Rayman Legends delayed? No longer a Wii U exclusive? Is that why everyone is in an uproar and why Twitter is aflutter? While I’m by no means belittling the significance of this announcement, I do fail to see this as the harbinger of doom for the Wii U so many have made it out to be. While the loss of any triple AAA title’s exclusivity is a blow to the new Wii U, it reflects the sad, cut-throat reality of the modern gaming business. Xavier Poix, from Montpellier, Ubisoft stated so himself when he was quoted in various news outlets that for them [Ubisoft], it made more sense to do a simultaneous, multiplatform release to appease those sad Rayman fans who don’t have and don’t plan to purchase a Wii U. For the fans – of the PS3 Xbox 360 – at the expense of Nintendo fans. While it may be true that Ubisoft holds their fans’ desires near and dear to their heart, I don’t buy it. The reality is that developing games and getting them to market takes money. Lots of money. Once the game is completed and sent to manufacturing, you then have to advertize it, which takes more money.
At this point, several reports indicate that Rayman Legends for the Wii U is for all intents and purposes, complete. Given how much money Ubisoft has spent to produce Rayman Legends, the business people at Ubisoft must have taken a long hard look at the Wii U’s sales, which translates to user-base, which in turn translates into potential buyers, and as a result, got cold feet. It’s no secret that the Wii U’s global sales to date, while not bad by any measure, are not what Nintendo had anticipated at this point in the system’s life. Nintendo went so far as to lower their fiscal year estimate for Wii U units sold by 1.5 million. Once that happened, many developers took note and altered their strategies accordingly. Ubisoft, like Nintendo, is corporate business whose sole purpose is to make money. As cruel as it sounds, releasing Rayman Legends exclusively on the Wii U as planned will not make them money.
From a business perspective, Ubisoft had to make Rayman Legends available to as many potential customers as possible. The simple equation of development cost vs. Wii U user-base did not make fiscal sense for them to get any return on their investment. Simply put, they need to make the money they put into making the game back and then make money off the game’s release to make a profit. Armed with that knowledge, it’s easy to understand Ubisoft’s motives behind their decision with Rayman, however, I don’t necessarily agree with it, or like it. After all, I’m sure an agreement could have been arranged where Rayman Legends became a timed exclusive, keeping its February release date, with a multi-platform launch later this year. If Ubisoft had proceeded in that manner, I almost would have believed that they really did give a crap about their fans. But they chose not to and now we have to wait until later this year to play Rayman on the Wii U.
While I’ve always preferred Nintendo and it’s systems over the competition, I haven’t always agreed with them or their decisions. But I’ve stuck with them out of blind loyalty, if nothing else, so I’m not too concerned with all of the negative news surrounding Nintendo at the moment. News like Madden not being announced for any Nintendo systems, the loss of Rayman Legends exclusivity; no concrete release date for Aliens Colonial Marines and no AAA third party game announcements in general have left many people questioning Nintendo and their Wii U purchase. With all the negativity, I’m certainly not about to abandon ship on the Wii U just yet. Long time fans of Nintendo will understand that “Hey, we’ve been here before, and it’s going to be alright!” We only have to look to the recent past, for the release of the 3DS to draw parallels between its launch and the Wii U’s predicament.
Check out Part 2, it examines the N64 and GameCube eras to show how as Nintendo fans, we’ve been here before, and that things will get better. It’s going to be alright! Trust me!