Despite the Wii U's struggles, 2014 could be a turnaround year for Nintendo's console. The latest poll conducted by Famitsu, a Japan's major gaming magazine, reveals (via Gematsu) that the Wii U's Mario Kart 8 is the second "most-wanted" game among Japanese gamers. Considering just over 1.6 million Wii U units have been sold in Japan since launch, there's reason for optimism here as it could indicate more consumers plan on purchasing the console when Mario Kart 8 actually releases.
Although Mario Kart 8 is the only Wii U title to make the top five "most-wanted" games, two other Wii U titles: Hyrule Warriors and the new Super Smash Bros. are also high up on the list at number 9 and 13, respectively. Assuming all three of these games are released in 2014, they could help the Wii U establish a foothold in Nintendo's home market.
For the Wii U to really turn it around, though, it's going to need success outside of just Japan. I believe these three games are the ones that'll help it do so. Though the new Super Smash Bros. is 13th on the list in Japan, I'd be willing to bet it's one of the more anticipated games here in the United States and possibly in Europe. And if Mario Kart 7 — which was release exclusively on 3DS — is any indication, then the release of Mario Kart 8 will also help boost Wii U sales.
There are quite a few retailers that believe Mario Kart 8 is the Wii U's only hope, but even if it doesn't help sell consoles the way many are hoping for, there's still plenty of other reason for optimism. The Wii U may not have the third-party support of say, the Xbox One or PS4, but Nintendo's first-party franchises are certainly popular enough to not totally give up just yet. I still think the Wii U can benefit from an additional price cut, but I'm sure Nintendo is waiting to see if Mario Kart 8 can turn things around.
Do you plan on purchasing a Wii U in 2014?