NintendoOriginals

First Party Titles Won’t Save The Wii U

The opinions expressed in this piece do not reflect how Dual Pixels feels about the Wii U as a whole. They reflect the opinions of the author. That’s it.

Since the launch on November 18th, 2012, I have been the owner of a Nintendo Wii U. I have been a bored, frustrated, and satisfied owner. I was bored when playing the launch titles things didn’t pick up again until March and April, and then there were no good games until August. I was frustrated when games didn’t have Pro Controller support early on. I was satisfied when Nintendo made great first party titles such as Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, and The Wonderful 101 (Nintendo owns the copyrights, thus making it first party). At this point in time, the Wii U hasn’t had much of a success story. In this piece I will list the major faults of the Nintendo Wii U, and why first party titles can’t fix the damage inflicted by said faults.

A lot of my friends who like video games say that the problem with the Wii U is that it failed to appeal to the common gamer in two ways. The console itself, and it’s lineup. The console appears to be childish with its animations and user characters. Their comments refer to Miiverse, Mii WaraWara, and the first party titles such as Mario. I disagree with every aspect of this point of view. Nintendo isn’t trying to appeal to the mainstream gamer, but they are trying to be inviting to the mainstream gamer by having things such as the Pro Controller and having “mainstream games” allows the common gamer to take joy in the Wii U. The problem with the Wii U is that that there hasn’t been many good titles besides its first party ones. A deeper explanation can be found from an excerpt in my article titled “The Wii U One Year Later: The Sweet Moves and Fatal Mistakes

After about one month of playing the launch lineup, I stopped playing. Games like Assassins Creed III and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had already been out so I didn’t play those again. It wasn’t until March when things started to pick up again with titles such as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and in April with Injustice: Gods Among Us. Then it didn’t pick up again until August with the release of Pikmin 3 and Disney Infinity, which led the fun until mid-September. Wonderful 101 came out on September 15th, and that led the fun up until mid-October. Batman: Arkham Origins came out on October 25th, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag came out on October 29th, and Call of Duty: Ghosts came out on November 5th. The whole point of me listing all these tiles is to show that things have only started to pick up about a year later.

Now to give Nintendo some credit, consoles usually take time to pick up after its launch. Despite this, the time that the Wii U starts to pick up might be too late. The PS4 and Xbox One are launching now. All the media attention, hype, and coverage is all aimed towards those two consoles. So even though the Wii U is improving, its not going to get as much attention as it may deserve.

Nintendo only appeals to a certain audience. I am not in anyway saying that its wrong, it’s just true. Nintendo needs to make it clear that the Wii U is worth the money to this limited audience, especially during the first six months of a console’s lifetime. I am not saying that the Wii U isn’t going to do well because in it’s first year it hasn’t done so hot. Look at the PlayStation 3, things took a year to pick up; however, the PlayStation 4 appeals to the common gamer so it has a huge advantage.

Next problem, the launch date. The Wii U launched without a lot of publicity, and a year before the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This was a huge mistake. As you saw, there was a lot of media attention and coverage on the “console wars”. So much that a lot of people don’t know of the Wii U’s existence, or think it is an extra peripheral to the Wii. A survey in November showed that only one percent of gamers had an interest of receiving a Wii U this holiday season. You can read more about that by clicking here. Now lets start talking about the first party titles.

For people like me who are still in school, August is a pretty depressing month. At any point in the month you are doing one of the following things things: Bored, Dreading going back to school, 0r going back to school. In this past August (August ’13), I was bored, and dreading going back to school. I thought maybe my PlayStation Vita could save me from boredom, but then I realized the level of insanity of that thought.  It was August 4th and I decided to head to my local game store. I picked up Pikmin 3.

I had never had a gaming experience like this before. The graphics were stunning, the gaming was very entertaining, and I loved it. The whole time that I was playing I kept thinking to myself, this is the kind of game that could sell a console. Now Pikmin 3 appeals only to the Nintendo audience and children, same with Super Mario 3D World. Super Smash Bros. is an amazing game and I can’t take anything away from that. That game will bring appeal to the Wii U and might even sell the console.

As you can see the Wii U has a lot to offer now, but it has a lot of problems. It has had a slow year, and it only appeals to a select audience. But most importantly, the Xbox One and PS4 are in the spotlight. Although of gamers were willing to get the Wii as a second console, it may not be the same this time around. The PS4 and Xbox One are expensive devices and the economy isn’t being very friendly for a lot of people. After saving up $400 or $500 to get a PS4 or Xbox One,  people may shy away from another multi hundred dollar price tag. Especially if that pricetag is for a device that may not offer that competing devices offer. Nintendo knows how to make games, no one can deny that. But with all of these cons that the Wii U is faced with, these first party titles will not save the console.

