There’s no doubt that Nintendo is having a hard time convincing gamers to buy their new Wii U console. After six months on the market, the Japanese gaming firm has sold just 3.5 million units.
In searching for answers to this issue, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently pointed to the “misconception” that the Wii U is an “underpowered” console.
But Iwata didn’t address one other big problem with the Wii U: there simply aren’t enough games for the device, which sets itself apart from the competition (Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3) by adding a touchscreen-enabled controller.
In an effort to solve that issue, it appears Nintendo may be encouraging developers with experience building games for smartphones to construct similar apps for the Wii U. According to a recent report from Japan Times, Nintendo has offered “professional-use conversion software” to the makers of smartphone games.
Adding to the rumor: IDC analyst Lewist Ward recently reported that Nintendo has now licensed the Unity game engine, a development kit for iOS and Android, for the Wii U.
Together, these two reports suggest that Nintendo is hoping to flesh out its bare-bones games library by adding simple, cheap and addictive smartphone-style games that make use of the Wii U’s touchscreen controller.
The only problem with this strategy: ironically, because Nintendo has had such trouble selling the Wii U, there may not be many smartphone app developers willing to spend the time and money building games for the device.