The Wii launch is officially one month away and since I've already done a set of predictions
for the launch of the PS3 it was only appropriate to do some for the Wii launch. For the humor impaired these are written with tongue firmly in cheek so no need to bust out the pitch forks and torches if something below offends you.
1. By the end of the year, Wii owners will be easily identifiable by their enormous forearms, slimmer physique, and pasty complexion - also expect a rash of cases of tendonitis and tennis elbow
Most gamers have a pale complexion due to the fact that their hobby tends to keep them indoors most of the time but with combine that with the fact that sunlight might screw with the Wii's sensor bar and people are going to be busting out the black out drapes. I'm a big fan of the new Wii control scheme but given the focus on moving more than just thumbs and fingers I think we're going to see people developing huge forearm muscles as well as tendonitis in the wrists and elbows.
2. The sunlight issue is going to be a bigger deal than people realize
While we don't know the extent of the interference sunlight has on the Wii yet it's a bit disturbing to find that sunlight could actually impact the unit. For some people this may mean having to move their TV so that the sensor bar doesn't face a window or to put up heavy blinds to keep the sun out and prove interference. I hope this isn't the case but I think there's a huge potential for problems here if the sensor is impacted by sunlight.
3. The Wii online service will be good but not as good as Xbox Live. People will forgive this as the service is free
Yes, I'm re-using one from my PS3 article but I think the same concept still applies as people forget all the good stuff you get with Xbox Live Arcade. The Wii’s service does have a lot of cool innovations like the channels metaphor and the ability to check the weather and news from the console which is cool (expect something similar on your 360 within the year). I still don’t think the match making services will be as strong as what Xbox Live has but it should be interesting tot see what Nintendo has up their sleeve.
4. There's going to be a shortage of SD cards until the beginning of next year - between Wii launch and holiday shopping there's going to be a huge increase in demand for high capacity SD cards.
The Wii is reportedly going to have some 1 million units available at launch and while a lot of people probably already own SD cards I imagine that a lot of them are going to want new ones specifically for their systems. Couple the launch of the Wii with the holiday season's rush on electronics (Cameras, MP3 players, and other devices) and there's a potential for a storage shortage by the end of the year.
5. We'll see some but not a lot of reports of the units being defective
The first batch of new consoles always have a few bugs in them while the manufacturing process is cleaned up but I don't think we'll see this happen as much with the Wii as we will with the PS3 and with what we saw with the 360 last year. This is primarily due to the fact that Nintendo really isn't pushing the hardware that hard this with this generation of equipment and because Nintendo typically has a higher standard of quality than some of the other players in the industry when it comes to their hardware. That said I think we'll hear a few horror stories but nothing that will compare to the numbers of stories about the PS3 locking up, melting down, and spontaneously combusting.
6. Graphics are going to mean more to people than Nintendo expects them to
Gamers know the graphics on the Wii aren't going to be as good as the ones on the PS3 and the Xbox 360 but the general public is going to get heavy doses of high definition game play around the time of the Wii. Not only do you have the PS3 showing off shiny new games but you're going to have the launch of the spectacularly good looking Gears of War to contend with as well. A lot of consumers could be turned away by the non high def graphics of the Wii, especially when compared side by side to what Microsoft and Sony are showing off. Then again they'll probably see the price tag on the other two systems and realize they can live with the lower quality graphics (assuming the PS3 is in stock any time this year).
7. There will be a lot of complaining about what is/is not available on virtual console at launch
The virtual console is a great feature for the Wii but it’s also a double edged sword as Nintendo is going to get flamed incessantly for what titles are and are not available at launch. While this probably isn't going to be as bad as the Xbox 360's backwards compatibility list last year (who can forget the presence of Barbi's Fun House and the absence of Splinter Cell) it's certainly going to lead to hundreds of flame wars across the internet. Hopefully Nintendo has a strategy to get titles out on a monthly if not weekly basis.
8. Ports on the Wii that are not specifically designed for the Wii will not be nearly as good as the versions for the 360/PS3
This is kind of a no brainer but we all know that the majority of the Wii games are going to be a rocking good time but what about the cross platform ports? Sure there are cross console ports that share a title with their Wii versions like Call of Duty 3 and Madden but that have re-worked game play specifically for the Wii. Specifically I worry about titles like Marvel Ultimate Alliance that are going to kick a lot of ass on the 360 and the PS3 but probably aren't going to translate well to Nintendo's new system. Certainly the onus is on the developer to make it work but I get the feeling we're going to see a lot of crappy ports released for the Wii at launch that are going to expose this rather large hole.
9. DS integration will be unveiled for some games shortly before/after launch and certainly by the end of the year
Another no brainer and we've already heard some rumors about a Pokemon game that takes advantage of this. Nintendo has a huge hit with the DS (and the even better DS Lite) so finding a way to integrate these two device together would bring upon a new dawn of console synergy goodness.
10. Some people are going to be disappointed, very disappointed - hype levels for the Wii are pegged at 11 and nothing can live up to that kind of hype.
I fully expect the Wii to be a killer game console and one of the most innovative things to hit the gaming world in years. That said the shear amount of hype and level of expectations for the device is overwhelming and there’s bound to be some disappointment that the Wii doesn’t cure cancer, raise the dead, and do your taxes for you. I don’t know if the disappointment is going to be around the quality of the graphics or if people are going to find the new controller less than amazing.
You’ll notice that I got through ten things and didn’t make fun of the name once….that’s right, an entire article without making a single Wii joke. That has to be a new record, oh well see you in line on the 19th.