Many publishers are shying away from Nintendo’s struggling Wii U, but the company believes it can turn the console’s poor third-party software support around.
Activision, Ubisoft, Bethesda, and EA were amongst those to express varying degrees of concern over the ongoing viability of developing for the Wii U.
Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg noted that Nintendo were “having a rough go” with the Wii U, and Bethesda’s Pete Hines said, “The time for convincing publishers and developers to support Wii U has long passed.”
Regarding EA’s decision to withdraw its support from the Wii U, COO Peter Moore said, “We were there with four games for them [at launch]. It’s been a disappointment when you look at sell-through and, as a company, we have to be very judicious where we deploy our resources.”
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot noted that his company's game, ZombiU, was the platform’s best-selling third-party game, but it “wasn’t even close to profitable.”
However, Nintendo of America executive vice president of sales & marketing Scott Moffitt was confident the platform holder could turn the trend around. Speaking with Forbes, Moffitt said, “We realise that we need to continue to build the installed base to demonstrate that making games for Wii U is a good investment. We’re confident that we have the games necessary—both first- and third-party—to have a strong holiday season and expand the audience for Wii U.”
“We don’t see this as an either-or proposition,” Moffitt said. “We want Wii U to be the console that every developer wants to publish on. A key way to make that happen is to grow the installed base of Wii U owners, and we know that current Wii U owners are very happy with their purchases.”
“Our great lineup in the second half of the year will create more buyers, and beyond that third-party support is important to attract as diverse an audience as possible. (Second-half 2013 is) just the start of a steady flow of great games coming to Wii U, with lots more to come in 2014.”
In the three months to August, the Wii U sold only 160,000 units globally. Despite the very poor showing, Nintendo believes it is still on track to have sold 9 million Wii U consoles and 38 million games come the system’s first anniversary later in the year.