Wii U Third Party Support Rules…in the Bizarro World

We all know by now that people typically buy Nintendo platforms to play Nintendo-made games. That’s the way it has been since the great fall of Nintendo during the N64 era. It’s the sad truth, but most don’t realize just how badly the situation has become for the Wii U. Sure we know third party support is currently lacking on the platform, but when someone puts a list on the table that highlights a bunch of games that have skipped the Wii U or are planning on skipping the Wii U things become much, much clearer.

Here’s a list of every single game I could find (from looking at around a dozen sites) showcasing Wii U games in development for release in 2014. Remember here folks, 2014, not this year.

Project CARS (Publisher – TBA)

Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo)

Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo)

Bayonetta 2 (Nintendo)

Monolith Soft’s X (Nintendo)

Human Element (Robomodo)

The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup (Gory Detail)

Tengami (Nyamyam)

Are there more games, yes there will be more games for sure. There are some Kickstarter games not mentioned here among others I’m sure, but I found far too many lists that were based entirely on rumors and whatnot, so I didn’t include those. The focus of the article is mainly to highlight one simple fact, virtually every single third party publisher in the world has abandoned their Wii U support.

We’ve already heard from key Wii U third party supporters who have voiced their concern on the lack of sales. Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot said the reason Rayman Legends was pulled from being a Wii U exclusive was because ZombieU failed to turn a profit for the company. It should be noted that the game sold over 400,000 copies worldwide, which is far below their expectations of a million plus. He continued to say…

“We must find a way to ensure the creativity of those games could have a big enough audience,” he said. “We hope it will take off. At the moment, we’ve said ‘let’s do through Christmas and see where we are from there.”

EA’s Peter Moore also had some harsh words to say about the Wii U.

“We were there with four games for them [at launch]. It’s been a disappointment when you look at sell-through and, as a company, we have to be very judicious where we deploy our resources. The lack of online engagement that we see on Wii U [is troubling]. It’s so integral to what we do. They’re so small it’s hardly worth running the servers. It seems like a box that’s out of sync with the future of EA – which is one that gives a real social feel to our games. The Wii U feels like an offline experience right now.”

So what does this boil down to, pretty much what I’m about to highlight for you. Here’s a very small list of games that have already been released in 2013 that skipped the Wii U entirely.

Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel

BioShock Infinite

Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2

Crysis 3

Dead Island Riptide

Deadpool

Dead Space 3

DmC

Fuse

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance

Metro Last Light

Remember Me

Tomb Raider

While not all of these games were powerhouse achievements or stellar sellouts, they were big name games that the publishers felt weren’t worth porting to the Wii U. The biggest one here is clearly BioShock Infinite. Most media outlets agree it’s a contender for Game of the Year. Now let’s switch gears and highlight key games that are coming out in the rest of 2013 that Wii U owners will be missing out on. Keep in mind it’s not a complete list, just some of the bigger games I could think of or find.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Dark Souls II

Devil’s Third

Dynasty Warriors 8

Grand Theft Auto V

Killer is Dead

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Lost Planet 3

Murdered: Soul Suspect

NCAA Football 14

NHL 14

Prey 2

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014

Saints Row IV

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots

Ultra Street Fighter IV

WWE 2K14

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

We also don’t know whether or not Call of Duty: Ghosts is coming out for the Wii U, but right now there’s about a 90% chance it won’t make it. The fact Grand Theft Auto V is skipping the Wii U is also a huge blow for the platform. I didn’t list all of the sports games that will also be skipping the Wii U this year on top of all these other high profile games, so as you can imagine the list would be quite a bit larger than it currently is.

Here’s a quick list of cross-gen games, meaning games that are currently in development for the PS3/360 and PS4/One, but not coming to Wii U.

Battlefield 4

Destiny

Diablo III

Doom 4

Dying Light

FIFA 14

Mad Max

Madden NFL 25

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

NBA 2K14

NBA Live 14

Need For Speed: Rivals

The Evil Within

Wolfenstein: The New Order

There are many other games I could have placed here, but these were the biggest ones. After all each of these games are likely to sell a ton of copies, and are highly anticipated.

Now we come to the last segment where we look at the recently announced (at E3 2013) next-gen games skipping the Wii U.

Cyberpunk 2077

Dragon Age III: Inquisition

Final Fantasy XV

Kingdom Hearts III

Mirror’s Edge 2

The Crew

The Elder Scrolls Online

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Thief

Tom Clancy’s The Division

Nintendo fans, myself included, can sugarcoat this as much as we want to, but just take another quick look through this article at all the games that have already skipped or will be skipping the Wii U and it’s very clear Nintendo might just have a Neo Geo 2 on their hands where only a handful of first-party releases hit the platform each year. Will that happen, no one can tell for sure, but this holiday season will be the final nail in the coffin as they say. Ubisoft has already said they will pull all Wii U support if their holiday releases like Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag don’t perform up to par with the other versions (keeping in mind the overall system sales of course). When asked straight up Capcom, Konami, Square-Enix, and many others pretty much say they have no plans to support the platform outside what’s already been announced.

