Rewinding my clocks 12 months, a splendid start to 2014 with all the promises to make it one of the finest years in gaming history. With the release of Playstation 4 and Xbox One, I not only stepped into 2014, but a new generation of gaming.
Here I’m, a year after, looking at 2015 with even more excitement and I ask myself: who won 2014? Did Sony and Microsoft deliver what was expected? And how did Nintendo, a company struggling to keep up with the other two giants, perform?
Nintendo Wii U, despite having a year’s headstart, failed to outperform both Playstation 4 and Xbox One in hardware sales. But numbers do not concern me, games do and this is where Nintendo toppled both Sony and Microsoft. It’s said that exclusives are system-sellers and Nintendo indeed delivered the finest exclusives in 2014 – a feat which added to their hardware sales.
Previously, even with titles like Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, and Wii Fit U; the company seemed struggling with Satoru Iwata announcing a loss of $750,000,000 and Wii U sales forecasts slashed from a massive 9.0 million to mere 2.8 million in 2014. Nintendo was in dire need to change their game plan and it did so efficiently.
The start to a successful 2014 for Nintendo kicked off with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – a long-forgotten N64 franchise. DKC: Tropical Freeze started to turn the tides for Nintendo with 820,749 units globally sold at the time of writing this and sits at 83 on Metacritic. Critics wide acclaimed this Wii U exclusive for everything from enemies to landscapes, level design to music.
On the other hand, with titles like Project Spark, inFamous: Second Son, Killer Instinct, and Titanfall; both Sony and Microsoft did not do so well to impress the masses. Here is a quick look at the global sales of these exclusives, courtesy of VGChartz:
- The Last of Us Remastered (PS4) – 2,443,254
- Titanfall (Xbox One) – 2,354,092
- inFamous: Second Son (PS4) – 2,020,039
- Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One) – 1,666,912
- Driveclub (PS4) – 1,008,163
Moving ahead, another big title released by Nintendo this year is Mario Kart 8. Nintendo’s flagship racing franchise proved what decent marketing can do for a franchise and consequently for a company. Following the releases of Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors (a new IP featuring an agglomeration of The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors), Nintendo finally took a sigh of relief.
The company announced steady software and hardware sales during the quarter both titles were released. The software sales stood at 9.4 million and hardware at 1.12 million units.
Another console-selling exclusive came in the form of Bayonetta 2, a critically acclaimed hack and slash game which currently sits at 91 on Metacritic. Although the game only managed to sell 0.45 million units worldwide, I’m inclined to believe many fans bought a Wii U, just to play this game.
And lastly, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS served the purpose of ruby in Nintendo’s crown. Releasing both on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, the game managed to sell 4,226,372 and 1,497,711 units respectively. The game also introduced the Amiibo, a toy project which makes use of GamePad’s built-in NFC technology to transfer your toy-characters into the game.
Once again, Nintendo managed to hit the bull’s eye with the Amiibo toy project. The news of retailers running out of stock began flooding in soon after the release and Nintendo eventually decided to continue the production in the form of Amiibo Cards.
Some other notable mentions which paved way for Nintendo’s success in 2014 include Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire (sold 5,069,305 units worldwide), Youkai Watch 2 Ganso/Honke (sold 2,919,587 worldwide), Monster Hunter 4G (sold 2,247,650 worldwide), and Tomodachi Life (sold 3,187,697 worldwide).
While both Microsoft and Sony delivered some decent titles like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 2, Little Big Planet 3, and Driveclub; Nintendo clearly stands out as victorious. It might be a long journey for Wii U, but Nintendo’s continuous dedication to deliver is evident from its 2015 line-up: Mario Maker, Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda and many more.
The other two giants are also gearing up with their best titles, namely Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Halo 5: Guardians, a new God of War, and a new Gears of War game – though the last two aren’t confirmed for 2015 release. It will be interesting to see how events unfold in 2015 with a gaming-filled E3. I am excited enough, are you?