The Nintendo Wii U is still hoping for a dramatic turnaround after its rough sales throughout January and February, when it sold 57,000 and 66,000 consoles per month respectively. To put that in perspective, those sales numbers are lower than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have ever experienced at any point over the past seven years. The potential for a turn around is on the rise, though. The Wii U received two excellent exclusive releases in March, Lego City Undercover and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (which are both at least console exclusive, though Monster Hunter is also available on Nintendo 3DS). Will Nintendo keep the release train rolling? Yes, but its stable of unique titles grows smaller by the week.
Nintendo announced a partial release list of games coming to Wii U from third-party publishers on Wednesday, and while there are selections in the line up to appeal to families and the lucrative core-gaming market, there isn’t a single exclusive among them.
First on the horizon is Warner Bros. Interactive and NetherRealm’s DC Universe fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us, a rare multiplatform release gracing Wii U on the same day as other systems. WBIE will also re-release Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes on Wii U, a port of the Xbox 360/PS3/PC version released in 2012. Other ports include the May 21 release of Resident Evil: Revelations from Capcom, the HD remake of the Nintendo 3DS game that is also coming to Xbox and PlayStation, 505 Games Sniper Elite V2, and Square-Enix’s overhauled Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut.
Come August are a number of new games, particularly from Disney and Ubisoft. These include a game based on Disney’s Planes, which is an upscaled version of the game in development for Nintendo’s all but forgotten Wii, as well as the Skylanders competitor Disney Infinity, another multiplatform release. Those are out on Aug. 9 and Aug. 18 respectively. Out Aug. 20 is the long-rumored Wii U version of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Ubisoft is upholding its commitment to supporting Wii U with versions of its major multiplatform releases.
Ubisoft’s support does sting somewhat. The Wii U desperately needs unique software to sell the expensive console, and Ubisoft’s other planned spring release is a new Rayman Legends demo. Expected out before the end of April, the demo is for an online challenge mode in the game that was supposed to release in February as one of the machine’s main exclusives. Ubisoft canceled that release to redesign Rayman Legends for release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Since the Nintendo 64, Nintendo has relied primarily on its own games to sell consoles rather than third-party publishers. The success of titles like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Wii Fit have supported systems like the Wii and Gamecube over the years. Even Nintendo’s first part games due out between new and the end of summer, with releases like Pikmin 3 and Platinum Games’ The Wonderful 101, is devoid of the sort of attention-grabbing title that will help Nintendo survive. The Wii U is an interesting and fun machine to play with, but without more unique games to play on it, Nintendo will continue struggling to find its audience.