Wii U lacks "killer app" say analysts

More information about the console is wanted

Analysts sent out statements reacting to what they saw of the Wii U, and most were clearly concerned about the software shown (or lack thereof), what form the third party support will take and what the pricing and release will eventually be. Even those that were somewhat impressed by Nintendo's new home console still have questions and concerns about the device.

Sterne Agee analysts Arvind Bhatia and Brett Strauser both were hoping that there would be more information about the Wii U's launch date/price and a true killer app to push users to upgrade. "None of that happened," they said. "Wii U, which investors were hoping would help revive the weak trends, has had a mediocre showing at the show this year. While the Wii U's user interface with the tablet controller is interesting, we didn't see many games taking advantage of the controller. Most of the third party publishers we spoke to seemed to be lukewarm about the Wii U console and don't seem to be developing games for it aggressively. That said, Nintendo has always had the ability to surprise everyone."

Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter was disappointed that Nintendo was no more specific about the Wii U's release than Holiday 2012, noted that details like the technical specifications are still a mystery and that "widespread third-party support appears to be lacking so far." He also noted that while the company confirmed that Wii U would support two separate GamePads, "pricing may make owning two GamePads an expensive luxury, and the focus will be on the single GamePad experience for the time being."

"Overall, we were disappointed with the Nintendo presentation, as many key questions about the Wii U remained unanswered, a year after the console's official introduction, and less than seven month's before its scheduled release," he added. "We would have liked additional information on Wii U's technical specifications, release dates, and pricing. Also, it remains unclear at this point whether Nintendo will have the third-party support needed for Wii U to appeal to a wider audience of gamers."

Colin Sebastian was more upbeat in his assessment, though he still wanted more. "Nintendo hopes to build off of the success of the Wii with a more engaging experience using the GamePad tablet, as well as in-game social networking (Miiverse) and broad entertainment options. In our view, the platform is a clear improvement over the Wii, but questions remain in terms of launch details, the depth of online services, and third-party game pipeline. It also appears that Nintendo is targeting its traditional fan base, as well as younger audiences, although we see an opportunity to attract core gamers growing impatient for the launches of the next-generation Xbox and PlayStation."

"Key Wii-U launch titles include first-party games Super Mario Bros. and Pikmin, as well as third-party titles Batman (Warner), Assassin's Creed (UbiSoft) and a Wii-U exclusive ZombiU (UbiSoft). However, we did not see a clear 'killer app' for the core audience," he concluded.

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Latest comments (18)

Tynan Muddle Writer 5 years ago
No widespread third party support? I think 36 games for launch is pretty widespread.

Ubisoft is agressive, and they have the best games coming anyway. Actually, the only game you'd expect to be there that wasn't was Call of Duty and I HIGHLY doubt Activision will want to miss out on the low hanging fruit of a new console launch. I'm sure Black Ops 2 will be there, if not, Black Ops 3 or Modern Warfare 4 will certainly be there.

Again. 36 games. If industry analysts can't understand how that is a good thing (the most games in a console's launch in history), then maybe those analysts belong in a new industry.
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Kevin Patterson musician 5 years ago
@Tynan - Ubisoft is releasing some new titles for the Wii-u, but the others are releasing ports with Wii-u features. There wasn't much there in regards to new IP's or Wii-u only games from Third party. A brand new console playing games that will either be available on the other 5+ year old consoles at release or have already been released just isn't that exciting.

If you wanted Batman: Arkham City you probably would have bought it and played it already. Adding the Wii-u's controller to the game wouldn't make me buy the game again or want the console to play it. The only really interesting title I saw was ZombiU and that isn't enough to make me want to buy the new console.

I agree that I do not see a killer app yet for the Wii-u. Nintendo should have made a Super Mario 64 remake/sequel/etc and that would have been the killer app.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
Nintendo have the industry's biggest back catalogue of killer apps.
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Show all comments (18)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
@Kevin: If someone ONLY owns a Wii, all those "old" games are something to get excited about. Try putting yourself in the shoes of a single console owner instead of those of a jaded journalist who can afford every device under the sun and you might grasp it better.

As for those core first party gaes, they take TIME to make and no, Nintendo isn't going to act like they don't exist. They're simply hoping the huge launch/launch window lineup will keep people busy for long enough for them to put time into making a new 3D Mario worth diving into (and a Zelda and so forth and so on)...
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Stefan Pettersson Specialist Consultant, Fat Tuna5 years ago
First party games (Super Mario / Pikmin / WiiFitU) mixed with new IP:s (ZombieU) and third party games that's been on the market 1-2 years (Batman / Mass Effect 3) won't be enough to attract gamers to Wii U.

Especially not since the tech sounds like a pc from 2007/2008 and pretty much all titles are solo experiences.

Wii U seems like "another one for the kids" from Nintendo. Sure, Nintendo will earn lots a $$$ but i highly doubt third party will stay in the long run (after Xbox 8 / PS4 are released).
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
They're disappointed Nintendo didn't announce release dates or a price? Nintendo publicly confirmed they had no plans to announce either of those things at E3. Surely if these people are paid to watch and analyse the industry, they should know that?

