The Wii U’s controller has a touch screen that seems like it was made for the simple touch-controlled games that populate smartphones. The only problem is getting those games on the system. Nintendo may be working to address that issue if recent rumors are to be believed.
Anonymous sources speaking to The Japan Times say that Nintendo is working on conversion software that would help smartphone developers easily port their titles to the Wii U. The push is part of a larger focus on getting more software on the system to help boost console sales.
If true, the push for smartphone titles falls into line with Nintendo’s recent initiative to get indies on its platform. It can’t readily rely on traditional game publishers to provide a steady stream of games for the system so it has to rely on these indies to bring a number of unique experiences to the console.
Such a move begs the question – will people buy a Wii U to play games that they can already play on a smartphone or tablet? Nintendo apparently thinks they will. It’s a sharp change of course for the company as it has previously derided smartphone games as devaluing games.
Software certainly sells hardware, but will smartphone games do the trick? Maybe not, but Nintendo also has a strong first-party lineup of software coming out later this year. There’s even talk of a new 3D Mario game coming out in October. Such a release, combined with Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD and others, could potentially see Nintendo selling more than its fair share of units this holiday season.
Of course, Nintendo will have to watch out for the likes of Sony, and possibly even Microsoft, as both will be appealing to indies as well. Sony has been especially aggressive in this area, and even chose to highlight an indie game at its PS4 reveal event. Nintendo may have to start getting that aggressive about indie titles if it wants to bring the best the indie development scene has to offer to the Wii U.