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

"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," Nintendo said.


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.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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  • reply
    June 13, 2013 7:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, How Nintendo hopes Wii U will become 'more attractive' to third-parties.

    "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," Nintendo said.

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      June 13, 2013 7:28 AM

      This is not a good idea. Holiday season?
      Let put our cards on the table. If you are a gamer and are counting your pennies this holiday season EVEN if you where a devout Nintendo fan (like I am) would you wait and spend your cash on Nintendo (new but same) IP's.
      Or are you going to get a new console (whichever you like) and the games that these new systems have to offer?
      TO say NOTHING of the titles coming out for this current generation of consoles. Games like GTA5 and Castlevania LoS 2.

      Nintendo is essentially fighting 2 fronts. This current gen and the next gen all at the same time.
      I hate to say this, I really do, but I think they are NOT living in reality.
      If one thing was made abundantly clear is that gamers want new, fresh and fun experiences.

      I fear, Nintendo is a company that has become stagnant and either cannot, or will not change and that is (in my opinion) their downfall.
      Mayamoto said it best in this interview with GI, Nintendo makes hardware to suit THEIR (Nintendo's) games. Third party is a distant second in their minds.

      I'm sorry they feel that way.

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      June 13, 2013 7:43 AM

      You know something is wrong when all the 3rd party developers are willing to create games with tablet integrated games on other platforms. Basically the type of stuff that Wii U said to be able to do.

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      June 13, 2013 8:33 AM

      N's big problem is that even they haven't really figured out how to make the tablet controller be so much more fun than the wiimote. The genius about the Wii was that anyone, literally anyone and any age, could grab a wiimote and make it do stuff. That just hasn't translated to the Wii U. The new system just doesn't have the same grab as playing virtual bowling ball with the wiimote. So, they've missed that entire section of the market. I'd even make a guess that most of that segment doesn't own tablets, so may not even have a clue what the advantage of a tablet controller would be. That in-turn is what's giving 3rd parties so much headache. What to do with the controller.

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        June 13, 2013 8:59 AM

        There are quite a few fine examples of fun things to do with the gamepad. My 3 year old does quite well playing Nintendoland, it's not hard to use. Also, the old Wiimotes work, so in a way they havn't missed that section of the market. We can waggle all we want!

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          June 13, 2013 9:03 AM

          They also haven't marketed the damn console at all... most casual gamers don't even know the damn thing exists.

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            June 13, 2013 9:44 AM

            Even some moderately core gamers have no idea wtf. My 20 year old cousin (owns a 360 and is super into online FPS games and Oblivion) asked me just the other day if the WiiU was just a tablet accessory for the Wii, or if it was a portable game system. Nintendo seems to have no idea about the public disconnect with their latest system. It's very weird, considering how well they tapped into their audience last gen.

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              June 13, 2013 10:15 AM

              And to further add to the confusion:
              Do I need to buy more game-gears than the one included?
              Can plug in gamecube controllers?
              Am I going to spend hundreds on peripherals?

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              June 13, 2013 5:54 PM


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            June 13, 2013 5:01 PM

            That's a problem that i'm guessing they figure will correct itself as time goes on. Who knows maybe sales will stay steady.

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      June 13, 2013 9:04 AM

      Gunna be difficult to grow that audience when your console is $349 compared to the $399 PS4.

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        June 13, 2013 9:30 AM

        Obviously that price will be lower when we get closer to the launch of the other next gen systems; there's no reason for them to do so right now, leaving them without room to maneuver later this year.

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          June 13, 2013 10:13 AM

          Didn't they just say that would not be the case?

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            June 13, 2013 10:22 AM

            well if the price cut isn't coming until fall/holidays they don't want to Osborne effect themselves

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              June 13, 2013 5:08 PM

              Exactly. Announcing a price cut for this fall would only stop people from buying now.

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          June 13, 2013 10:32 AM


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            June 13, 2013 4:39 PM

            This! Totally agree. Sad to say, more people are going to either a ps4 or xb1 this holiday season instead of super mario 3d world, which will increase minimally the user base because everyone is spending their money on ps4 and knack (for kids) ps4/killzone (for adults) and x-box 1/spark (for kids) x-box-1(Rise Son of Rome).

            What's worse is that I fear that super mario 3d world might go up against Watch Dogs which will, of course, tower in sales because it's the closest experience wii u users are going to get to a next gen system (ps4, etc.)

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            June 13, 2013 5:17 PM

            They're in a tough spot either way. I'm sure their business guys looked at all the options, and yeah, who's to say they made the right choice? There are downsides to everything they could do.

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      June 13, 2013 11:32 PM

      The WiiU is *ALREADY* outdated. Tell Nintendo to let us know when the WiiU2 is on it's way...

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