Can the Wii U claw back?

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WiiClaw

It’s starting to look pretty grim for Nintendo’s Wii U. While the company’s systems thrived on third-party support in the past (The NES and SNES are home to some of the best games ever made), Nintendo consoles have increasingly become reliant on first-party software. The problem is that without third party support, only die-hards end up buying your hardware – and third party support for the Wii U is dwindling at a rate of knots.

We already know that EA’s future, Frostbite-powered games won’t make it to the Wii U, and that Just Cause 2 developer Avalanche’s Wii U devkits are “gathering dust.” Activision’s now also said it’s going to be very cautious when it comes to supporting the Wii U, which they say has generated just 2% of their income for 2013. Epic’s also said it won’t officially be porting its Unreal Engine 4 to the console, though the other engine that’ll power half of next-gen, Crytek’s CryEngine 3 is reportedly “beautiful” in the Wii U. According to a recent survey at GDC, fewer than 5% of developers in attendance were working on Wii U games.

New rumours suggest things are getting even worse. New rumours originating from 4Chan (hardly a reliable source – but there’s some solid info here). It says:

“There’s no plans to ever bring a WWE game to the Wii U anytime in the distant future. I know this information because a 3D Animator on the project. I am working directly with people like Jeff Godfrey who is the art director on the project. Visual Concepts and 2K Sports is working with Yukes on the project.

You may remember that Wii U never received WWE ’13 at launch while 360/PS3 did. Yukes has no interest in Wii U when they were working with THQ, and they still don’t now that they’re working with 2K Sports.
Also word around the offices is that Take Two and Rockstar have no plans to bring Grand Theft Auto or any of Rockstar’s major M rated games to the Wii U” 

That’s yet another publisher that’s potentially skipping the Wii U. Of the major publishers, it seems it’s really just Ubisoft who’s keen on bringing their games to Wii U, with a dash of aide from Capcom, who’d likely not exist without Nintendo’s early support.

It all starts painting a pretty dreary for the future of the Wii U, and once again pegs a Nintendo system as being a “first party machine.” There’s a new 3D Mario game that’ll apparently be released in October, and there’s Pikmin 3 coming soon, followed by an inevitable new Zelda and perhaps a new Metroid. but is that enough?

Can a platform survive on first party support alone?

Last Updated: May 10, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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