo enough time to have a strong current-gen run with the Wii U as a hardcore console. If the machine's hardware specs are truly impressive, in a gen 1.5 kind of way, then it'll have a good run through the generational overlap too, as the next Xbox and PlayStation launch with inevitably duff iinitial game line-ups.

Pritchard's mention of a separate stand-alone Wii U Sonic game gave me a slight touch of the Wii-gimmick-game fear, but his hasty follow-up talk of a multiplatform release immediately calmed me down. No faddish franchise black sheep this time please. With the Wii U, you really don't need them. Similarly, his reluctance to port over old current-gen gamews is heartening.

But anyway, what do you think? Is a spring/summer window close enough for the Wii U's horsepower and core gaming credentials to shine? Would that be too late for it to have a respectable run? Or will its extra gameplay augmentations be enough to keep it relevent after the next set of console competition launches anyway?

June 13, 2011

Topics

E3

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29 comments

  • xshadowhawkx - June 14, 2011 1:05 p.m.

    Dont Worry Its Future Poof lolz
  • md1292 - June 14, 2011 4:12 a.m.

    Hasn't it been known said since its official announcement that it will be released spring/summer 2012?
  • MightyMorphinPoltergeist - June 13, 2011 11:56 p.m.

    God I hope so, if only that it means Nintendo gets crushed and has to move to software only.
  • Cyberninja - June 13, 2011 9:20 p.m.

    in the case of ps vita you will be putting down $300 plus the cost of a ps3 so i dont understand why everybody says the vita is a good replacement for wiiu sure they can do the same things to a point but a ps vita is meant to be a portable not home system.
  • Cyberninja - June 13, 2011 9:18 p.m.

    in the case of ps vita you will be putting down $300 plus the cost of a ps3 so i dont understand why everybody says the vita is a good replacement for wiiu sure they can do the same things to a point but a ps vita is meant to be a portable not home system.
  • SugaRazor - June 13, 2011 8:36 p.m.

    @JBizFoShiz - 2015?! That 10-year-lifespan line nonsense has always been just that, nonsense. Sure, there are still one or two games per year for the PS2, but there's no way any of the major console publishers are going to wait a decade between hardware. 5 to 6 years has ALWAYS been the standard and if the current generation really does last for another 2-3 years (which I kinda doubt), that'll make it the longest console generation in history.
  • Japanaman - June 13, 2011 6:24 p.m.

    Forget Sonic. Release Nights and Panzer Dragoon for that thing.
  • pimpdaddie - June 13, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    Not buying this gimmicky crap Xbox 360 FTW!!! WOOOO HALO 4!!!!!!!
  • Pruman - June 13, 2011 5:36 p.m.

    I won't be surprised if Sony and especially Microsoft try to ride their day-late, dollar-short embrace of the casual "market" (and I use the term "market" very loosely here) for at least another 4-5 years. That's the bet Nintendo is making here, and I'm of the opinion that it's a sound one. If someone launches new hardware in a year or two and it starts gaining traction, this might fail. Then again, Nintendo could also position itself as the value proposition of the market if they expectedly come in at an aggressive price point - "get Wii U's advanced features for the Wii's low price!" Either way, it's a smart move.
  • AquaPimp82 - June 13, 2011 5:04 p.m.

    There's no way the Wii can make it another year with it's abysmal game lineup. Besides Zelda, what else does Nintendo have in the pipeline for Wii. Zip, zero, nada. They need to launch the Wii U as soon as possible.
  • BrunDeign - June 13, 2011 4:54 p.m.

    Here's the question I want to ask: how powerful do we really expect the next consoles to be? We can't really expect them to be THAT much better. There isn't a whole lot visually that can be done that will make someone look at the next Sony console then look back at the PS3 and say the new console is a whole lot better graphically. I mean you can't expect another gap in graphics like PS2 to PS3.
  • KippDynamite - June 13, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    Didn't Nintendo say at E3 that it would release between April and December 2012? Why is this news?
  • markshell - June 13, 2011 3:53 p.m.

