Things have never been easy for the Wii U. Ever since the console's release back in 2012, Nintendo's latest machine has been struggling to build up its library: most of the console's best games are Nintendo's own, and there aren't all that many to choose from. However, 2015 has been a good year for Nintendo with games like Splatoon and Mario Party 10 filling out the software lineup. That being said, Nintendo is still far behind its competition.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like things are going to get better any time soon: Shigeru Miyamoto just confirmed that Star Fox Zero will not be hitting its original release window of holiday season 2015, joining The Legend of Zelda Wii U as a part of Nintendo's 2016 lineup. While it's great that Nintendo wants to take the time to make sure its games are as polished as possible, the delay isn't doing the Wii U any favors, either. Without Star Fox or Zelda, what exactly does Nintendo have planned for this holiday season?
Looking at the rest of 2015's gaming release calendar, there's not much there: Nintendo only has two triple-A titles set for the Wii U in 2015, and it's safe to say that neither are system sellers. Yoshi's Woolly World is set for release on Oct. 16 - and, while the game looks fantastic (and adorable), it's hard to argue that platformers are what sells consoles in today's gaming marketplace. Plus, without 'Mario' in the title, it'll be harder for Nintendo to market the game (not that they've been marketing it much at all).
Xenoblade Chronicles X is set for release in December, but again – it's not exactly a system seller. Xenoblade definitely has its fanbase, and it'd be surprising if the game wasn't a success ... but it's easy to assume that most of the fanbase has already bought a Wii U, and RPGs simply don't sell as well as they used to. Again, it's not that Xenoblade won't be a good game, it just doesn't have the selling power of something like Zelda or Mario.
Sadly enough, that's about it for the Wii U's 2015 lineup. The rest of the list is strictly third-party titles, and while games like Lego Dimensions and Skylanders: Superchargers will likely do well on the Wii U, they're also available on Sony and Microsoft's platforms. Considering those two consoles have several million more units on the market than Nintendo has, the Wii U is at an immediate, crippling disadvantage.
At this point, the Wii U's best hope for a solid 2015 are its older games: people are still playing Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8, and these games are still helping Nintendo move consoles over a year after their respective releases. With any luck, Super Mario Maker will also help move consoles – it's a bit too early to tell how much of an impact Mario Maker has had or will have, but given its reputation so far, there's a good chance that it could be Nintendo's saving grace in the latter half of 2015.
Will Nintendo have a good holiday season? At this point, it's hard to tell. But considering how much the Wii U is already struggling, Nintendo's weak holiday lineup is the last thing its console needs.