Update January 5th, 2014: After discussion with some friends of mine who like Nintendo, and some thought pondering, I decided to add the following. While first party titles may not save the Wii U directly, it will definitely stimulate the console and bring attention. It may very well attract the attention of third party developers and inspire them to invest in the Wii U. So in the end third party titles will be needed to save the Wii U, but first party titles will not save the console alone. I do not in anyway go back on my prediction that first party titles will not save the Wii U.  Credit to the members of Nintendo 3DS fan group StreetPass NYC for helping me to arrive to this revelation.

 

Do you agree with me? Do you think that what I am saying is outright stupid? Let me know in the comments.

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Alexander Maier

Alexander Maier

My name is Alexander and I am a News Editor, Opinion Writer, and Nintendo/Sony Analyst here at Dual Pixels. When I write news articles, I write the news and nothing more. When I write opinion pieces, I share my opinion and try to make you, the reader, think. I have an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, PC, and PlayStation Vita. My favourite genres are RTS, RPG, and Adventure.

  • tanto

    the system does not need saving

    • Red Roxy

      Yes you are wrong. I don’t know why anyone can’t admit that we’ve basically been beta testing for a year. You actually think its some how a huge oversight of a multi billion yen company to only learn how to market this console for christmas and just maybe misunderstand how to do it at launch. No, it was intentional. They know that this market is fickle, they know that all you need are killer games and it really doesn’t matter how badly you’re console did at launch. In all fairness to Microsoft and Sony, the exact opposite is true. These guys have only a handful of killer exclusives. We’re talking the likes of Uncharted, Last of Us, Gears of War, Halo etc… Multi platform games don’t count. For these corporations you have to make as much noise as possible at launch and get that install base quickly. Yes the XB one and Ps4 will have a lot more games on their systems, but look at the libraries for the previous two generations. How many games are actually worth your time? Besides we now live in an era where Angry birds is king, or sorry hardcore gamers that offends. Well how about Minecraft? That game is insanely popular and really didn’t need the graphical prowess of these two new super machines. I’d also liker to point out another sad fact that most people won’t admit. It is funny how quickly you become accustomed to graphics. I write this post on my shiny new macbook pro, or rather it felt a whole lot more shiny when I bought it. Now its just my machine. Sad fact of life people, we get used to graphics. You want to tell me how great the graphics are on these machines. After 3 months you will realise you’re playing the same games as before. You can moan about mario golf and mario kart and mario bros and everything in between, but in my opinion its not the character that makes the game… its the game mechanics behind the game and that is what so many of you don’t even consider. I don’t want to climb buildings in Egypt, or Rome or Southern America, or Chigago if its fundamentally the same thing. Que hoodies and or big breasted stereotypes to suit the pre-pubescent types that this industry is funded on. You know what I’ve noticed about my wii? I learn new reasons to love that shit every single day. Mario 3d World doesn’t seem familiar the more I play it, the more I play the more I realise what a true breath of fresh air this is. Nintendo rolled out a bunch of big guns that slipped way under your radar. Wii Sports HD Wii Fit U. Zelda Wind Waker. Mario 3d World. Its got a bunch of stuff happening in the next few months. Nintendo already pulled this exact same shit with the Vita launch. They had us early adopt and beta test a 3d system in wait for sony to make their move. The following year they unleashed a plethora of AAA titles, many that seemed to come out of nowhere. I am going to go out on a limb and say that next year Wii U will have more surprises up its sleeve than donkey kong and mario kart. All this, while the hardcore gamers will be beta testing their own over hyped machines.

      Is the wii u over? Not by a long shot.

    • Seriously?

      Try convincing Nintendo of that.

  • Kaihaku

    As an early adopter, I found the Wii U to be extremely frustrating during the first half of it’s first year. The operating system was painfully slow, many key features were incomplete or missing altogether, and most importantly there were very few games released that were worth playing. From launch to August, I only picked up Need for Speed: Most Wanted U and Lego City Undercover. That said, I’m very satisfied with the Wii U at this point as Nintendo has slowly patched the operating system up to speed, filled in missing features, and most importantly delivered on quality games. There’s still a lot that needs to be done to fill in the Wii U library but I think that it’s gaining momentum in a good way that reminds me of the 3DS.

