The lights are on
It's been a rough road for the Wii U since its launch in November 2012. Starting with the reveal of their latest living room hardware, Nintendo's communication strategy has bred confusion. The company has failed to penetrate the casual market, which was a segment that contributed much to the success of the Wii. Sales of the new console have been tragically low, and the company's financial position has deteriorated to the point where CEO Satoru Iwata has hinted at stepping down should the company not reach the ambitious goal of a 100 billion yen operating profit in the next fiscal year.
In an interview with CNN, famed creator of iconic characters Mario, Zelda, and more, Shigeru Miyamoto, spoke about the challenges facing the Wii U. Specifically, he identified making the platform more stable and convenient. He did not, however, talk about the most pressing issue facing the Wii U: games.
Recently, Game Informer reported that Battlefield 4 will not be making an appearance on the Wii U. This follows the significant loss of Rayman Legends as a timed exclusive. Ubisoft decided to delay the game until the fall to maximize reach with a simultaneous multi platform release. We also know that Deep Silver's upcoming Saints Row 4 and Metro: Last Light will be skipping the Wii U. Even the titles that Nintendo does have coming, like their own Pikmin 3 and two exclusives from Platinum Games (Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2), are still without release dates.
Miyamoto is hopeful that consumers will warm up to the Wii U. In particular, he identified the change in perception of the DS, which met much skepticism early on. Unlike the DS, which had a steady flow of unique experiences only possible on that device, Nintendo has failed to cultivate and maintain third-party support for their home consoles. Additionally, he put much weight in the Wii U's non-gaming functions (like Netflix, which is on nearly every other living room device) and the vibrant Miiverse communities. Whether these features will be enough to convert the multitude of non-traditional consumers that purchased the Wii into long-term Nintendo customers remains to be seen.