Why Hasn't Nintendo Turned The Wii U Into A 'Nintendo Paradise'?

The Wii U is struggling because it has so few games. Nintendo has a massive library of amazing classic games. How have they not put two and two together yet?

Last week, Nintendo finally launched the Wii U's Virtual Console, which allows you to download and buy classic games so you can play them with the Wii U's cool new features, like Off-TV Play. (You can play classic games on the Wii's Virtual Console too, but you have to navigate a brand new menu, and you can't play those games on the Wii U GamePad.)

But pickings are slim: the service launched with merely eight VC games, and longtime Nintendo fans are starting to worry that history will repeat itself. The Wii's Virtual Console service was great, but game updates were sluggish and inconsistent. Are we about to see the same thing happen with the Wii U?

Today on Wired, Chris Kohler writes an excellent (and scathing) editorial about this very subject:

On a recent 8-4 Play podcast, I said that Nintendo should immediately institute some kind of App Store-like development environment, mobilizing the combined efforts of the world’s indie developers to generate lots and lots of Wii U content more cheaply. Ryan Payton, formerly of Metal Gear Solid and Halo fame and now of the indie game Republique, offered that Nintendo could do something similar but by looking inward rather than outward: Make Wii U a “Nintendo paradise,” he said, a one-stop shop for Nintendo’s entire history.

Good idea! What are you waiting for, Nintendo? Seriously. Even the PlayStation Vita — which has been the gaming industry's punchline for over a year now — lets you download loads and loads of PS1 Classics and PSP games. I wrote about this four months ago, and not much has changed: if we could play Nintendo's entire library, from the NES through the GameCube, on the Wii U's Virtual Console, this would be the system to own.

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    Overpriced and under-gamed, does it get any worse?

    Considering we all had emulators for this stuff 10+ years ago it's pretty ridiculous that it takes this long. They're doing it on purpose for whatever reason, and that reason sucks.

    I'm still happy with my Wii-U purchase but it's really a console with 2-3 games (which is ridiculous) and I can't justify a recommendation when anyone asks me if they should get one.

    I believe there was something mentioned to this effect a little while ago in regards to nintendo giving indie devs access to Wii U dev kits or something though I have no link to cite.
    Also, Pokemon Snap 2 with a Wii U gamepad camera would be an instant console seller, you all know it to be true.

      Had the same idea - make it have parts that mesh with augmented reality - you could have Charizard jumping out at you from behind the couch...

      Tie it in with a Pokemon stadium game (or a Pokemmo) where using Pokemon cards, figurines, and of course trading from nds and 3ds Pokemon games and Nintendo would have all the money

    Wii U is a lost cause. I hope Nintendo are working on their next console offering as they have seriously stuffed up with this round.

    I think the Wii U o/s should have been based around Nintendoland. When you turn it on, you jump straight into the plaza with people wandering around. All of the minigames could be bought separately or in groups for reasonable prices and Nintendo could keep churning them out. Some of the ? boxes could just be credits towards more games.
    You then have several levels of the plaza, one for AAA games, another for Virtual console, etc.,Obviously include the shortcuts so you can jump to things easily.

      Sounds like Home except without dickheads.

        Its not Sony's fault that the vast majority of their users are teenagers and immature young adults...

        Last edited 03/05/13 11:08 pm

    It's a nice idea, although I think they need to get some genuine Wii U versions of Nintendo's classic series (or even some new IP) on there first. If they had a virtual console with Nintendo's entire back catalogue on it but no real Wii U games then they'd run the risk of the system being seen as some kind of museum instead of a current, vibrant platform.

    I think they need to get the real Wii U games out there first and then add the retro stuff later as the icing on the cake.

    Last edited 03/05/13 11:53 am

      It's only helped the Vita. That being said, nothing new specifically for the Vita has cought my eye for quite some time.

    I been spending most my life living in a Nintendo paradise...

    It is frustrating. They really don't seem to be in a hurry to do much.

    Would love to play a game of alien probotector. Or Donkey Kong Country.

    If someone makes a decent universal control pad for smartphones and tablets, Nintendo will be dead in the water ... well more dead

    People are getting sick of Mario and Zelda. Mario has been done to death. Where's Metroid? F -Zero? Kirby? Starfox? Kid Icarus? Those games can be huge system sellers, and yet they just stick to Zelda and plain old Mario.

      I'm getting sick of 2d throwback mario. Galaxy and 3D land were good steps forward but I would like to see the traditional 64 style over-world with big levels scattered about the over-world. Enough with the linear paths through levels, drop us in and let us do our own thing.

      Also a level editor would be nice, especially with the 3DS's street pass and the wiiU's gamepad.

      Both Metroid's and Kirby's Wii installments are roughly 2-3 million combined (for each series that is). They are way behind the sales of Super Mario Galaxy 2 (~6m), let alone Super Mario Galaxy (~10m), New Super Mario Bros Wii (~27m) and Mario Kart Wii (~34m). Also before you highlight the fact that the Kirby games came out towards the end of the Wii's life cycle you would be kidding yourself that they would have reached sales even close to say Super Mario Galaxy if released at the same time.

      No one more than myself would love a new Metroid or F-Zero game, hell Kid Icarus was my favourite 3DS game until Fire Emblem Awakening released a couple of weeks ago, but unfortunately Mario titles are their most profitable and safest franchise for Nintendo. Considering they are a business they are going to be fairly risk aversive in the current economic climate. They answer to shareholders first and fans second, this basically translates to a lot of Mario titles during a consoles lifetime, with the occasional game from another fan favourite series to break the cycle up and add some form of variety.