    As for third party support… Nintendo has failed to secure traditional third party support and I don’t entirely blame them for it. What I have seen is Nintendo taking proactive steps to land more games but most third party developers are not willing to play ball. Nintendo knows that the Wii U needs games and so it’s trying new things – like publishing the games themselves to cut back on cost, approaching indie developers and giving them free development kits, and approaching a third party developer and offering to let them use The Legend of Zelda brand for a new Wii U game. Hyrule Warriors may be second party but it’s a way to get third party developers interested in the Wii U again. I think that this current strategy can “save” the Wii U because, in my opinion, the major thing that the Wii U needs is a more robust game library. It doesn’t matter if those games are first party, second party, or third party – all that matters is that they are worth playing.

    However, I feel that what the Wii U needs to make it a success is different from what it needs in order to simply survive. The Wii U needs to deliver on the promise of dual screen gaming in order to be a success. Nintendo bet heavily on the hardware side of it but, aside from a few party games, third and second party developers have done more with the second screen than Nintendo. Nintendo needs to release a game that, once and for all, demonstrates the potential of that second screen. It could be a FPS/RTS hybrid, it could be an Endless Ocean sequel that showcases the system’s shiny HD graphics and the second screen’s immersive qualities, it could be a ZombiU style asynchronous versus mode in Hyrule Warriors where one player controls the enemy army… There’s a ton of potential but Nintendo has to deliver on it. Otherwise, the Wii U will be another Gamecube which isn’t a bad thing for Nintendo loyalists but which doesn’t offer much for other audiences.

  • http://gravatar.com/mccusp01 mccusp01

    I think your article is short sighted. In fact the only thing that can save the WiiU is the first party launch titles. Of course exclusives like Bayonetta 2 which have an existing fan base on other consoles are also going to help drive sales . Ports that can be played on any system are not going to drive this console. They will make you and I happy because that means WiiU owners will have access to the best franchises in the gaming industry and not miss out on third party software. I guess my point is that yes, lack of third party support and bad marketing have hurt WiiU sales, however what will ultimately save it and bring back third party support is the amazing first party software that only Nintendo can create. When the NES launched it only had first party software and in fact was trying to market its popular arcade hits for the home. It was because of the barrage of amazing Nintendo software that third party game developers became so eager to develop for Nintendo that developers adhered to the rules and standards Nintendo set. “Gamers” that refuse to play a game because its not violent, a shooter, or simply has childish animation are not really gamers. True gamers flock to Nintendo because they still put out collectively the best games of any developer. We just have to buy other consoles at times so we can play other games not supported by Nintendo.

  • 80sRetroGamer

    Nintendo will be ok. As a whole they’re selling extremely well, if you add 3DS, Wii U and even old DS and Wii sales. They’re ahead of the competition. It’s still too early to decide Wii U fate, if sales haven’t picked up this year and by 4th quarter 2014 the Wii U is still doing poorly, then Wii U can truly be considered doom. I agree First Party titles alone won’t save the Wii U, unless they consistently drop them back to back and market the hell out of them, everything ranging from Metroid, F-Zero, Starfox, Zelda, Pokémon, Fire Emblem, etc. But in reality that’s not going to happen. Nintendo needs to try to get more 3rd Party exclusives for it’s console to make it’s system more attractive to gamers. Im more interested to see how well Sony & Microsoft sell once all the hype die down. Also how well Sony will sell in Japan without no titles to attract the Japanese consumer. Im sorry but Call Of Duty, Madden, and all those Western developed games won’t attract Japanese gamers and definetly won’t sell units.

  • http://twitter.com/gamerparent gamerparent (@gamerparent)

    I could not determine upon reading through your article why *exactly* you think first-party titles won’t save the WiiU. You gave numerous reasons why you believe the WiiU hasn’t been successful, and I agree with them, but you did not clearly address your thesis statement.

    • Corey

      Because he doesn’t understand the industry…. He may like multiplatform titles, but multiplatform titles don’t sell consoles… Exclusives do. End of story.

      Third parties are not going to put exclusive content on the Wii. U until sales pick up. Sales won’t pick up without exclusives…… So the only way to get exclusives is to keep launching first party titles. Granted no 1 game will cause the console to sell well, but it will take a culmination of many first party games to move consoles. Nintendo has an impressive lineup this year, let’s see what happens. Smash, X, MK8, Bayonetta 2 will help make the system more attractive.

  • https://www.facebook.com/JinzoLo Jimmy Lo

    Everyone has their own opinions. Remember when the ps3 sucked for couple years after released? I’ll say this again, everyone doubted the 3ds and that vita will win… Uh no. 3ds is number one. Sure ps4 and xone is hot but they were new in the holidays and looked awesome to new gamers and fan boys guarantee to buy em but weak launch games and won’t have anything til spring or later. Maybe you know this already or you’re paid to bash Nintendo but I can assure you that N is known for tons of fun exclusives. Mario Kart 8 and Smash bros. Nuff said.

