The Wii U is in a tight spot. Some folks say Nintendo’s first HD console won’t even have graphics on par with the Xbox 360, a seven-year-old console. Other folks say that Wii U is going to be a decent piece of hardware after all. Nintendo meanwhile is keeping tight lipped about what Wii U can actually do.
Who cares about graphics though? The original Wii proved that if you’ve got games people want to play, you don’t need horsepower. Wii Play sold nearly 30 million copies, and that was nothing but a bunch of tech demos packaged with a controller! Games may be a problem for Nintendo though. According to one financial analyst, Activision won’t be releasing Call of Duty on Wii U.
In a note to investors detailed at GamesIndustry International, David Gibson of Macquarie Capital Securities advised avoiding Nintendo stock. Due to “increasingly problematic structural problems for the company,” Gibson believes that Nintendo is going to struggle to reconnect with both the casual audience that made the Wii a global phenomenon and the core gamers the company is looking to bring back to the fold with its new device. He listed three factors that have contributed to the deterioration of Wii U’s “competitive position.”
The first is the Wii U’s contested horsepower, particularly a GPU rumored to be inferior to those in the PS3 and Xbox 360. The second is the Wii’s comparative strengths weighed against Apple’s iPad. The third problem, however, is that core gamers will ignore the system due to lack of supper from publishers like Activision. “We understand that Activision has no plans to support Wii U, which means the biggest selling title of Call of Duty will be missing,” says Gibson.
Activision’s official response is that it hasn’t made any announcements regarding Wii U support of development.
Gibson also said that Konami is planning only “minimal support” for Wii U.
As of now, the only third-party publisher that has enthusiastically supported Wii U in public statements is Ubisoft. Senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key told Gamasutra on Tuesday that Ubisoft is aiming “to be the number one third-party on Wii U.” Ubisoft is also the only third-party publisher that’s announced an original title for Nintendo’s device, namely Killer Freaks from Outer Space. Others like Tecmo Koei, Warner Bros. Interactive, and THQ have only announced ports of PS3 and Xbox 360 games like Ninja Gaiden 3, Batman: Arkham City, and Darksiders 2 respectively.
If Activision and others won’t even support Wii U with ports of PS3/360 games, Nintendo will have any even steeper hill to climb in luring in those millions of players looking for those games.