The fledgling Nintendo needs some desperate advice. I thought I’d do my best.
No publisher other than Ubisoft has been publicly protective of Wii U, even after horrible sales numbers. Now the publisher demands Nintendo sell more consoles or else. The problem is twofold: As a brand Wii U failed to reach audiences; and lack of publisher support sentenced the console before release. When companies like Bethesda say they are “hesitant” to put games somewhere, that only spells terrible news.
I have decided to aid Nintendo in this fight by offering my own list. Whether it takes the advice is up to them.
1. Don’t wait for first-party games. One of Nintendo’s primary strengths is its extensive cast of characters and franchises to draw from, and reinventing those to a greater audience. Think Mario after Super Mario Galaxy. Until Wii U, the big N had relied on these to sell units, but almost a year of that hasn’t worked. A new Zelda and Super Smash Bros. are coming soon, while Wind Waker HD may encourage some. Before that though, Nintendo should start forming better relationships with these publishers and release quality titles in the same window as its first-party games.
2. Bring in new blood. That primary strength mentioned above is a detriment too. Since Nintendo has leaned on its character collective so much, it hasn’t allowed its audience to branch out by creating more franchises. Third-party support doesn’t count, at least not yet, because those games were released for other systems. Why would someone buy Arkham City on Wii U if he or she had it on Xbox? But Nintendo’s uncanny understanding of its base is so much that it knows what games to make internally. That’s likely why Pikmin 3 surfaced.
3. Embrace DLC. This seems counterintuitive because common sentiment says otherwise, but players do in fact enjoy DLC. They want to continue playing their favourite games, but given that they’re adept at rifling through content, they move on. Recent kerfuffles over DLC production beginning before a game’s release have highlighted this trend. Nintendo always has been slow to adapt to its counterparts, only allowing DLC in the last two years. It’s a start, but not a fast enough one if it wants to stay competitive. The company should encourage studios to make additional content, including planning ahead before the release date.
4. Nostalgia. SNES classic EarthBound finally hit the Wii U Virtual Store yesterday. Only Sony comes close to an having an extensive list of games. The store needs as many titles as possible, bringing in the legions of retro fans that desire to relive their childhood. Or follow the recurring trend of remaking high definition versions, like Square Enix remaking Final Fantasy IV ten times. Duck Hunt with a Wii U controller?
5. A Pokemon MMO. Yes, the ill-fated, long-desired massive multiplayer game Pokemon fans have been painfully agonizing over since the days of Blue and Red in 1998. A longstanding view online, Nintendo has blissfully ignored the calls for Pokemon to extend to modern consoles. The Wii U GamePad is perfect too, as the screen can play as the backpack whilst walking around. It seems too ideal actually. Maybe Nintendo is trolling people.
6. More of a conference presence. E3 was a chance for Nintendo to prove itself. Microsoft, Sony and publishers walked on stage and actually talked to people. Satoru Iwata appeared in a prerecorded video on Nintendo’s website, even though Reggie Fils-Aime and him were at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Why did N underplay this when the world witnessed the boost Sony had immediately after its presentation? If Nintendo talked, it would have had a significant impact because not everyone paid attention or knew Nintendo had a presentation online. Gamescom and the Tokyo Game Show are approaching, and they will be the last opportunities going into Christmas.
7. More appealing exclusives. Wii U didn’t have the strongest exclusives available in the launch window, with only New Super Mario Bros. U doing well critically. The games to wait for are out this year and in 2014; Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World, Smash Bros. and Bayonetta 2 among others. ZombiU had the best chance at launch, but the game didn’t track well with audiences. Maybe all the Wii U needs is time. Series like Star Fox and Metroid have yet to appear, too–the latter a guaranteed console seller.
I’m sure there are more options for Nintendo. These are just seven in the playbook. I would like to see Nintendo have success and not go the way of Sega’s ill-fated Dreamcast, and with this list who knows.
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