Nintendo’s Wii U launched late last year, and so far it doesn’t seem to be doing so hot. It’s missed its original sales projections, and it seems like Nintendo is scrambling to try and right the ship. A similar thing happened with Nintendo’s 3DS handheld too, and after dropping the price significantly shortly after launch and speeding up the delivery of some highly-anticipated titles the platform is finally starting to show some life.
According to a report in the Japan Times as noted by Polygon, Nintendo is hoping to pull of a similar turnaround with the Wii U by making it easier for developers to port their existing mobile titles to be playable on the system. The Wii U, in case you didn’t know, features a tablet-like controller with a large touchscreen, so existing smartphone and tablet games would make sense on the console. Nintendo is reportedly offering developers special software which would allow them to port existing games to Wii U as well as build games from the get-go with the Wii U in mind as one of the target platforms.
The consensus surrounding this news seems to be that most people would rather Nintendo put their focus in the opposite direction: port their existing library of first-party titles to smartphones and tablets. I mean, touchscreen controls aside you can’t deny that a Super Mario Bros. or Legend of Zelda port wouldn’t immediately top the App Store charts, even at the higher price tiers. If Nintendo’s goal was strictly to make boatloads of money, I think they would already be doing this.
However, Nintendo is a proud company and I think they’d rather have their latest system tank than put their beloved franchises on different platforms. Increasing pressure from shareholders and fans may change that sometime down the line, but I wouldn’t bet on it in the near future. As for porting mobile titles to the Wii U, I think there’s greater problems at play here than a dearth of downloadable games, but it will be interesting to see how the initiative shakes out nonetheless.