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EA and Ubisoft explain scaled back Wii U support

Two of the world’s biggest third party publishers have said Wii U sales need to improve if they’re to dedicate more resources to the platform, having scaled back support for the console since last year’s launch.

Explaining his company’s lack of upcoming Wii U games in an interview with Joystiq, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said: "Look, the only thing they can do to fix it is to sell more boxes… The Wii U, we shipped four games. We shipped Madden, FIFA, Need for Speed and Mass Effect. In fact, the last Need for Speed shipped 60 days ago had a pretty good Metacritic. It was a good game. It wasn't a schlocky port, we actually put extra effort into getting everything to work. And it's just not selling because there's no boxes."

Gibeau added: “Nintendo is a good partner and never count 'em out and all that. Never count them out, but right now we're focused on PS4 and Xbox One and from our perspective we'll look at the Wii U, we'll continue to observe it. If it becomes a viable platform from an audience standpoint, we'll jump back in."

Meanwhile, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told Kotaku that his company won't release more Wii U exclusives until Nintendo sells more consoles. The French publisher supported the system at launch with Wii U exclusive ZombiU and had intended to release Rayman Legends as a Wii U exclusive, but the game has since gone multiplatform. "We need more sold," Guillemot said of Wii U. "They are coming with five of their biggest brands ever. And the Yen went down. So maybe they will take steps that will increase the number of consoles sold."

Nintendo has also acknowledged that it must do more to convince third party publishers to bring their games to Wii U. Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo of America's head of corporate communications, told ShackNews the company hopes a string of upcoming releases will boost flagging hardware sales and in turn help drum up more support for the platform. "Third parties want the same thing that we do, which is the install base to grow so they have a larger audience to sell their games to," Scibetta said.

"We feel that's our job to help drive that install base, and we haven't had the software so far in 2013 that's going to do that. But we're confident between now and the holiday and again in 2014, we do have the software that's going to grow that install base. And when that happens, we think that Wii U will be a far more attractive platform for third parties to want to publish on. The same thing happened on Nintendo 3DS that we think will happen on Wii U, which started off slow, but when the software came around, the hardware sales came. We're looking for the same dynamic for Wii U."

Wii U has lacked the level of third party software support Nintendo and early adopters would have liked in the platform’s first six months of availability, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of exciting games planned for release on the console in the next 12 months.

11 comments

  • pokepark7 - June 17, 2013 4:47 p.m.

    What we need is a price cut
  • C.King - June 17, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    from Gibeau's quote "support" is a shitty way to describe it. ps4 and xbone aren't even out yet and they say they'll FOCUS ON EM(sounds like the opposite of support) until wiiU sales up? like backing only the "winning" team. ubisoft is just not staying exclusive which is a bummer but still some support though in no particular direction. can't blame them since they need sales and not ditching nintendo i'm not into EA games(like at all) so it not like i should care but man it ticks me off to consider them "support"
  • Talvari - June 17, 2013 10:18 a.m.

    Kinda wish Rayman Legends was still an exclusive. But oh well. Ninty just have to hold out till smash bros lulz. Plenty of first party titles coming this year still, and personally i couldn't care less for EAs games. They've never really been a huge factor in nintendo games and probably never will. I ain't counting nintendo out.
  • shawksta - June 17, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    People:We want more games for us to buy the Wii U Developers: We want more people to own Wii U's for us to make more games Whats-his-face is right though, Nintendo got heavy 1st party coming up so it should help sell more. I can understand Ubisoft but after that "Senior"'s actions EA can f*ck off, but whoever was interviewed otherwise seems in a great standing. I don't understand why they think games HAVE to be exclusive, just give the Wii U a version of a game, you don't have to do that much with the Gamepad's screen atleast ubisoft has already simply made Assassins creed blackflag on Wii U while also highlighting the features of Splinter Cell conviction. EA on the otherhand has Bullshit reasons for not putting BF4 on it, just being lazy is the only plausible one with whatever their worried on sales.
  • Squander - June 17, 2013 10:10 a.m.

    concerning Battlefield 4, I rather think that EA wants to preserve a certain quality. Releasing Battlefield on a platform that has (a) the by far the weakest online infrastructure and (b) a very weak installed consumer base would mitigate the games momentum. As much as I detest EA's business models, I can I understand the company in this respect
  • shawksta - June 17, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    My bad, I meant to say Frostbite 4, the engine, not the game, it's probably because I was mentioning games that I accidentally said Battlefield 4. That game is understandable, despite not having the weakest Online infrastructure, its still understandable.
  • C.King - June 17, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    same thing happened with the 3ds, alot of cancellations and delays which is freaking dumb and i didn't understand. i guess lack of confidence that they could become the system seller. screw their games if they don't believe in em to be worth picking up a good time after console launch!
  • Danomeon - June 17, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    I think the key for Nintendo is to stop being stingy with the big-name games and start rolling out the exclusives in high gear. We've already got a new smash bros on the way, it's time they announce a brand new zelda game as a killer app that would get gamers onto the system. Kudos if they make it an awesome HD zelda with a similar look to twighlight princess/ocarina of time, too. Also, if they could get into a large time machine and go make a new mind-blowing mario game for the Wii U (like the Galaxy series was to the wii) instead of a rehash of their 3DS mario, that would be fantastic. More investment in exclusive third party titles for their game would be a good move as well. Bayonetta 2 is something that some gamers like me would buy the whole console for. It'd be cool to see Madworld return once more as well! And Im sure there are some cool games that could use a little help from Nintendo's pocketbook in exchange for exclusivity. Finally, with gamers getting on Microsoft's case for used game DRM and always-online connectivity, now would be the perfect time for Nintendo to say, "HEY! We're cheaper than all of these consoles, we have used games, we don't require you to go online, and look at all of these games we have out now AND coming up!" I think Kyle Bosman of GT put it well when he compared Nintendo to a big, happy, dopey elephant that just wanders along at its own pace.
  • Swedish_Chef - June 17, 2013 8 a.m.

    I really feel like Nintendo should be able to keep a large or at least steady rate of Wii-U systems being bought, if they would just bite the bullet and lower the price of the system. With the PS4 coming out in America at a retail price of $399 it only costs $50 more than a premium Wii-U to buy, an extremely small price gap for a system that's much more powerful, the Wii-U is at risk of being completely overshadowed by the PS4 despite having an extremely solid lineup of first party game releases. If they dropped the price by about $50 US (from $349 to $299 for premium and from $299 to $249 for the basic model) then it should keep the system noticably valuable next to it's competitors and along with the temptation of big releases sale should increase a large ammount or at least to a degree that they have With the Wii U being able to improve its sales rate more third party publishers will want to make titles for the system, more titles equal a greater appeal for comsumers and in turn increases the ammount of sales of games and systems.
  • Squander - June 17, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    Ubisoft's standing is ambivalent - especially if one takes into consideration that they ditched Rayman which added significant fuel to Nintendos miserable situiation. First they show up at Nintendo's E3 conference 2012 and proclaim infinite support - then they totally dismiss the Wii U --> understandable from an economic point of view but still an incredibly hypocritical act
  • JarkayColt - June 17, 2013 6:49 a.m.

    "We need to get more of these consoles in people's homes PRONTO!" "I know, let's stop making games for it! That'll do the trick!" Yeah, I know that this isn't EA or Ubisoft's problem to fix...but STILL, it's a kind of paradoxical situation when you think about it.

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