Much has been made of the lack of Wii U support from third party developers since the system's launch last year. While publishers such as Ubisoft are still generating content for the console in order to boost the install base, others have stated they won't be bringing games to Wii U until sales improve.
During the recent investor Q & A session, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata was grilled on the low levels of third party support and he admitted there is currently a relatively small number of announcements being made by third party developers on the Wii U front. However, he was quick to downplay the trend:
The attitude of Japanese developers and overseas developers are a bit different, and for overseas developers, some certainly announced that they would not release their key titles for Wii U, but other big publishers have made all of their main titles available for the platform. In this sense, we can say that this is not a universal trend but each software developer has its own thoughts.
Iwata went on to say Nintendo will boost the install base by releasing more first-party titles. Doing this will allow other developers to see Wii U as an attractive option in their quest for meaty profits.
Wii U did have quite a large amount of third-party support when it launched, but not many sold very well. Iwata said the reason for this was that most of the titles on offer were ported from other systems:
There were so many games released by third party publishers for Wii U during the launch period, but most of them were converted from other platforms and therefore could not enjoy brisk sales. As a result, some software developers have become pessimistic about Wii U.
Electronic Arts, for example, released FIFA 13, Madden NFL 13 and Mass Effect 3, all of which were already available on a variety of other systems, and is now placed snugly in the pessimist category. Not all third party titles brought out during the launch period were converted from other systems, though. Ubisoft released ZombiU on day one, while Capcom's Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate arrived a little later on.
In the months to come, there will be some third party titles launching on Wii U at the same time as other platforms - for example, Ubisoft has Rayman Legends, Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag and Watch_Dogs still to come - and this will be a critical time for the system.
However, the time will come when some third-party games for Wii U and for other platforms are released at the same time this year. It is important to have given much momentum to Wii U around that period.
What are your thoughts on the third party launch titles on Wii U? Did the fact that many were ports stop them from becoming a commercial success, or was there another reason? Let us know by leaving a comment.