As most of the gaming world knows, the Wii U has been confirmed with a date and price (basic model price of $299, November 18 launch).
You can find the specs and projected software just about anywhere you look and, in addition to the recently revealed iPhone 5, these two items are the catalysts for thousands of discussions.
So here's the inevitable question: Is the Wii U considered "next-gen?" Or has Nintendo simply separated themselves from that rat race? Have they individualized themselves by refusing to compete in the same realm? And when I ask that, I'm not implying any inferiority; I'm simply saying Nintendo's position in the market has changed (of their own volition) and to some extent, it has worked. I say "to some extent" because the Wii stormed out of the gate, only to take a steep dive in the past couple of years. Which, by the way, I predicted, due to the almost complete lack of AAA cutting-edge software. Gimmicks have short life spans, if you hadn't noticed.
So let's just say for the sake of argument that the Wii U is more than a gimmick. I'm not sure it is, but let's just go with that. And let's say it sells extremely well as Sony and Microsoft prepare for the next generation of hardware. Will such success put any added pressure on the PlayStation and Xbox brands to launch sooner? Or do they simply recognize that they're no longer competing with Nintendo in the same way? Is it safe to assume both are just ignoring Nintendo? Or is that too short-sighted? After all, the Wii U is a video game console, is it not? And with the majority of the industry being casual in this day and age, the majority of consumers may lump the Wii U in with the PS4 and Xbox 720.
On top of which, it's a guarantee that both Sony and Microsoft's consoles will cost a good deal more than $300, and the Wii U will have the benefit of a big head start. But again, is the Wii U next-gen and will it compete directly with the PS4 and Xbox 720 when they arrive? It almost seems like Nintendo is distancing themselves by moving into a staggered hardware release schedule: As Sony and Microsoft continue to release at similar times, Nintendo might provide something new in the midst of the upcoming generation. After all, given the technology the PS4 and Xbox 720 supposedly boast, and the fact that the Wii U will already be "old" (at least by electronics standards) when the new consoles arrive, Nintendo might need another piece of hardware sooner.
These are all tough questions and ones I'm in no position to answer. Just thought I'd ask.