Nintendo, the world-famous Japanese videogame maker, is facing a critical test at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which will run from June 5 to 9, in Los Angeles.
The gaming giant will reveal the Wii U, its newest entertainment console.
This official unveiling is expected to be the highlight of E3, and Nintendo’s future could be riding on its success.
Unless there is a last minute surprise, Nintendo is set to be the only video game manufacturer to launch a new console at the gaming world annual event this year. This alone has heightened expectations for Wii U, which promises to draw intense scrutiny from gamers and critics.
The presentation of Wii U comes at a critical time for Nintendo.
On April 2012 the company – which has dominated the console market since the 2006 release of the Wii console, which went on to sell 95 million units - announced its first annual earning’s loss in 30 years.
Even with the help of Super Mario and Zelda, the Japanese firm lost $533 million in 2011.
The Wii sold only 4.5 million units last year in the USA, compared to 7 million in 2010. The steep drop in the key US market has served as evidence to industry observers that after six envious years, interest in the Wii is fading fast.
Analysts are hoping Nintendo will impress E3 with new cutting edge technology, especially since the manufacturer counts squarely on video game sales to drive its profits.
The company has been at a disadvantage as unlike Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Playstation’s PS3, the Wii does not play DVD movies or allow online multiplayer gaming.
Is happiness in the touch pad?
“Nintendo needs to demonstrate how Wii U will change gaming in a way that other systems cannot," Billy Pidegon, an analyst with M2 Research, recently told GameIndustry magazine.
The first Wii introduced a new way of controlling what happened on the screen, thanks to a joystick that did not include the buttons present on traditional joysticks.
Nintendo wants to repeat this breakthrough feat with a touch pad that serves as both a controller and a second screen - in addition to the television.
The Japanese giant promised last year that this new feature, which would pave the way for new ways of playing, was forthcoming. Now the company must deliver.
“We have been hearing many good things about the Wii U recently, but right now they are just rumours…. with Nintendo, the Wii U is their future and E3 needs to be a true coming out party,” David Cole of DFC Intelligence told GameIndustry.