    • http://dualpixels.com/author/alexmaier/ Alexander Maier

      I once heard someone say something that I think is wonderful. I don’t think it applies to me as I am only making predictions, but maybe I just don’t want to call myself an idiot XD

      “If you expect amazing things from a console in it’s first year, your an idiot.”

  • Walter

    Just wait until Mario Kart arrives in the Spring….every Wii U owner will buy it and those who dont have a wii U will buy one just for this game

  • terry4

    The original Wii and 3ds were/are first party consoles with little to no third party support that dominated the competition (in terms of sales). I’m sure Nintendo can do the same success with Wii U.

  • Ipsecmerlin

    Nintendo is not trying to get teenage gamers man. It is for families and old school gamers that grew up on NES.

  • bund

    Written by a 14 year old lol …..
    Nintendo has never had a failure , They don’t lose money .
    Go check out the stats on all the consoles they have ever made , some might not make that much profit …..but all still make profit .

    By the end of 2014 the Wii U will be approaching if not exceeding the xbox/ps4 sales , Mario kart alone will sell millions of consoles , Always has , always will .

    Even the guy behind the ps4 has a Wii U and has said on numerous occasions , never count out nintendo .

    I’m currently sticking with the ps3 and wiiU as the money for the xbox/ps4 does not reflect what you get back , the graphics and power leap in the new gen is not enough to warrant that amount of cash .

    • BeenThereFromTheBeginning

      Losing money and loosing market share are 2 different things. Nintendo was the market leader until N64 was released. If it wasn’t for Mario 64 (1 of the 3 launch titles mind you) creating a huge user base in the beginning, it would have been a total failure. It was 3rd in japan behind Playstation and the Saturn. A huge chunk of their 3rd party support abandoned ship and paved the way for the Gamecube’s last place in the market the following generation. The only reason Wii was successful is because they managed to garner popularity with non gamers, but in the end non gamers didn’t buy games.

      They thought they could get lucky again with the U, but with a higher price point and a continued lack of AAA 3rd party support means their 1 year head start this generation will have been squandered in a few months once sales of PS4 and XB1 surpass U sales.

      Though 1st party Nintendo games sell better than the turd party games available for the U, it won’t be enough to make U the success Nintendo was hoping for. The days of Famicom and Super Famicom are a distant memory. Those were the days Nintendo’s dominance in the home console market were undeniable.

      • RealitySlap

        Sony sold more PS4s in a month and a half than Nintendo sold Wii Us in over a year.

        Enough with the denial, Nintendo will need to drop the price if it wants to even meet half of what they expected to sell in the fiscal year. Even Xbox 1 will surpass Wii Us sold in another month.

        Once PS4 releases in Japan, Nintendo will see a huge decline in U sales. The sad thing is, everyone saw this coming including Nintendo and yet nothing was done about it.

  • DocTruthyness

    Your problem is the same as your friends’: you are stuck in the 1990’s definition of what constitutes a “mainstream” gamer. You imagine that means a micro-managing control junkie who demands 3 joysticks and twelve buttons on their controller, 147 different unlockable sub-specialty skill trees, and 100+ hours of gameplay per title. This hasn’t been true for almost a decade. The largest, and fastest growing, gamer populations are women over 30, with kids, who outspend 18 year old males by a factor of 3 to 1. Recognizing that is why WiiU outsold Xbox this holiday season. Your imaginary “mainstream” gamer is a dinosaur.

  • Atarah

    Wow, I have to agree with you in many ways. I have been a Nintendo fan since the beginning by owning the original Nintendo as a kid, and having a Nintendo 64 back in the 90’s. I have been contemplating on purchasing the Wii U for some time now but I am waiting for the price to go down even more now being priced at $299. In the meantime, my husband just purchased the Xbox One and I also still have my old Wii which works just fine and I still have many games from that console that I have not finished and can stay busy with for now. I feel bad for Nintendo because I am a fan and I feel they are truly innovative, I just think it was bad timing in addition to being marked at a price I was not willing to pay. Finally, I have spoken to many people who I know have or used to have a Wii and they have not even heard of the new Wii U or think it is some kind of continuation as you mentioned. Hopefully Nintendo will pick up and not go out like Sega because I am rooting for them!

  • Anonymous

    LOL. Hilarious. A 14 year old kid calling a system “childish”. I’ve got news for you, author. The PS4 nor the Xbone were designed for YOUR demographic.

