[UPDATED: Commenter 'Saad' below has pointed out that Tony Key, senior VP of sales and marketing at Ubisoft, went on the record to clear things up after the earlier news. Here's his quote in its entirety. Kind of odd how he doesn't directly mention next year and beyond, but that being said, it's good to hear that they've still got Nintendo's back. At least someone does.
“We did not take a big risk with all those launch titles on Wii U. [Wii U game] development isn’t expensive — some Wii U games are versions of games for other platforms, like Assassin’s Creed. And we continue to invest in that system. We have just as many titles coming on Wii U this year as we did after launch, because the system isn’t as resource-intensive to make games for it. We continue to believe that the Wii U will find its audience. We saw some good games [during Nintendo Direct this week]. We’re confident that the Wii U is a good place for us to do business, and we can make money there.”
So there you have it. Nothing to see here, move along.]
Ubisoft is one of the last major third-party contenders that have stuck with the Wii U through thick and thin, but it looks like that relationship may be ending soon. In an investor meeting with Ubisoft, industry analyst David Gibson reported that Ubisoft may be losing hope for the Wii U:
"Ubisoft at investor meeting said it has reduced plans for WiiU following soft launch and expects price cuts given sales and weaker yen."
Ubisoft is still going to release the hotly-anticipated games Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and Rayman Legends on Wii U, but multiplatform releases beyond that may skip the Wii U entirely. There's a reason Rayman Legends is no longer an exclusive.
This is just another loss in a series of third parties leaving the platform, and a big loss at that. I won't say the situation is dire for Nintendo; they've carried consoles along on almost no third-party support before, but it is becoming very ominous. I'm getting some serious Dreamcast vibes from Nintendo's situation here. Do you think Pachter is right in thinking Nintendo should leave the console game and become a third-party developer themselves? I don't think Nintendo's quite out of the fight just yet, but I completely understand if they decide to go that
route. The quality of the content will speak for itself, regardless of the platform. Even if they did drop out of the console race, I'd hope they'd stay in the portable race. 3DS has a great thing going for it right now. What do you think about all of this?