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Ubisoft CEO on Wii U sales: Nintendo has to perform this year

Ubisoft said Wii U sales needs to improve this year, if Nintendo wants more games for it.
Photo courtesy of Ubisoft, used with permission

Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, said Wednesday Nintendo's Wii U system needs to boost sales this year, if it wished to see more games from the French publisher.

Interviewed by CVG, Guillemot said the recent commercial success of "Mario Kart 8," has given the Wii U system the push it needed to rejuvenate sales and believes "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U." will be another crucial title for the console. He further added that if "Nintendo put the right price on the machine," it will sell even better. Back in June of 2013, Ubisoft suggested Nintendo reduce the price of the Wii U, which was previous sold at $350 for the deluxe version and $300 for basic version, to improve hardware sales. In August of the same year, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata denied the Wii U's price was the problem, citing poorer sales of the basic model when compared to the deluxe version. However, in late August, a Wii U price cut was announced for the deluxe Wii U, while the basic version was discontinued.

Back to the present, Guillemot confirmed reports that the publisher are sitting on a finished Wii U game, but won't release it until hardware sales improve.

We are also waiting for them to achieve more sales so that we can invest more. Because the problem we have with next-gen now here, is that we are seeing less games that are on next-gen and last-gen consoles.

Nintendo has to perform this year, otherwise they will have less games. Justifying investing in the machine needs a larger install base.

Third-party support for Nintendo consoles have always been weaker when compared to its competitors, but Ubisoft have been one of the few publishers to decently support the Japanese hardware maker. Lately, Nintendo and Ubisoft's relationship has taken a hit in regards to Wii U (and 3DS). When Wii U support was at its strongest, Ubisoft saw little profit from game sales. Poor Wii U game sales led Ubisoft to cease exclusives like "ZombiU" for the system and turning the previously announced Wii U game, "Rayman Legends," into a multiplatform title. There were even rumors of Ubisoft dropping the Wii U altogether, which they denied, but couldn't back up with their release schedule for the Nintendo console.

Perhaps the most significant event symbolizing Ubsoft's lack of faith in Wii U was their sluggish response on whether or not "Watch_Dogs" for Wii U was cancelled, and then announcing the anticipated game would launch last on the system. As Guillemot said, "Watch_Dogs" and "Just Dance" will come to Wii U, but nothing beyond that. In contrast, Ubisoft has "Far Cry 4," "Assassin's Creed Unity," "The Crew," and "Tom Clancy's The Division" planned for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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