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Forget Xbox One, PS4 and PC - Get a Wii U instead

Xbox One, PlayStation 4! Xbox One, PlayStation 4! Xbox One, PlayStation 4! Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (and then this "As the next-gen console war rages on, PC remains the King") That's all anybody's been talking about - screaming about, really - since last week. I'm as much a part of that noise as the rest of the video game reporting establishment. Though, you can hardly blame us; a new video game console doesn't launch every day and the most recent generation was an unusually long one. 
And every question about the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 always culminates with this: "Which one should I get?" Or variants there of. My go to answer to that lately has been to say, get the one you like best. Yes I know that's a bit of an evasive and cop out answer, but as I've said before, there's no wrong answer to that question. Personally I'm leaning toward PlayStation 4, but only when I'm not leaning toward Xbox One. If you are as unsure as me, then give "Xbox vs. PS4: The Fair Comparison"  a read.

What's also annoying about this entire discussion is that it's happening to the exclusion of the first entry into Console Generation 8. That's right, I'm talking about the Wii U.


I know that 'real' gamers like to be dismissive of the Wii U as a contender in the console wars - itself a stupid concept - but that probably has more to do with the Wii's casual-friendly legacy than anything the Wii U has done or failed to do. A year since it's launch, even a cursory examination of the Wii U makes it clear that there are a number of good reasons to at least consider getting one over the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this Christmas.

Wii U will cost you less

When the PlayStation 4 releases locally in December, it's early-adopters will all be R6299 out of pocket and that's before they even buy a game, which is probably going to be about R799. Given that the Xbox One costs a $100 more than the PlayStation 4 does overseas, there's a better chance of me joining the Springboks than it being than the PlayStation 4 in South Africa. The Wii U's price? You can get it for less than R4000, plus two games bundled in. That's some value for money right there.

There's no equivalent service to Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus for the Wii U, which means unlike both Sony and Microsoft this generation, Nintendo isn't charging for online play. It's difficult to argue against free stuff, though PS Plus's does offer some great value for it's cost. A selection of top quality free games every month? I can't just dismiss that out of hand. But even with that, overall, the Wii U is going to cost you way less than its competition and you'll get all its features at no additional cost.

For many people, that saving is reason enough to shack up with Nintendo.

A (Wii) Unique experience

But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. So the Wii U may well be cheaper, but that's of no help if it's a rubbish system. Now the Wii U may be less powerful than the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, but as I've said in the past, when it comes to video game consoles, power means very little. If that was important, the original PlayStation would have been a failure. Quality of experience and availability of games are always the driving factors. Wii U has them both.

The Wii U's unique gamepad gives the system an edge not available to either Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Yes those systems have Smart Glass and companion apps and what have you, but they are rolled into the experience as much as the gamepad is. The gamepad allows the Wii U functionality that just isn't available anywhere else, with sacrificing features that we expect from our game console. In addition it has optional apps that can expand its usability, the Youtube app for example, if you want to do more than play games. 


The key though is that those optional feature are just that, optional. The focus for Nintendo's game console is right where it should be, on the games. Despite public perception, the Wii U is suffering for games, it has a number of quality games available on it. Batman: Arkham Origins, Watchdogs, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know!, Disney Infinity, Just Dance 2014, Call of Duty: Ghosts and more are all available on the system. And thanks to the Wii U's gamepad they all also offer a unique way to play those games. And the that's before we even start talking about the Wii U's exclusives.

Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Lego City Undercover, Mario Kart 8, Pikmin 3, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, Sonic Lost World, Super Mario 3D World, X and The Wonderful 101 are all games that cannot, and likely will never be playable on the other consoles. I would argue, that these games are easily the equal to any of the exclusives available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

If games make the console, then I reckon the Wii U has it made.

End game

But even with that said, I can understand the trepidation in choosing the Wii U. Yes it may well be cheaper than both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but if great games, beyond those I've mentioned don't materialise, then the Wii U ends up being a white elephant and you have to shell out for a Xbox One or PlayStation 4 anyway.

But I count even that positive experience. If Wii U collapses, the gamers win regardless. In the long run, I figure there's still a financial saving in getting a Wii U now, over the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It may well be, that the Wii U does fall by the wayside, but its not going to happen any time soon; not for the next two years at least. Assuming the worst happens and Wii U crashes out after two years, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will be significantly cheaper and should have a much more impressive game library.

You get the benefit of having experienced the Wii U's awesome games and unique gameplay features, and get then being able to 'upgrade' to Xbox One or PlayStation 4 and enjoying everything they have to offer. And it will probably cost about the same as buying a Xbox One or PlayStation 4 now.

What do you think? Is a Wii U possibly in your future?

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