E3 2014: New Year, Same Tune: Nintendo’s E3 Showing Leaves Me Worried

There’s really no denying that this year’s E3 was a large success for everyone involved. Each of the big three went toe-to-toe with each other, not only showing off more from the soon-to-be releases we’ve known about for months, but also unveiling a number of new entries to loved series, as well as new IP from everyone involved. With that said, and while Nintendo, in my opinion, had possibly the strongest showing when it came to in-house and second-party offerings, their lack of focus on the third-party shows a lack of understanding, or at least a reluctance to address, let alone fix, that as their main issue.

While systems certainly sell themselves on whatever exclusive content their console has to offer, that needs to be aided by proper third-party support which will always account for the majority of gaming done on said console. When you rely purely on whatever you – the company heads – can offer for your specific system, you run the risk of having your console shelved in the months between releases. Something many a Wii U owner would attest to, I would think. And don’t get me wrong. Following E3, were you to ask me whether or not the Wii U is a system worth owning, I would say yes. I would have said yes before E3. I am a hardcore gamer, and the Wii U is a hardcore system with a nice number of worthwhile exclusives to be had. The question is, how far can you push a system on exclusives alone?

It is obvious that Nintendo is having a hard time selling their system. When it was first unveiled, they pushed the idea that third-party support was a must this time around and they were ready to deliver. Coming off last generation, they addressed the fact that third-party support for the system was a mess. Droves of watered-down ports and shovel-ware plagued the Wii, whereas many developers and publishers rarely even bothered with the system as a whole.

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The sad thing is, the same can now be said for the Wii U. Where many publishers seemed to be behind the console early on, lack of sales and a lack of overall performance left many to focus on Sony and Microsoft’s consoles, leaving the Wii U an after-thought. Even Ubisoft, a company who, at one time, was in full support of the system has now backed away and openly admitted there would be less and less support for the system until there was a larger install base.

Problem is, without proper support for the console, how can you ever expect the user base to grow by any significant degree? While Nintendo has a laundry list of in-house support coming for the console, do most of the hardcore gamers and Nintendo fans already own the system? With the Xbox One and Playstation 4 being largely more powerful than the Wii U, allowing for better multi-platform experiences and already having the install base to push them, is Nintendo already stuck in a cycle of unsubstantial sales for their latest console until the inevitable follow-up?

While many would call Nintendo’s E3 a fantastic one for gamers, and I agree, it still spells out that Nintendo is stuck in the same rut they’ve been in since the Wii U’s launch. While a fantastic system in itself, all E3 did for me is solidify the idea that the Wii U’s luck isn’t going to change any time soon. This is, of course, isolated to what is seen with the Wii U. And, really, Nintendo can only rely on the success that is the 3DS for so long. At some point, things for their latest console need to change, or they will be looking at a situation worse for them than even the Gamecube, with a needed do over much sooner than anyone would have anticipated.