While many gamers still wait to see what game developers do to utilize the Wii U’s tablet style controller, Nintendo isn’t waiting around to enhance the Wii U’s experience. At the recent Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo announced that coming January 2013, the Wii U will add Google Maps, including Street View, to the Wii U. Utilizing the GamePad, Wii U users will be able to search and view maps via the internet, and manipulate the views using the touchscreen on the GamePad.
The addition of Google’s Street View – essentially a series of pictures stitched together to form a continuous “camera” view – may seem like a lot for a game console, the Wii U’s guts can more than handle the processing power needed for high resolution images. The tablet style controls on the Wii U’s GamePad also offer easier navigation of maps, relying on the touchscreen many of us are used to on our phones and not buttons or joysticks found on traditional game console controllers.
The addition of Google Maps is definitely a nice perk for Wii U owners, however, I don’t believe it is enough to overshadow the Wii U’s need for more triple-A titles. While there are certainly some great games already available such as Super Mario Bros. U, ZombiU, and Madden 13 (to name a few) available, the real key to the Wii U’s success this console generation will be its ability to attract third party developers. The Xbox 360′s success is due large in part to the availability of blockbuster titles not developed by Microsoft or one of its studios, but rather from a variety of other developers like Ubisoft and Activision. Gamers have come to expect great titles from Nintendo such as Zelda or Mario, but the Wii U needs to desperately avoid falling into the same gimmicky hole with the GamePad as it did with the Wii Motion Plus.