E3 2013: The Wii U’s 2013 is looking horrific for Nintendo

4 mins read
Will you be playing anything else on Wii U this year?

2014. That’s what I heard over and over again in an E3 presentation from Nintendo that promised almost nothing we hadn’t already known about.

The good first – Smash Bros (2014) is happening and includes fan favourite, Mega Man, as a playable character. Mario Kart 8 (2014) looks like reliable fun and Monolith Software’s X (2014) looks pretty spectacular as far as open world JRPGs go. Retro Studios is working on a new Donkey Kong 2D game which we assume (or at least hope) is 2013, and there’s a Wii U Mario 3D game which is interesting, because the Wii U doesn’t do 3D in the sense that the 3DS does. I think that might be 2014 there, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong with that.

Notice a trend there? 2014. That’s a year from now. What do we have in the interim? Well, Pikmin and Wonderful 101 are both still happening this year, and then there’s Wii Party and… Wii Fit. But Wii Fit has been delayed, so Nintendo politely requests your patience there. Nintendo is relying on two games, really, to prop up its entire home console business.

In fact, of all the stuff coming in 2013, the only thing I consider a must-have and certainly the only thing that was a genuinely nice surprise is a new Art Academy game, because Art Academy thanks to the GamePad and MiiVerse is ideally suited to taking advantage of the Wii U’s capabilities. And that’s not even a game!

In terms of third party stuff, from the Japanese presentation (the one I watched), there was Bayonetta 2, and… well, that was it, really. I’m not sure if it’s a deliberate ploy to irritate the third parties, but if Nintendo was genuine about engaging with them, giving them air time on Nintendo Direct shows is perhaps the most minimal token the company could extend to its partners, and yet it doesn’t even do that.

In summary, Nintendo is suffering severely from a lack of software for the rest of this year, and if the E3 presentation is anything to go by, the company is desperately hoping that people buy the console on vague release date promises and nostalgia for classic franchises. It failed to even show off its one new IP with genuine potential – that Shin Megami Tensei Vs Fire Emblem crossover title.

Now we know why Nintendo didn’t get up on stage to talk about the Wii U at E3 proper. Between the utter lack of third party support, and the sketchy-at-best promises of release dates, Nintendo simply does not have enough content to fill an hour-long show. It’s tragic, really, but every indication points to a console that, come PS4 and Xbox One release day, is going to be trounced.

From a strategic point of view it was essential that Nintendo hit this E3 with original IPs, spectacular games and surprise after surprise. Sadly, it just didn’t do that. If there is any consolation (and there is), Nintendo’s output for 2014 is looking spectacular. The challenge for the company is very simple – how the heck to survive 2013.

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