    I really doubt they can release Wii U next spring/summer. All they've shown were tech demos, I don't think there's enough time to build proper games for launch. If they do, it'll probably release with subpar launch titles just like the 3DS. They should've rushed Wii U last year for a 2011 release, since there's going to be a rough drought for Wii until they release it, with no good games (except for Zelda) to be released at all.
  • shawksta - June 13, 2011 3:33 p.m.

    Considering nintendos knowing what their doing since galaxy 2 in 2010, I wouldnt worry, the 3DS worked out just fine and theyve been on a roll ever since. as for sega, I dont care, its your fault if you dont know how to use the wii u's hardware to enhance sonic gen's gameplay or put anything unique in it, learn dummies. Nintendos strong point is their first party, and its been keeing them alive and well, with huge third party in both their systems nothing should go wrong. Regarding the release date, who said we need to wait until e3, same with the 3ds, news can come anytime and theres more events they can appear in.
  • MySistersMenstruationTastesFunny - June 13, 2011 3:33 p.m.

    Fuck, I'll be in Afghanistan for its launch. Not cool. Not cool at all.
  • andybeans - June 13, 2011 2:21 p.m.

    @ThatGuyFromTV I knew you'd jump on my comment! In my view Ninty try to appeal to casual gamers who aren't hung up on exact implementation and specification as us boring lot, so if Sony SAY they can stream from PS3 to PSVita then most casual gamers won't look any deeper than that - the Wii U's only advantage if that happens will be the comparative cost of a Wii U against a PS3/PSVita bundle. I think you're wrong regarding the graphics race though, I'm with @Tispower, very few games run at 1080p despite the boasts from ALL of the console manufacturers. The graphics race isn't over until games are running at current gameplay speeds but all at 1080p... and that's forgetting the drive for 3D, the benchmark will soon be running TWO 1080p outputs simultaneously. To be honest I'm 35, I can hardly tell the difference between 720p and 1080p unless I get REALLY close and playing Crysis 2 in 3D was like being concussed! :)
  • ollyn - June 13, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    @KuwaSanjuro You have a point here in that, they weren't really showing any games at this years E3 and if it does release earlier than next spring it won't have a lot to launch with so maybe a second E3 to display new titles would be good. Problem there would be if Microsoft gave an early peak of what their plans are and stole the thunder, although that seems unlikely. My main concern is that Nintendo still seems to be playing the 5 year cycle so this piece of kit better come cheap because I aint forking over £250+ for something I replace in a few years. However if they are on a 5 years cycle the console after this for nintendo could be epic.
  • KuwaSanjuro - June 13, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    D'you think it may then be released a bit after E3 2012, and that would mean Nintendo would have a big deal of titles to talk about at their press conference which I think would be the best for Nintendo. I still want the controller to be tweaked a bit, it looks like it would kill to hold for a few hours.
  • Tispower - June 13, 2011 2 p.m.

    @ThatGuyFromTV Those specs still don't tell us exactly what hardware is powering it. It may very well be capable of 1080p, but so technically are the PS3 and 360 (just very few games run it natively). Beyond that we have no idea how well it's gonna stand up to the next gen PS3 and 360. Given the technology in modern PCs there's no reason why a next gen console launching in 2014 couldn't have 6Gb+ RAM, 1Gb+ GPU, 750Gb+ HDD etc and still be cheaper than the launch PS3. Specs like that would probably blow whatever the Wii U has out of the water, like the ill-fated dreamcast.
  • ThatGuyFromTV - June 13, 2011 1:44 p.m.

    @andybeans it's not enough for Sony to be able to stream it to the console, they need to do it with as little lag and trouble as possible. Nintendo probably doesn't need to worry about that since they're designing the machine around that mechanic instead of as a peripheral like Sony. Also they did post the specs of the Wii U, though they did it kind of quietly. Here's the link: http://www.capsulecomputers.com.au/2011/06/nintendo-releases-wii-u-specs-on-the-down-low/

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