Android vs. Wii U: Competition Is Closer Than You Think


Yesterday at E3, Nintendo announced the Wii U, the next generation of their gaming console. The jury is out and right now it seems like a split decision: you’ve got the Wii U Fans who are excited to see Nintendo bringing innovation to the industry and then you’ve got the analysts who obviously weren’t impressed, handing Nintendo it’s lowest stock price in 5 years. I think most people are in between: appreciating the attempt at innovation but not fully able to comprehend how it will play out with real games in the actual consumer marketplace.

One fact that perhaps neither fans OR analysts have considered? By the time the Wii U launches, it could be competing head to head with Android. Take a look at the Wii U promo video and you’ll see what I mean:

Remember the  article I wrote about a Google Gaming Console? Well if you take an Android Tablet, Google TV and Games from Android Market, couldn’t you enjoy experiences very similar to these? I think so, especially once manufacturers leverage the Android Open Accessory program to build not just Android Tablets- but Android Gaming Controllers similar to the Wii U Controller.

Nintendo does have several HUGE advantages though. First of all, they’ve got a game development platform that is light years beyond Android Game Development. They’ve got decades of experience, long-term development partners, tremendous distribution channels, and a proven business model. I’m not foolish enough to believe Android will compete head-on with Nintendo or any of the other console makers in the next couple years. But I do think that Google has created the atmosphere where game developers and accessory manufacturers can build momentum and 5 years down the road? Android Gaming could be up there with the other elite mainstays.

If you ARE excited about the Wii U, you might want to head on over to the Wii U Forums where a small crowd has already gathered. While people like Chris Chavez get to enjoy E3 up close and personal, yourselves and I will have to bask in the glory of other people’s videos.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. I will definitely buy the Wii-U i don’t think it will be much competition for Android. Because there are people like me who will buy both. :)

  2. I too thought about the google tv+smartphone combo being similar to wii U. Especially with OnLive games being made for that specific combo.

    HOWEVER the one thing that will make the WII U a great succes…..brand name, ease of use and ofcourse FIRST PARTY games like zelda, metroid etc……

    Give it a few years and then maybe android will be better, till then, wii U will pwn…..

  3. I haven’t heard much about this and didn’t think much of it but the golf part of the demo was AWESOME. Wow, now thats what I call innovation.

  4. I loathe gaming on a phone.

  5. Android? Is competition for a gaming console? Since when? There are no games on Android!!! Besides maybe one or two worthy ones. Iphone is the only threat as of right now for the gaming consoles. I prefer android over iphone but please stop talking about Games and applications. Android is light years away from choices and quality in comparison to iphone. Sad but true. If you take away Sense UI and compare stock android to Iphone it is hideous and offers no FRIENDLY useability

    1. That’s an interesting opinion. It’s not, however, anything like an argument against this article’s contention that Android is shaping up over the next year to year and a half to compete head to head with Wii U. So what’s your point, really? I guess you’re just trolling.

    2. Troll!!! Kill it!!!!

    3. Wow we really do have some pathetic fanboys who knows nothing at all around these sites. Check out the two. Its not just an interesting opinion. Its fact really. And obviously some just can’t admit it, or they don’t game on their Android device. Its not about the hardware which is the problem for Android. It is indeed the software. No games. But only who’ve actually used an iPhone/iTouch will know… :)

      e.g just read a post on Real Racing 2 and TV + iPad as controller.
      See what I’m getting there? They actually HAVE games which will make this work for them.
      I love my SGS II…but this is anything far from realistic. Even within a couple of years. Android will do far better on emulation imho.

  6. I think this is a step back for Nintendo really. Look at the list below and tell me if this is true or not:

    Super Nintendo – great leap forward from regular NES days
    N64 – in an era of CD based games with Sega Saturn and PlayStation, why cartridges?
    Gamecube – dead even but PS2 crushed it
    Wii – phenomenal leap forward pushed innovation in gaming with set of controls that PS3 and XBox had to match
    Wii U – clunky new controller that will have game exclusivity and many companies making games will either not innovate around it cause it will extend development and add costs. Nintendo will be the only one writing games for that controller. Should have sticker with previous design just 1080p graphics.

    I don’t believe many developers will be interested in designing anything around this controller. Talking to them, exclusivity is nice, but only if you are the only major player in console gaming. Which Nintendo is not.

    1. This here is a professional business analyst who is sharing his expert opinion. Nintendo needs follow his word.

    2. You know that the Wii U is still using Wiimotes right? And that you’ll only be able to use one of these tablet controllers with the system?  And for your 64 comment, you know how hard it is to pirate a cartridge?  I’m sure you also know that the playstation only exists because Nintendo commissioned sony to design a CD based media drive for a future console but Nintendo scrapped the plan and so Sony decided to build on what they’d produced for Nintendo and develop into a fully fledged system of its own.

