Wii U first-party releases delayed due to requiring “more development resources than expected”

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 16:35 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told investors the reason for the delayed release of many first-party titles was due to Wii U launch titles requiring “more development resources than expected.”

Speaking during a financial call after Nintendo posted its yearly results last week, Iwata said in order for launch titles to be made available alongside the console, staff members from other development teams such as Pikmin 3 were pulled into other projects in order to get them out the door. This caused a release delay for future releases.

“We do not simply have one easily identifiable bottleneck in software development,” he said. “These days it is becoming increasingly challenging to determine the minimum development resources required for customer satisfaction.

“The point I am trying to get across is that currently it is more challenging to sell packaged software for around $50-$60. On the other hand, we can offer digital games in other formats. It is true that it is becoming increasingly challenging to meet the expectations of consumers who are willing to pay $50-$60 for a game, and it is difficult to break even unless a huge number of units is sold all over the world, so it cannot be denied that software development is becoming more challenging.

“Among such packaged software, however, the sales of popular games are much larger than in the past. Therefore, if we create more hit games, the software development business can still be very profitable. All games break even if they sell millions of copies worldwide, so we will continue to do our best to develop games which have high sales potential.”

Iwata told investors one of the ways he hopes to make the console more appealing to consumers, is to expand the range of software available for Wii U, such as with the recent release of Wii Street U powered by Google. In order to do this, the firm has expanded the range of software developers for the console, and is looking to bring in more developers verses in Unity, HTML5 and JavaScript.

“We have started working to expand the range of software developers for Wii U, as I announced in the Corporate Management Policy Briefing in January,” said Iwata. “As I mentioned just before, the development challenges for home console games selling for around $50-$60 have increased significantly.

“Therefore, we need to expand the range of software developers. The number of developers who can use versatile web technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript is probably more than 100 times larger than that of the current software developers for dedicated gaming machines. We would like them to create software for our console. Developers can now use Unity for Wii U development, and we have started offering it to the developers. There are over a million Unity developers, including many in developing countries where the business of dedicated gaming machines is not prosperous.

“We would like to create opportunities for these developers to have their games available for Wii U. We hope that these actions to expand the range of software developers. It is a fact that some software development companies assume that Wii U is not powerful enough. On the contrary, some developers say in interviews that Wii U has a different architecture from other consoles and that, when utilized in the right way, it can perform well.

“At the moment, there is a great deal of contradictory information. Nintendo is required to make more efforts to dispel such a misconception. In fact, some software companies are actively supporting Wii U and others are not. It is important to have supportive companies enjoy successful sales of a game and feel that their decision to develop something for Wii U was correct.”

Iwata said such a thing could not be achieved “overnight” but the firm is working to revitalize the Wii U market by showing “favorable results for third-party software” starting this summer.