Last year we made a list of ten predictions we thought we’d see happen over the course of 2013. Some came true while others didn’t, but this year we’re continuing the tradition with a list of ten predictions for the Wii U over the course of 2014. At the end of the year we’ll revisit these to see how many came true, but let’s dig into the meat of things! Here’s our top ten predictions for 2014 and Nintendo.
10. The Legend of Zelda Wii U won’t be released this year.
Plenty of fans have been clamoring for a new Zelda game on the Wii U and despite the promise of more information about the title at E3 this year, we just don’t see it happening this year. Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. have been heavily detailed at this point, so it’s likely that these two titles will be staggered to make up the bulk of Nintendo’s holiday 2014 release schedule. Not to mention we have new titles like Yarn Yoshi on the way, it’s hard to see Nintendo bringing Zelda to us any sooner than 2015.
9. A Nintendo DS smartphone.
Nintendo has made it big with the Nintendo DS and 3DS and while 3D is much less of a focus with the introduction of the Nintendo 2DS, it seems likely that the next step for Nintendo would be introducing a handheld with phone call capabilities. Sony has already done that with the Xperia Play, a PlayStation branded phone that has been woefully undersupported. Even if we only see a Nintendo 3DS with Skype call capabilities a la the PS Vita, we’ll call this one a success.
8. Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem cross-over slips into 2015.
Ever since the January Nintendo Direct of 2013, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem has been tightly under wraps. We know it will be an RPG and that the modern-day world is involved somehow. Nothing else has been shown of the game since then. It could still come out in 2014, given the success of Fire Emblem: Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV. However, I think the franchises are still obscure outside of the loyal fan base. I’m not questioning the quality of the game, but the exposure. As the spotlight for 2014 will be focused on titles like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8, 2015 might be a better year for Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem to shine.
7. A new Pokemon game for the Wii U.
Despite Nintendo’s steadfast assertion that the Pokemon games are meant for handhelds, that hasn’t stopped them from releasing great console Pokemon games in the past. Both Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Stadium were well received among fans, so it’s possible we’ll see another spin-off game like this for the Wii U. Pokemon Rumble U was released digitally in 2013 and despite having NFC figurines similar to Skylanders, it hasn’t really gained the traction expected of an official retail release.
6. Animal Crossing Wii U will be announced.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf was a huge hit for Nintendo this year, becoming one of the top selling Nintendo 3DS titles in a matter of months. It was so successful that Nintendo saw the need to release an Animal Crossing Plaza app for the Wii U, which displays information from visitors and lets you interact with villagers. This plaza is the prerequisite to releasing Animal Crossing for the Wii U, which we’ll see announced some time in 2014.
5. GameCube games will finally make their way to the Wii U.
This is something that many Nintendo fans have been clamoring for since the Wii U was released. Every month we get a handful of emails asking us when GameCube games will be available on the Nintendo eShop. This is something we could finally see announced in 2014, as Nintendo has seen what a success a remake like Wind Waker HD could be. We’ll either see more GameCube games remade to be high-definition, or we’ll see them released on the Virtual Console for a price of $19.99.
4. Nintendo will release a virtual console subscription service like Netflix.
This one is a little off the wall, but what prediction list would be complete without one? In 2014, we expect Nintendo to beef up its virtual console offering and decide that you can play any game you like for a set fee a month, instead of charging you individually per game. Perhaps for $7.99, you can rent three games from the eShop indefinitely and swap them out, with an option for a discount on purchasing rented titles. It would be a great way for Nintendo to earn revenue with incentive to keep the virtual console games flowing.
3. Nintendo will release a new SKU.
While the Wii U Basic is on the way out, we think Nintendo is already rethinking its offering in terms of hardware. Of course there will always be bundles with games announced, but we believe that Nintendo will release a new Wii U SKU with 64GB of storage and the high-capacity GamePad battery already installed. It could become the default bundle priced at only $299, while the current Wii U deluxe could see a price drop down to just $249.
2. Miyamoto will reveal his new project.
Miyamoto has been hush-hush about the new project that he’s working on for Nintendo, but we think 2014 will be the year that he finally pulls the lid off of it and lets fans know what’s in store for them. Knowing Miyamoto it’ll be something magical and no doubt enjoyable. Keep your eyes peeled for this one!
1. Satoru Iwata will step down as CEO of Nintendo.
This one is a bit controversial since it’s not directly related to the Wii U, but we believe that Satoru Iwata’s days as CEO of Nintendo are numbered. Iwata has done a great job in the past with the launch of the Wii and the Nintendo DS and the turn around for the Nintendo 3DS, but the lackluster lifespan of the GameCube and the current adoption rate of the Wii U could end up hurting Iwata’s tenure as CEO. We believe Japanese investors could get tired of “please understand” and could replace Iwata this year if performance for Wii U doesn’t turn around.