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Thread: The Wii needs better games — and fast

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default The Wii needs better games — and fast

    (I haven't even touched my Wii in over a year)

    The Wii needs better games — and fast - On the Level- msnbc.com

    Without better games, this hot console could go very cold
    By Kristin Kalning
    Games editor
    updated 6:09 a.m. PT, Fri., Jan. 30, 2009



    John Shuster bought a Wii for the holidays. And so far, the only games he’s liked? “Wii Play” and “Wii Sports.” Everything else, he says, went back to the rental counter a day early.

    “I guess now that I have the money for the pinnacle of gaming, I’m just not that interested in it,” he wrote in an e-mail.

    And that’s been the rap on the Nintendo Wii since its late-2006 launch: hot console, lukewarm games. Or, at least, the games that weren’t from Nintendo.

    To wit: According to the NPD Group, the five top-selling games for the console, since launch, are “Wii Play” (which sells with an extra Wii remote), “Mario Kart,” “Super Mario Galaxy,” “Wii Fit” and “Super Smash Bros. Brawl.” All made by Nintendo.

    In video game history, lack of diversity in a console’s game lineup spelled certain doom. Just look at the original Xbox, which was buried by the PlayStation 2 and its monster catalog. Heck, look at Nintendo’s last offering, the loveable GameCube, which died an early death because of lack of third-party titles.

    So far, the Wii has been bucking this trend. Rewriting the rules, you might say. Every month, Nintendo games are the top sellers. Third-party developers are just now figuring out how to make games for the Wii crowd — two years into the console’s life. And the Wii’s still selling like hotcakes. So far.

    Nintendo cut its forecast for sales of the Wii — from 27.5 million to 26.5 million — based largely on softening sales in Japan. But the message is clear: The recession-proof Wii is not, in fact, recession-proof. And for Nintendo to compete in this packed market, it will need to improve — as the marketing people say — its value proposition. It will need more quality titles. Fast.

    The first offerings from developers for the Wii were, to put it mildly, underwhelming. Nobody in the industry thought the Wii was going to amount to much. It didn’t have the graphical horsepower of the PlayStation 3, or the year’s head start of the Xbox 360. All it had was a TV remote lookalike that you could wave around like a light saber.
    The industry got it wrong. Chip Lange, general manager of the EA Hasbro division at the company — and a longtime marketer of the company’s powerhouse EA Sports line — admits that the success of the Wii caught everyone flat-footed. Companies — including EA — rushed out Wii titles that felt more like quick-and-dirty ports than games designed to take full advantage of the Wii remote.

    “It’s been a learning process,” says Dave McCarthy, executive producer at EA Sports. “We knew the Wii would be different, we knew it required a different approach. … but as often is the case when you’re entering new markets, we were shooting in the dark a little bit.”

    By contrast, the company’s latest “Madden” plays to the Wii’s strengths as a social gaming machine. New features make it so novices and more experienced players can play it, side by side, at the same time. And new partnerships, such as the marriage between Hasbro and EA, demonstrate how aggressively the company plans to court the family market.

    “There are lots of initiatives around the company that, I think, show that no longer are we a company obsessed and solely focused on 18-to-24 year-old males,” says Chip Lange, general manager for EA Hasbro.

    It’s a sea change for a company best known for its frat-boy fare, to be sure. But the efforts are starting to pay off for EA, which Pachter says now has a 14 percent share of all software sold for the Wii — the biggest next to Nintendo. EA reports earnings on Feb. 3, so until then, it’s tough to know if these moves have boosted the company’s bottom line in a significant way.

    Still, the new “Madden” and “Tiger Woods” games for the Wii performed exceptionally well in December (although EA won’t confirm sales figures yet). “Nerf N-Strike,” a new title from EA Hasbro, did even better. It certainly wasn’t due to the reviews, though. Enthusiast site IGN awarded the game its equivalent of a C-minus, a not-so-awesome 71.

    “I don’t consider IGN my audience for (this game),” says Lange, who used to oversee marketing strategies for the powerhouse EA Sports brand and franchises like “Medal of Honor.” “My audience is the 8-to-12 year-olds that played this game, every month, at every milestone.”


