Published on December 30th, 2014 | by Ben Rueter0
What Nintendo Did Right And Wrong In 2014
2014 was a standout year for Nintendo for a few major reasons. The Wii U has been slowly building a respectable library and 2014 made a case for why plenty of people should buy a Wii U or a 3DS now.
According to VGChartz , three of the top ten best selling games globally in 2014 were from Nintendo; Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Pokémon Omega Ruby and Sapphire. As of Dec. 13, the Wii U makes up 23 percent of global hardware sales compared to XBO (28 percent) and the PS4 (48 percent). The opposite exists in relation to handheld sales with the 3DS making up almost 84 percent of the market and the Playstation Vita holding only 16 percent.
Currently, the 3DS sits on a stable library of games. Third-party developers are beginning to shine on 3DS. Early successes like Bravely Default and Fantasy Life stood out. While stay-true successes like a Pokémon, Professor Layton and Kirby reminded Nintendo fans that first-party titles are as good as they have ever been.
In 2014, the Wii U appears to have gotten over a hump. Nintendo is building an impressive collection and arguably a better collection than the competition. Bayonetta 2 has received high accolades from critics and players alike. Nintendo took a risk buying exclusivity when games cost so much to develop these days. Convincing Platinum Games to take a risk by developing Bayonetta 2 exclusively for the Wii U and not spreading the sales over three separate consoles proved a success for Nintendo. They followed that up with Mario Kart 8’s and an aggressive line up of indie titles like Children of Light and Shovel Knight. Nintendo is changing their tide.
The cherry on top for 2014 is none other than Super Smash Bros. with the double knock out releasing on 3DS and Wii U months apart. It was an interesting move but undoubtedly brought it millions of dollars for the company while cross promoting Nintendo’s deep library of games.
There is great news for Nintendo fans on the horizon; 2015 looks to be even better. Titles like Star Fox for Wii U and an open world Zelda title for Wii U can give Wii U owners hope for stellar AAA titles. The 3DS has Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and an original Nintendo property called Code Name S.T.E.A.M. on the docket.
While Nintendo made phenomenal strides to prove why a Wii U and or 3DS belong in your life, Nintendo still managed to trip over the course of 2014 in some minor ways.
Despite generally positive reviews for Tomodachi Life for 3DS, its launch in North America was spoiled by its lack of same-sex relationships in game. Nintendo said in a news release, “The ability for same-sex relationships to occur in the game was not part of the original game that launched in Japan, and that game is made up of the same code that was used to localize it for other regions outside of Japan.” Later Nintendo apologized and stated that it would strive to create another Tomodachi games that would be more inclusive. In the grand scheme of game related news, it was a flash in the pan. However, it speaks to larger issues related to Nintendo’s awkwardness when dealing with the public.
Nintendo isn’t shy to taking risks and it remains to be seen if Nintendo can capitalize on the Amiibo figures. If Nintendo can’t push these figures beyond Super Smash Bros., the Amiibos will end up as impulse buy items next to the gift cards at Wal-Mart. Toys-to-life games may have staying power for years to come or they could be a fad that Nintendo got into too late.
While Wii U sales are lacking in comparison to the competition, Nintendo is not a stranger to pulling their weight by supplying quality first-party titles and occasionally offering a sleeper third-party hit. Nintendo looks to continue doing what it does best; more Zelda, more Mario, and a few surprises along the way. Things are looking up for the Wii U.