News Article

Talking Point: The Wii U eShop Needs Patience

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

As did the 3DS eShop

In our most recent Talking Point that reflected on a potential shift in Nintendo Direct expectations, we described the attitude among many gamers — including us here at Nintendo Life — that demands new content as quickly as possible, a relentless ongoing compulsion for more news and games than we can handle. It's human nature, but that doesn't make it correct or reasonable, so we thought we'd tackle the perception in some areas that the Wii U eShop has somewhat ground to a halt since the system launched in mid-late November.

With each passing Nintendo Download update that provides 3DS or DSi downloads but no new Wii U content, enquiries about why that's the case often surface. News this week of delays to Toki Tori 2 and Cloudberry Kingdom don't exactly help matters, adding to an impression that content for the Wii U eShop is slow out of the gate. On the surface this frustration at a perceived lack of movement on the Wii U eShop, apart from a much anticipated Rayman Legends demo, is understandable. And yet, when compared to the initial launch and level of content on the 3DS eShop, the new home console equivalent is in a far stronger position.

The 3DS eShop launch seems like an appropriate comparison, and this isn't the feature to delve off into deeper issues about Nintendo's offerings in comparison to rival systems and, whisper it, smartphone and tablet competitors. Nintendo is still going its own — relatively traditional — way, with a licensing system that gives it significant control over content and scheduling. That doesn't stop games being sold that are downright bad, of course, but the cost of entry for developers and the interaction between both parties is far greater than on some other services. That's not to say Nintendo's not evolving, with the Wii U store loosening some restrictions to allow developers greater control over pricing and the ability to determine promotional activities.

And so to the 3DS eShop, let's recap some key facts about the service. The most important point is that it missed the launch of the system by over a month, arriving as part of a major system update. When it arrived it included Pokédex 3D and 3D Classics: Excitebike as free downloads, partly as compensation for the delay actually delivering the platform. In addition it introduced its own Virtual Console and included much of the DSiWare back catalogue and most of its new releases, though in the early days some titles seemed to fail to make the jump to the new platform. Notably, 3DS-exclusive downloads were thin on the ground — in Europe there were just four new titles released between 7th June and 20th October, with over a month between some releases. The Virtual Console did weigh in with a share of Game Boy titles, in particular, but when you consider that three of the new releases were actually in the 3D Classics range, they were slim pickings for those seeking new experiences.

It was in November and December 2011, five to six months after the service launched, that a batch of high-quality must-have titles emerged onto the scene — Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive!, Zen Pinball 3D, Pushmo/Pullblox and Mighty Switch Force! all made good impressions, with two of them published by Nintendo. After a diet of Virtual Console updates — not all of them memorable — and some sporadic new titles, the Holiday season brought a glut of intriguing downloads within a short space of time. The Q1 period for 2012 brought more downloadable goodies, and the release schedule for the service from Spring 2012 onwards shows new releases, sometimes two or three at a time, arriving almost every week. Some are forgettable and have incurred the wrath of our reviews team, but others have been high quality games worthy of strong recommendations. This Holiday season brings its own big-hitters, with our Crimson Shroud review awarding a 9/10, and many expecting good things of Nintendo-published Hydroventure: Spin Cycle — known as Fluidity: Spin Cycle in North America — as well as Nnooo's escapeVektor. After a stuttering start, the 3DS eShop has had a solid year with some excellent games and a consistent flow of new options on a weekly basis.

So, what about the Wii U eShop? Well, it's certainly had a better start than its 3DS namesake, with the system's day one update meaning that it's available right out of the gate. It's offering up industry standards such as retail downloads, though only one demo prior to this week, but has also started off with a number of download-only titles — none of which are classics revived by Nintendo. In fact, the big N is nowhere to be found in the launch line-up, with six individual developers kicking the service off worldwide; the only exception is Puddle, currently only available in Europe. The titles on offer aren't exactly samey ports or remakes either, with each offering a diverse and — judging from the reaction of our reviewers so far — enjoyable experience. While Trine 2: Director's Cut is an attention-grabbing multi-platform release, all except Puddle are exclusive to the Wii U eShop or, in the case of Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition, an expanded spruced-up version of a 3DS eShop exclusive. That's a lot of gaming that can only be found on Wii U.

