It is no secret that the Wii U has not been the success Nintendo had hoped it would be, at least not yet. Part of the reason why the platform struggled out of the gate came down to Nintendo not having enough compelling software available for the system at launch, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Siliconera in a new interview.
"When we launched the Wii U, we were pointing to Pikmin, we were pointing to Wii Fit U, and we were pointing to Zelda and Mario--so all of these great games that are coming out now, we wanted them to come out by the end of March last year," Fils-Aime said. "That’s been the biggest challenge we've had. We knew we had a great line-up. We wanted it to launch much earlier to drive the system."
The first-party software drought the Wii U suffered through at launch has been largely remedied, and won't be an issue moving forward either, Fils-Aime said.
"We have to make sure that the pipeline for new games has that steady pace. We've had it arguably since July, in terms of that regular pace of games--and guess what? The Wii U has responded, and we just have to make sure that that pace is consistent," Fils-Aime said.
Nintendo's "regular pace of games" recently included Wii Fit U and Super Mario 3D World in November, and will continue with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze this month. Nintendo will also release Mario Kart 8 and a new Super Smash Bros. game in 2014 alongside the Wii U-exclusive Bayonetta 2.
"I have to tell you--it doesn't affect what we do," he said. "We certainly look at it, and we're certainly aware of it, but it doesn't necessarily affect what we do."
The decision to localize a game like Xenoblade Chronicles, which Nintendo did for the original Wii in 2012, was based on a simple return-on-investment basis.
"The deal was, how much of a localization effort is it? How many units are we going to sell, are we going to make money? We were literally having this debate while Operation Rainfall was happening, and we were aware that there was interest for the game, but we had to make sure that it was a strong financial proposition," Fils-Aime said.
"I'm paid to make sure that we're driving the business forward," he added. "So we're aware of what's happening, but in the end we've got to do what's best for the company. The thing we know [about petitions] is that 100,000 signatures doesn't mean 100,000 sales."