Let’s face it, the Wii U’s library of software is extremely weak right now. Sadly it doesn’t appear as though anything will change before the PlayStation 4 and next Xbox launch, which puts the Wii U in a very odd position. Even Sega’s Dreamcast had more third party support going for it up to the PS2’s launch. It has an exclusive Resident Evil, there was a brand new, and awesome-looking, 3D Castlevania in the works and so much more. Thing is, we all know exactly how that turned out. For those thinking the situation will fix itself soon enough, I’ve got a little video for you that should act as a nice wake-up call.
After playing through several classic games from Punch-Out!! to Super Mario World, it’s clear that there are literally hundreds of games available in Nintendo’s arsenal that hold up tremendously well today. Imagine having access to all of these games back in November? Sure they’re not new, but they’re a perfect tide-me-over until more Wii U software is ready to go.
There are a few things people need to come to terms with first. It does cost some resources in order to get the games to run on both the TV and on the GamePad without any latency. Then there’s the Miiverse integration which someone needs to put together. While I doubt very much that either of these things would cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars to do, it means that some third parties simply won’t bother, and that’s perfectly understandable. That doesn’t excuse the big N though as they have countless first party titles that would be perfect for the service.
How Nintendo failed to comprehend the power of the Virtual Console in light of the lack of software for the Wii U is a little perplexing. Would it have truly been that hard to get two dozen of their biggest hits released on the NES and SNES ready for day one? I doubt it very much. Then there’s the other big question, why not add GameCube to the mix? If it can’t work with the GamePad and TV at the same time, then just make it one or the other. I’m sure players wouldn’t mind. Get Luigi’s Mansion ready to go for this Year of Luigi and I’m positive thousands of people would have gobbled that up. Make Metroid Prime available and you know you’d have a winner on your hands. While we’re at it, why not make those original Wii games available on the Virtual Console? All of this is more money in the pockets of the company.
Another way to make the Virtual Console more appealing over all is to reduce the download prices. $5 for the NES game in 2013 is absolutely insane. Grand Theft Auto III is ninety nine cents on the App Store. Now clearly one of these things is not like the other. If Nintendo would reduce the asking price of NES games to a buck, and SNES games to $2, their sales would increase exponentially. Then add in N64 games at $5, and GameCube games at around $8 and believe me, the Virtual Console would be the Wii U’s most attractive selling point. Slap on those classic Wii games for $20 a pop, and bingo, suddenly the drought of Wii U software wouldn’t look so bad at all.
While I am very excited to get to play Earthbound sometime this year, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had a game like that been available back when the Wii U launched, and where Nintendo would be right now if the Virtual Console truly lived up to its full potential. As it is now, unless major and drastic changes happen the Wii U could end up becoming the least successful home videogame console Nintendo has ever released, and that would be nothing short of a shame.
What do you all think? Should the Virtual Console be one of the Wii U’s strongest selling features? Should Nintendo put more emphasis on their past titles, while working away on ensuring new quality software hits the Wii U?