Alright, so EA isn't supporting the Wii-U. Boo hoo. But SEGA is supporting the Wii-U. Fellow N4G blogger ExtremeAzure talks about it here: http://n4g.com/user/blogpos...
Okay. Moving on.
Instead of comparing sales between Wii-U and other consoles in the same time frame (a boring exercise) or making a huge list of all the neat-o gaming coming to the Wii-U in the next year, I'd rather ask the biggest question that no one wants to talk about.
What if the Wii-U's poor performance isn't unique to the Wii-U?
We're entertaining every other possible idea, so why not this one? The Wii-U is in trouble because it has no games. The Wii-U is in trouble because Nintendo lost the casual audience. The Wii-U is in trouble because the hardware cannot compete with the NextBox and PS4. Well, maybe the Wii-U is in trouble because the game industry itself is in trouble. We have three 8th-generation platforms on the market: the 3DS, the Wii-U, and the Playstation Vita. Of those three, two of them are selling horribly. One of them is selling pretty good. The one thing common between all three of these platforms is that games are being released at a slow pace. The 3DS's pace is picking up a bit due to it being on the market for a while, but the Vita is still slower than molasses, and the Wii-U it isn't looking any better than the Vita. But hey, this isn't about bashing the Wii-U. What I'm proposing is that the sluggish performance of the Wii-U and Vita is simply a symptom of many bigger problems.
Problem numero uno: the industry is deluding itself into thinking the console market will keep growing. Aaron Greenberg recentlyposted Microsoft's expectations for this upcoming console generation (available here: http://news.xbox.com/2013/0... Microsoft predicts a 28% growth in the console market next gen. Okay, but what about April NPD sales? Am I the only one who noticed that the 360 was the top-selling console....at a mere 130,000 units? Software sales were down, too. Now, there are plenty of excuses to add, and I don't want to hear them. The reality is that hardware and software numbers have been grim for a while. Game Informer correctly makes the observation (here: http://www.gameinformer.com... that while videogame sales are down, the Federal government has reported that money spent at retail is up. Meaning, people have the money, but they don't want to spend it on videogames. Games and game consoles aren't selling like they used to.
Now, the common response to all this is "just you wait until bigger games are released". I've heard it before. But what if nothing changes when bigger games are released? After all, not even a sidescrolling Mario game has managed to make the Wii-U sell like hotcakes. In case you needed reminding, the two last-gen sidescrolling Mario games sold a combined 55 million. Super Mario-U currently sits at a mere 1.75 million (estimated) sold. But this issue isn't unique to the Wii-U. The Vita is also struggling to sell hardware and software.
If there was only one platform on the market struggling, then it would make sense to simply blame it on the parent game company. It would make sense to blame marketing, or price point, or overall design. However, we have TWO platforms from two different companies struggling, and yet everyone keeps saying "just you wait until PS4 and NextBox come out". The problem is that we just don't know how those consoles will sell. Nothing is guaranteed. Nintendo learned that the hard way with the 3DS and Wii-U. What makes you think that the newest Microsoft and Sony consoles will magically sell like hotcakes? Neither the 360 nor the PS3 sold like gangbusters when they first came out. Neither 360 nor PS3 had an awesome game library when they first came out. You think PS4 and NextBox will be different? They might be, but they might not be. Until we know, let's not make the assumption that the two upcoming consoles will be hot sellers.
I think we have a lot more to worry about than the Wii-U's current performance. I personally do not think the Wii-U is doomed, but on the other hand, I don't think the Wii-U's struggles will be unique to the Wii-U. Guess who else thinks that? Activision (here: http://www.nintendolife.com... You know? Activision? The company that makes the top-selling game franchise on both PS3 and 360? If Activision thinks trouble is brewing, we should at least take some time to consider the possibility. When developers are warning us of the rising costs of videogame development, it might be a sign of what to expect in the future.
Maybe you, the reader, really do think the Wii-U is doomed. That's okay. Don't let me hold you back. I don't even own a Wii-U! It's not like I'm trying to defend my favorite consoles (that I don't even own). But there is plenty of talk on the internet on why the Wii-U is going to crash and burn, yet no one is making the connection that the very same thing might happen to the PS4 and NextBox. I wanted to take the chance to examine another possibility that isn't being discussed.
Or perhaps the Wii-U isn't doomed. I don't see why we shouldn't consider that possibility. After all, if we can ignore the numerous signs that the industry is on a sharp decline, and if we can turn a blind eye to the warnings of numerous industry big-wigs, it doesn't seem too far-fetched to ignore the Wii-U's (and Vita's) current circumstances, does it?