Nintendo have revealed their desire to court third-party exclusives for their forthcoming Wii U console, due to launch next year. Such comments were made by Rob Lowe, Marketing Manager of Nintendo UK, who explained that Nintendo are re-thinking their approach to third-party development.
“It’s absolutely fundamental to the success of Wii U to have better third party support than we’ve had in the past for our previous consoles. I think Mr Iwata totally recognises that,” Lowe discussed. “That’s why we had a Ubisoft round table session [during E3], that’s why John Ricitiello was on stage at our conference. “And even at a local level we’re doing everything we can to support third parties much more than we have done in the past. It goes all the way through the company, from Nintendo Japan, to Nintendo Europe, to Nintendo UK.”
Such a move demonstrates a strategic shift for the company, who have always relied upon the success of its own key franchises – including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon – in driving hardware sales.
“It’s very different for us to act like that because traditionally we would invest our time and money more into first party,” Lowe continued. “We have a sightly different business model to Microsoft and Sony, who will obviously invest more money or marketing support in third party titles. It’s almost the opposite for us but I think we realise now we have to invest in a much bigger way in third party partners because there are certain types of games that we’re just not specialists at.
“If we want to create a console that will appeal across boundaries to all different types of gamers we’re going to need their support more than ever before.”
The end result, Nintendo are hoping, will be third-party exclusives to the Wii U, whereas multiplatform releases will stand apart from their competitors due to the “individual features” of the console’s controller.
“We’re hoping we’ll get a lot of exclusives as well because of the unique way the console is made,” Lowe explained. “It is much easier for third parties to move their products across from Xbox 360 and PS3 to Wii U. However, the way that the controller has to make you think and make the developers think will hopefully mean that titles that are ported over will hopefully have individual features that aren’t on the other systems.”
Currently, the only third-party exclusives for the Wii U encompass Ubisoft’s ‘Killer Freaks From Outer Space’ and a multi-sports title, as well as LEGO City Stories from Traveller’s Tales. Batman: Arkham City, Ninja Gaiden 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Metro: Last Light and Darksiders 2 are also to be released on Wii U as multiplatform titles.
Lowe also discussed his thoughts as to why Japanese studios were quicker to develop games for Nintendo’s platforms that their western counterparts: “I think because we’re a Japanese company we automatically have those connections with companies like Konami and Capcom built up over many, many years, so it makes it easier for us to get those franchises off the ground first.”
He continnued, “But I think with EA in particular we recognise that we’ve had a very rocky relationship in terms of products and quality of their products on our systems. Sometimes its been great, sometimes they’ve done bespoke stuff for us and sometimes they’ve very much focused on the other consoles.”
“I think with this brave new dawn with EA its great for us and it was fantastic to see a few slides [during our E3 conference] with all of their key properties coming out, and I think that will be across both 3DS and Wii U as well.”