Let’s face it: things are not looking good for the Wii U. After decent sales at launch, movement of Nintendo‘s new console has slowed substantially. More importantly, support for the platform is an outright mess.
While some games, like Watch_Dogs for example, are doing their best to keep the Wii U relevant, other publishers don’t see the value in porting a title if sales are so low. That’s why the newly unveiled Battlefield 4 is not coming to the console.
But poor sales are not been for a lacking of trying on Nintendo’s part, or at least “trying.” They’ve been recently running a flyer that helps consumers understand “Why Wii U?” Check it out below:
Yeah, not exactly a system seller, but at least Nintendo is playing it smart and comparing their new console against the original Wii. Perhaps Wii owners will see the flyer and consider a purchase. No? Well, at least they tried.
Unfortunately, it only gets worse from there, as more publishers/developers/gaming companies are balking at Wii U support. When asked if Aliens: Colonial Marines was still coming to the Wii U, Gearbox Software‘s Randy Pitchford said “[publisher] SEGA‘s got to figure that out.”
Prior to the launch of Colonial Marines, and the subsequent critical bashing it received, hopes were high that Colonial Marines might be a solid system seller for the Wii U. Using the gamepad as a motion tracker was an interesting mechanic, and there was the promise of improved visuals.
Unfortunately, most of that hype appears to have been for naught. Neither SEGA nor Gearbox want to say the game has been cancelled, but no one wants to provide any evidence to the contrary. It just seems like a bad situation all around.
And finally comes a really big nail in the Wii U coffin: no Unreal Engine 4 support. Epic Games‘ next-gen engine has been the talk of the town since the PS4 unveiling, with gamers giddy at the possibility of better visual fidelity.
However, when Epic’s VP Mark Rein was asked about whether UE4 would support Wii U, he just laughed. Well, he didn’t just laugh — he laughed and then said “no.”
Continuing on, Rein explained that Unreal Engine 3 is still perfectly capable of delivering great games, even though Unreal Engine 4 is the future of the next-gen:
“I mean, sorry, it’s not really a correct answer. We’re not… we have Unreal Engine 3 for the Wii U. Right? And Unreal Engine 3 is powering all kinds of amazing games, still lots of games are being made with Unreal Engine 3. We announced today about a new Unreal Engine 3 license. Unreal Engine 3 doesn’t disappear because of Unreal Engine 4. But our goal for Unreal Engine 4 console-wise is next-gen consoles. That’s really what our energies are focused on. If you want to make a Wii U game, we have Unreal Engine 3, and it’s powering some of the best games on the Wii U already.”
Things are obviously not looking good for the Wii U, but all that could change come E3. Nintendo has a big announcement-filled panel planned, where they will be brining a new Mario Kart, a new 3D Mario, and hopefully a few surprises. For now, however, momentum is planted squarely in the next-gen’s court. It’s up to Nintendo to steal it back.
[UPDATE} Mark Rein has clarified his previous statements saying that Unreal Engine 4 can run on Wii U, or any console for that matter. However, developers will likely have to make concessions in order to make that possible. Here’s the quote courtesy of Engadget:
“You heard the stupid gaffe yesterday about the Wii U. If someone wants to take Unreal Engine 4 and ship a game on Wii U, they can! If they wanna ship an Unreal Engine 4 game on Xbox 360, they could make it happen.”
Do you think a lack of next-gen engine support will hurt the Wii U? What can save the Wii U’s downward spiral?