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Wii U release date must hit peak season

Blockbuster HD games are vital for Nintendo's next console launch

The Wii U release date is set for the second half of 2012, that much we know.

But the more important question for Nintendo is exactly when Wii U will arrive in relation to the annual October-November release rush.

Seven of the top ten best-selling games of 2011 were released in and around this period. If Nintendo really wants to seduce the kind of gamer it has lost to HD consoles over the last few years, Wii U needs to launch ahead of - or alongside - new entries in the industry's biggest name franchises.

Not only that, but they need to offer something that the other formats simply don't have. New Call Of Duty, FIFA and Assassin's Creed games are all due at the end of the year, and they must arrive on Wii U not only looking better than their Xbox or PS3 counterparts, but with extra functionality. Why make the switch otherwise?

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As the sales charts show, gamers are happy to lap up these annual updates and big-name shooters. Miss this peak period or fail to offer a compelling alternative and they'll simply buy the game on the format they already own.

It seems as if Nintendo has thought of all this already. Within Nintendo's investor briefing earlier this week, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata spoke on the subject of the Wii U release date.

"A new platform is likely to have a gap between the launch titles, which many developers want to release, and the second wave of software. It is indispensable to avoid such a gap in our future business," he said.

"In determining the launch date of the Wii U, we need to take into account not only what to release at the launch period but how to keep the sales momentum after then."

Is this Iwata hinting at plentiful HD ports in time for launch and beyond? Possibly. Platform holders like Nintendo simply don't have the time and resources to launch a major home console AND develop 15-20 new games to go on sale day one. Third party publishers like Ubisoft, EA and Activision will need to come along for the ride too if Nintendo is to release enough games to keep the momentum going, as Iwata promises.

We'll find out exactly what the plan is on Tuesday June 5th at E3 2012. If there are a huge number of third party games in development for Wii U, then Nintendo has done a remarkable job of keeping everyone quiet up until now.

Until then, all we can do speculate - and speculate we will. What are your thoughts on the Wii U release date? Do these games matter to you? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Groosenator Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 15:36

    If Bethesda release Skyrim on the Wii U, that'll keep many people happy for months until a new Zelda game comes out, as I'm guessing that's one of the main reasons why people are excited for the Wii U.

  2. monthehoops64 Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 16:14

    never mind skyrim. skyward sword is far superior in every way, we need all the big names to come to wii u just so people have nothing to bitch about on the net. I cant wait to get new Nintendo games for my Wii U because they are always a far better product than even the biggest selling FPS on all consoles including Wii.

  3. LiamR08 Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 16:24

    never mind skyrim. skyward sword is far superior in every way, we need all the big names to come to wii u just so people have nothing to bitch about on the net. I cant wait to get new Nintendo games for my Wii U because they are always a far better product than even the biggest selling FPS on all consoles including Wii.

    I am willing to bet a large sum of money you have never even played Skyrim.

  4. bobbyy29 Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 16:30

    Or he might have. I've played Skyrim and while it was very very good, I still believe Skyward Sword is better. Too many menus to navigate in combat in Skyrim! If it was released on Wii U then I might change my mind though. :D

  5. ThePokekid78 Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 16:43

    Well done Nintendo, they've learnt from the poor launch that the 3DS had - Wii U will be awesome!

  6. Groosenator Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 16:45

    never mind skyrim. skyward sword is far superior in every way, we need all the big names to come to wii u just so people have nothing to bitch about on the net.

    Skyrim is a big title... :| It was awarded GOTY. I'm sure many Nintendo fans would like to see Skyrim on the Wii U, as the console is twice as powerful as the PS3 and Xbox 360, so the game would look even better on the Wii U. They could probably fix some bugs and glitches too. Also, Skyward Sword is done. The majority of people who have bought it, have most likely completed it, by now. As much as I agree that Skyward Sword was absolutely amazing, Nintendo are finished with it and already making a new Zelda game for the 3DS and Wii U. That's why Skyrim would be an excellent addition to the Wii U's line up of games. Not saying it will happen, but it would be awesome if it does.

  7. Waldy565 Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 17:11

    june 5th?! what? :'(

  8. ledreppe Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 17:24

    I'm ready anytime, but if it has to be released peak season then November/December (hopefully November).

  9. tomutwit Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 18:58

    Who cares about EA, Activision and, er Ubisoft?
    Capcom, Konami, Bethesda, Square Enix and all the indie devs like Gaijin, 2d Boy, Team Meat.
    That's what I want to see on my Wii U's start up scree to get me to buy one sooner rather than later!

  10. thenintendoer Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 19:53

    although i dont care much for games like cod and assasins creed i really hope they relase on the wii u that way the sales will be good and more hardcore players will purchase nintendos software

  11. Redfish20 Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 21:12

    I would be tempted by Battlefield, which could probably make use of the extra screen for tactical battle analysis and the like

  12. MikeIt0rNot69 Thursday 2nd Feb 2012 at 22:36

    if they have all the same games that xbox and playstation make but even better that well sell milions

  13. MartinIsAwesome Friday 3rd Feb 2012 at 15:10

    I don't know about the idea of having ports of games already available on other consoles. I always figured that the main reason people buy Nintendo machines is to play the exclusive Nintendo software. I doubt anyone who wanted Modern Warfare 3 would've bought a Wii in order to play it. Likewise no one is going to get a Wii U to play something like Darksiders 2 when it'll already be available on other consoles. It seems that releasing these (now truely) multi-format titles and ports will only benefit those who exclusively own a Wii.
    What Nintendo really need to do is strike up a deal to get new and exclusive titles in these big franchises made for the Wii U. They've dabbled in this area already with GTA: Chinatown Wars on DS and a new Resident Evil on 3DS - and look how well that sold over the weekend. If there was, for example, a new Assassin's Creed (the next in the series rather than a spin-off) that'd give gamers a huge reason to buy another new console. I'm not sure Nintendo has that "crucial excuse" yet.

  14. greenpo08 Sunday 5th Feb 2012 at 12:50

    i would love to see super mario galaxy 3 on wii u that would be so cool i hope it will come out soon because if it dosent then my socks will be on FIRE.

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