This has been playing on my mind a lot recently, and the announcement that Arkham Origins will not be receiving any future DLC on Wii U tipped me over the edge. 3rd party studios just plain and simple do not like Nintendo. I don’t know why this is but it has been the case since the N64.
When looking into the Wii U, I thought the trend would change with Nintendo’s powerful new piece of Hardware. Indeed, the launch games backed up my theory, with games like Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed III and Mass Effect 3 hitting the console – games that never saw the light of day on Wii (due to hardware limitations). But what happened since? EA fell out with Nintendo, releasing the fantastic Need For Speed: Most Wanted with no fanfare, putting it out to die just to prove their point, and EA haven’t released a game since and don’t look likely to release any more.
Pretty much every 3rd party game announced last year will not be making its way onto the console, despite the console perfectly able to run every last one of them. Here comes the kicker, do the 3rd parties want the Wii U to fail? None of them seem to understand this simple business model: You’ve gotta spend money to make money. The way to increase the install-base of a console – beyond marketing – is by making and releasing games for it, this is not something the Wii U alone struggles with as the Playstation Vita suffered the same fate for its first 18 months on the market. Activision and Ubisoft (who knows if any more will come from them after Watch_Dogs?) seem to be the only ones who get it. As a business you must take risks to succeed, it’s a vicious cycle.
Talking of money and cost to develop games not being worth it for a console with a low user base is an annoying argument for consumers who have bought the console, should they be punished for spending their money on a console, only to see developers refusing to pay (respectively) small amounts of money on ports. That’s all we need, cheap ports. As long as the game plays well and looks largely the same as on other consoles (more possible with ports of 360/ps3 games). So why aren’t we getting games like the new Lord of the Rings, Metal Gear Solid, Lords of Shadow 2 and anything else that’s been announced for other consoles? It’s certainly not a hardware issue.
Perhaps the blame on the 3rd party no-shows comes from Nintendo (a more cynical me would suggest that it comes from Microsoft and Sony), maybe they just aren’t actively pursuing companies like Konami, Square-Enix and Capcom. Indeed, Nintendo said in their investor’s briefing on the future of the company just a couple of days ago that they are actively seeking new mergers and looking into studio acquisition (please let them buy Platinum).
Essentially, I’m fed up of lame excuses about “low install bases”, maybe, just maybe, if the 3rd parties stepped up and released some games for the Wii U, people will take notice, word will spread about the new Metal Gear Solid on Wii U (imagine the possibilities with the gamepad); the new games people talk about. The install-base will slowly rise with a solid mix of 3rd party software and Nintendo’s own (already strong) line-up of games.
My message is this. Third parties need to release more games on the Wii U, creating momentum and positive talking about the console. Perhaps Sony and Microsoft do pay them ludicrous amounts of money. Now, if you don’t mind me, I’m off to play one of the many games I have on the Wii U – probably Arkham Origins.