Another multi-platform port, Zen Pinball 2, is due this month, while a couple of other releases such as the delayed Toki Tori 2 are on the way. The fact that, for our money, there aren't any duds in the line-up so far shows that there's plenty on offer to satisfy various gaming sensibilities. We also have no idea what Nintendo's bringing to the service yet, but we can be sure that it'll throw its weight into its home console eShop in the coming year, just as it did on 3DS.

Unless Nintendo is roping us along ahead of some surprises — not entirely out-with the realms of possibility — then there may be a lull in the Wii U eShop in the early part of 2013. Yet for all of the concerned murmurings that surrounded the 3DS store in its early months, it's now evolved into a strong platform with a comprehensive library of games. Development cycles mean that new releases don't arrive overnight, or certainly not good ones, and at this stage we obviously don't know about all projects currently in the works for next year; we also know that a Virtual Console will arrive eventually. Perhaps the 3DS eShop precedent should give us hope, and we should also acknowledge that the Wii U store has started strongly.

So once again, and against many of our better instincts, patience is perhaps needed. When the next download update without a Wii U eShop title rolls around let's remember some of these facts, and be grateful that the new platform's off to a better start, arguably, than its 3DS predecessor.

Next week we're planning to bring you some interviews exploring the Wii U eShop launch. In the meantime, let us know what you think about the platform's beginnings in the comments below.

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User Comments (56)



Spartacus3765 said:

I wonder if they'll offer any discount in anyway to people who already own the GCN versions of these games. Doubt it, but it should be logged in our Nintendo ID via Club Nintendo (if you registered it new). Just saying, it would be nice to get some kind of break for already owning it.



Hokori said:

But Japanese 3DS eShop had a crap ton of games from the start, not to mention a game we in the US are still waiting on (Picross e) which came in July.... I hope the WiiU eShop gets better



Silvervisiona said:

If you can retail download Wii U games (which are indeed massive in size), there is literally no legitimate excuse not to publish the GC on Virtual Console. Too bad I already have pretty much every GC game already! Being patient isn't that big of a deal for me.



Rapadash6 said:

I think we'll have a better idea of what kind of system the Wii is, as well as how robust the services are in a years time. Even a company as large as Nintendo needs to prioritize its resources. Launching a console is now easy task in this day and age, and Nintendo did an admirable job introducing the system with a decent amount of working features. No one should've expected everything to be perfect though, and Nintendo will likely improve every aspect of the system over the next year. Hopefully, next November we will be playing some sweet Wii U native Virtual Console games, Gamecube and Dreamcast included, on our fancy new screened controllers.



seronja said:

can't wait for the gamecube virtual console TBH =D i'm expecting f-zero gx, wave race: blue storm, 1080 snowboard: avalnche, starfox: assault, zelda wind waker, zelda 4 swords adventure, super mario: sunshine, mario kart double dash, paper mario, ssbm, battalion wars, eternal darkness, baten kaitos, metal gear solid: twin snakes, chibbi robo, doshin the giant and many more xD oh and dreamcast VC should happen too just saying... SHENMUE...



Pikachupwnage said:

I agree.

A key difference here though is that Wii U launched with a considerable amount of games unlike 3DS e-shop and also has many games announced unlike the 3DS e-shop at the time. We know cloudberry kingdom, runner 2, Toki tori 2 among others are coming early next year and plenty of other indie titles have been announced as well.



Randomname19 said:

I want really badly to play on the gamepad Smash bros. Melee,Wind Waker,Luigi's Mansion,Wario World and Super Mario Sunshine.I never owned a Gamecube.



cornishlee said:

I don't yet have a Wii U but with all of this "no Virtual Console" talk I just wanted reassuring: Wii releases, including Virtual Console releases, have been carried over, right?



aaronsullivan said:

You know, maybe it's not just the old "virtual console" this time. Maybe Nintendo is going to have an HD initiative to port some of the classics over with a little extra style and substantive changes.

Dream scenario: First HD Virtual Console game: Wind Waker. It's in HD with updated higher resolution textures. On top of this it can be played with the GamePad working as the Tingle Tuner as was done with the GBA. Right? Heck, I'm dreaming, so let's make it stereoscopic as well.

I've actually seen it this way emulated on a PC and it wasn't perfect, but Wind Waker in Hi-res is stunning and there are only a couple textures that get pixelated. 3D is amazing too.



