Nearly half a year in and the Wii is still selling strong in the face of strong opposition from the PS3. What Nintendo have shown since the Wii has come into the market is they know how to promote. The adverts for the system and the timing of software releases, although sporadic, have been pretty good and all games have entered the software charts quite high and in some cases managed to remain there. In the USA and Japan too, software sales have continued to show that the Wii isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America spokesperson Dave Karraker recently commented: "Wii could be considered an impulse buy more than anything else," but is he right? Well, in all honesty it doesn’t matter if he is or he isn’t. The comment would seem to be directed at the Wii’s low price point, which makes it an easier purchase than the PS3 or XBOX 360, but just because something is well priced, it doesn’t make purchasing it impulsive. Nintendo will be delighted by comments like this, even if they don’t admit it.
First up, software continues to sell showing that people are more than willing to invest additional cash into their Wii experience. Always one to try and back up a point, I went and checked out my local GAME and GameStation stores to see how the Wii was doing. Prominence and a genuine interest in the system are what earmark Nintendo’s product as something more than an impulse buy. The pick up rate of additional controllers, software titles and accessories for the Wii at purchase is pretty impressive too. Loitering around and watching people browse the Wii section the purchases were being made by a wide range of people. What’s equally as impressive is that people really buy into the Wii brand, something Sony are failing to do with the PS3. People like the Wii a lot and they are willing to spend their hard earned money on it. I genuinely think Sony are scared of the tiny-weenie little machine, because unlike all of Nintendo’s previous home consoles, there is nothing they can really do to stop it.
In moving to a different market, Nintendo are attracting more games and more gamers. Just recently EA have thrown a shed-load of titles at the system. SSX Blur, Medal of Honor: Vanguard, The Godfather and Tiger Woods. A good range of sports and action titles that are all ‘Wii exclusive’. The world’s biggest (and most profitable) developer and publisher has hooked onto the Wii big time and is reaping the financial rewards. Much like Ubi Soft, EA have recognised the value of the Wii in the market place and are responding accordingly. And the profit margins and success speak volumes, far outweighing petty comments by Sony.
What I think we’ll start to see over the coming months and into 2008 is greater support of unique titles by developers on the Wii. Think along the lines of the DS. Sure, some of them will be awful, lazy and so badly made you can hardly play them, but in amongst the tat there will be some real gems on the Wii from some truly creative developers. The Wii is a chance for people to make a lot of money and the key developers will recognise that the best way to do this is to create a game with a great catch and one that makes great use of the Wii remote. Either that or get hold of a good film licence and chuck out a crap game. I’m an optimist though, so I’ll go for the former.
The Wii simply isn’t an impulse purchase and it continues to prove doubters wrong with strong sales and even stronger software support. Spore Developer Chris Hecker called the Wii a piece of shit at the GDC recently, only to retract his statement soon afterwards:
Much as Sony are missing the point of the Wii in calling it an impulse buy, Hecker is missing the point of the Wii by underlining its graphical weaknesses compared to the XBOX 360 and PS3. It is clear that a lot of people don’t like the direction Nintendo is going in. To them I have one thing to say: don’t be jealous. The Wii is a very clever idea and fits very well into the new-look gaming industry where the ‘non-gamer’ is the key. Whilst you might not jump for joy at the thought of another shoddy port from Ubi Soft or another rushed out title from INSERT PUBLISHER NAME HERE, but in amongst it all the Wii is offering something truly different and innovative. I could gush on about the Nintendo difference, but I won’t.This thing is totally underpowered... This is not about graphics, more polygons, all that kind of crap. What I want to be able to do is spend CPU to make the machine smarter, more interesting and more automatically intelligent. It's about interactivity - that is the key differentiator of our art form, and interactivity is about doing something interesting with that input and threading it back to the user. You can't do that with a piece of shit underpowered computer.
So whilst the PS3 comes onto the European market and sells well (only to fade away a week later) and people keep on insisting that the Wii doesn’t have the legs to last, think on this. A lot of people said the Wii controller wouldn’t work, but it does. A lot of people almost committed suicide because the name ‘Wii’ was so bad, but we all use it now and nobody cares. A lot of people thought the DS wouldn’t work, it has. Nintendo continue to prove people wrong with their new approach to the gaming industry and I full expect the Wii to outsell the competition strongly and to continue to do so. My reasoning? Well, it’s just a bit of an impulse purchase, isn’t it?
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