Nintendo hopes for Wii U exclusives

Needs 3rd parties "more than ever before".

Nintendo is hoping that the Wii U's unique set of features will attract major third party exclusives when the new system launches next year.

Nintendo's UK marketing manager Rob Lowe told Eurogamer at E3 last week that the platform holder is having a major rethink about its approach to third party development in the run up to the release of the console.

"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," he insisted.

"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."

Lowe added that this new approach represents a major strategic shift for the company, who has traditionally relied on its own key franchises - such as Mario, Zelda and Pokémon - to drive 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," he explained.

"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."

According to Lowe, the end result should be big third party exclusives on the Wii U, while multiplatform releases on Wii U will be set apart apart from their PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 counterparts by "individual features".

"We're hoping we'll get a lot of exclusives as well because of the unique way the console is made.

"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."

The only third party exclusives confirmed for Nintendo's new system so far are Ubisoft's alien FPS Killer Freaks From Outer Space and Lego City Stories from Traveller's Tales.

A montage shown during Nintendo's E3 presser last week revealed a number of core multiplatform releases would be appearing on the console, including Batman: Arkham City, Ninja Gaiden 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Metro: Last Light and Darksiders 2.

Lowe also discussed Western developers' apparent reluctance to get on board with the 3DS, whereas Japanese studios have been quicker to up dev tools for the new handheld. In particular, he's looking forward to a "brave new dawn" with EA.

"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.

"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."

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

US News Editor

Fred Dutton is Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.


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