Wii U, much like 3DS before it, had a strong initial launch that quickly saw sales numbers dwindle well below expectations in the coming months. Multiple factors contributed to this, and one of the biggest ones was a lack of exclusive titles on the new console.
The lineup has been fleshed out substantially by the likes of games like Pikmin 3 and Mario Kart 8, but Nintendo has struggled mightily in gathering third-party support, so there have still been long periods without any major Wii U releases. With PlayStation 4 and Xbox One now also vying for gamers’ attention, a strong lineup is becoming even more critical. How can Nintendo avoid more game droughts in Wii U’s future?
Speaking with IGN’s Jose Otero, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime explained Nintendo’s plan to fill the gaps in between first-party release with second-party games (in this context meaning games created by outside developers but published and/or funded by Nintendo) and indie games.
IGN: One of the common patterns we keep seeing with Nintendo is a long gap between major games. We got Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze in February, but didn’t have another big game until Mario Kart 8. What is Nintendo doing to alleviate the software droughts between game releases?
Fils-Aime: “We’re doing a couple of things. First, we’re doing much more second-party development. Everything from Bayonetta 2, which is an exclusive to Wii U game, Devil’s Third is an exclusive to Wii U game. Certainly, leveraging more second-party development is critical to us. The other thing we’re doing is much more with independent developers. And I would argue that this is a big industry shift that’s happened over the last couple of years. You look at all of the developers that have left the large major third-parties to create their own small studio. We’ve been able to attract them not only with some of the tools made available, like Unity. But also the fact that these developers love having their content merchandised in our eShop right alongside Mario and right along Zelda versus putting them in separate area with all other Indie content. We merchandise it along with all of our other key games, which really helps the sell through of this independent content.
Last year we saw
The Wonderful 101 from Platinum Games, and they’ll bolstering Wii U’s lineup again this year with Bayonetta 2. Additionally, Nintendo revealed at E3 that they would be publishing Devil’s Third, developed by Valhalla Game Studios, exclusively on Wii U. Can Nintendo score exclusives like these on a more regular basis in the future?