Wii U sales slow, but Nintendo remains hopeful for the platform
Some publishers skipping the console, others reaffirming their support
Nintendo remains bullish on the potential of its next-generation Wii U console and its innovative tablet-like control pad, despite reporting that sales have been lower than expected.
While formal sales figures are not yet available, the device is believed to have sold 400,000 units in its first week in the US alone - a reasonable figure, but somewhat short of the 600,000 last-generation Wii consoles sold during its first week in the US. The initial Wii U sales figures have appeared to slow, however, and Nintendo's target of selling 5.5 million Wii U consoles worldwide by the end of the company's financial year in March now looks out of reach.
The Wii U's somewhat lacklustre hardware, which is on a par with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and far from the rumoured specifications of the upcoming Xbox 720 console, is also causing Nintendo some problems with publishers. Crytek, the company behind the popular Crysis game series and CRYEngine game engine, has confirmed in an interview with Digital Spy that the latest game in its series, Crysis 3, will not be launching on the Wii U despite being available on the Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. With demand for the title expected to be high, that's a blow for Nintendo's console efforts.
Not all publishers are turning away from the console, however: Team Ninja, the company behind the popular Ninja Gaiden series, has called the console innovative in an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine, and is reportedly working on additional games for the console to follow on from its impending Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, which launches in the UK this Friday.
The next few months will be critical for Nintendo's Wii U console, as developers learn to exploit the tablet-style controller in new ways and figure out how to make the most of the device's modest specifications - but with the Microsoft Xbox 720 and Sony PlayStation 4 waiting in the wings, Nintendo will have to work hard to duplicate the success of its popular Wii console.