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Even over a year after its release, the Nintendo Wii is still in huge demand -- and difficult to find on store shelves. But some commentators are now vociferously claiming that the selection of Wii game titles contains a large number of underwhelming, if not downright lackluster titles, especially those from third-party publishers.
This change is allegedly tied to Nintendo being more permissive about the publishers and titles it concept and manufacturing approves, especially compared to rivals Microsoft and Sony. In fact, some third-party titles that look to have been rejected by SCEA for American PlayStation 2 release are now turning up on the Wii.
We asked Jesse Divnich of The simExchange, Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities and Ed Barton of Screen Digest:
Are you concerned about the long-term prospects of the Wii, if Nintendo manages to meet consumer demand for it this year?
Should Nintendo bring back the "Nintendo Seal of Quality" (or an alternative game approval method) to enforce more stringent standards for third-party Wii games?
Are there any upcoming Wii titles for this year that you believe will help the system -- besides the Nintendo franchise titles (e.g. Super Smash Bros. Brawl)?
The third-party publishers have failed capitalize on the gap between the large demand for quality Wii games and the supply of them.
2007 was a good example of this gap, as we had millions of Wii consumers screaming for more quality titles, but had third-party publishers porting over games like Need for Speed, NBA Live and Manhunt 2 -- all with lackluster quality and sales performance.
Lately, industry professionals and the general gaming community have suggested that Nintendo bring back its "Nintendo Seal of Quality."
People have forgotten why Nintendo introduced the seal in the first place: to stop piracy and to inform consumers of any extremely low-quality titles. Once piracy wasn't an issue and game quality began to evolve, more and more titles were receiving the seal, diluting its significance.
Believe it or not, back in the 80's, a lot of gamers made purchasing decisions based solely on the box art and the description on the back.
Fortunately, technology has evolved and we now have numerous media outlets (magazines, gaming community web sites) that have taken the place of needing a "Seal of Quality." It is unlikely any poorly developed title will fool consumers -- shame on Manhunt 2 for thinking otherwise!
I believe we won't see a huge influx of quality third-party published Wii titles until 4th quarter 2008. Until then, a few third-party titles can occupy our time: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Rygar, No More Heroes and Sega Superstars Tennis.