The Wii U’s Rocky Week

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.



  1. Indeed it has been a rubbish week to be a Wii-U owner. Seriously regret buying one now (though I blame a lot of that statement on being tired, slightly hungover and a bit low on cash at the moment, heh)

    • Indeed, much as I love playing on the gamepad, if there’s nothing to play on there other than a few games I can play on my PS3 for cheaper it isn’t fulfilling any of its promise, or making our investment a worthwhile one…

  2. The main problem that the Wii U faces is that it’s got no market that it can easily target. The Wii covered the Causal market and the 360/PS3/PC covers the gamers market. Casuals believe that the Wii U is just a touchpad for the Wii and i suspect most PS3/360/PC gamers have yet to have a reason to invest in the Wii U. Combine that with the next generation being soon and the Wii U will have a lot of diffculty.

    Publishers want to release games on consoles that have a large userbase, to do that, third party games are required, for third party games to be released, it needs a large userbase. Exclusives can only take a console so far.

    Nintendo need to come up with something for the Wii U as it’s starting to look like it will be a failure and i don’t think they have had a console bomb since the Virtual Boy. They need to get more games on the system, more exclusives, more marketing etc.. If Skylanders was released on the Wii U, i suspect that would increase sales by 90%. Get COD on it, and i suspect sales would increase by 80% and so forth. In fact, they should try to get Bethesda involved as i can see the touchpad being useful in Skyrim. For example, you can access the inventory and the map whilst going about your bussiness.

    • Sadly both COD and Skylanders are available on the Wii U – clearly they haven’t helped much!

      • Well, then it’s fecked. If COD and Skylanders can’t help it, chances are nothing can. :O I would have thought both games would have had a bigger impact.

      • I guess the fact that you can play those games on pretty much anything else doesn’t give any reason to upgrade or buy in – you can play Skylanders on the original Wii for a tiny proportion of the price.

  3. It’s crazy that having already suffered a similar launch with the 3DS, and having seen the struggles that Sony has had with the Vita, that Nintendo would release a console to the market place without addressing a number of the issues that have come before.

    Admittedly, their timing was key if they were to gain any traction before the more technologically advanced offerings from Microsoft and Sony arrived, but in doing so their release schedule post-launch has been sparse, their console’s OS is a (promising) work-in-progress, and they’ve failed to tie down important supporters to develop for them.

    The loss of Ninja Gaiden as an exclusive isn’t crucial, as Wii U owners already have the improved version of a middling action game, and it makes perfect sense to gain as much revenue from the product. The loss of Rayman Legends however is a huge disappointment, as it was a key part of Nintendo’s marketing for the console and a key part of their launch line-up. It would be foolish to say that it was the only reason people bought the Wii U, but it was probably a deciding factor for many.

    Holding back Legend’s release, despite its completion, does raise questions about whether there have in fact been problems in the relationship between Nintendo and Ubisoft, and Ubisoft are now exerting some power. It makes perfect sense to take a beloved franchise cross platform, especially when you have no ties to any of the console manufacturers. It doesn’t make sense to hold a title back from release that could feasibly sell a million copies to game starved Wii U owners in the next six months, rather than placing it amongst the year’s biggest seasonal releases.

  4. There are no games out already or coming soon that I would want giving me no reason to even think about getting a Wii U. Come to think of it I cannot remember the last time I saw any advertising for the U or it’s games.

  5. Want to sell loads of Wii U?

    Easy! Price cut at the end of August… with all those juicy games coming out in Sept-Oct = money printing machine.
    (2009 PS3Slim-style where a perfect storm of a price cut, a new, great ad campaign & Uncharted 2 worked wonders for a great but sluggish selling console)

    No getting away from it being a hell of a rocky ride for the Wii U until then though, much like the Vita – Although the Vita doesn’t have the promise of a Christmas quarter featuring Zelda, Super Mario, Mario Kart, Yoshi’s Yarn etc.

  6. I dare say it but you could see this coming a mile off.

  7. The Wii U is not in the best place most certainly, but I don’t doubt they’ll recover from this and put out a lot of great software. Remember that a console usually lasts about 5 years or so, and that’s a good investment. But the Wii U isn’t going to surpass its predcessor in terms of numbers, not a failure by any means but it’ll be a lot more even grounded or perhaps left behind by developers if Nintendo don’t reach out to third parties. (Not to say that they aren’t already! :) )

  8. Wii U sucks that’s why. Even the name Wii U sucks.

  9. This gen has and is amazing. We are in the latter years and side stepping into a Wii U so late in the game would be foolish in my humble opinion. The Wii had a huge demographic which brought gaming to those who never have games before. Those fans won’t jump into the HD gaming arena as I imagine they feel its not for them. Time will tell and all being well they’ll succeed. I’m sticking with my playstation and I’m stoked about the prospect of ps4. I may get a wii u one day. But like most gamers of the hardcore it’ll be after I fund my ps4….

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