Nintendo has missed the mark before. The N64 and Gamecube both ended up losing in the market, despite Nintendo having said "magic" that you claim. And having less horsepower is NOT a plus. Having enough, and the right price point can be though. The XBox ONE, for example, is more expensive and less powerful than the PS4.
But there is a question with the Wii U whether or not it has enough horsepower, or the second screen is enough of a differentiator. As it is now, the second screen isn't appealing enough to people, not is it for me. Heck, I tried and tried and tried the second screen a number of times in demo units in stores, and see almost NO compelling reason to get a Wii U. It just doesn't do anything for me. I thought it might, but it just didn't. The Wii was a different animal, and looked like fun to me actually, as it did a lot of other people, the Wii U doesn't. Heck, even the said 3D differentiator of the 3DS isn't really that much interest to other people at all. The 3D ended up a gimmick. The price point is why the 3DS sells, and it doing some nice other incremental updates. The Vita blows it on price actually. And the Wii U, if it was that desirable, the MAIN feature of the second screen, it would be selling well now, and it is not. It is struggling, along with the Vita. And, the second screen better be a selling feature. It is the main differentiator Nintendo has, and it has to work, the way motion control did.
The horsepower comes in, in regards to getting the next generation content. if Bethesda doesn't feel the Wii U is worth the time, you don't get it. You don't get EA other. Ubisoft isn't doing any next gen stuff on the Wii U. The Wii U is a late to the market current gen system, with a second screen. It has 4 times less RAM than its competitors, and other inferior spects. It follows the same path the ONE gets bashed for with its memory, and has less.
The thing you have BIG issues with, and your argument regarding power not mattering is that it can also mean THIS generation consoles get additional life to them.
And on the horsepower front, Android is coming on, at a lower price point. And that is where the casuals went, onto portable devices, playing games as secondary features of their other devices.
I would have to say here also, you are missing the big picture. The entire videogame industry could crash, pulling a version of the 1980s. You could end up having the Wii U selling more, BUT the market shrinks. Companies all bleed ink and and least one company leaves. Nintendo hangs on, grabbing a larger piece of a marketspace that is getting smaller. Congrats, you win, but it doesn't matter. The future of gaming goes Android, and you are doomed personally. Guess what, that is more likely to happen than Nintendo dominating at home again.
Nintendo certainly isn't perfect. And I mentioned them bungling the transition from DS to 3DS, Wii to Wii U in the initial post. I brought up the failure to absorb WiiConnect24 into the new Nintendo Network. And I'm still concerned with their game price points on 3DS & Wii U in the face of the tablets & mini-tablets AKA smartphones.
I could detail more flaws Nintendo has but overall they know what's best for this pastime.
Nintendo 64's problems were the result of Nintendo's stubborness on game pricing & the inevitable exodus of the 3rd party developers.
Sticking with cartridges is a minor factor compared to those points.
And before you say cartridges were responsible for the 3rd party exodus, let me just say that if the 3rd party developers didn't have an avenue to escape they would have made those cartridges without complaint.
The exodus comes from the relationship between Nintendo & the 3rd party from the NES days. That's the REAL reason they fled.
Gamecube's problems come from the fallout of the 3rd party exodus, the loss of trusty 2nd party developer Rare, & the resulting image crisis Nintendo suffered in the press & public as a 'kiddie console'.
In truth, Gamecube was a great system. Powerful, durable, lightweight, small, & cheap.
But the PlayStation 2 already sewed up the market before Gamecube launched.
It was karma from the past catching up with them. They had to go through the wilderness for awhile on the home console front.
I already mentioned the 'good enough' level of hardware power in my previous reply.
Those who focus so much on power will always miss what truly matters when it comes to selling consoles.
Notice their 2 comparative sales failures came when Nintendo went for the power.
You could even sorta add the Super Nintendo to that mix because as strong as that system was, the Genesis/Mega Drive was taking it to Nintendo's head!
I say that as a tried-and-true Nintendo fan. SNES's power couldn't keep that much weaker system at bay.
If anybody knows it doesn't work, it's them. They've been down that road already.
