Ubisoft has supported Nintendo's troubled Wii U since launch with a variety of titles for multiple audiences. Family/casual titles like Just Dance have been balanced with M-rated fare such as ZombiU and Assassin's Creed. Unfortunately for fans of M-rated games, those titles do not sell on the Wii U compared to other consoles, so as Game Informer reports in an interview with Ubisoft's CEO Yves Guillemot, the company is scaling back on its Wii U plans and getting out of the M-rated game business on Wii U.
“It’s very simple,” Guillemot says. “What we see is that Nintendo customers don’t buy Assassin’s Creed. Last year, we sold in very small numbers.” In fact, across Ubisoft’s portfolio, Nintendo Wii U sales only represent three percent of the total for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. That’s down a percentage point from the previous year. Wii sales were still strong in the last fiscal year, making up 11 percent of total software sold, with major strength from the Just Dance franchise.
The company isn’t abandoning Nintendo entirely. Rather, it is simply shifting its focus on the platform. “What we see is that they are very interested in Just Dance, very interested by other kinds of games," Guillemot says. “So what we are trying to do is to focus more on the types of games they are interested in.”
Watch Dogs is the exception to this new rule. Ubisoft has promised the title for Wii U, and as of now, that version is still in the works. “[Watch Dogs] is coming to Wii U,” he assures. “It will be the only mature game we publish on it.”
It's a shame to see Ubisoft cut bait on the console, but it's hardly a surprise. Its ports of Assassin's Creed can't compare to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One counterparts; why would I buy a lesser version of a game if given the choice? Ubisoft can't expect Watch Dogs to turn the tide and, honestly, I'm not quite sure why they're still releasing it later this year. The Wii U is a great console, but if you want to be a well-rounded gamer then it should not be your only console. Better versions of games like Assassin's Creed and Watch Dogs are available elsewhere.
That said, it surprises me that the company isn't giving the PS3/X360 exclusive Assassin's Creed Rogue a chance on Wii U where it could have been the better version. I'm interested in Assassin's Creed as a franchise and am planning on playing the PS4 version of Assassin's Creed Unity, but with Rogue remaining on last generation hardware and my PS3 going unused these days, I'm less likely to play Rogue compared to if it were available on the Wii U which I do actively use. Watch Dogs is essentially over since the other versions have months of lead time over the upcoming Wii U release. Put Rogue out there on the same day as the other versions, see what it can do, and use that as a measuring stick as to whether or not the Wii U audience wants those kinds of titles. My PS3 is essentially retired, but my Wii U is open for business.