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The Wii U's #1 Problem: The Circle Trap

AKR|1835d ago |Blog Post|3|

. . . You may be looking at the title of this article and wondering "What does he mean by the 'circle trap'?" Well, when I use the term "circle trap" I really mean that just like a circle, it keeps going round and round. It has no end to it. You just end up right back in the same spot.

That's the situation that the Wii U finds itself in. How?

Well ~ It's hardware sales have been slumping intensely from since the new year swooped in due to the fact that a very little number retail titles have been released from since it's launch back in November of last year. It's because of the lack of software, that people are compelled to run and buy a near decade-old 360 or PS3, vs.. a shiny new Wii U. Why is there a lack of software?

Well ~ Some developers are just being plain evil (*cough*cough* EA *cough*cough). Others aren't really trying (*cough*cough Avalanche Studios *cough*cough*). Then you have some who just want to focus on more popular platforms (*cough*cough* Insomniac *cough*cough). Either way, many studios have been ignoring the fledgling system and they don't seem to be wanting to sway Nintendo's way anytime soon. . . Unless the circle trap is broken. Speaking of that circle trap - It goes like this:

Software sells hardware. Developers won't make the software until the system shows that it will be profitable. Consumers aren't going to buy the system until developers start releasing software. See how that works? So, how can this be broken?

Well, you can have some third-party devs who do decide to step up to the plate. Ubisoft and SEGA are good examples, since they're openly supporting the system. But the real fixer actually, not so surprisingly, happens to be Nintendo themselves. Right now, there are already confirmed titles that are coming directly from Nintendo, which will more than likely boost the Wii U's sales to the heights it needs to be able to get noticed by both third-party devs and consumers alike. Let's look at them, shall we?

1.) New 3D Mario ~ I know what you're thinking. "Not ANOTHER Mario game." Well, even if you roll your eyes at the thought of seeing that flat plumber again - you can't deny that this is Nintendo's main bread and butter. The last time the red-hatted stache' hero graced a home console, was "Super Mario Galaxy 2" which was released on the original Wii back in 2010. It's been about 3 years from since a console release - and the fans have been waiting. Nintendo has confirmed that we will see the new title debuted at E3 and that it will be available towards the end of this year. There was a recent rumor that Nintendo plans on releasing the new 3D Mario at some point in October. If that is so - the Wii U will have a huge title to catch some eyes during the holiday season.

2.) New Mario Kart ~ Yes - ANOTHER Mario game. You can roll your eyes all the way into the back of your head now, but you still can't deny that this spin-off series of the Mario franchise does turn a huge profit. Just ask the last home console Mario Kart title "Mario Kart Wii", released in 2008. As of recent times, it has sold about 33 million units. Compare that to "Gran Tourismo 5", released in 2010 on the PS3 has recently hit 10 million sales - and it's the PS3's best selling title. Even though MKWii is a casual arcade racer, while GT5 is a realistic racing simulator, it still managed to catch way more airtime than GT5 could ever dream of.

Like the new 3D Mario - Mario Kart U is set to release by the end of this year. With these two titles put together, this alone could send the Wii U's sales skyrocketing. Just ask the 3DS. After the release of "Mario Kart 7" and "Super Mario 3D Land" (with the help of a price drop) - the 3DS started topping sales charts.

3.) The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD - Now you may be thinking "Hah! This is just a remake!" - But keep in mind, it's a remake of a very popular title. Boasting re-imagined graphics and new features - WWHD is looking to really be a strong gust of wind in the Wii U's sails (double pun - yet neither of which was intended). This not only gives old fans the chance to relive the high seas adventure, but it also gives new fans a chance to try out an old classic - but with the privilege of a modern re-design. AC4: Black Flag ~ can't even touch this.

4.) Pikmin 3 - A very much awaited title that was supposed to be released on the original Wii, but was pushed over to Wii U. Then, it was supposed to be released at launch, but now, it won't be coming until the summer. Yes, Pikmin 3 has been held off for quite some time and most fans are growing impatient. The last console release of the Pikmin franchise was "Pikmin 2", released in 2004 for the Nintendo GameCube. Yes - it's over nine years from since an original Pikmin game released, so it's no wonder that fans are buzzing over the imminent release of Pikmin 3. Seeing that "Pikmin Adventure" was a mini-game featured in "Nintendo Land" ~ this may have very well attracted some new players to give Pikmin 3 a try when it releases. So, not only will long time fans scurry to but the new title, but so will a handful of new players. This won't be released during the holiday time-frame like the aforementioned 3 titles, but this could generate some pre-winter buzz for the Wii U and help carry it through the summer.

To Conclude:

These are just four of the confirmed titles that are set to release on the Wii U. Despite it's small number on both the third and first-party side, you can't deny that these alone will generate some buzz. Aside from that, we still don't know that SEGA's 7 projects are. We also don't know when Bayonetta 2 will release, or MonolithSoft's "X" title. And of course - RETRO's title is still completely unknown and so is the released of "Super Smash 4". All of these titles are attention-grabbers, which is exactly what the Wii U needs at this point. Will these titles indeed break the Wii U out of it's circle trap, or does it need a little more spark? Only time will tell . . .

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Finalfantasykid1835d ago

In the beginning of a console's life it has to be supported immensely by first party titles, to give people something until 3rd parties start to develop games.

I don't think that games are enough though. I think the biggest problem by far though is marketing. There is simply no hype for the system, and I don't think another Mario game is going to help any of that (it will for the hardcore, but not the rest of the 100 million people who bought the Wii). I think the system needs a re-launch campaign, with new ads which actually show off the system as something completely new, not just a wii with a new controller. Also I think a price drop would help as well.

SilentNegotiator1835d ago

Don't blame developers for not putting themselves through unnecessary risk over a new platform (that has sold terribly for several months). If Nintendo wants to sell a home console with a gimmick that people now yawn over (touchscreens) and power and online features that make people on the other side of the spectrum yawn as well (as well as developers, whom have been complaining about similar restrictions for 3 years now), they need to be paying out the kazoo to grease the wheels of support.

Otherwise, they're going to have a system of great apathy for quite some time. And even with good games, they've driven themselves into a corner with a system that won't likely ever bring out great excitement from either side of the spectrum.

rainslacker1835d ago

This is the way it is with every console release. However, most publishers still support fledgling systems due to the fact that it is showing them profit. There is no reason for a publisher to push out a game if they don't believe it will sell on the system, and in fact doing so is not even a good idea.

It isn't up to 3rd party to sell the system, but up to Nintendo to get that support by enticing customers into buying it.

EA's early support of the system was because they were hoping to capitalize on launch day purchases. When those fell flat, they started to disregard the system. While I don't like EA, I don't blame them for taking this route.

Right now it isn't entirely an issue of install base. It's that 3rd party companies that have released games for the system aren't seeing enough return on their investment to take more risks on the system. That could be in their approach of releasing old ports, but from a company perspective that doesn't necessarily matter. It won't be until an appreciable increase in 3rd party software sales is shown, that 3rd party support will come flocking back.