Howdy Rolex, good to hear from you, mate. Things aren’t too bad thanks, busy as sin, but getting by! How's things in Oslo? (Oslo??)
Sorry, this is my bad - I should have explained a little better! I see it more as a split – there's casual gamers and non gamers. Casuals are the ones who will buy the franchises above. They're established, safe and appealing; the very reasons why PS2 and every other format before it that became mainstream reached the level they did. Wii's unique interface means they'll change in terms of input, but typically speaking casuals base their purchases on brands and names, rather than quality or content, which is what I'm getting at.Originally Posted by Rolex
The motion control is more a cherry than anything else for that type of buyer who constantly puts Need for Speed update 3000 or Harry Potter at the top of the charts every year
The non-gamer on the other hand, are the ones who -like you've said- will be happy with Wii Sports and little else, as FIFA et al means nothing to them per se (through being relatively unfamiliar to gaming). Thus to me, Wii has a broader appeal, attacking the market on more fronts than any other format because the appeal is not linear by any means – Pro Evo and FIFA may look the same to an onlooker, but they have very different markets. Wii effectively has both, PLUS Wii Sports, and stuff like Mario Strikers. All of which will be released over a periodic period of time. To the non gamer they can live off Wii Sports for a long time, the casual gamer will happily be more promiscuous in their selection but ultimately go for the big name, while the hardcore will go for whatever they deem more critically viable to their needs.
Casual gamers tend to go where the popular thing is, in a very self-prophesising way – they gravitate towards what is deemed to be popular and then perpetually keep it popular. The 'swing voters' of importance, I guess. Yet the non/lapsed gamers are the untapped market capable of determining growth (which has shot up amazingly since Wii was released in comparison to the effect 360 has had on the market). Hopefully that makes a little more sense; it's my fault for not clearly defining which type of gamer I was referring to regarding 'casual' in relation to those games!
Heh, that I'm not really convinced of – bad games tend to be a unnoticed blip on the radar of the people who make a console popular, I think. Casuals are far more forgiving than hardcore audiences, and they're the ones who determine a console's success. Licensed pap comes out every year for just about every format imaginable and usually sells through the roof despite being awful most of the time; it's of fairly low significance in the perception of the machine itself. When confronted with a bad game (which itself tends to be very subjective), the typical casual just goes back to what they like (compared to us hardcore who will go online and moan, lol).Will this mean bad publicity for any platform associated with the game(s) in question - after all... "all publicity is good publicity" when attempting to generate awareness but surely not in the area of sales - I mean, sure people will be more aware of Wii but they will also be aware of the crap getting the attention? Although even I admit that this may be an overly harsh statement.
The bad games without a brand name to stick to rarely get any attention at all (after all, if the good ones without big names have problems – stand up Beyond Good and Evil and Pyschonauts then the bad ones merely slip by like a fart in the wind ) Bad and mediocre games are the majority, by and large, and by that reasoning they're mostly on the format doing well enough to support them in a business sense, yet no popular format has been sunk or even noticeably affected by them. Even ET couldn’t kill the Atari 2006!
To be honest, I don’t see this as a problem – and I'm not trying to gloss over anything, but any issues of responsiveness tend to be something of an accepted thing with both casuals and non gamers simply through to the fact Wii's continuing to sell out. We're past the point now where we can safely say the system is ONLY selling to hardcore users, which means word of mouth must be pretty damn good for the machine. All the non/casuals I've played with have experienced a lack of response in some form or another yet just continue playing regardless (after a curse or two) and then continue threatening to take my Wii off me – this is of particular significance to the non gamer who wouldn’t be playing games in the first place, usually. They accept the tech isn’t going to be 100% flawless partly through the newness of it in the medium.I personally feel; either from experience or reviews etc..; that unless both Nintendo & 3rd parties can iron out any niggling prevalent responsiveness issues with the control system then it may hobble the unique perception associated with Wii - couple this with the proviso that if the control system isn't taken full use of - taking Wiisports as a benchmark - and not just adapted as has happened, then Wii may not continue to win hearts and opinions.
The amount of times I've seen casuals complain about controls from the Atari 2600 days to the Xbox 360; "the buttons don’t work", "the stick is too sensitive/it's not sensitive enough", blah blah whinge whine moan To many, no controller is perfect whether that be through response, layout or whatever. The very fact Wii has brought many more people into gaming that didn’t play before (or haven’t played in a long long time) allows a certain amount of good will, I reckon. If it didn’t, the word of mouth would be far less generous, and I think you'd see a reflection of that via the sales.
In regards to not taking full use of the controller, well that again is a hardcore thing rather than that of the people who are making Wii successful. As snobbish as this may sound, the typical casual/non gamer doesn’t really give a crap about the progression of the medium, at least in a comparative sense to the hardcore user – they just want to have fun. Motion controllers allow them that, especially for non/lapsed gamers, who to them, haven’t had 'fun' in videogames since the days of a joystick and 2 buttons. They don’t really care if the next Wii Sports has improved competitions, better Mii selection, online or any of that, just as long as they can replicate their favourite sport with the controller and get a few different courses to play on. To us, we want to see the best possibilities for each genre using the Wii remote, but to them a whole new world has opened up. Companies could put out old titles with rejigged Wii controls all year and they would sell to that same audience because to them, who may not have been playing games up until Wii, it's totally new. They'd spurn an Xbox 360 version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance because of the controller but be more willing to try the Wii version because of the 'paired down' controls. Not to say it makes the game better, but it makes them more likely to want to try it. Which is ultimately where these sales are coming from – people wanting to try something they've not been interested in before. And with this generation, that's Wii's unique selling point (gah, excuse the market speak, lol) and will continue to be for the next 5 years. The mindshare of what videogames signifies and can do has already shifted, I personally feel, and short of Nintendo saying "sorry, we've changed our minds and want to go back to the old controllers" Wii's momentum will continue to build, even if MS decide to throw in motion controllers for the 360.
Dont get me wrong, by the way - I love my 360 (Castlevania SotN and Turtles are currently the only games I'm playing in large doses - nostalgia for the win!) and hell, I also do work for Sony, who I have a far better relationship with than Nintendo. So I love the fact all three formats should be doing well; better for me, personally as a writer, on many levels. But at the same time, we're witnessing a marketshare shift, veritable gaming history in the making. I dont see Wii's huge momentum stopping when it has so many mass appeal titles around the corner, given the fact it's pretty much selling off Wii Sports at the moment - that game is the machine's Nintendogs. Things are going to utterly explode when the likes of Wii Music, karaoke and Wii Health Pack launch later this year (after all, if Wii Play can do that well, even with the carrot of a remote, then when those games come out... hoo boy). Seriously, the industry is about to be tipped on its head.
Jesus, how long have I gone on for!
Nights is about as close as you can get to being confirmed, from what I know. Although Burning Rangers would be fantastic – I agree that would actually be a better fit in many ways; not to mention stand a better chance of actually being good, lol, poor Sonic Team is having a torrid time at the moment and needs a reshuffle…With the possibility of Nights into dreams and I would dearly love to see the little known 'Burning Rangers' (Sega Saturn - which would really lend itself to Wii controls). The future certainly looks rosey.
Thanks as always for your insight and input! And thanks to all the responses and readers so far, it's always appreciated.