      As for system sellers the next new Zelda title and possibly a new console Pokemon game with connectivity to its 3DS counterparts (X and Y) are the only titles I could see people purchasing a Wii U to play.

      Metroid had a decent outing on the Wii. Kid Icarus has been taken out for a decent trot lately, and Kirby... that puffball's been all up in everyone's business.

      I disagree with you at times, but this time I'm with you 100%. While I love Zelda & Mario, I would love to see a new F-Zero and Kirby, more so new Megaman.

      Wow, you have no idea what you are babbling about...


      It took me all of 10 seconds to look up the games that Nintendo published last gen, there was only 2 3D Mario games, 1 2D Mario games, 2 Legend of Zelda games.

      Why do people ignore Nintendo's other titles (Fire Emblem, Xenoblade, Pandora's Tower, The Last Story, etc) when they want to accuse Nintendo of rehashing IP's ? (Would you refuse to release your top selling franchises? Seems like a suicidal business decision, thankfully you aren't running a company, it would be dead by now)

    They should have everything available, ready to go, cheaply. I'd be perfectly happy to pick up a bunch of retro Nintendo games I didn't have the opportunity to play if they were available on the system currently plugged into my telly.
    My WiiU is gathering dust, and it's not because I don't want to play it. There's just nothing to play at the moment.

      By trickling out titles a few per week, they maximize sales. If they just threw their entire catalog up, people would only purchase the classics/popular titles and never bat an eye to the other lesser known gems.

      I never played Excite Bike before, so I bought it for the heck of it to try it out.... if Nintendo had ALL of their titles there, I wouldn't have purchased it, and instead went for titles I'm already comfortable with.

      Its a sound business strategy.

    I'm a Nintendo fanboy, but if someone asked me about the Wii U then I honestly would not recommend it.

    Nintendo has failed miserably with the Wii U so far, and just doesn't seem interested in putting in any extra work to try & turn the situation around. They seem to be trying to maintain the status quo & hoping things will fix themselves.

    If I were Nintendo this is what I'd be aiming for.

    1. The Wii U being compatible with 3DS games. I do not own a 3DS, but I would buy Luigi's mansion 2 in a heartbeat if I could play it on my Wii U, even if it was a port/emulated. The Wii U now has 2 screens to work with, and I assume the coding is somewhat similar, so adding compatibility should not be a major issue.

    2. Advertise the crap out of the new controller "Parents watching news on the TV when you want to play games = Nintendo" "Brother is using the computer & you want to surf the net = Nintendo. I haven't tried accessing the internet through the Wii U, but it can easily be marketed as a 2nd computer, people sit around using their phones for the net & this controller screen is much nicer.

    3. I hate the desktop screen, it looks interesting but gets boring quick. I want to turn on my console & have the icons for my most recently played games, but most of the screen I want as a news page. Companies PAY for space like that for advertising, Nintendo has it & is letting it go to waste. Tell me about the new Mario, tell me about Harvest Moon, tell me funny stories from around the office, just use the space for something. Put some new marketplace things & specials on there too.

    4. You can't even look at the shop until you make an account. Buying something is my No. 1 reason for making an account in most things. I still have not made a Nintendo account because I can't even look to see if I want to buy something.

    5. I read that nintendo was unhappy with the Ouya having nintendo emulators, and I understand why. But with this action the Ouya has upped it's amount of games & it's time for Nintendo to return the favor. Make a deal to run both Android & iOS emulation on the Wii U, both of them would probably jump at the idea of selling more games/apps.

    6. Have some kind of subscription service. Use all proceeds to keep the fans happy. Use the money for extra characters in games, extra maps, tracks, karts, etc. Use it to translate the MOUNTAIN of content that doesn't come to English. Make fixes for bugs in old games. Translate & fix games that you don't own the rights to, you might gain some points with various developers.

    There's more, but I think those are the main starters.

    Is there a reason why they don't just put their entire back catalogue on the virtual console? Is it because of licensing issues and royalty fees, or do they just want to make the new Wii U games more appealing?

    Last edited 04/05/13 1:42 pm

    That won't happen, and it is for a few reasons:

    1. Licensing - Not every game that was released on a Nintendo belongs to Nintendo to use. Look at the RARE original IPs for example. Nintendo may not own the rights to re-distribute alot of them.

    2. Risk vs Returns - Sure it'd be great to have a chance to own all of their classics on a single console, but will they all sell even if they did get distributed? Look at the Yo Noid! game on NES, that was a horrible platformer that I can't imagine would make back the money that would be spent in porting it over to the Wii-U (It requires resources). Then you have other games such as Clash at Demonhead. Ask alot of people about that game and they will reference Scott Pilgram and not know it was actually a game. It'll be so obscure that it'd be oft overlooked.

    3. Resources - Then we need to think about the games that could probably be ported easily and would sell, but they would require re-tooling to work for the Wii-U. Take Gamecube games, they are confirmed to work within the hardware already but there are no Native GC controller solutions yet, so that'd need to be re-worked whilst keeping the game true to the original. I imagine we will see some 1st party games like Luigi's Mansion come over, but will it be worth the effort to re-work every GC title when it's likely that not even half of the catalog would garner the attention of players?

    I'd like to see a legit all-in-one system as much as anybody, but it's just not going to happen. Peoples best bet will be to just get a Wii and softmod it to work with emulators, and then buy official VC titles as they are released to support them. But some great titles like Treasure of the Rudras just won't ever come stateside, so I will have my rom collection for a while.

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