With the Wii U's difficult 2013, and the significant efforts from Nintendo to line up a compelling Wii U release schedule for Fall, the Holiday season and beyond, there have been the expected question marks over third-party support, particularly into 2014.
If E3 demonstrated one loud point on this topic, it's that a lot of major third-parties are in a "wait and see" pattern with the Wii U, with poor returns on early investments and low sales momentum causing companies to step back and see whether Nintendo's high-profile releases cause a significant improvement in the system's performance. It'll likely lead to a period throughout 2014 with limited support, putting the emphasis on Nintendo delivering substantial but regular titles.
Eric Hirshberg, the CEO of Activision Publishing, has spoken to gamesindustry.biz about the company's strategies and policies for the upcoming generation of systems. When asked about Activision's speed of adoption with Wii U he shared some fairly positive remarks on Nintendo's ability to change its fortunes, along with his company's desire to see it succeed.
I don't think we're slower to move; we're a very choiceful company. We're very choiceful in the number of titles we make. We scrutinize opportunities very carefully, and when we go into them we go big. And I think that's been part of the formula for our success. We were there with a lot support for the Wii U at launch with a Call of Duty game, with a Skylanders game and with several other titles. We want to see Nintendo be successful and we want to do anything we can to help them be successful. Obviously the Wii U is struggling - that's not a secret, I don't think there's any other way to read the narrative right now - but they're a really good company and they've got some incredible IP that has yet to come, that they honed for that platform. We have a vested interest in making them successful.
This is a tone that's been common in recent weeks, with third-parties taking business decisions to hold off on Wii U projects and investments, but at the same time having a belief that Nintendo's release lineup will drive sales and improve momentum. While more actual support from these publishers would naturally be welcome, continuing faith in Nintendo's ability to improve the system's fortunes perhaps bodes well for the future.