Valentines Nintendo Direct: Wii U Still Looks Barren

I don’t know if it’s just my perception or how far we still are from E3 2014, but the recent Nintendo Direct doesn’t really show much change in Nintendo compared to say, a year ago. Basically, the 3DS is doing great, but the Wii U still looks barren.

There’s already too much 3DS software for me to really enjoy all the stuff that’s worth playing (heck, I’m still on Fire Emblem Awakening), and that train doesn’t seem to be stopping. Nintendo spent what looked like 80 percent of the Direct on 3DS, giving dates, new details on games we know about, and announcing new games. For the Wii U we got a couple new dates and some new details but that was it — no indication of more Wii U software down the line.

Now this is the middle of February and I imagine Nintendo can shimmy in at least one more Direct before E3, but outside of licensed stuff, right now the number of Wii U retail releases we’ve got forecasted is in the single digits. For all of 2014. It looks slim even compared to what PS4 and Xbox One have coming in the next couple months, and don’t think you can fill in the gaps with the digital-only offerings.

It also alarms me a bit that Mario Kart 8 — what was before considered the Wii U’s Spring savior when it would’ve been much better for it to hit during the 2013 holidays, will now come out a week and a half before E3. Nintendo is bound to announce more at E3, even for 2014 release, but right now it looks like they’re betting the holidays on Super Smash Bros. and Bayonetta 2. We still don’t know when X is coming out.

I do think X looks cool though. This is a bit off-topic, but to me for some reason X looks like the high definition Japanese RPG we should have gotten. Seeing that real-time party-based combat play out with modern graphics is what we should have seen happen around 2008, but it still looks impressive to me in 2014.

Are Nintendo’s first party studios really that far behind in console development? We already know about the Wii U’s problems with third party support, but it looks like first party support is having trouble too. Maybe Nintendo really does need to bring its future consoles and handhelds under the same architecture. They don’t seem to be able to devote adequate resources to both pipelines anymore.

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