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)
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
Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2
Dead Island Riptide
Dead Space 3
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance
Metro Last Light
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
Dynasty Warriors 8
Grand Theft Auto V
Killer is Dead
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Lost Planet 3
Murdered: Soul Suspect
NCAA Football 14
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
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.
Madden NFL 25
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
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.
Dragon Age III: Inquisition
Final Fantasy XV
Kingdom Hearts III
Mirror’s Edge 2
The Elder Scrolls Online
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
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?