Today is September 13, 2012 at 11:43PM. This is the moment I realized we are two months away from the release of the Wii-U. Do you feel the issue with that statement? November 18th, the Wii-U drops... that's 66 days from now. I haven't seen one ad on TV, haven't seen one ad on the internet. Even in the popular gaming magazines, there hasn't been a single sign of an advertisement campaign for the product. Why is Nintendo not doing all they can to build hype around this huge, huge investment? When the Sega Dreamcast was going to launch they hammered us with the 9-9-99 date. The fact that I can recall that marketing campaign today really shows how good of a job they did in setting a memorable launch, outside the weak launch titles and poor third-party support down the road. I bring up the Dreamcast for more than just one comparison, but to compare the state of both Nintendo and their old nemesis before the Dreamcast and Wii-U drops. We can't say for certain what will happen to the Wii-U, but we can ask the pertinent questions running up to it.
The Dreamcast was the last console by Sega. By all accounts it's a failed console that was considered a bit "ahead of it's time". It shipped with an online platform, CD-ROM based games, and some very beautiful graphics by 1999's standards. What brought down the Dreamcast was it's poor 3rd party support, poor post-release marketing, as well as a competitor by the name of "Playstation" coming around the corner. Sega brought the tools to deal with Nintendo that September, but they were caught with their pants down when it compared to the Playstation. Even though it had online capabilities that the Playstation didn't, the average american wasn't wired to the world wide web like we are today. Sonic Adventure 1&2, Power Stone, Jet Grind Radio, the Dreamcast had solid titles, but it couldn't compare to the first and third party portfolio that Sony brought. The Wii-U is approaching a launch date with assorted titles between now and March that are confirmed, but no solid word on what will be available on the 18th. With a new Call of Duty and Borderlands around the corner, can the Wii-U's launch lineup steal people away from the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 to come play with them instead? Will the Wii-U be propagated with 90% shovelware and 10% quality content, like the Wii before it? Nintendo needs to step up it's game library and third-party support to be able to compete with the modern gamer.
Last year the Nintendo stock dropped by 20% and fell to a five year low by E3. Numbers have normalized today, but they're on shaky ground with the Wii-U launch looming overhead. After reading similar articles, the general consensus is if this console bombs, it would be mighty hard for Nintendo to brush off the dust and look to make another console afterward. At this same time in 1999, Sega was also looking to tip-toe a fine line between financial success and failure with the Sega Dreamcast as their last-ditch effort to capture the hearts and minds of their modern gaming market. We all know what happened afterward and Sega now makes Sonic games for multi-platform purposes and hasn't attempted a new console since.