The gaming industry seems to be split up into two audiences: The serious gamers and those of us who play on less intensive platforms such as an iPad where Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies is enough to give you your fix.
Bridging those two audiences is a delicate achievement and is fraught with potential failure if your attempt is simply to copy what others are doing. Nintendo is in that spot, especially when it comes to its upcoming Wii U system.
Just ask yourself this: If you had an iPad in one hand and the Wii U in the other, which one would you choose? This is the position Nintendo is steering its new game console toward. Gaming on consoles and gaming on tablets, however, are different beasts with two different audiences.
If you ask most people who play videogames, they do not confuse blockbuster console games with the arcade style mini games the iPad has made popular. There are certainly markets for both, but they are not the same. Pricing structure is different, required resources are different, marketing is different, user interaction is different, and visuals are different. Most of all, the complexity is different. The audiences for these are serious about gaming. The audiences for the iPad games usually aren’t.
Nintendo is also considering a new social network it calls Wiiverse. The problem is that the market has already demonstrated that people don’t want more than one social network. Just look at Google+, Ping, or MySpace. I greatly doubt if people looking for consolidation of their social network experience would choose Wiiverse in place of Facebook.
Nintendo’s system will still make a splash. It has enough loyal fans that will want their exclusive titles. But its attempt to create “broad appeal” is not the most competitive approach, not when competitors within each specific market are doing “specific” very well.
I expected more from Nintendo. It needs to think again like a true innovator, then wii-ed like to play.