They're absolutely right there isn't a single killer app, and the third party support, bar Ubisoft, is unconvincing so far. Where are the big end of year titles? Why haven't Nintendo announced anything for next year? Despite it being very easy for third parties to move across titles like Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider, they aren't confirming anything. That's as much a question for third parties as it is Nintendo. There's a third system to move your title onto, at minimum cost. Why not go for it? As it is, Wii U's showing was solid but unspectacular. They've convinced me the machine and tablet is a good idea, but not convinced me on the software side, bar Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends and Zombie U. I'd expect price, launch dates and 2013 games to be announced around September.

@ Stefan... First party games are exactly why gamers buy Nintendo systems. Look at recent sales figures for Mario platformers; over 20 million people bought Mario Bros for DS and Wii. The three latest 3D Mario platformers--the less popular Mario platformers--have all sold in excess of 5 million copies, Galaxy 1 is around the 10 million mark. Nintendo titles might not be enough for you to buy a new Nintendo machine, but they are EXACTLY the reason why millions of people will buy at year's end. Without huge, 'core' Nintendo blockbusters like Zelda or Metroid around, hobbyist gamers are more likely to buy titles like Pikmin and Zombie U, titles that normally wouldn't get much of a shout at launch. I'd argue 'real' (I hate using terms like that) gamers are more likely to buy a Wii U for an original, compelling experience like Zombie U, which seems to be one of the highlights for Wii U. No small achievement when a Miyamoto directed, EAD developed Pikmin 3 is in the line up.

Dismissing Nintendo's machines as "for the kids" is quite shallow, too. They have a breadth of appeal that you don't see outside of Disney or Studio Ghibli, really. As I've said above, third party support is unconvincing, but that's a question for publishers as much as it is Nintendo. Why not support a system that you can easily port your current PS3/360 games too, especially when you've known that system is coming since last year? A stupid decision, I think. There won't be a market for third party games on Wii U if quality third party games aren't there from the beginning. At least Ubisoft understand that, and have one of their biggest games (Assassins' Creed 3) coming, and two exclusives in Zombie U and Rayman Legends, that should appeal to hobbyist gamers.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 7th June 2012 11:10am

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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd5 years ago
It's surprising in the wake of the success of the Wii and DS that analysts still consider "tech specs" relevant when prognosticating about Nintendo.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
Honestly i was very pleased with Nintendo's offering. Killer App's take time to make, and Nintendo has probably the largest back catalog of killer app's for its previouse consoles. 36 third party games is not bad for a console thats launching, plus backwards compatability with Wii means you have hundreds of games at your disposal from day 1... unlike VITA...

The killer App's will be there, for now i think what they offered is enough to keep people busy until that day. and Im not worried about the horsepower of the console. If SONY wants to make a super console nobody can afford then thats ok. They just should not complain they are losing money. Nintendo has its first party software thats always good and only they can make a Super Mario bros game, starfox, Zelda or Metroid.

Plus support for 2 gamepads and the Pro contoller already got my blessing.

So yeah, if they get the console price just right... then they have my money.
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Stefan Pettersson Specialist Consultant, Fat Tuna5 years ago
@Daniel Hughes, First party ALWAYS sells very well on Nintendo platforms. 3rd party not so much. And most first party buyers ain't gamers, they're fanboys/girls.

Gamers, and then I mean mostly tech hungry males with good income who buys many games/year, won't go into bed with Nintendo this time either.

Third party on Wii U will be 95% ports from X360/PS3 and very little original IP. I don't think a new feature in Batman, Trine 2 or Mass Effect 3 makes it a new game.

When Xbox8/PS4 is released in 2013 the Wii U will be the Wii of last generation with games looking inferior to the original. Nintendos problem is they keep producing last generation hardware branding it as nextgen. Gamers don't fall for that, kids do.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
@Robin Clarke
@Rick Lopez

Exactly. Very well said.
It is the customer experience for the largest possible group of people that matters. This is why Wii beat Playstation and Xbox in the last generation. Hardware specification is irrelevant.
The great advantage Nintendo have from not going for a gold plated specification is that it allows them to be far more competitive on price. Most customers like this.
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I have to agree - I found the Nintendo conference lacking the "one" big new title. I was hoping a reveal at the end (a Retro title, or even an Eternal Darkness II) - but it never happened. (Still hoping the title is there, but just not shown off yet - a loaded bullet, ready to fire at the right time...).

There is enough WiiU stuff for me to easily buy one at launch - but I haven't played either Batman game (and are keen), will definitely get Pikmin - and at least 1 (if not 2) of the Ubisoft games. Presumably it will pack-in with Nintendo Land (aka WiiUPlay).

But unless ZombiU is RE quality (its disappointing that RE launches this Xmas, and is NOT on the WiiU) where are the truly new titles to hook in gamers? Surely not ScribbleNauts?