Mahe said:

It isn't our fault that Wii U's current lineup is lacking, it's Nintendo's fault.



mozie said:

It really seems like nintendo dont want to make money, while eshop exclusives will come in time and i'm sure there are titles in development that we havent heard of yet there's no excuse (particularly in light of the poor 3ds launch) for not having vc games actually on the wii u eshop.



SparkOfSpirit said:

Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2 on the Gamepad. YES PLEASE.

I can wait because at least I don't have to wait half a year for the shop to actually go up this time.



sr388survivor said:

I like these articles basically telling us to simmer down and stop being such demanding crybabys. Seriously if you've played everything available to us on the wii u then you either did it because its your job or you haven't been in civilization for the last few weeks.
This generation of gamers is far too impatient



bonesy91 said:

I like the eshop >.> and with everything people need to stop complaining... The system is how old? lol

Memories of the 3ds launch are already replaying and history repeats itself....



Taceus said:

After spending 13 days with it, I'm happy with it. My only disappointment was not having Tribe 2 available but I've got plenty of games to occupy me till then. As for VC, I'll be dropping lots of coin in their pockets for the slew of games I missed out on for the GC.



Lobster said:

People complaining about the Wii U eShop clearly did not buy a 3DS at launch. I'm not saying that I don't want more games, but what we have available right now is quality stuff and should keep you occupied, honestly. I'm certainly excited for new games and disappointed when there aren't any in a given week, but it's not the end of the world. It will fill up fast and it's already good for something that, remember, just launched.



b_willers said:

So how exactly are we supposed to play GameCube games on the Wii U? Many of Nintendo's own titles made extensive use of the analogue shoulder buttons and their unique 'digital click'. There simply isn't a current Wii U control method that could support Luigi's Mansion and Super Mario Sunshine. I imagine if they are going to do GameCube Virtual Console they will have to first release a pro controller 2, and they won't want to do that in a hurry because they have only just launched the first one.



SirSmugleaf said:

Nintendo should just let the Wii shop games be available on the Eshop, and so all of our Wiiware and VC games can actually be on our Wii U. And, give us GameCube games AND gamepad support for VC games!



Windy said:

I'm sorry but anyone who had a Wii Has been patient already. It's time for Nintendo to grab the bull by the horns and start flooding their own online Markets with either (A).....New Software. (B).....Here is a Novel Idea Software that's already made, meaning Virtual Console games from every single Nintendo Platform that works with Wii-u. (C) Start Recruiting these android and apple devs to transform some of the better software for those platforms to Wii_U and 3DS. There is plethora of Online multiplayer and single player experiences on these platforms that would be perfect for 3DS and Wii-U and be even better with the each systems control schemes than they were on Ipad/ Iphone or an Android Tablet or phone.

Personally, I would prefer option B or C. The software is already made and just needs to be converted thus filling the market with some Fast and Nice options. Is there nobody at Nintendo who can figure this out over there in Redmond. Come on Guys! I'm not a professional and can figure this one out easily. Nintendo you have a ton of classic software ready to be unleashed on your market let's bring it on! My services are free and you should fire who ever is trying to figure this out for you.

Also one last thing. Street Pass in North America sucks! Not everyone works in Redmond nor attends videogame expos to get a million street pass hits. You need to find a better way of doing this or just scrap it in North America. I work in a Hotel in Las Vegas. You would think I get a ton of Street Pass hits in that place. Well here it is. I take my 3DS to work every single Day. I do not miss a day. I use it mainly to count my steps. (just for giggles I walk 15,000+ steps a day at work) However since I bought a 3DS on day 1 of its release. I have got 5 Street Pass hits from my job location even during a Videogame expo called the classic gaming Expo.Not good and never will be good. It's been tested long enough



gojiguy said:

I'm hoping in the mean time Nintendo is working on updating and integrating the Wii virtual console. Hopefully they add these features:
Button customization (needed for fighters)
Display customization (4:3, 16:9, custom borders, native)
online hub (a way to play with someone else who owns the game- would make the FGC on wii u really grow).
Gamepad compatability.

I really dont get why VC and Wiiware aren't integrated into Wii U...