Now I will grant you that Wii was instantly understandable & its concept was instantly accessible.
Wii U is more complex & seemingly convoluted. That's why I couldn't even understand what Nintendo was doing at first.
But Wii U's purpose that I mentioned here will creep up bit by bit in the general conscience more & more with time.
Just like it caught up with me.
Nintendo is making these unprecedented moves to tilt destiny in its favor faster.
They don't want to wait for the gradual process. They're forcefully pushing the industry to bridge the divide in the gaming audience.
They NEVER release consoles at a loss. NEVER. Why now?
It's because they realize something about the competition most of us don't.
Miyamoto told you in 2006: "The consensus was that power isn't everything for a console. Too many powerful consoles can't coexist. It's like having only ferocious dinosaurs. They might fight and hasten their own extinction."
Everytime I look at Sony's & Microsoft's machines I see that dinosaur analogy Miyamoto spoke of.
Nintendo knows that both Microsoft AND Sony cannot waste money forever chasing their power dreams.
Something has to give. Nintendo launching early threw off Sony & Microsoft forcing them to speed up their launches (can't be getting caught flat-footed leaving Nintendo all alone in that 8th generation space).
Forcing them to reach down one more time into that POWER POWER POWER well.
Nintendo knows the others can't beat them at gamecraft & power is their last resort.
But Iwata told you at E3 2004: "The time when horsepower alone made an important difference is over."
The well is running dry. What can they offer besides more graphics which won't make as much a difference anymore?
Now the test is on Microsoft & Sony to deliver gamecraft. Can they meet Nintendo at the challenge?
XBox One's presentation at E3 2013 talked about everything EXCEPT the games!
And left a sore spot for those who like to shop at Gamestop.
As for your remarks about price point selling consoles, remember the Gamecube. The Gamecube started cheap & got cheaper the entire way. Did it quick.
I got mine in April 2002 for a self-birthday present after they dropped the price to $150. It wasn't too long before they hit that magical $100 price point.
Outside of a short term boost did it help the Gamecube sell? No.
Gamecube sold the least consoles of the remaining 6th generation consoles (only Dreamcast was lower).
Vita might rebound entirely with a price drop or get that short-term flash in the pan effect only to return to the slog.
You have to be very strategic with price cuts. They have to be timed just right & there's no guarantee they will result in lasting success.
This whole idea about Current-Gen & Next-Gen.
Been meaning to talk about this for awhile 'cause it bugs me.
Was the Atari 2600 & the Mattel Intellivision in the same generation? The 2nd? Yes.
Wasn't the Intellivision much more advanced techwise than the 2600? Yes.
Intellivision was technically a 16-bit system & had a much more advanced graphical display than the 2600.
Yet here they are. All a part of the same generation.
These generational titles are talking about MARKET generations not tech generations.
Atari Jaguar & the 3DO were a part of the 5th generation too but you ain't putting Kasumi Ninja & Plumbers Don't Wear Ties up against Super Mario 64 & Resident Evil from the Nintendo 64 & Sony PlayStation (also 5th gen consoles).
SNK's NeoGeo was part of the 4th generation. Was WAY more advanced in tech than both the SNES & Sega Genesis.
The thing had faithful recreations of the games played at the arcade while the others could only do it partially.
Still all consoles are considered a part of the 4th generation.
People didn't disrespect Sony with that nonsense when the PlayStation 2 was the weakest of the remaining 6th gen consoles.
People say this kind of nonsense as a way to discredit & minimize what Nintendo does.
Wii IS a 7th generation console. Wii U IS an 8th generation console.
Now for the argument about the unimportance of horsepower extending the life of Microsoft's & Sony's 7th gen platforms.
Well didn't we see that with the 6th gen PS2? That didn't stop selling until LAST YEAR! They made NEW GAMES for it LAST YEAR!
And that thing came out in 2000!
The PS3 had a hard time carrying the torch for the PS2 at first to underline how weak the power argument is getting.
You inadvertantly proved my point.
You think players are just gonna jump into these pricey new consoles with a few new games AND no backwards compatibility?