      Maybe you should check your facts before you make such “expert opinions”

    3. I disagree. This is truly innovative, and a real evolution of an already revolutionary system. With the Wii, they did a fantastic job of really changing the way video games were played, and even more – they truly brought gaming to the masses. Wii Sports for example; it’s fun, and a game that pretty much anyone, even folks who’ve never played a video game before, can pick up and learn in just a few minutes, and have a lot of fun as well. There are hundreds, if not thousands of senior centers that have Wii Sports leagues. Nintendo, instead of worrying about rendering a trillion triangles a second, focused on the way the games themselves and the way they were played. It goes without saying that the Wii was successful, and the Wii U looks to be another real evolution in console gaming. The things that can be done with that tablet controller aren’t just another gimmick, that thing does a lot more than control a game, you can play the game ON the controller’s screen – sent from the Wii U, obviously, and the touch screen controls were something new they way they were used and integrated with the display on the TV – throwing the shurikens at the ninja by flicking your finger was cool. It’s also has a microphone, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, dual analog controls, two shoulder buttons and two triggers, a front-facing camera, a touchscreen, some of the most creative and innovative staff in the video game industry, and as long as the platform is easy to develop for, and Nintendo doesn’t have insane licensing fees, big name third party developers will be in on it. I’m really looking forward to playing with one. Sucks that I missed E3 this year (again).

    4. “Wii – phenomenal leap forward pushed innovation in gaming with set of controls that PS3 and XBox had to match
      Wii U – clunky new controller that will have game exclusivity and many companies making games will either not innovate around it cause it will extend development and add costs. Nintendo will be the only one writing games for that controller. Should have sticker with previous design just 1080p graphics.”
      Whoa whoa whoa, hold on there. What you just said about the Wii U sounds EXACTLY the same thing people have said about the Wii and the DS before it, so how is it any different? :p

  7. I can see a dev making an app for android to use a tablet as a controller for the Wii U, samsungs 7 inch and 8 inch offerings would be best though!

  8. I would never chose a ipod or iphone over my 360. I don’t care for mobile games like I do for console games. 360 ftw

  9. Android/Google TV could easily become a console gaming platform if Google pushed for it. Remember Honeycomb 3.1 got gamepad and controller support, and Google TV will use Honeycomb 3.1. Now they just need to get developers on board and put Tegra 3 in all those set top boxes and Google TV’s, and you’ll see Android has huge potential in this market. They could beat PS3/Xbox/Nintendo the same way they beat  the iPhone – by getting all the other manufacturers on board to make tons of set top boxes and make TV’s with Google TV gaming built into them. 

    And who says there are no games on Android? There are dozens of 3D games from large publishers on Android, which is a lot more than say Kinect has right now. Don’t forget OnLive games are also coming to Android.

    1. Indeed there are games for Android, a few good ones too. However, a lot of the devs are very small outfits with a few people. Big games like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Oblivion, Modern Warfare, and the upcoming Skyrim are made by development houses with hundreds of people and millions upon millions of dollars. GTA4 with the expansion packs cost over $100million to develop. Without development houses like Rockstar, Square Enix, 2K, Sega, etc. they simply won’t be able to get a toe-hold, much less survive in the console wars. Hard core gamers are not going to ditch games like Modern Warfare, Final Fantasy, and Grand Theft Auto for games like 9mm. I really don’t see Android beating Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft. Especially if they don’t get any of the big dev houses interested. There is a MASSIVE difference between beating out the iPhone, and beating the Big Three in gaming consoles. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  10. I’ve been a hard-core gamer pretty much my whole life (39 years-and believe it or not, there are gaming consoles out there as old as I am or in a few cases – older). While I didn’t get to go to E3 this year because of work, I always follow it closely, even when I’m not there. I was thinking about the future of Android and gaming yesterday when I was looking at the Wii U, and especially, it’s controller. There *could* be a future in an Android gaming console, but, it’s going to be very, very hard for them to break into the console wars and succeed. First of all, there can be only one Android console – I guarantee that one is going to be hard enough, they will NEVER be able to make multiple consoles (well, not if they don’t want to lose millions in R&D and production). To be successful, they would need to get some heavyweight game development houses behind them such as Square, EA, Rockstar, Sega etc. They would also have to set up an internet-based play ala xbox live. They would also be committing business suicide if the platform didn’t have integration with existing Android phones (like the WP7 has with xbox live) so you could play avatar-type games on the go, etc. Also, in addition to a controller, they would also need to integrate a motion-sensing system, again, like xbox360’s Kinect. The reason I say that is because, whether you like it or not, motion-gaming isn’t a gimmick, the Kinect was, and still is, the fastest-selling consumer electronic product in history.
    I agree with Rob, if it does happen, I would say it’s about 5-8 years away, when we’re a few years into the 8th-gen consoles. I doubt it will happen, but I certainly wouldn’t say “never” – about 10 years ago, the gaming community laughed, and laughed hard when Microsoft announced that they were going to throw their hat in the ring. Then pictures and specs started coming out, and the laughs turned very quickly into serious attention to the upcoming Xbox. Now, Microsoft dominates live play, and it goes without saying that the Xbox360 is doing very well indeed. I look forward to see what the future holds!
    Note: If they released an Android system with Shenmue 3, I’d buy it without even looking at the specs – I’ve been waiting for Shenmue 3 for the better part of a decade so I can finally kick Lan-Di’s ass and finish the story.

