Well, it finally happened. Nintendo has finally announced a port of Minecraft is headed to the Wii U. Two years ago this would have been a great idea. Today, it just sounds like a waste of time.
This piece originally ran on November 12, 2015.
I can understand the logic behind wanting Minecraft on a Nintendo console. The game is a smash hit with kids, and Nintendo has historically been a kid-friendly company. It seems like a marriage made in heaven, and frankly a Nintendo console probably is the best place for Minecraft to appear these days. The Wii U could bring exciting new possibilities to Minecraft using the Gamepad to do anything from managing inventory to giving you a map of your world that would quite possibly make it the best way to play the game on a console.
The problem, however, is that this is 2015, and Minecraft on the Wii U stopped making sense some time ago.
In 2015, the Wii U is no longer a struggling console; it’s a failed one. Despite Nintendo’s best efforts, their interesting little black box never made a dent. Fantastic games like Pikmin 3, Smash Bros., Super Mario 3D World and Wind Waker HD couldn’t save it. Minecraft isn’t going to, either.
That’s not to underestimate the power of Minecraft, either. Minecraft is this generation’s Tetris. Future generations will probably be reading about it in history books alongside Super Mario Bros. and other revolutionary games. The problem rests solely on Nintendo’s shoulders. In the public eye, the Wii U has already been forgotten.
Ask anyone thinking of getting a console this year for Christmas. They’re probably considering a PS4 or an Xbox One. Almost nobody mentions a Wii U as an option anymore, and for good reason—it’s still priced at 299.99, which is enough to get a much more powerful console with a steady stream of games coming out for it.
Right now there are just over a dozen announced games coming for the Wii U. Nintendo has already announced their follow-up to the console, currently codenamed NX. We already know we’ll be seeing NX next year, which, if Nintendo follows their established pattern means it’ll release in the fourth quarter of 2016. It’s a safe bet that next year at E3 Nintendo will be focusing almost entirely on their new console, and unless they announce a whole lot of new stuff for the Wii U, it seems we could be entering its final year.
It’s sad, really. Minecraft could have helped save 2013’s struggling Wii U, but in 2015 it feels like a sad attempt to breathe life into a dead console.
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Steve Bowling is a fiendish man-child who loves Nintendo, but is sometimes upset with them. When he’s not playing games, he silently contemplates his Wii U’s impending funeral. You can follow him on Twitter at @SteveBTAY or read the rest of his stuff here.