I think it’s safe to say at this point that Nintendo’s Wii U console is in a bit of a pickle.
Launching without a major Nintendo first party game in order to drive sales through the initial launch window has left the embattled console with a pretty low adoption rate. This led to a collective third party abandonment of support for the Wii U, something we all screamed at Nintendo was going to happen if certain changes weren’t made.
Well “change” isn’t a part of Nintendo’s vocabulary it seems, as the console developer and games publisher is hoping to re-invigorate the sales of the Wii U through its first party titles. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata spoke to this during Nintendo’s 73rd Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.
“One is to seamlessly release our first-party titles starting from next month to improve the momentum of Wii U. As third-party software developers do business for their own profits, they tend to avoid investing in a platform with little presence. We would therefore like them to see Wii U as a platform with which they feel they can make profits from an economical perspective.”
Iwata went on to talk about the upcoming third party releases coming to the Wii U, and the importance of getting a third party hit on the console…
“I am not in a position to discuss the software to be launched by the third-party developers in detail, but there are more key titles to be announced by them. The other important thing is to have a hit from such third-party titles. There were so many games released by third party publishers for Wii U during the launch period, but most of them were converted from other platforms and therefore could not enjoy brisk sales. As a result, some software developers have become pessimistic about Wii U.”
It seems that Nintendo’s plan for this holiday season is to boost the Wii U’s sales numbers by doubling down on their first party software. Hoping that the increased interest in the console due to said first party titles will attract third party publishers back into the fold. The only problem with that logic, as Destructoid’s Tony Ponce astutely points out, is that no third party publisher wants to compete with the quality of a Nintendo first party game.
Who could blame them?
Couple that with Nintendo’s adamant refusal to open up the war chest and shell out some money for exclusive third party content on the Wii U, and the future continues to look none to bright for the Wii U.
In the end, it looks like Nintendo’s latest console’s biggest selling point will remain that it is the only place to get Nintendo first party games. For the foreseeable future at least. The only question left is, how bad do things have to get for Nintendo before they decide to embrace the changes they so badly need?
Either way, this probably confirms that we will see a repeat performance of Reggie Fils-Aime coming unhinged at E3 next year after he is barraged by questions regarding Wii U third party support!
Entertainment, thy name is Reggie:)