Molyneux: Industry needs Wii U to be "great"

22 Cans co-founder says Nintendo's latest is good, but falls short of the amazing tech of tablets

Between launching the first game from 22 Cans, Kickstarting the second, and keynoting the Montreal International Game Summit, Peter Molyneux has been busy lately. Despite that, the famed designer has found time to get his hands on Nintendo's newest console, the Wii U, which launches tonight in the UK. Speaking with GamesIndustry International Molyneux expressed some mixed feelings on the hardware.

"I think the Wii U is good, but I don't feel it's great," Molyneux said. "I've played the experience, I've played Nintendo Land, I've played ZombiU, and they're good. I find holding the device in my hand--looking up at the screen and looking down at the device--slightly confusing as a consumer. It's good, but it's not great. And we really need these new pieces of hardware to be great in today's world, because the competition is not just consoles anymore. The competition is everything, all the technology. When you're holding a Kindle Fire or an iPad in your hand, it's just amazing technology. It really is. It's expensive, but it's amazing technology. And people like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft need to match that. They need to match that in my mind, and exceed it. And I'm not sure the Wii U really did that."

Reservations aside, Molyneux was particularly interested in the Wii U's focus on asymmetric gameplay and a seeming abundance of indie games headed to the platform. He also noted that his expectations for a Nintendo console launch may have been set unrealistically high by the Wii and its breakout success Wii Sports. And even if the system falls shy of greatness, Molyneux said he has "enduring faith" in Nintendo.

"I've got unvelievable respect for Nintendo. They created our industry in a very real sense. I can remember everybody in the industry laughing and giggling about how stupid the Wii was, what a stupid name it was, and who would want motion control. And then it went on to sell what, 60, 70 million copies? It got people who never considered computer games to play them."

GamesIndustry International will have more from the Molyneux interview, including his reactions to backlash over 22 Cans' Kickstarter project, on Monday.

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Latest comments (11)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
Why do PMs thoughts on this justify an article? I really, really don't understand this.

I would far rather hear the thoughts of Craig Duncan, Andrew Gower, Sophie Wilson or Philip Oliver.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University9 years ago
Because it's a topic that's trending at the moment: doubt the Wii U.

Having doubts about the technology inside Wii U misses the real point, though. It's not what's in there so much as how that is used in software and services over the coming months and years that counts, and you'd expect a software designer liken Molyneux to understand that. Wii had a great, accessible, mass-market start--but where did that go ultimately? How much potential was there really? How versatile was Wii?? I'd say easily not as versatile as Wii U, and in the hands of Nintendo's designers, a versatile system is an enticing thought.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 30th November 2012 9:59am

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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd9 years ago
The Kindle Fire HD is a nice device but it's not exactly mind-blowing.

The exciting thing about the Wii U, as with the DS and Wii, is that it offers an interface that other platforms don't, and has some of the most talented developers exploring the possibilities.
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Show all comments (11)
Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 9 years ago
Yeah sure its amazing and I'm going to buy it etc etc etc. But as an independent developer its not an easily accessible platform and the game you develop for it is exclusive to the Wii U. So yeah the gamer in me is very happy but the developer in me says "wait a second I can't release my four years of effort on a PC, PS3 or Xbox!"

And besides PM is full of it, why would Nintendo create a tablet for kids as fragile and cutting edge as a 600 euro one. How much does PM think it will cost Nintendo to sell their product at an affordable price range if it would compete with the best tablets. Ultimately its just a fancy joypad that has the added bonus of a touch screen creating versatile gameplay, more versatile than the other main stream platforms anyway.
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Daniel is on the money - it would seem that with the implosion of editorial quality in the consumer sector, there has been a move to try and regain momentum with some hype and the new journos are using social media to chart how they cover the sector.

PM coverage is evaluated along with the rest on how well it 'trends' and 'tweet-ability', and as it scores well they keep doing it. However further evaluation seems that the high scores may be more to do with adverse response than positive so some media has steered away from any more free promotion of PM till the heat dies down!

Seems no one told !
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Sam Van Tilburgh Chief Discovery Officer, 22 Cans9 years ago
It's almost as if this kevin williams guy holds either a grudge against Peter, or he's so full of his own buzzwords (looking at your dna site) that he's lost the plot. Peter has done a lot for the games industry, not just in the UK but on a global level. Plus he's released videogames that have been enjoyed by millions of people, spanning almost 3 decades. I don't think you can argue with that.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Hey Peter, if you want it to succeed and see something interesting on the console, put a game on it.

For a visionary, you seem to lack it lately. I have a bunch of great asynchronous and Gamepad use ideas if you need them.
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@Sam, thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt!

If you had done any checking you will have seen that I have not insulted PM's past activities for the consumer game sector - nor his notable legacy. I am however uncomfortable with the cult of personality that certain media has built around his utterances, and also his ability to make some business proclamations based on previous track record. You may not know that I have presented alongside PM in the past and respect his oratory and passion - I just want to see the media cover more voices, than manipulate his!

I would also advise you to avoid maligning the DNA Association and its website - this is a serious approach to address the gulf in representing the digital out-of-home entertainment sector, just because you can't (or don't want too) comprehend what it means dose not mean you can insult it.

I understand you feel PM needs defending - good for your conscious, but don't attempt to attack what you don't know.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 30th November 2012 4:25pm

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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee9 years ago
I don't see why.

I feel its more accurate to say the industry wants it to be great but doesn't need it to be.
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hello Sam.. you there?
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Liam Farrell9 years ago
Or devs and publishers with long memories have a vested interest in Nintendo not being the market leader. Or has Ninty relaxed their licensing deals now?
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