    Indeed, hardcore game reviewers have been downright derisive toward many Wii games. Take this one, of “Wii Play,” from 1Up.com.

    “'Play' is made for people who don’t really like games, and if you’re someone who really does, that’s a problem,” wrote reviewer Demian Linn. “Sure, most of these minigames are fun … for about 10 minutes. But hey, maybe your grandma will want to marry it.”

    Michael Pachter, an industry analyst with Wedbush Morgan, dismisses these sorts of reviews. “You shouldn’t let hardcore gamers review Wii games,” he says. “They’re holding Wii games to a standard that’s not fair.”

    Perhaps. But it’s true that the Wii shelves are flooded with an abundance of absolutely awful shovel ware. I know, because I get every single one. And for every “Boom Blox,” there’s a “Dancing with the Stars.” The quality — or at least, the perception of quality — will have to improve for Wii games if Nintendo hopes to continue its run as the coolest console on the block.


    And — just as important — publishers need to figure out how to market their Wii games. Nintendo has this nailed, says Pachter. But most of the other publishers continue to market through conventional channels, such as gamer magazines and Web sites.

    “They don’t understand that the average Wii owner doesn’t subscribe to ‘Game Informer,’ or go to Kotaku.com,” he says. “They’re not on GameSpot because they don’t know it exists. They don’t go to Metacritic because it doesn’t help them.”

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I dont get the wii. I really don't.

    It's graphics abilities are about a decade old and look ridiculous outside of the cartoony Nintendo stuff. Playing a newer title on it looks like shit because it has to be downscaled so badly there's no point.

    the dumbass controller is basically useless escept to play tennis and bowling with.. playing a fighting game you just wave the thing around with no actual ability to do anything other than hack, slash, hack, slash.

    I just don't get it. it's not fun.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Jexxifer's Avatar
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    It's for kids. My 5 year-old loves Mario Kart and boxing. We only have the Wii Sports and Wii Play since they were bundled. The Mario Kart is the only other game we have.

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    One guy is going to give his Wii to my friend, practically brand new, because he never uses it himself, he uses his old Playstation.

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    Elite Member Mariesoleil's Avatar
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    My 2 nephews bought and sold them after only a few months.
    "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers."

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    Elite Member dolem's Avatar
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    There are some really fun games for the Wii. But, there are A LOT of really terrible games too. The bad far outweighs the good.

    I didn't grow up with Nintendo so the simple Wii controller works well for me. I also don't spend hours playing video games and don't care at all about the graphics, etc.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    you're their target market

    the people who DID grow up with nintendo (the late 20's early 30's group which comprise the vast majority of gamers) look down with scorn on the wii.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member dolem's Avatar
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    I am totally aware that I'm exactly their target, I'm okay with that

    A few years ago I was quite proud of myself when I beat the original Legend of Zelda - I was 24!! I still can't beat Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo. I'm that geek who is throwing the controller left and right as I move...my husband can't stand watching me play. He is amazing because he can warp to the end of Mario in like 5 minutes.... my parents sucked!

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    Gold Member frazzled's Avatar
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    I'm not too fond of the Wii. Aside from WiiSports (which came with the system) and the wireless Guitar Hero/Rock Band games, the selection blows. And I agree with you, Grimm, about the graphics. They're pretty cheap-looking most of the time.

    My sister just rented the new Resident Evil game, and the gameplay has automatic movement - WTF? It's like her character is riding a trolley the entire time; all she does is point and shoot. Talk about boring.

    I really want an X-Box. I always see the commercials for the latest shooter games, and I just look at my Wii and sigh. The last great shooter game I played was Perfect Dark, NINE years ago.
    I saw a film today, oh boy.

  10. #10
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    omfg, get one.. the shooter's are fucking AWESOME
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    A fellow WoW player friend of mine borrowed a Wii to get through a week without internet after moving house. Day one they enjoyed it. Day two it was ok, but they soon found a film to watch instead. Day three they thought about going on it but just couldn't be bothered and didn't touch it for the rest of the week before giving it back. If the novelty value can't last more than 24 - 48 hours in the hands of a long time gamer then I don't think I'll be bothering with one any time soon.

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