The Wii U is on the rocks in more way than one. Nintendo has been struggling with sales, we all know that, but they are also struggling with recognition. They are considered a family friendly company, and as a result you rarely see huge AAA hits published on the Wii U. Yves Guillemot of Ubisoft said that Wii U owners just do not purchase hardcore games, specifically Assassin’s Creed. Yoshinori Ono of Capcom said that the whole next gen will be getting a Street Fighter game… except for the Wii U. Why is it that the Wii U can’t seem to sell hardcore games.
Well, there are a couple different reasons actually. Let’s look at a couple different scenarios here. Let’s say that you have a Wii U, and a PS4. Assassin’s Creed comes out on both of them, but Nintendo consoles have a pretty poor track record of allowing you to purchase DLC, and easy friend list management. So, you can spend your days fiddling around with friend codes and Miiverse, OR, you can simply purchase it for the PS4.
The same holds true for the Xbox One as well. You are more likely to purchase a hardcore game for it because it has more features that support hardcore gamers. If you have both the Xbox One and PS4, that makes it even less likely that you will purchase Assassin’s Creed for the Wii U, as even if you choose your console by pure random chance, you have a 2 out of 3 chance to get it for any other console.
But what if you don’t have an Xbox One or PS4. Well, that’s actually very unlikely. Nintendo has generally made the “yes and” systems. Many people owned a Wii AND a PS3 or a Wii AND an Xbox 360 because they didn’t want to miss out on Nintendo exclusives.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say that you don’t own an Xbox One or a PS4 but do own a Wii U. Do you own a PC? Remember hardcore games come out on PC quite regularly and many games, Watch_Dogs perhaps notwithstanding, can still run on minimum spec on many computers out there. Many gamers can purchase a halfway decent gaming computer for about 600 dollars, and have been. Not to mention PC versions of these hardcore games have perhaps the EASIEST friends list and DLC capabilities. The PC was the original expandable video game platform.
OK, so let’s say that they don’t have a PC, an Xbox One, or a PS4. Do they have a mobile device? Bioshock is coming to iOS and full ports of some of the best games out there are being reduced to mini-size. Of course, they are usually pale comparisons to their console brethren and they come out later, but they are also a lot cheaper, and someone who has no good PC and no current gen console is probably looking to save some cash.
And here is the final problem. Now we get to people who own no gaming ready PC, no Tablet, no Smart Phone, no Xbox One, and no PS4. Chances are they ALSO DON’T HAVE A WII U! But even if they do, that is such a small demographic. Granted, some Wii U users might buy the game over the mobile or even the PC version, but even then this market is incredibly small..
So will hardcore gamers buy hardcore games on the Wii U? The short answer is no… not when there are alternatives. The Wii U doesn’t really offer anything that other consoles don’t already offer, and without the promise of DLC or social networks on the Wii U it’s easily the least appealing hardcore console.
Former Contributing Writer