Wii U Countdown: 25 days and a mini distraction

Sections: Columns, Consoles, Features, Originals, Wii U

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4th Gen iPad

I didn’t give much thought to the Wii U today, as my main gig over at Appletell had me focusing on the iPad mini and numerous Macintosh announcements from Apple. Sadly, its not all fun and games here at Gamertell, or else we’d be called, which I suppose now I should register.

I did have a thought this afternoon, though, that Nintendo could learn a thing or two from Apple about product announcements, mainly in the timing area. Apple has this down to a science now. Yes, leaks and rumors plague their announcements, but when they’re finally made, they mostly follow the same policy—the product is either available when it’s announced, or pre-orders start that week for delivery the following week. When this isn’t the case, it’s usually because the announced product was secondary to something bigger, like the iPod touch update being unveiled with the iPhone 5, but following its release by over a month.

Nintendo, on the other hand, will announce a new product a year two before it’s ready. Often, they don’t even have any idea when it will be ready. Granted, it’s not as easy for them because of the video game ecosystem. Apple can get away with it because the hype is centered solely around Apple’s product. With a new Nintendo system, a great deal of the hype comes from third-party games, and you just can’t keep those guys quiet all the time.

It’s also tough because of E3. Apple bailed on Macworld Expo a few years ago for two reasons, I believe. First, they get more interest from their own press events now, so they don’t need the grand stage and collected media presence of an expo. Second, they didn’t want to be on IDG’s schedule. Because Apple prefers to keep quiet about products until they’re ready, they had to have them ready for Macworld. Otherwise, what’s the point of even being there?

Nintendo faces the same problem, having to wow the E3 crowd even when they’re not quite at the “wow” point with their products.

Nintendo E3 2011 press conference

So, we get a lot of vague announcements, a long period of minor reveals, and an excruciating countdown.

But now, we’re down to 25 days, and I guess the long build-up does make it a bit more exciting. I just hope (for my own sake and Nintendo’s) that the wait will be worth it.

Read all entries in the Wii-U Countdown.

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