The Wii U has yet to sell through 4 million units worldwide, even though it had passed 3 million by January of this year. Taken as a whole that is extremely disheartening considering six months of the year have already passed and the system was without any competition from the next-gen systems. The major factors against Nintendo have clearly been the lack of any true system sellers. While the rest of the 2013 line-up is extremely impressive including Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Wii Party U, and Super Mario 3D World the question remains whether or not Nintendo can sell through enough consoles this holiday season to sway publishers to their side. Never before has Nintendo had such little third party support, yes even including the N64 era. They must turn things around or as I mentioned before, it’s not a joke to say players could see around 15 games released for the platform every year, made solely by Nintendo.

At the end of the day you can never count Nintendo out until they’re truly out, but this situation certainly looks bleak as of now, and has only worsened in the recent weeks following E3. One of the key factors facing Nintendo now is direct competition from Microsoft and Sony’s next-gen platforms. While Nintendo has by far the best holiday line-up, they need people to pick-up their box to enjoy these games, and we certainly hope that’s what happens.

So where do you fit in all of this? As a Wii U owner I really dislike writing articles like this, but after doing a little investigative reporting, it’s clear this situation is much worse than I realized before going into this article. I knew third party support was bad, but I didn’t realize that virtually every single publisher in the world had already completely written the system off, and those that were supporting the system have given it until January to pick up sales or they’re pulling out as well. Would you be satisfied with a Nintendo-only system?

6 thoughts on “Wii U Third Party Support Rules…in the Bizarro World”

    1. Indeed. The situation is pretty damn bad right now, and I’m really hoping the games coming out for the system later this year can help turn things around, but realistically I just don’t know. I mean this is not a good situation to be in, especially when die hard supporters like Ubisoft say they’re going to completely pull out if things don’t change. I don’t even know if Nintendo can remain profitable with the Wii U if they’re the only ones developing for it because they make a ton of money of licensing third party games, and without the revenue I just don’t see how the system would be financially worthwhile to them.

  1. Yeah we’re beating around a dead bush by now. With all this criticism by developers, publishers, gamers, and articles like this….it’s impossible that they’ve fallen on deaf ears. They know it’s a problem and they’ve taken the first step to fix things. If their stream of first party titles of 2013 and Q1 2014 doesn’t push sales, I don’t know what will. Even a price drop won’t save the Wii U if this keeps up. They’ve already saved a ton of cash for a rainy day thanks to the Wii and DS sales, so I’d imagine that they’ll go down fighting and use every drop of that to make a miracle happen.

    1. Yeah Ahmed indeed, I just didn’t realize it was actually this bad because I’ve been using my system rather frequently and been having a really good time. When I started to actually look though the situation is pretty damn bad. Just today Soul Caliber 2 HD was announced, and guess which platform was excluded. It’s completely ridiculous to me that Namco, who is helping make Smash Bros on the Wii U, wouldn’t bring the game to the Wii U. I mean the GameCube original outsold all the others, and yet it’ll be skipping the Wii U. Like WTF.

      Notice that I never mentioned anything about them going belly up or anything silly like that because they have a war chest for just such a rainy day. No, I’m actually curious if people would be ok with having a Nintendo console that was strictly for Nintendo games. Would people who own the machine be ok with that, or would they scream bloody murder? Nintendo know this situation is bad, in fact they know it’s the worse off any of their previous platforms have been, but I’m just wondering if there’s really anything that can be done that they’re not already doing, and should all their efforts be in vein, will people be ok with a handful of new games released each year?

      1. SCII HD was announced? Not for Wii U even though the GC had Link and outsold the others? Wow. Color me disappointed. That is total bull crap.

        I don’t think Nintendo will outright say that they’re not opening their console to developers anymore. Instead, they can take a stance that’s more towards “we’ll keep making great games for the Wii U until third parties are convinced. We’ll increase the user-base even if we’re the only developers for our system.” That’s a stance we may see if the worse case scenario occurs.

        1. Actually what you just said is pretty much exactly what Iwata said just the other day. They’re focused now on trying to increase the userbase with their quality first-party titles in order to try and convince third party publishers that there is indeed money to be made on the Wii U. This whole SC2 HD Online news is really sad though considering how involved Namco Bandai is with Nintendo right now. I can only imagine how that conversation must have gone with Nintendo’s upper management when they learned of this news, and the fact it wouldn’t be releasing on the Wii U.

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