Games developers express confidence that the Nintendo Switch will outsell the Wii U, though some are uncertain that the console's portable tablet will be a hit with gamers.
Since its release in 2012, Wii U sales have been abysmal, as it just hasn't succeeded in winning over gamers. Current sales of the console are just above 13 million, which is certainly not what Nintendo will have hoped for. Hampered by third-party developers and publishers unwilling to release their games on a system that isn't selling (thus giving gamers even less of a reason to buy a Wii U), it's no wonder why Nintendo is already set to end Wii U production and why it has turned its attention to new console, the Nintendo Switch.
What's positive, though, is that many developers think that the Nintendo Switch will outsell the Wii U. In the fifth annual Game Developers Conference State of the Industry survey (via Gamasutra) which surveyed over 4,500 game developers, 50% said that they think the Switch will outperform the Wii U, while 14% disagreed and 37% said that they weren't sure.
48% of developers also said that the Switch's ability to go portable, using its tablet, will be a hit with gamers, though they didn't think it would be "world-changing." 19% of developers said that the console is "the right product for the right time," 11% said they didn't think people would be interested in the portable feature, and 23% were unsure how about how the feature would be received when the Nintendo Switch releases in March.
On the one hand, it's positive to see that many developers haven't written the Nintendo Switch off based on the Wii U's underperformance as well as what little has been seen of the Switch so far. The Switch's third-party support list is already full of big names (including EA and Ubisoft) and the fact that developers think the Switch will sell well could mean that many other developers are willing to release their titles on it.
On the other hand, however, it's also not surprising to see that a significant amount of developers that still aren't convinced or are uncertain about how the console will sell. Analysts previously voiced their concerns that Nintendo is only targeting 2 million units shipped in March, for example, and the Big N's stocks dropped following the console's reveal, suggesting that investors are wary too.
Given that the Wii U's price point is one of the key reasons why it failed (according to Shigeru Miyamoto), it's entirely possible that there will be an uptick in confidence for the console following tonight's Nintendo Switch event. Nintendo is set to reveal the Switch's release date and price during the event, so perhaps if developers consider the price to be a "sweet spot" that can win millions of gamers over, they might feel a bit more optimistic.
The Nintendo Switch is set to launch in March 2017.