The strategy of showing how the WiiU controller improves games is a very solid one (IMO) - but its *only* relevant if the big 3rd-party games appear on the WiiU. That is what killed the Wii, and Ninty have to work hard (i.e. fund ports, and do whatever they can) to make sure it doesn't kill the WiiU.

Lets see GTAV, RE, COD, Battlefield (etc) all appear on the WiiU please.

Or a try killer blow - do a deal with Blizzard, and bring Diablo3 / WoW / StarCraft to the WiiU (surely all three are very possible).
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Scott Davis Games Analyst, Lift London, Microsoft5 years ago
There wasn't enough shown at E3 that makes the Wii-U feel fresh. Just Dance, Super Mario Bros and WiiFit are played on the Wii-U the exact same way they are played on the Wii, with the exact same peripherals.

Any game which will be multiplayer will pretty much have to use the old Wiimotes instead of the new-gamepad (down to 1. maximum of 2 new-gamepads per console and 2. being a very expensive control method). Now the multiplayer market was a HUGE demographic for the Wii and is still obviously being tapped into again to show the Wii-U as a family ready console as well.

The Wii sold the most when it was cheapest out of the bunch. The Wii-U won't be when it comes out and theres just not enough utilisation of what makes the Wii-U unique to justify spending more on it than a PS3/Xbox360.

Sorry Nintendo.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
Whatever they showed looked fun and alot of third party games arent even out for existing consoles, like assasins creed 3 and darksiders 2. I dont know what people are complaining about. 36 third party games at launch, plus backwards compatibility with Wii game library plus there own first party games. Nintendo has the largest catalog of killer apps and they will surely come. Plus support for 2 gamepads and the announcement of the pro controller have my blessing. As long as they get the price right...Bring on the WiiU!!!... (I still hate the name though and the fact that many game titles are gonna have a U at the end.)
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers5 years ago
Any expectation that Nintendo would talk about the price and release were mistaken as Nintendo has never talked about that at E3. Also, they've stopped talking about hardware specs altogether - I wouldn't ever expect them to get granular on that.

That said, third-party support could be best called tacit. Ubisoft is doubtlessly giving the best support for the system with a couple of exclusives, yet they still didn't announce other games like Far Cry 3 and Watch Dogs for the platform. Highly anticipated games like GTA V, RE6, COD:BO2 weren't named; they could be, but we can't assume any are definites. It's all about what skeptics were brought over to the system with the E3 presentation and... well, I think a lot of skeptics remain.

Also, it is a safe assumption that a full 3D Mario, a Zelda game and the like will be coming eventually... but to investors it's all about this year. The offerings were fine, but they wanted to see a real system seller this year, particularly since everyone expects Sony/Microsoft to launch next year and that might take a lot of consumer attention away from Wii U.

The sentiment is that it's an alright showing overall for Nintendo, but some felt they needed to really knock it out of the park. There's always time before launch for that to change (and maybe the price will surprise us all) but I haven't talk to anyone who'd consider this E3 a decisive victory for them.
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Nick Parker Consultant 5 years ago
I still find it interesting that industry observers of Nintendo forget that Wii was the first TV-based console success for the brand in terms of market share. Before Wii, Nintendo has played second fiddle since 1992 in Europe, first to Sega and then to Sony. The Wii sold well because of first the motion controller experience then the introduction of Wii Fit which both sucked in the family as gamers which was good news for the industry but who don't prolong the life of the console with high software tie ratios. Regardless of the tribes of adult Nintendo followers, Nintendo, as a brand, is most attractive to younger players, rather like Disney. Nintendo has yet to step up to the more adult games experiences found in multi-player online gaming or dedicated core games for which E3 2012 will be remembered. It is therefore not a given that Wii U will be as successful as Wii so Nintendo will have to work harder in the next gen cycle than in 2007/2008/2009.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
they dont need a killer app now, by the time SONY and Microsoft role out there new consoles, next E3 will allow Nintendo to focus on killer app software. I think its prudent for nintendo to focus on a succesful launch of the console and then focus on killer apps. As things stand now, as a new console purchase it has plenty to offer, both in features and avalable software, which includes backward compatability. Im still awaiting info on specific hardware specs and pricing but overall I liked their showing the most. And if the announcement price is appropriate and affordable, then they have my money.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 5 years ago
Completely disagree Rick. The Wii U is launching at a point where it is being beaten by the competition already in terms of game catalogue (both past and coming soon, physical and digital), second hand game availability, price/value and services.

Then when the new consoles come out, the appeal of the tech and the new experiences (even if they are high spec driven) will out way the pricing benefit of the Wii U. Let's also not forget that the Will U will be 2 years old by then (most likely) and so will be seen as old tech already and that every crossplatform game is likely to be worse on Wii U due to a new generation of engines.
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Naturally if Zombie U has a special Thriller zombie dance move killer attack, I might be sold!
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