  • https://www.facebook.com/angelica.dossantos.7374 Angelica Dos Santos

    You’re absolutely right! During the holidays, you saw Super Mario 3D World with extremely mediocre sales. The holidays are over, so what does Nintendo have to sell the console now? Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze? LOL! Hyrule Legends? LOL LOL! They’ve set some ridiculous goal of 9 million sold by March 31. Nobody with the funds to select AND are in their right mind will choose WiiU over the other two new consoles (especially the PS4). As soon as a few games like the Infamous: Second Son, Titan Fall, The Last Guardian, Thief and the Witcher 3 show up, Nintendo’s newest console won’t even be an afterthought. Too many games on the way that do more than what Nintendo can offer these days. They’re still having problems with HD development. Who’s to say games like Smash Bro. and Mario Kart won’t be pushed back. Not just to say they won’t be finished, but to SPREAD their two main games so it doesn’t look like a serious drought coming. Look at the current release schedule for the WiiU. That isn’t something you invest in at this point. I’ve heard about Bayonetta 2, X and Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, but WHERE are they? WHAT do they even look like NOW? Nintendo doesn’t have the luxury of staying secretive at this point. If the customers don’t see the potential and you’re hiding it, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Announcing Cranky Kong like it was something special shows just how outdated Nintendo is when it comes to gaming. That is TRUE, but it doesn’t make ANY sense! Sony and Microsoft have a lot more going on in their companies. All Nintendo has to do is worry about games (and they’ve been doing this forever). Nintendo if you’re reading this: Make a REAL Pokémon RPG for WiiU (no more lame handheld exclusive BS), a new mature Kid Ikarus, 2D Metroid, Starfox, F-zero along with Zelda and a bunch of NEW IPs that draw in MORE than your average consumer. Get your account system OFF of the console, BUY dedicated servers and BUY some exclusive. What did you do with all that Wii money? You’re not going to get away with making simplistic, Wii Sport-designed-type games any longer. The casual and gimmick phase is OVER. I may be a woman, but I can see the writing on the wall

    • Dontae Essex

      Don’t even dare talk about Pokemon being on the Wii U. People like this need to understand, if you love Pokemon as much as i do, you wouldn’t care about what Nintendo console it’s on. As long as it does not end up on IOS, Android, Windows Phone 8.1, PS Mobile Consoles, or any console Microsoft makes.

  • http://twitter.com/Nintendo_King Tom (@Nintendo_King)

    I know the 3rd party argument is valid, but with the incredible amount of amassed fortune coupled with the dominating success of the 3ds, I have no reason to believe Nintendo is in dire need of 3rd party support for the wii U. Minus a few companies (Bethesda) I would go as far as to say that its not worth even having 3rd party games around anymore.

  • James.

    I hate articles like this. The Wii U will fail because of all the negative press it keeps on getting, irregardless of whether it does everything right from here on out. The media is trying to kill this thing, and it seems to be succeeding.

  • Keith Hazel

    Really more consoles the better. The existence of the new Xbox and PS in the market has created additional hype around consoles in general. It’s good for all companies. I had family members be like “we need a new console this year” I’m guessing because consoles are back in the spot light, all platforms will benefit.

    I support all consoles that make amazing games. Nintendo has gotten my dollars for the past 6 months and I will continue to support them because there games have been incredible.

    PS
    I own both a Wii U and a PS4, but haven’t really had a reason to jump on the new PS yet and I’m kinda regretting the purchase. I recommend a Wii U it has some amazing gems, just check metacritic. The PS4 next year will be where the Wii U is at now.

  • Nice Ness

    Isn’t the Wii U selling like Hotcakes now? And how can we say the console is failing when its only been a year, the PS3 was crap and it got saved by its first-party software

    • WakeUpSon

      “Isn’t the Wii U selling like Hotcakes now?”

      No

      “And how can we say the console is failing when its only been a year, the PS3 was crap and it got saved by its first-party software”

      The wii u has been out over a year and the 2 competing consoles came out almost 2 months ago and have already simultaneously outsold the it. Are you really in that much denial?

  • stealth20k

    The system doesnt need saving

    • ShutUP

      You’re right, it needs to be euthanized…immediately!

  • guest

    Yet another hater. The Wii U is fine. It’s the only true console left. Xbone & PS4 = PC’s in fancy cases. They are not consoles. If you believe that they are you are fooling yourself. Xbone & PS4 are not competition for Wii U. Steam is competition for PS4 & Xbone. Wii U only competes against PS3 & XB360 and those are both has been, last gen consoles. @Nice Ness is 100% correct about PS3 being crap for first ~12 months. The Wii U will get there but haters will not give it a chance.