(By Selling More, Basically)
The Wii U's slim selection of truly excellent first-party offerings have done little to disguise the lack of support from major third-party publishers and developers. Not to mention a gaping black hole in terms of major multiplatform releases like BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider. Nintendo plans to coax more big-hitters onto the platform by increasing the install base, which in plain English, means selling a whole heap more consoles between now and Christmas 2014.
“We have strong relationships with third parties and have a strong lineup of upcoming games from key partners such as Ubisoft, Disney, SEGA and Warner Bros., among others," NoA executive vice president of sales & marketing Scott Moffitt told Forbes. "We realize that we need to continue to build the installed base to demonstrate that making games for Wii U is a good investment. We’re confident that we have the games necessary—both first- and third-party—to have a strong holiday season and expand the audience for Wii U.
“We don’t see this as an either-or proposition. Nintendo is in the unique position of being both a hardware manufacturer as well as a software producer. We want Wii U to be the console that every developer wants to publish on. A key way to make that happen is to grow the installed base of Wii U owners, and we know that current Wii U owners are very happy with their purchases.
“Our great lineup in the second half of the year will create more buyers, and beyond that third-party support is important to attract as diverse an audience as possible. (Second-half 2013 is) just the start of a steady flow of great games coming to Wii U, with lots more to come in 2014.”
It's very tempting to quip something like, "well, good luck with that." So very tempting. Nintendo are definitely hoping to get more gamers onto the platform with some heavy-hitting titles next year, such as Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros, but competing for developers against next-gen consoles with their impressive specifications and convenient PC-like architecture will require serious groundwork. That, perhaps, should have been laid years ago rather than a year into the Wii U's life cycle.
Mind you, many of us just buy Nintendo consoles so we can play their classic franchises, while looking elsewhere for multiplats. Can the Wii U find a similar niche after a strong Christmas performance? Maybe. Well, good luck with... you know. Knowing Nintendo, they'll probably muddle through somehow and give us a few great games while they're at it.