When you buy a new console, obviously the first thing you’ll want to do with it is play some games on it: unfortunately, a lot of people who bought the Wii U last week spent the majority of their first day with the new console downloading the system’s massive, day 1 firmware patch. Today, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata formally apologized for the inconvenience of the patch, saying that the update was ultimately “worth it,” and that Nintendo will do their best to avoid such issues in the future.
Speaking to IGN, Iwata expressed his regret at how certain aspects of the Wii U launch were handled, including the day 1 patch and the lack of certain features on launch day:
“Personally I think that users should be able to use all the functions of a console video game machine as soon as they open the box… So I feel very sorry for the fact that purchasers of Wii U have to experience a network update which takes such a long time, and that there are the services which were not available at the hardware’s launch.”
Iwata tried to justify the patch by saying that the Wii U experience would be worth it, saying that the Wii U’s tablet controller and the console’s Miiverse social network offer innovative, new experiences that Nintendo’s competitor’s haven’t tried before. Iwata also emphasized that the Wii U’s operating system is not a static one: he promised that the system would continue to “advance and evolve,” similar to how Microsoft has substantially upgraded the Xbox 360’s interface and OS several times over the course of the generation.
Despite strong launch-day sales, Iwata said he’s still aware that a large portion of the gaming community is still skeptical about the Wii U’s long term chances. Iwata defended the Wii U’s strange new dual TV/controller screen-based set up by recalling the initial skepticism that was levied against the DS and even the original NES: “The brand new user interfaces that Nintendo invented often faced skeptical views before a hardware launch, but wound up becoming de facto industry standards. It is challenging to communicate attractions which are hard to understand unless you actually touch and experience them yourself. This is especially so with Wii U because it has unprecedented entertainment potential.”
I’m still not sold on the Wii U myself — I don’t plan to buy one until more games come out that I’d actually want to play (Monster Hunter, Zelda) or until it gets games that make genuinely game-changing, innovative uses of the tablet controller — but it’s good to hear that Nintendo is aware of the problems with their new system.