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Are Wii U troubles a sign of things to come for Xbox 720 and PS4?

by William Schwartz

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Sony’s PlayStation Vita is hardware that consumers have been slow to adopt since its release. That’s why the most recent numbers out of the UK are troubling for Nintendo and the Wii U, as the new console is lagging behind even the Vita in terms of software sales.

According to this recent sales data, Nintendo only sold 34,000 games in the month of January in the UK. More startling is that this figure includes Nintendoland, which is bundled with the deluxe version of the Wii U. Nintendo’s new console is only outselling Sony’s PSP and PlayStation 2 in the UK, trailing the PS Vita by a small margin when it comes to software.

These two high-profile hardware releases have both seen their struggles, but could it be a sign of things to come for Microsoft and Sony when they launch their Xbox 720 and PS4 offerings? At least one developer thinks so. According to a recent post on NeoGAF by Mario Wynands of Sidhe Studios, the developer believes that the next generation is going to fail.

“The infrastructure for retail sales is crumbling, console manufacturers are still wanting to control content and prices too much, and the shift to other platforms in the meantime has been significant,” according to the alleged posting by Wynands.

Wynands isn’t too keen on Nintendo’s chances with the Wii U either. The developer joins analysts in their criticism of the console, saying that the Wii U is in “Serious Trouble”. The developer explained that the Wii U was a topic of conversation at last week’s DICE summit, but not because of new projects. He says that developers were more concerned with the lagging sales and project cancellations than any new software on the horizon.

Despite the lagging sales, both Nintendo and Sony have remained supportive of their hardware, at least in terms of the rhetoric they’ve used with the press. Both companies have said it’s too soon to judge the new hardware and we’ll have to wait and see if a “killer app” can move consoles going forward.

Industry analysts have been calling for the death of dedicated consoles for years now. The rise of mobile devices and the power of pocket computers have definitely eaten into many segments of the games industry. Though if Wynands is correct, the next generation might be a bittersweet arrival of consoles that are destined to fail.

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