Is the Wii U in Trouble?

Can Nintendo compete with Sony and Microsoft?

By Grayshadow, Posted 11 Dec 2013

Despite being released just last year the Wii U has seen some harsh sale records, and now with the sales of the PS4 and Xbox One exceeding expectations many are wondering if the Wii U is in trouble. In multiple countries both the Xbox One and PS4 sold in record numbers, boasting about their successful launches with statistics of zombies slain and users logged into each database. What about Nintendo? Other than spectacular reviews of New Super Mario Land 3D, the Wii U has been pushed into the shadows by Sony and Microsoft. Now that all competitors have entered the arena will the Wii U be able to compete with the Xbox One and PS4? 

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Nintendo predicted that the Wii U would sell over 5 million units by March of 2013, but as of September less than 4 million have been sold. Nintendo reduced the price of the Wii U, meaning that company would lose money with each unit sold. Titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD have increased sales of the Wii U but the recent release of New Super Mario 3D Land has failed to repeat that same effect. After the initial release of both the Xbox One and PS4, both Sony and Microsoft were quick to catch up, reporting over a million sales in less than one month.  

Developers are taking notice of the Wii U’s sale figures as well. As seen with the previously exclusive, now multi-platform, Ubisoft title Rayman Legends third-party support is slowly dropping. Large companies like EA and Bethesda are focusing more on the Xbox One and PS4 than the Wii U. Even co-founder of Naughty Dog, Jason Rubin, stated that “Nintendo is irrelevant as a hardware manufacturer in the console business right now”. First-party titles have also struggled with the release of the PS4 and Xbox One. Super Mario 3D Land failed to save the Wii U and was outsold by Knack in the UK. A game with below than average reviews outsold one of the best platformers released this year, and the Wii U still didn’t do well. 

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I’ve been struggling with what new console to get; after all the allure of a new console is hard to resist. The cost has some waiting for a price drop, while most of us just need some good games to take the plunge. Then you want to know your investment will pay off such as promises of future games and new services added to the system. As we’ve seen with the Dreamcast, PSP, and PSP Go, systems can fail without proper support. 

Nintendo’s console does have an interesting array of current games including Pikman 3, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Lego City Undercover, ZombiU, and Super Mario 3D Land. Exclusive titles such as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart, Bayonetta 2, and Super Smash Brothers are planned to release in the future and will hopefully add to the Wii U’s collection of quality games. However, when looking at third-party support the future seems bleak, especially from Bethesda and EA. Personally none of my friends are interested in the Wii U and those who have purchased one invested in single-player titles like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. Nintendo had time to pick up sales, but now that the PS4 and Xbox One are out it’s certain that the Wii U will have a rough holiday season.

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Nintendo’s most valuable customer, the casual gamer, doesn’t seem interested in the Wii U anymore. This is because they’ve moved to new platforms such as tablets and smartphones. In last year’s fiscal reports casual games and free-to-play titles offered more revenue to companies like Konami and Ubisoft than their triple-A titles, forcing the companies to invest more effort into the development of these games. Consumers are looking elsewhere because in their eyes the device is either too expensive or too complicated, and the hardcore audience has now shifted their attention to other platforms.

This doesn’t mean Nintendo is going to always be in trouble. After all Nintendo still dominates the handheld market with the DS and 3DS. Yet the Wii U’s success is still dubious. With the PS4 and Xbox One showing such promise in the short time they’ve been release, it’s doubtful that the Wii U will be able to repeat the Wii’s success. And with developers losing more faith in the Wii U it would seem that third-party support will continue to dwindle. What do you think, does the Wii U have a chance against the Xbox One and PS4 or will it suffer the same fate as Sega’s Dreamcast?

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): 3DS
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD Group No. 3, Monolith Soft
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2013-11-22

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