Back when the Wii was released back in 2006, within the first week I had purchased one (having to spend an all nighter outside of a mall waiting for them to open the doors, and prior to that I had proclaimed the Wii to be the winner of the console war, praising it's much smaller price point and the innovation behind the motion sensing controls. How foolish I felt later on. My first game was the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, a game which I loved and have down as one of the best games I have ever played, and the motion controls certainly played a part in that... but from there, the Wii lost me. I would purchase games as time went on, but none blew my mind. The motion controls felt more like a gimmick than anything else and before long, I stopped playing it pretty much altogether and ended up purchasing a PS3.
I love Nintendo and their products. I am a non-biased gamer when it comes to the market: I'll play any console as long as the games are good. My first console ever was a Game Boy Color, which I deeply cherished and spent many an hour playing. Over the years, I've bought numerous Nintendo systems: Game Boy Advance, the SP version, the DS, DSi and 3DS, and the Wii.
That being said, Nintendo seems to have lost their grasp with what the average gamer wants nowadays. Their stance towards online play, at this point, is completely ignorant. People love playing online: before my PS3/360, I was one of those people that never thought I would get into online gaming, partially due to cost, but also due to enjoying single player/split screen experiences. Sony and Microsoft changed my perspective on that completely and I've never had more fun gaming than I do now.
For Nintendo to continue to shoot down any chance to make their online portion more than functional, kills me. I have no doubt they can continue to dominate the handheld market, but their console market is going to suffer if they can't figure out that people LOVE playing online.
But for the topic at hand: when is innovation taken too far? Nintendo blew my mind with the DS and the Wii. Touch screen gaming seemed odd, to say the least, but I took a great liking to it and have enjoyed it greatly since its release. The Wii, equally, seemed amazing, hence why I took such great liking to it and proclaimed it to be the console winner before it had even launched.
The Wii U, in my mind, has taken the innovation factor too far. Case in point: the controller.
The innovation is certainly there. Does it look interesting? By all means, but at the same time it raises questions as to what Nintendo is trying to do. They've already said that the Wii U will only require one of these controllers due to the cost of producing and therefore selling them, and they don't want to make the consumer pay an arm and leg to be able to play with friends. That screams "fail" right off the bat. If I'm going to buy a console like this, then I would want to take advantage of everything it has to offer, including playing games with friends and seeing what kind of capabilities the controller has to offer. But games might not even support multiple controllers of the Wii U? That's not good.
Again, Nintendo is so hell-bent on giving innovation that they fail to see the real problems. Their third party support, while improved, is still mediocre compared to what the 360 and PS3 consistently get. Nintendo is notorious for their poor relationship with third party developers, and that will prove to be costly if they ever plan on making it back into the thick of the console war. Online play, as already stated, is a major issue, and will continue to haunt them until they make it at least competitive with Microsoft and Sony.
Gaming consoles, at heart, are for gaming. They can continue to innovate all they want, but if they don't release enough quality titles, or too many that just come off as a gimmick, then people aren't going to keep purchasing their home consoles, and the people who do will resort to again leaving it be and gathering dust. Will Nintendo figure it out, or will Microsoft and Sony shut them out of the console war altogether? It certainly doesn't look great for the once dominant Nintendo (home console market-wise).