Nintendo head honcho Satoru Iwata has stated again that the Wii U will be released next year, promising a final build will be on show at E3 in June 2012. The announcement means we'll probably have to wait until the summer for an official Wii U launch, although we could be tapping our thumbs even longer as the company attempts to …
Oh, dear. Alarm bells ringing.
To stand any chance, Nintendo had to get the Wii-U to market by Q2 next year. Demonstrating the 'final build' at E3 would realistically equate to a Q3 release in Japan and the US and a (hopeful) Q4 release in Europe.
Unless that 'final build' is significantly more powerful than the specs released so far, the 720 and PS4's likely unveiling at E3 will urinate on Nintendo's proverbial fire, even though it's highly unlikely we'll see either at retail before Q3 2013.
That means the Wii-U has just one year to establish its market position, during which we'll be bombarded by a continuous drip feed of 720 and PS4 specs and previews.
The high cost of additional controllers will likely put casual 'family' buyers off, leaving the Wii-U to compete in the hardcore space against vastly superior hardware.
And although the 'Nintendo difference' will always make its products an attractive alternative, I expect the Wii-U's USP will be severely eroded by 720/Win Phone and PS4/PSP Vita combos.
Nintendo should have taken a bite from Apple's marketing strategy and remained schtum on the Wii-U's features until the very last minute.
Add this to the 3DS catastrophe and who would bet against Mario et-al going mutliformat within the next gen?