When will Call of Duty and Nintendo finally get together? Sooner rather than later according to industry analysts.
The Wii U isn’t the first time that Nintendo has released a new machine with the grand promise that it will renew its relationship with the unfortunately named “hardcore” gaming community. This goes all the way back to Gamecube. Back at 2000’s Spaceworld, Nintendo’s personal version of the Tokyo Game Show, the Gamecube was touted as a graphical powerhouse that played discs instead of cartridges and with a controller that wouldn’t keep third-party ports of the machine. When the Wii rolled around 6 years later, Nintendo tried to get people all hot and bothered with how the Wii remote could be perfect for first-person shooters. Now Wii U is supposed to be the HD console game enthusiasts have been waiting for.
Forget the fact that the enthusiast audience Nintendo wants is already looking at a new generation of hardware that makes the Wii U look like an abacus by comparison. Nintendo needs not just the core but the true average console game player, the person who buys Madden NFL and Call of Duty and nothing else each year. As of now, Wii U doesn’t have much to offer that player, but that might change by fall.
Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia said, according to Games Industry International, that Call of Duty: Black Ops II is a likely Wii U launch title later this year. A holiday release “should contribute to incremental sales of the title and also the Wii U console.”
Activision Publishing head Eric Hirshberg didn’t deny that it would happen. “We take out time to get our ducks in a row before pulling the trigger. We don’t have any announcements today but we will be supporting Wii U.” He went to describe how the Call of Duty Elite subscription service makes an ideal fit for the Wii U’s tablet controller as Activision has already developed a number of second screen perks for Elite subscribers.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II may be available on Wii U, but it’s hard to imagine many players will flock to the platform. The series multiplayer community needs an easy to use online interface, which is one of the primary reasons the Xbox 360 outsells the PlayStation 3 version of the game in the console space each year. Nintendo hasn’t fully outline Wii U’s online component yet, but early word is that it will be less than user friendly.
Will Call of Duty: Black Ops II be on Wii U? Maybe, but Activision’s greatest investment on the platform lies elsewhere, namely with games like Skylanders that cater to the same family audience Nintendo’s machines always cater to. Even after all the protestations to recommitment to the core audience.