Opinion: Believe it or not, now might be the best time to buy a Wii U
Despite only having a theoretical life span of just nine months, and more if the NX is delayed, Nintendo’s beleaguered Wii U console might just be the smartest choice if you’re looking to expand your gaming options in 2016 and somewhat in 2017.
I know what you’re thinking – I’m the guy on Twitter saying that the Wii U is dead and has been for some months. This is all true, but buying a console with an end of life has its upsides and buying a Wii U with most of its troubled life behind it can be a good move.
The Wii U has had a very drama filled life, it’s the 15-year-old-on-Tumblr-who-can’t-get-an-iPhone-and-blames-their-parents of a console. Despite the drama, things have still been pretty good. It’s just a matter of time and perspective.
We’ve seen the Wii U go from uber-Nintendo box with a killer third party line up, we’ve seen unprecedented relationships fail, we’ve seen games been delayed over and over and we’ve all been through the day one update hell.
But out of all of this we’ve still got an amazing repertoire of games, both Nintendo-developed, third party-developed and by Nindies and buying a Wii U now means you don’t have to wait 4 years for it all – you can get it all now.
If you buy a Wii U now you’re buying 9 months of pure Nintendo goodness. While the four-year life of the Wii U might have been troubled, when you can condense it down into 9 months you have no delays, no big system updates and a wide variety of great Wii U games, indie games and even Virtual Console. At the launch of the system there was none of these. The Virtual Console had to be repopulated. Indie games were there but still not the wide range we enjoy now. And then there’s the games…
Super Smash Bros, Super Mario Maker, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Twilight Princess HD, Bayonetta 2, Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, NintendoLand, Pikmin 3, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Kart 8 and Xenoblade Chronicles X. We also can’t forget Splatoon – this amazing new IP is the beacon of light on the Wii U. It’s something modern, fresh and new for Nintendo. Can you imagine if the system launched with even two of these games (NintendoLand aside)?
The Wii U’s amazing library even extends to a number of third party games, and these games, because they did sell so poorly, can usually be found really cheap. The Wonderful 101, ZombiU, Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed, Lego City Undercover, Mass Effect 3 and the brilliant Need for Speed Most Wanted U port. I could go through the number of brilliant titles on the eShop as well – but we’d be here all day.
End of Life
The big problem with buying a Wii U now is two-fold. Yes, despite what Nintendo say it will be replaced. Sure The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is coming to it next year but are you really wanting to play the biggest revolution in Zelda on the Wii U? You might, depending on what the NX may or may not be.
The other big problem is the price – the Wii U still isn’t cheap. Sure, there’s discounts here and there and you can find it with games included, but the price of the system should be almost half of what it is. Nintendo won’t do it yet, they’re still making margin, they’re still in the black because they’re selling you and I a Wii U with the way our currency is.
Then there’s the games. A lot of games we listed above aren’t cheap. They’re still all full price (unless you’re buying a Wii U before Tuesday when the eShop sale ends) and there’s no guarantee of backwards compatibility with the NX. So maybe waiting is an option. The only problem is that the more you wait, the more the 9-month window closes in and the bang for your buck disappears.
Unless of course Nintendo decide to port all of these games to the NX, and then… well, at least you’ve got something for the kids?
Neo and Scorpio
Ah yes, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hardware refreshes. The exact reason it’s probably not wise to buy either one of those consoles right now. Their end of life is approaching too, but unlike the Wii U, Sony and Microsoft will still be releasing games on the ‘old’ systems while the new systems just give them a boost.
The PlayStation 4 and (less so) the Xbox One have never had the problems the Wii U has had. They’ve had a consistent stream of games since launch, even if most of them were remasters at the beginning. They’ve had third party support, indie support and their loyalty programs have meant you’ve got games to play – even if you didn’t want them. The Xbox One also switched on backward compatibility not too long ago.
If you’re already a Wii U owner, you’ve likely already sampled everything the Wii U library has offered you. The next 9 months are going to suck as there’s barely anything new coming out for the console.
But if you’re new to the Wii U, now is the time to jump in. Find a console, find it cheap and find some games. You won’t be disappointed.