  11. I was also wondering when someone was going to pick up on Sega’s idea of using a memory unit/controller display, like the Dreamcast’s controllers. It’s nice to have that feature, especially if you’re playing a game with someone on the same screen and you don’t want them to see what your next move is (in games where on-screen menus can be put on the screen on the controller). Nintendo did a fantastic job from what I’ve seen of the Wii U and its controller. Very impressive indeed.

  12. Android FTW!

  13. l understand that the casual gamer or non gamer for that matter can be satisfied with his/her Angry Birds game on their phones… but real gamers arent satisfied with a filler game….

    Games on PC and Consoles are even more time consuming than movies…. a typical complex console/pc game can be played 2-3 hours non stop, break… then another 2-3 hours non stop. Hardcore gamers demand this sort of entertainment/involvement when it comes to games…

    Phone/Tablet dependent games are games you play while you wait for the bus to arrive, or games you play while you wait for your friend to get ready etc. Or a lunch time fix…. sure they can evolve… but the limitations are there…. battery life, ergonomics (ever play a phone game for more than 20 minutes without having their fingers sore or their necks etc)

    And LOL about using iPAD as a steering wheel…. again this thinking is strictly from a casual/non gamer… sure for games 5 minute games this is fine… even for Mario kart type games… but for Gran Turismo, Forza?… hardcore gamers are willing to fork out an extra 200 bucks to get a good steering wheel for that extra realism and involvement with the game.

    I think there is room for the “5 minute” filler games found on iPhones/iPADs/Androids erc and with PC games and Console games….

    Experts are looking at it from a business point of view and from a enterpreneur’s point of view… look at it from a real gamer’s point of view and you’ll see that phone based games arent that appealing…

    Hand held consoles like 3DS, Vita/PSP etc… these I can see being affected the most… but if its true that Vita has PS3 graphics on a handheld.. I dont think iPAD or any android phones can accomodate a 3D card without being a size of a brick nowadays…..
    People who play iPhones/Androids.. again play those games because they are convenient… and its on their PHONES already or easily downloaded… for free or for a couple of bucks…. convenience and practical…. real gamers are willing to carry a BAG to put their hand held consoles and their games in… thats the BIGGEST difference.

    iPhone/iPAD/Android = Life-style gadgets that offer shallow entertainment but great practicality..

    Consoles/PC/Handheld = Hobbyist / Enthusiasts gadgets that are dedicated for gaming entertainment.

  14. Nintendo has not had a good system since SNES. The wii is great…if you are under 10 or over 65. If it was not for zelda and metroid their would be very few people inbetween that range interested.

  15. Sorry to say I’m really not excited by what I’ve seen of the Wii-U. The controller looks like a childs drawing of a dreamcast controller. How long is that controller going to stay in one piece in the hands of 6 yr olds or is that Nintendos plan?

  16. i like android but cmon Wii U is alot better! who wants to use their phone as part of the game… playing games then get a call or text.. pause game haha pointless

  17. WII U is in my opinion the only IPAD competitor / enemy right now, so if Android will be able to have games like the IPAD and connectivity like the IPAD (TV / AUDIO like AirPlay does), then we will have a third competitor.

    However point is that WII U is not an Android comptetitor, but maybe Android will one day compete with ipad and wii

  18. This has been mooted about other devices too, but there are a lot of ‘if’s, it is possible, but there is some way to go and more obvious routes to take.

    Android phones might well be “licensed” to control some console games, but ‘if’ that ever happens, it is some time away.

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