The Wii U is officially a dead platform.
I take no pleasure in declaring the time of death. You don’t have to have been reading my writing for long to know I’m a huge Nintendo fan. I’ve owned a Wii U pretty much since launch and it’s a great piece of hardware that does a lot of neat things the other consoles on the market don’t. It’s got the best exclusive games of any current gen console — Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 are all classics, and titles such as Game & Wario and Nintendoland are fantastic quirky party fun.
All that said, if you don’t have Call of Duty you’re not a viable gaming platform, and according to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games, the Wii U no longer has Call of Duty. Activision puts Call of Duty on anything with a pulse. If there was still money in putting it on the N64, they would. Hell, all throughout the past generation Activision went to the trouble of making scaled-down versions for the Wii. As long as Activision can make at least a small profit on your platform, they’re there, so if they abandon you, you don’t have a platform.
Of course the Wii U will continue to stagger along for a while as a vanity console that only publishes Nintendo titles, and I’ll probably very much enjoy many of those games, but it won’t be a platform without third parties. Here’s a simple fact that Nintendo hates to admit — a gaming console is pointless without third parties to support it. Most money made by console manufacturers comes from licensing fees from third parties, and without that business there’s no truly convincing reason why Nintendo should continue on with the system. People have always accused Nintendo consoles of being “Nintendo boxes” that are only good for The Big N’s latest, but it’s never actually been true — the “failed” Gamecube had solid basic third party support and even a good handful of exclusives throughout its life, and the Wii had tons of third party games, they just weren’t the kind of stuff core gamers wanted to play.
For the first time ever Nintendo has built a console that’s literally just Nintendo stuff. I and other hardened Nintendo fanatics may not mind that, but it’s not viable and something needs to change, and fast. Alas, poor Wii U, we hardly knew ye.