In the last few weeks, WiiU has had key dev support stripped away. Lost exclusives. Yearly Titles not being developed. Publishers taking pot shots at the fledgling system, and supposedly canceling games outright. One would think Nintendo has done something wrong to be in this position.
And they have. They have committed apparently the greatest crime in the eyes of Western publishers: Not doing Good enough.
Reports have come in that the system has under-performed. Even Nintendo has cut forecasts, which is admittedly a bad sign. But lets take a step back and think:
The system is outperforming all but its most powerful of its predecessors(the Wii). It is outperforming its most recent "sibling" in the Vita. While sales have under performed what some could argue were overly ambitious goals anyway, on its own it is performing decently.
Right in line with previous console launches in fact. As many of us would have expected, if not perhaps a little worse. And yet, the result is so disproportionately different than those other systems... But why?
Because they haven't done "Good Enough".
In case you didn't already hear, take a look at this:
Devs are supposedly cancelling games in development, as I have previously stated. But that isn't what I want to bring your attention to. It is this line:
" I had a data point yesterday at lunch with a high budget Wii U game that was hoping to sell “millions” over time. It only managed “tens of thousands”."
Does anyone see what is wrong with this? If you can't, I'll make it perfectly clear:
You would have to be a total DUMBASS to expect a new console to push out a seller "in the MILLIONS" only weeks after launch. This is a ridiculous level of expectation, bordering on delusional. Yet, publishers are lamenting about "under performing targets" and "less than expected install base". What on earth were they expecting? Wii levels?
The Wii was an anomaly. Certainly, no one in their right minds would put such a burden of expectation on the company that recently failed to copy the Wii already with the 3ds? But to some extent, these Western companies DID. Once again, look at that statement. "Millions"? Lets look at the anomaly that the wii was again. One would have been hard pressed to come out with a million seller even in that instance, yet at least one Western pub expected a NORMAL console launch to outperform a market phenomenon?
Surely Ubi must have understood the risk of "exclusivity" when they made their commitment, right?
By now, you have no doubt noticed my choice in descriptors. "Western Companies". "Western Devs". "Western Publishers": Why the distinction? The difference lies in the focal point of this situation. Expectation.
Of all the devs and publishers, The Western based ones have been complaining far more, if not exclusively. But what of Namco Bandai? Capcom? Tecmo Koei? Look at the link again: the poster singles out Japanese participators from the list of devs walking out... why the signifigance?
The WiiU didn't exactly set Japan on fire either. In fact, sales have continued to fall week over week as titles remain sparse. The newest Mario is pretty much the only title in the top 20 at this point. And yet, look at the difference in reaction. Of key note, Capcom:
Monster Hunter is THE Japanese franchise in many eyes. It is a massive seller and console pusher. So, how did the WiiU version perform, based solely on numbers?
It is currently being outsold by its handheld counterpart a year older than itself. It did not remain in the top 20 more than a few weeks, if that. And yet, it is still a "Smash Hit".
WHAT. THE. HELL.
The WiiU has "under performed". But it hasn't at the same time? The only noticeable variable is the Western publishing sphere and their "expectations". A group now touting the glory of their next money grab target; the new consoles due out this year. I wonder what their "expectations" are for these entries in the market? And should they fail to meet those targets, what next? Is this a one sided, anti Nintendo street... with 3rd parties creating issues in their mind and willing them into reality against only them? We have already seen this behavior with towards the Gamepad, after all.
Or maybe these companies are preying on early adopters to make a quick buck off low cost ports. Hyping these New devices to drum up easy sales, just waiting to complain when unrealistic expectations fail the platform holders so they can run back to the large install base of the last gen... and by this point, perhaps the WiiU? It isn't like new consoles haven't gone through this little play already... since that is exactly what they are doing to WiiU now.
Regardless of the reasoning, Something isn't right with this situation. One would be daft to expect the "next gen" dev costs to not rise, the returns to most certainly be met in spades, and the consoles to be instant "Million sellers". WiiU had a 25 year history and the phenomenal Wii name behind it, relatively cheap dev costs, the hype of being the first new console in years, but even so most knew it wouldn't exactly come into the industry in such an all consuming blaze of glory. And yet some idiot group expected, or perhaps NEEDED a *Launch* game to be a Million seller in order to make its desired return. To make things all the more puzzling, they are ditching a system committing no outrageous crime against the industry or market, other than failing to meet "expectations". A system which could only continue to grow so long as it is given the attention it deserves as a new console... while simultaneously preparing to do an unpredictable launch all over again?
I am a conspiracy nut, and could go for paragraphs on all the potential BS companies could be pulling behind the scenes. But even without such ludicrous imaginings, this recent trend is still horrifying to anyone with vested interest in the industry. That so many companies could be so blind, stupid, or short sighted as to damage the industry and themselves with their horrible practices and decisions and not even notice cannot spell out good fortune to come for our favorite hobby.
Well, regardless of reason, I guess I know one thing to certainly expect: Those consoles better do "Good Enough", or it will be the WiiU all over again.