Will Activision Cancel Shipments of Skylanders Trap Team for Wii U?
The Wii U is struggling sales wise, and despite a resurgence with the latest Mario Kart release and the upcoming Super Smash Bros U release, the reality is still the same: the Wii U console sales have been slow, and at times, stagnant. Third party developers are shying away from making games for the Wii U because the cost of development and packaging will net them little-to-no return, and even the potential of a loss. Activision, the company behind the incredibly popular Skylanders series, seems to have a solution; unfortunately, it is a solution that only really works with their game.
Although it has been rumored for a while, and even talked about publicly, Nintendo has just begun releasing a series of social media ads focusing on Skylanders Trap Team. Why a surge of Facebook and Twitter advertisements for Skylanders you might ask? Well, it seems that if you purchase a copy of Trap Team for the Wii, you will receive a free download code for the Wii U. Although pre-orders are still available on Amazon for a Wii U version, I truly believe that Activision may halt the production and distribution of that version.
Offering a free download code for Trap Team on Wii U makes a lot of sense. There are over 100 million Wii consoles on the market, compared to only a little over 6 million Wii U’s. I personally have owned every version of Skylanders that were available on the Wii U. However, I never bought any of them new. In fact, my local retailers were clearing out Wii U versions long before all the other versions ever hit the clearance rack.
It would seem pointless to offer a free Wii U download code with the Wii version, UNLESS the goal here is to give parents a reason to purchase a Wii U for their kids at Christmas. Parents could buy a Wii U bundle with a game or two around the holidays, and have the guarantee that their Skylanders game will also work. Since the portal and characters are universal between Wii U and Wii, the system works.
What I think is more likely, however, is that Activision cancels Wii U pre-orders. Skylanders costs more to produce than other games do; besides the disc and case, the company must also produce the characters, portals, and inevitably, larger packaging. There is a cost, and every Wii U version that hits the market could potentially lose money for Activision; although it is purely speculation, I also wonder if larger retail chains are requesting less copies of it than past Skylanders titles.
This is a great move by Activision. Wii U owners can still get the game they desire, and Activision may avoid poor sales numbers on their Wii U version of the game. However, if Nintendo and Activision do a poor job of marketing the promotion, many people – especially parents – may skip over this title if their appears to be no version for the Wii U.