This hasn’t been a great week for the recently released Wii U. For a system that really needed to start gaining traction before the release of the PS4 and Xbox 720 (whenever that might be) it feels like Nintendo are having a little bit of an uphill struggle since Monday. It’s an isolated, focused struggle, but a struggle all the same.
And it’s made all the more frustrating really because this neat little pile of negative PR follows a widely appreciated Nintendo Direct that showed that the console still carried a huge amount of promise. It does, potentially the next ten months or so could be great, but this week has shown that what goes up must – as they say – come down.
The most notable thing is probably the fact that one-time Nintendo exclusive Rayman Legends isn’t just delayed, but is actually going to PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 too. Exclusive titles are precious – especially third party ones – and the fact that we’re hearing the game was finished is all the more frustrating. Fans are quite vocal asking why the Wii U version couldn’t be released on schedule – something that Nintendo must be curious about themselves, given the high profile of the game involved on their platform.
In a similar fashion is Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, which was a recent release for the console here in the UK but that too has also lost its exclusive grip. The refined, remixed version of Ninja Gaiden 3 will also see a release on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nintendo have lost two exclusive titles this week.
But that’s not all – here in Europe Scribblenauts Unlimited was due for release (today, in fact) and the game was pulled at the last minute due to reasons we’re still not privy too. The game was at retailers (it was recalled) and press (including us) had our review code, all ready to go. Worse still, the game appeared on Nintendo’s eShop this morning, before being pulled once Nintendo realised nobody had flicked the toggle in the database. There’s no date yet for the re-release.
Still, there’s Monster Hunter to look forward too – right? Well, that’s not delayed or moving to other platforms, but there is one issue – the multiplayer is region locked, which means that Europeans won’t be able to hunt alongside US players.
And then there’s Activision’s Bobby Kotick. ”We were somewhat disappointed with the launch of the Wii U,” he said to investors speaking about Skylanders on the platform. “I think it’s a challenging environment this year, and one of the things we are concerned about is what the install base of hardware will be like for six-to-eleven year-olds. But we have a lot of confidence in Skylanders for the long-term. I think we’re delivering another great product this year.”
And finally, poor software sales round off a real stinker of a week. Only 34,000 Wii U games were sold in the UK in January – that’s actually less than the Vita shifted at 46,000. For comparison, the 360 shifted 810,000 games and the PS3 545,000. The original Wii moved 182,000.
Let’s hope next week is better.