Windy said:

Funny I was talking to a buddy of mine just yesterday about this situation right here and believe it the biggest single reason of Nintendos issues when it comes to the shop.



ajcismo said:

Virtual Console needs to be coming soon. Gamecube, Dreamcast, Saturn, they all need to find a home on the eShop. There is an absolute gold mine of games waiting to be digitally marketed with those consoles.



Ichiban said:

I agree, these things take time. I hope they improve things faster than the 3DS eshop, which I think is pretty terrible. Once you have the virtual console running on the Wii U, realistic prices for the games would be nice too. So much much lower than they were on Wii VC. This isnt gonna happen is it? lol



King_Boo said:

My mind is split when it comes to gamecube virtual console. Either Nintendo is really busy and has too many new projects going on, in house and out, to get them to work on the Wii U, or they are doing just that but plan on doing HD collections or re-releases. Since most of the games would benefit from on online component, I'm sure they also need to get resources in order from that prospective too.



Molotov said:

Are You Seriously Insinuating That The Wii U Eshop Is Going To Be Up To Standard (Up To Standard Meaning What Competitors Were Able To Do 5 Years Ago) If You Wait? Because If You Do.... Ignorance Is Bliss. You Can Call Me Pessimistic. I Am Just Being Realistic.



Lunapplebloom said:

I'm fine with how it is at the moment. My wallet can't handle much more. Though some software would be appreciated in the future.



meltendo said:

My only problem with being "patient"...other options will get my attention. If there's nothing new, I end up firing up the PS3 or Xbox for their more robust releases. Maybe I'll spend more time on the iPad trying games. Eventually this leads to the Wii U gathering dust until the next big Nintendo release--the same pattern I had with the original Wii.



SCAR said:

Nintendo can't help it if a 3rd party company isn't putting games on eShop. They're coming, but Nintendo AND 3rd parties are going as fast as they can to get games on there. Nintendo has Mario and Nintendo Land, w/ all future releases going to eShop to get more on there. Everyone here probably doesn't even have all the stuff off the eShop yet, so go dl AC3, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden, etc. while you're waiting for more. If you don't like those games, go get an HDD to get you storage problem solved if you plan on downloading alot of digital games. It's already known that everyone wants games on there, and companies are probably tripin' on shrooms trying to get there games out. Just wait, and you will get Bayonetta, ok?



brooks83 said:

Show me what you are gonna do in way of a VC on the Wii U, Nintnedo, and I will consider purchasing a Wii U. And let's work on getting our VC games to run natively on the Wii U as well.



DarkNinja9 said:

i just hope they release more games that ppl want on the wii u shop unless the wii shop some games ppl played were never released =/

im just hoping when they do releace gc vc that u can play on the gamepad or at least be able to use the game controller pro stuff like that is needed D= or something cuz controller wise seems more of a problem before they release the games



SKTTR said:

Since Wii U is compatible with USB hard drives why can't I have some of the 32 GB internal memory for my Virtual Console games, WiiWare and Wii saves?
Also, I hope they add a chronological list on the eShop soon. I don't like the chaos. I'm used to the tidyness of the Wii Shop.
And what about with the YouTube app not being registered by the eShop like other apps/games I downloaded? Is that a glitch?

Contentwise, I was surprised that there are so many retail games available for download, but still some didn't make it (at least in EU). What happened to Batman Arkham City, Black Ops 2, Epic Mickey 2, Mass Effect 3, Scribblenauts, Skylanders, TANK! TANK! TANK!, and Transformers? I hope patience is indeed they keyword, because if there will be retail exclusives only on disc I'd rather get all retail games on disc.

As for exclusive downloads I got Little Inferno (and Trine 2 and Puddle due to the sale). Next time I want to get Chasing Aurora and Nano Assault Neo, so there's plenty I'm interested in. Not to mention the other games I heard were coming: 8bit Boy, Aban Hawkins, Biker Bash, CastleStorm, The Cave, Cloudberry Kingdom, Days of Dawn, Karateka, Mutant Mudds, Ostrich Island, Pier Solar, Pinball Arcade, RUNNER2, Tengami, Toki Tori 2, Two Brothers, UnEpic, Zen Pinball 2. Pretty amazing lineup (if they're all really coming).

