Never count Nintendo out: 3DS push shows Wii U won't go quietly

Monday Muse: Troubled home console has a chance, writes Rob Crossley

It's a fantastic time to be a fan of crazy talk. We're living in age where gut-reaction analysis and attention-seeking comments travel faster than thought, and just a quick flick on Twitter is all it takes to catch at least one person making an arse of themselves under your nose.


But there's one odd remark that, no matter how much I try to politely ignore, continues to return under my gaze: "the next generation of consoles will be the last".

I don't know where to begin with that one. Perhaps the most obvious point to make is that a market which has managed to sustain 240 million consoles (a new record) from three competing companies (ditto) might actually be fairly happy with how things are going. And yes, they're also pretty chuffed with these inefficient £40 beasts called console games no matter how much you throw a passable 69p iPhone game in the mix.

What actually annoys me isn't these wild claims themselves, but how those who make them seem so eager to jump from one statement to the next without a moment's pause.

Is there not a case that we should stop for a moment and notice that, for example, social gaming has fallen off a cliff? Zynga is going the casino route and EA is busy not commenting on reports about it downsizing its social games division.

I'd love to see some of the more radical opinion-formers of this industry provide us with a quick update on previous claims. Like when they claimed Facebook cow clickers would draw investment away from consoles and dominate the market. No time for corrections though; did you hear that mobiles, tablets and smart TVs will kill off consoles?

There's another claim that's gone strangely quiet: "handheld games are dead". The problem is that, while it was once a pretty inoffensive and carefree comment to make, the fact that it hasn't happened seems to have been ignored.

"The 3DS success is driven by one of the hardest-hitting software line-ups Nintendo has produced in years"

Nintendo's 3DS has now sold 30 million consoles in its first two years since launch - a fantastic feat given how close that is to the trailblazing success of the original Nintendo DS (which, by this point, had shifted about 35 million).

This success is driven by one of the hardest-hitting software line-ups Nintendo has produced in years, driven by a prodigious amount of work from the company. Today in the UK games charts, it was announced that the critically acclaimed Fire Emblem Awakening has entered at a respectable number three, in what is surely a foretoken to a major string of releases including Pokemon X and Y, Animal Crossing, the next Link to the Past, Mario & Luigi, Bravely Default, etcetera etcetera.

There are still some issues with the handheld market, of course, from the fairly poor third-party support to the questions hanging over Sony's PS Vita. But Nintendo has once again proven that it understands its own market much better than the doubters have.

Which brings me to the Wii U. Regulars at CVG might be aware that I talk down the console's chances in the most definitive language possible whenever asked. Well, from the things I'm hearing, there's a chance I'll soon be added to the reject bin of crazy talking twitter twonks pretty soon.

Hopefully, if we obtain further details from our sources, we'll be in a position to explain more to you soon.

But, for now, put it this way: In the past two years there have been moments of disquiet regarding the 3DS and - like an instant magic trick - Nintendo has put an end to this with sudden reveals of significant games that went on to become star performers at Christmas.

It's a formula that works wonders and, with Mario, Mario Kart and Zelda games all due this year, clearly not something the Kyoto corporation has forgotten.