Should you spend your money on the Wii U this holiday season? (Photo: eshopgamers.com)

By ROBERT VAZQUEZ, Guest Writer

Should U buy the Wii U?

Wii U, Nintendo’s first high definition video game console, was released on Nov 19 to some relative fanfare to the tune of 400,000 units, but should you, the savvy college student, run out and buy one?

Well there are surprisingly quite a bit of features that the collegiate may find interesting. The Gamepad, a cross between a controller and a tablet, functions not only as your connection to a game, but also to a slew of new online Nintendo features.

These features allow you to play more casually by experiencing a game while browsing web pages, switching between your game and the TV with ease by using the Gamepad as a television remote, and visiting Nintendo’s very first console integrated online social arena.

Miiverse, the aforementioned integrated social networking feature, acts as a bridge between Nintendo’s online community and the games in which they play. People can supply hints and suggestions to frustrated players, rate games openly for all to see, and chat with like-minded individuals. It should also be noted that users can up-vote posts they find particularly appealing through a “Yeah” button, which is essentially Nintendo’s version of Facebook’s “Like” button.

But is it time to buy? No.

The Wii U is a console with many downsides at this stage of the game. The egregious loading times seems to be one of the worst offenders. It can take upwards of 30 seconds to switch between a video game and the Wii U main menu screen. Switching back and forth a couple times, and you’ve wasted enough time to warrant a bit of frustration.

Surely the 23 titles the console launched with should be enough to ease one’s frustrations, right? At one time that may have been plenty, but when multiple of those games are ports from existing competing consoles, consoles many people already own, such a launch window arguably comes off as lackluster. The two 1st party Nintendo titles, New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendoland, just aren’t enough at this stage of the game to make the Wii U a must have item.

So should you buy one this holiday season? No, not yet. The system is arguably too young to judge its potential. If you already own a PS3 or Xbox 360, then the Wii U just hasn’t differentiated itself enough to justify its 300 to 350 dollar price tag. Many high capacity versions of past consoles will be available this December for cheaper prices, and much larger game libraries.

The Wii U is a console that needs time to mature. Currently not many titles take full advantage of the Gamepad, the single most differentiating factor versus its competitors, and until they do it is arguably best to save your money for some other great video game offerings this holiday season.