The Wii U has been selling slowly in the few months since its release, and third parties have already been delaying and even canceling projects for the system entirely. According to a report from Mario Wynands, founder of Sidhe, developers at the D.I.C.E. convention last were only talking about projects they had cancelled for Wii U, rather than anything they were following through with. According to Wynands, the console is in serious trouble if these third parties keep jumping ship.
At DICE, nobody has been talking about the new Wii U projects they have started, only the Wii U projects that have just been cancelled. Platform is in serious trouble. Publishers and developers from the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia mainly. Pubs and devs never recoiled from PS3 like they seem to be with Wii U (though this is anecdotal). There was always the confidence that the numbers would get there over time with PS3. I’m not sensing that with Wii U. I had a data point yesterday at lunch with a high budget Wii U game that was hoping to sell “millions” over time. It only managed “tens of thousands”. It is one of the top rated games for the platform.
As a fan, I’ve learned to never count Nintendo out. They always offer innovative experiences and their first-party franchises can keep even their weak system going through tough times. Oddly enough, it seems that developers—people inside the industry—don’t seem to believe that. When the PlayStation 3 failed to sell, developers had confidence that the system would eventually see the success of its predecessors. When the Wii U comes along, even though the Wii saw an install base of nearly 100 million homes, publishers don’t seem to have that same faith. While the third-parties ended up being the catalyst to the PlayStation 3’s eventual success, it’s clear that they don’t have the same devotion to the Wii U. Could this be a result of the misguided notion that Nintendo is for kids?
Also worth noting is the farce of this “top rated” mystery game. Each game in the Wii U top ten has sold well over “tens of thousands,” and nothing below that mark is a Wii U exclusive. The unmet expectations are nothing but the developer’s own fault; if a game is released on two platforms with massive install bases and one console, expecting the new console’s version to sell “millions” is downright irresponsible.
Is third-parties’ lack of faith in Nintendo going to doom the Wii U, or will their software development teams prove over time that the Wii U is a console all gamers should own?