The Old, Familiar Early-Adoption Cycle

Wii UThe Wii U has been out for less than a week, and the complaints are rolling in about teething issues for the new hardware. A large firmware update, if stopped prematurely, is bricking consoles. Nintendo TVii is delayed. In fact, a lot of the out-of-the-box features are inaccessible as they weren’t ready for prime time. Worst of all is the story of Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland, who now has $400 worth of Wii content trapped, unable to be imported to the Wii U because of Nintendo’s ridiculous DRM. There’s also fresh reports that online accounts for Wii U users will be console locked, like they are on the 3DS; lose your system, lose your account and any purchases made on said account. It’s enough to make a person think twice before buying that 17GB Tekken Tag Tournament 2, doesn’t it?

Some of these are unfixable – Nintendo’s DRM will get worse before it gets better as they’ve always been petrified of the piracy boogeyman and their dedicated fanbase give them no stomach to try less restrictive alternatives – but eventually, the Wii U will become a useable console with some top-flight games. However, it isn’t known when that will be; it might not even be 100% capable by Christmas.

The wails of early adopters are far and wide, and the only thing I can think is: what, are you fucking surprised!?

Ever since Apple started making its comeback, a theme emerged regarding their frequent operating system updates and increasingly tight manufacturing of their iMac and iPod lines: the first generation of their new things had massive issues; even now, in 2012, the first generation of iPod Nano devices are being recalled due to heat issues. These issues – related to either performance, heat, or price – are usually worked out in the end, but the fact of the matter for Apple users since the first generations of the iPod have been that the early adopters have had an inferior product for a higher price than later-adopters, with the only benefit to them being the geek credibility of being “first”, a noxious sentiment that should not be notable for anyone old enough to vote.

This trend has continued into virtually all consumer hardware, and has become entrenched in the video game industry. The last system I can remember that didn’t have massive issues out the door was the first generation Nintendo DS. Beyond that, the console market has been a disaster, especially for stationary models. Microsoft’s issues with the red ring of death are well known, but the PlayStation 3 had its own slew of problems. Even the comparatively steady Wii had to wait years before becoming an even semi-competent online market, the same with the DSi and 3DS, the last of which saw a heavy price reduction months after release. Again: consumers who early-adopted in got stiffed.

Despite all evidence that early adopting will at best leave you with teething issues and at worst could get you shot like a few people who lined up early for PlayStation 3s in 2006, people still line up for these systems. The Wii U is sold out, despite being a load of hot, stinking crap so far. Why? Are people that excited about the system? (According to those sources, apparently not) Is it entirely journalists buying the system? Is it just clueless people buying The Next Big Video Game™? And why are people crying that things aren’t working as well as they’re intended to, considering the fact that this has not happened in years?

I just don’t understand why people go batshit over a new system or a new anything, then get pissed when they find out that they waited in line and paid lots of money to be beta testers. Then they do it all over again for the next system. This goes beyond geek cred, it’s the definition of insanity.

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Christopher Bowen

About Christopher Bowen

Christopher Bowen is the Editor in Chief of Gaming Bus. Before opening Gaming Bus in May of 2011, he was the News Editor at Diehard GameFAN, a lead reporter for DailyGamesNews, and a reviewer at Not A True Ending, also contributing to VIMM, SNESZone and Scotsmanality. Outside of the industry, he is a network engineer in Norwalk, CT and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.