At least the Wii U players have the entire Wii library to hold them over until the new lineup arrives.
XBox One & PlayStation 4 may run into problems from their own predecessors the XBox 360 & PlayStation 3.
Much like the PS3 did with the PS2.
Here's the catch.
If they DON'T make a move & stick with their established consoles, Nintendo gets to lock the 8th gen market all to itself with no competition in sight.
If they DO make a move & move on to their new consoles, their price of entry could stall them as people stick to their old consoles.
Meanwhile Nintendo already having weathered a similar kind of storm going from the popular Wii to Wii U, will have already worked the kinks out & become ready to sell big.
I thought they were crazy to launch first but that move was much more intelligent than I gave them credit for.
They're hoping on making the dinosaurs clash & hasten their own extinction.
Oh & the sweetest part of your comments. Androids & all the tablet/smartphone stuff.
There's no denying that gaming is here to stay on the new edition of the PC, the personal computer.
But we are in EXACTLY the same place we were 30 years ago when consoles faced trouble from the home computers of the early-to-mid 1980s.
Here's the thing so many people miss. Videogame consoles should not EXIST.
They from the beginning were intended to be gaming appliances sort of like your toaster & your refrigerator is for your food & your washing machine is for your laundry.
The Magnavox Odyssey of 1972, the very first gaming console, came about in a time when computers were for big business & industry (or at best the MIT-type crowd) & personal tech was much more subdued than our current reality.
People maybe had a record player or radio in their room on the table. Some may have had an 8-track. And if they had headphones they would be these giant plastic earmuffs blotting out their faces. That Walkman thing from Sony wasn't quite here yet.
The TV set was part table & people put doilies & their family pictures on it. And everybody in the house watched the same single TV in the same living room in most households.
Phones were of the clunky rotary variety & were stationed in a few places in the house at best (on a table, maybe on a wall).
And all electronics of that period needed to fit the interior aesthetics of a household so you got woodgrain design to match the wooden furniture or some beige/brown/tan color to not clash with the wallpaper. Sometimes orange & green & yellow for the more adventurous ones.
The Odyssey was designed with those aesthetics in mind as well which is why it had beige plastic, had woodgrain patterns, & was called the Brown Box.
Like all appliances this new entertainment appliance for electronic TV games was meant to fit inside the household & become part of the decor.
In 1972, when all this was absolutely new to the general public, there was a need for a gaming appliance.
But when Apple brought the computer to the household with the Apple II in 1977, the gaming console's days were numbered.
With the new competitors entering this new home computer market—including console maker Atari—it began to make less & less sense to have a game console around. You could game & so much more on a home computer!
This thought reached a crucial point right around 1983 when the console market crashed in America.
Everyone was already prepared to move on the home computers. And that's EXACTLY where the future would have gone...
...if not for this odd little Japanese company named Nintendo.
Today in Russia, China, Korea, Eastern Europe the PC is where most videogaming takes place.
But what about America, Western Europe, Brazil & Japan?
Console gaming rules those areas.
And one company is responsible for that...Nintendo.
The Nintendo Family Computer, the Nintendo Entertainment System changed the course of history.
Nintendo made the console relevant directly in the face of the home computer giants of the era.
The appeal of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, & the wealth of breakthrough games from Japanese 3rd party developers like Hudson Soft, Konami, Capcom, Square, Taito, Jaleco, Tecmo, Technōs, Data East, SNK, Enix, Sunsoft, Taxan, Vic Tokai...
...shifted the axis so greatly that in the end most of those home computer game developers suddenly started making games for consoles.
Then the various competition came in to challenge Nintendo for its prize & here we are.
The videogame console should have been dead 30 years ago! But Nintendo develops & shapes the console in such a way that it remains relevant.
The various competition add a few contributions but this is Nintendo's baby.
That's why to this day they are the driving force behind the console experience in both software & hardware.
When you to go to the store it is console games behind the protective glass & PC disc games wide open on the shelves.
Nintendo did it 30 years ago & they can do it again today in the face of the new PC, the tablets.
In fact they're the only one who can do it.