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.