A disturbing piece of news emerged around the possible future for Nintendo, and it's bad, bad news indeed for everyone who recently bought a Wii U by the look of things. Specifically, it's news related to just how many developers are currently hard at work on a Nintendo title...or rather, how few.
The Game Developers Conference's 2013 State of the Industry survey ran down the totals of North American game developers, and what their next project was to be. 13.2 percent were currently developing for the Xbox 360. 13 percent, nearly parity, were working for the PlayStation 3
. But for the Wii U? Only 4.6 percent of developers were currently at work on a Wii U title.
The numbers got worse when the issue of the future arose. Developers' next games were 14 percent in favor of the Xbox 360, a slightly smaller percentage--12.4 percent--were going after the PlayStation 3, and only 6.4 percent were planning development for the Wii U.
Just to top it off, the handheld numbers were an unqualified disaster. 4.2 percent of developers were working on a PS Vita
game, but less than half that, two percent, were working toward a game on the 3DS. Worst of all, only 13 percent of developers even want to make Wii U games, while better than twice that want to work with both Sony--27 percent--and Microsoft
More developers were looking to unexplored markets like the new line of PC consoles that connected to televisions like the upcoming Steam Box, but the numbers as they stand just plain old don't look good.
Nintendo's biggest problem in the short term is the game flow. Nintendo needs games, and it needs them in rapid fashion. It got to the point where Nintendo had to trot out the top brass to put out a video explaining what was going on. That bought them some time, make no mistake about that, but it certainly didn't change the fact that there aren't many games in the short-term pipeline for the Wii U. What's worse is that the long-term pipeline isn't looking much better. Many upcoming releases are still classified in general terms, or as "TBA"--to be announced. To couple the slim numbers of games already in play with a comparatively slim number to follow topped off by a waning interest in development for the system is a combination made in...well...it sure ain't heaven.
This may well prove to be the kind of disaster that may finish off Nintendo overall, and unless they can get some fresh development in the pipe, Big N may not be big much longer...if it's around at all.