My biggest disappontment is how the last generation is integrated with the Wii Mode (and separate Wii Shop). It would have been amazing if Virtual Console games and WiiWare were integrated into the Wii U in some better way, with more memory and more free pages on the SD Card menu. The data transfer chores, SD swapping, and memory limits have an impact on the enjoyment of the system. It doesn't have to be this way. It's been a nightmare for download collectors for years! I really wish Nintendo would do something about it. I hope they are aware of this problem (I emailed them plenty of times) and update this soon.




OK Ninty. Just don't let it go the same way as DsiWare and WiiWare did after an intial very promising start.



Windy said:

if they are going to go full force with the VC bust out those franchises



Obywan said:

The thing I'm looking forward to the most is the Virtual Console service. I hope they add GameCube games along with updated versions of all Wii VC games (and transfer over the licenses so we dont have to pay for the same games again).



AltDotNerd said:

Nintendo just needs to give us ONE good game a week. No shovelware, no halfassed indie games, just one good (possibly retro) game everyone likes, and we'll all be happy.



cornishlee said:

Wait, this is just what I was asking about things being carried over to the Wii U shop (not previous purchases, the games, etc. themselves), you mean they're not? I'd assumed it was just a re-branded shop and that everything available for the Wii was available for the Wii U at launch.



Cesco said:

The greatest gift for christmas? Having the new Virtual console on Wii U and hear from Nintendo: "No, don't open your wallet! It's not necessary that you pay twice to get again these games! you have already purchased them on the Wii and on the 3DS, so here... take them now, FOR FREE!"

But since we are talking about Nintendo here, I guess this dialogue could be classified as pure science fiction...



Windy said:

My patience is over as far as Wii-U and wii. I waited years with Wii and wont be doing the same on Wii-U. I will buy one when I see it make strides. Wii-U did come out of the gate with a head of steam though and some cool software. Really the amusement park should have online multiplayer play. I was patient with the Wii though and realized the cool shop nor the quality software was not comming. so I will wait and sit back to watch for a while with Wii-U. 3ds is even letting me down up to this point. The Virtual Console should be much better than it is and there should be more games with a Robust online multiplayer service. Reggi you throw around that Robust word but so far its a dud.



Spartacus3765 said:

I totally get where you're coming from on this. Somehow, someway, the Wii's VC service (and among other things) grew very stagnant quickly. Same goes for it's releases of quality software for the most part. I mean, they bookend-ed the console's lifespan with quality Zelda titles, but Skyward Sword still wasn't the swan song to save that system. At least, that's my opinion anyways.

But if there's one thing to take away from what Nintendo should have learned with abandoning the Wii to the Wii U is to supply the consumer with options. This system has amazing potential and it engaged me on my first day with it much more so as an overall experience than Wii did. Wii engaged us for the most part with friends and family to enjoy Wii Sports and whatnot. But that's only like 10%, if that, how I actually used my console. Wii U has something definitely more in store than Wii did.

Going back to options, this system basically screams options with the usages of the gamepad alone, not to mention the release of the Pro Controller. I think that's what actually sold me on this system - the fact that Nintendo would release that type of classic peripheral to cater future titles and players who didn't care for wii-remote/nunchuk or gamepad. Wii U VC (hopefully GCN, Dreamcast, etc.) is an excellent way for Nintendo to show us that we can pick and choose how we'd like to play these classic games. My favorite option of course being that we will hopefully be able to play the games directly on the gamepad.

But, like you say, they are still behind. I think the main point I'm trying to come across is, it's still very early in this console's life and I see more potential in it than I ever did in the Wii. And although Ninty hasn't made all the strides everyone wants yet, you still have to admit, they are adapting here and there. And just knowing that they're doing that, opens the doors for other possibilities.



Windy said:

@Spartacus3765 Very nice Reply and I do hope your right. it does look cool but Im going to miss out for a while. Im an older gamer and honestly thought 3ds would be my last system. weird thinking I know. But if the Wii- U can prove itself im sure I will jump in.



Lopezdm said:

I would be happy if they could just have the n64 games I bought on the main menu and not in a sub menu or at least have a choice. The file system on the 3ds or some variant would be appreciated. I don't understand why a classics section wasn't created in the store from day one.. It seems like a no brainer and easy money..



Lopezdm said:

Also you could play any DS game on the system, I mean you do have two screens..

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