How Nintendo hopes Wii U will become 'more attractive' to third-parties

By Andrew Yoon, Jun 13, 2013 7:00am PDT

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said it rather clearly: they won't make more exclusives for Wii U until Nintendo sells more systems. While Nintendo has historically struggled to sustain third-party support, the situation on Wii U is especially dire.

We spoke with Nintendo of America senior director of corporate communications Charlie Scibetta about third-party support on Wii U. He said that third-party support was still strong, pointing to three exclusives: Disney's Planes, Sonic Lost World, and Just Dance. (The last one is not exclusive to Nintendo.)

Electronic Arts, one of the biggest publishers in the world, has officially stated they are not making games for Wii U. Their recent E3 press conference served as a reminder of that fact, with all of their games going to competing platforms. Yet, Scibetta told me that in spite of all that, "the relationship is great between Nintendo and Electronic Arts."

I pressed further about what's so "great" about the relationship between the two companies. "You'll have to ask EA when it comes to any future announcements or future product plans. I don't want to speak for them," he deflected.

While the EA non-answer was frustrating, Nintendo is not entirely blind to their third-party woes. "Third parties want the same thing that we do, which is the install base to grow so they have a larger audience to sell their games to," Scibetta said. Wii U has not been selling well, a fact that Nintendo has admitted.

"We feel that's our job to help drive that install base, and we haven't had the software so far in 2013 that's going to do that," Scibetta admitted. "But we're confident between now and the holiday and again in 2014, we do have the software that's going to grow that install base. And when that happens, we think that Wii U will be a far more attractive platform for third parties to want to publish on. The same thing happened on Nintendo 3DS that we think will happen on Wii U, which started off slow, but when the software came around, the hardware sales came. We're looking for the same dynamic for Wii U."

For now, Nintendo fans will miss many upcoming third-party releases, notably Grand Theft Auto 5, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and every game from EA. However, Nintendo expects games like Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, and Super Mario 3D World to liven up Wii U sales this holiday season.

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