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Minecraft could be huge in Japan thanks to Wii U

The block-building game Minecraft.

Above: The block-building game Minecraft.

Image Credit: Mojang

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What’s the status of Minecraft for the Nintendo Wii U console? We still have no headway just yet. Mojang and 4J Studios (the developer that handles the console versions) are working endlessly to port, fix, and update Minecraft for multiple platforms (it’s already on PC, mobile, Xbox 360, and PS3 and coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Vita). If you look, a pretty important system is missing from that lineup, one that seems like it would be a great fit for the game: the Wii U.

Why is the Wii U not on that list? Well, previous rumors pointed to the design team had in their possession some Wii U development kits and that the game was at least on the development platter alongside the PS4 and Xbox One version, according to Nintendo Enthusiast.

Later, however, Marcus “Notch” Persson, the creator of Minecraft, said that while he had no knowledge of the game being in development for the Wii U, a version of the game for Nintendo’s system would make perfect sense. Well, Notch isn’t alone in thinking that Minecraft would be a great fit for a Nintendo console, because Shigeru Miyamoto seems to feel the same way.

The designer of some of Nintendo’s most landmark games discussed the possibilities of a Wii U version of Minecraft in recent interview conducted by Kotaku.

“I haven’t played it myself, but I have heard quite a bit about it, I think [Shinya] Takahashi knows more about it than I do. But I like that style of game, and I look at Mario Maker as being something in a similar vein. Our hardware is the only hardware that you can do both the touch control and stick control. Maybe we’re meeting with them! Who knows?”

It would have seemed like someone would have made this a top priority at Nintendo. The fit between the style of Minecraft’s play mechanics and the goal of focusing on fun and immersion over anything deliberately violent or antagonistic makes Mojang’s game prime-time Nintendo bait.

Of course, Kotaku took asked Shinya Takahashi, of Nintendo’s software team, about the developments of the game on the Wii U.

“We’ve always thought internally that using the [Wii U] GamePad would probably make for a Minecraft that’s very easy to play. And, of course, if we were to do something with Minecraft on the 3DS, similarly we would probably do it where it would be easier to play and could probably reach a lot of kids. What’s interesting is that, in Japan, Minecraft is not popular in the way it is in the U.S. and Europe, so we’ve also thought that, if we were able to do a partnership like that, it might bring opportunity to help make Minecraft more popular in Japan.”

It is an interesting position that Nintendo’s in, as Minecraft seems like the sort of game it would have been pursuing a lot sooner than now. If they could get the game on the Wii U before or around spring 2015, it would be a perfect thing to give players until more of its large-scale exclusives release through the summer and fall.