Nintendo has faced quite an uphill struggle with its Wii U console since its release in 2012. The system has failed to find a massive audience, unlike the Wii and GameCube have before. It’s also lost some big support from third-party companies, as Ubisoft has confirmed it won’t make any more “mature” games for it after Watch Dogs releases this fall, and Activision won’t be releasing the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for it. Electronic Arts has already said it’s not planning any releases for the Wii U.
That said, Nintendo needs to rely on its biggest strength to bring the system to prosperity – itself. The company’s first-party and second-party properties seem to be the main thing driving its success right now, as the recently released Hyrule Warriors (a second-party game) has found big sales in Japan, and several titles have seen an increase in pre-order since their unveiling at Gamescom in Germany last week.
Ubisoft’s European boss Alain Corre has said, despite the company’s decision to not make “mature” games for the system, there’s still success to be found. “To be honest, we always want more consoles,” Corre said. “Just Dance 2015 is resonating very well. We think it will please a lot of [existing] Wii U owners and push more families to buy extra Wii Us. But we also believe that Super Smash Bros. will be a trigger to increase the momentum of the Wii U at Christmas. As a gamer, I was playing [Super Smash Bros.] over ten years ago, and it has some of the best moments that Nintendo has shared. I think that franchise could be magical [for the Wii U].
“Nintendo has some of the best franchises in the world and it knows how to make great games. It proved that with Mario Kart, and it will prove that again with Super Smash,” he said.
Nintendo is planning on bringing a few mature-themed experiences to the Wii U, judging by its picking up of Platinum Games’ action-packed Bayonetta 2, which is coming but doesn’t have a release date yet. However, it’s still focusing primarily on families, and that may be one of the reasons why games such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag just don’t sell for the console.
GamesIndustry International’s Rob Fahey laid out what Nintendo needs to do in a detailed editorial, talking about how Nintendo needs to focus to make the Wii U shine, even if its on its own. “Core gamers buy a Nintendo console as a second device because they want access to Nintendo exclusive titles, primarily first-party games,” said Fahey.
“Nintendo needs to find a solution to its current woes which actually suits Nintendo; something which leverages all the things the company is good at.”
The company has a pretty good line-up going into Christmas, with Hyrule Warriors set to launch on September 26, and Bayonetta 2 and Super Smash Bros. due for release before year’s end, pending any delays. Still, it will take some time before we see if the Wii U can pull through or not. The system is still fairly expensive, and customers have plenty of alternatives these days for platforms that can play games.
On the bright side, there’s always Mario Kart 8, which has sold quite a few units since its release, and continues to be a big mover and shaker.
Source: GamesIndustry International