We’ve all heard this myth before, regardless of what platform we choose to play. It seems no matter what you play, someone will try to tell you there are no games to play on it. But, is this true? For any given platform? I want to look at each current platform to see if there are any this really applies to. Let’s start with the one about to lose this status: the WiiU
The WiiU is perhaps the most obvious choice to believe has very few games for it as looking in your local gamestop or other game-carrying store will show you a much smaller shelf of games then any other console, and almost anything you see will either be 1st party, or old games from when the machine was maybe a year old. Such a shelf certainly paints a grim picture about what options you have. The default WiiU games store page at Nintendo doesn’t help much either. At the time of writing, this page shows off 6 games total: 3 new 1st party games, 1 new 3rd party game, an N64 1st party title, and Minecraft, which has been everywhere else for literally years.
And while I can not and will not attempt to defend that page (anymore then any other Nintendo store interface for that matter) I do not believe it is a fair representation of what the system has to offer. In fact, the shelves at your local game store are not either, and we can see why by checking out another page on Nintendo’s site, their gameguide.
Using this page, you can filter out just the titles available to the system you want to look at, and doing this with the WiiU immediately shows you almost 1000 titles (952 as of writing) titles exists for the WiiU in the US. Now, this list is immediately suspicious as the first few lines show doubled-up games due to different editions available and looking it over you find applications like Hulu and Youtube included, so this does require some review, which I took the time to go through and cut down the numbers accordingly. Doing so brought our count of games down by 47 or so (I do not claim to be able to know the library well enough to be able to catch every example) taking out total games to 905 games. For a system that has been around for 4 years, that is not an insignificant title list and clearly shows there are indeed games for this system! So could shelf-space alone cause this impression of the system? Well, no. In fact that shelf-space is a symptom of another problem the console has.
And to the surprise of many, this problem is not their lack of AAA support. True this is a big problem for the system, but considering Nintendo is know for releasing their own army of 1st party games, I doubt this is as big a part of the image as many others. For every Last of Us or Gears of Wars or Civilizations the system did not get, Nintendo dropped a Mario, a Zelda, or some game no one saw coming like Bayonetta 2 that no one else got. Rather this seems to be one of the issues causing the shelf-space problem and it becomes obvious if you limit that list of games from all to just games available at retail.
The site’s own number of games available at retail is a MUCH smaller number at only 205. Reducing it by duplicates takes it even further down to a total of 186 games! And even worse for the casual consumer’s impression, 719 (and well over 4/5ths of the library) games not being seen in stores is a HUGE detriment to a console, but that’s not the end of the damage here. In addition a large number of games in this list do NOT have a physical release, but instead are available as cards with codes to download when you get home. In fact, this counts for an additional 60 games in this list, cutting down the disc releases in the US for the life of the console to just 126 games! For a console where the gamers still feel they don’t own their game unless they own a physical copy of it, this is a HUGE detriment and even if every single game was exclusive to the system (and they are not), would heavily influence the experience.
So, what can we take home from this? Well we can prove by sheer numbers that yes, the WiiU has games to play. We may even say there are a number of games a lot of people will like, and possibly even because of the lack of 3rd party AAA support, say that a number of those games are exclusive to the machine. However, we also have to say the myth lives because most of that library is digital only in the console world, so many people will simply miss their existence, giving life to a very false myth.