So what are the downsides to the Wii U? Obviously, it is lacking graphically compared to the PS4 and Xbox One. If you require the highest frame rates, slickest visuals, and most realistic textures, the Wii U falls short. However, speaking from personal experience, the jump to HD from the Wii to the Wii U is far more noticeable than the performance of the Xbox One over the Xbox 360. The Wii U is a high def system, and Nintendo’s games have never looked better than they do on this console. There is plenty of eye candy here for all but the most stringent of graphical purists.
Online features are another area in which the Wii U compares unfavorably to the Xbox One and PS4. Nintendo’s slowness to embrace online play has long plagued them. Though the Wii U online system isn’t perfect, it is light years better than the Wii in this regard. It still clearly lags behind the robust features of Xbox Live and the Playstation Network, which is unfortunate. Whether that is a deal breaker depends on how important online play is to you.
Another oft-heard concern is the perceived future of the Wii U. It’s clear that the Wii U isn’t moving systems at the same rate as the newer consoles. Though it had a year’s lead time, the Wii U has sold about two million less units than the PS4, and just over 1.5 million more than the Xbox One. It is very unlikely that the Wii U will end up at the top of the sales charts at the end of this console generation like its predecessor the Wii did. Some have expressed concern that third parties or even Nintendo themselves might end support of the system, perhaps dropping out of the console market entirely. However, Nintendo has been making games far longer than either Microsoft or Sony, and have weathered tough competition for multiple console generations before. They are still around, making great games, and plan to be doing so for at least the foreseeable future.
While graphics and online features are important, and the Wii U could certainly be improved in these areas, I believe the benefits of the system more than make up for the shortcomings. The significantly lower price point makes a big difference for a thrifty gamer. Being able to play Wii games you might have missed is a great benefit. The Wii U is the king of local co-op, and in fact a great option for local multiplayer in general; it is a great system to bring out for parties and get togethers. System exclusives on the Wii U are extremely strong; Mario Kart 8 alone is almost worth the price of the system, plus Super Smash Bros. and a gorgeous new Zelda game are on the way.
While graphic junkies or online-only gamers may find the Wii U lacking. But the value of the low price point and backwards compatibility coupled with the strongest local co-op options and AAA level exclusives make the Wii U truly stand apart from the Xbox One and Playstation 4. Even hardcore gamers would do well to pick one up as a second system to enjoy. I believe it is the best choice among all the current generation of video game consoles. Do yourself a favor and check out the Wii U. Like me, you will be glad you did.