Why the Current State of the Wii is Depressing0
Matt posted in Games, The Industry, Wii on May 21st, 2009
I have trouble finding games I want to buy on the Wii. I want to like the Wii, but there are just no games besides Super Mario Galaxy that I really feel are worth playing in the entire library of software. I quit Zelda after an hour or two because I got sick of hearding goats and cats. I’m sure the game gets better, but I just couldn’t force myself to go through the boring start. I wrote a small novel on my thoughts on Super Mario Galaxy on my blog, but the short answer is that I thought it was good and not great. It could have been great had I had a second analog stick and no motion controls. If you are curious as why I felt that way, get a big cup of coffee and start reading here and here. Wii Sports got dull for me pretty quickly, and I don’t much care for WarioWare. Sega let me down with Nights and Samba de Amigo. To be fair to the developer, Samba de Amigo couldn’t be done well on the Wii due to the fact that the Wii-mote can’t sense height, but perhaps the developers didn’t realize that was the case until after the signed the contract. This year, I’ll probably pick up Klonoa once it price drops despite that I already have the PS1 game, and House of the Dead: Overkill once it gets cheap despite that I hate the Wiimote as a light gun (because it isn’t). I’m a huge House of the Dead fan, so just like I picked up Nights and Samba de Amigo despite their abysmal reviews (although I got them pretty cheap), I can’t NOT buy a House of the Dead game. (I didn’t buy House of the Dead 2 and 3 for Wii though because I already have both games.) Two games (neither at full price) is a really really WEAK year. In fact, I think I bought Nights and Samba de Amigo this year, so if that’s the case, I bought NOTHING for Wii last year, which is probably the first time in my life I didn’t buy a game for a current gen console for an entire year. I even bought an SNES game last year, so it’s really strange that there was nothing on the Wii that I wanted. Maybe they’ll be some surprises for this year at E3, but after Nintendo’s snorefest last year, I doubt it’ll be anything I care about.
Anyway, I was complaining about the Wii being a huge disappointment to a friend, and he mentioned that the only game he felt that used the Wii well was Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. I’m not really a Metroid fan, and I don’t play FPSes without a keyboard and a mouse if I can help it, so I’m not really interested in that game. I told him that the real problem is that the general Wii market doesn’t want games like that or games that I personally would enjoy for that matter. I thought of a clever way to illustrate it that seems worth sharing with my blog reader. (Hi dad!) Compare the following:
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Release date (US): 8/27/07
Release date (EU): 10/26/07
Release date (JN): 03/06/08
Budget (estimated): $5,000,000 [This is an estimation by me with very little information to go on, so I make no promises to the accuracy]
Sales (estimated): 1.53 million (source: vgchartz.com)
Review Average: 89.64% (source: gamerankings.com)
Release date (US): 8/28/07
Release date (EU): 10/26/07
Release date (JN): ?? (it sold a negligible amount in Japan, so it doesn’t really matter)
Budget (estimated): $500,000 [This is an estimation by me with very little information to go on, so I make no promises to the accuracy]
Sales (estimated): 3.29 million (source: vgchartz.com)
Review average: 59.21% (source: gamerankings.com)
Metroid Prime cost 10 times as much in my estimation (actually, it’s probably more, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt). There is only one day difference in the release dates as well, so both were selling under the exact same market conditions. I think it’s impossible to find titles with such similar release dates internationally (only one day difference in the US and the same in Europe. Both titles didn’t break 100k in Japan, so it’s moot). Metroid was a great game according to critics and Carnival Games was a stinker. Now as a gamer, you’d probably want to see more games like Metroid Prime 3. But if you worked at a publisher, which project would you greenlight? Metroid Prime 4 or Carnival Games 2? If you chose Metroid Prime 4, you probably wouldn’t keep your job for long since publishers are in the business of making money – not doing favors to gamers.
In the end, I think Nintendo’s blue ocean strategy of making a casual console worked too well. The loyal Nintendo fan base are the real victim’s of Nintendo’s newfound success. Luckily, there are enough titles that I want to play on other consoles (PS3/360 and pretty much every other older console), that I’ll cope. However, I feel rather sorry for a gamer that chose the Wii over a 360 that isn’t really interested in the casual titles.
PS: No I haven’t played World of Goo. I want to, but I’m going to play it on PC because I think the mouse makes a better mouse than the Wii-mote. I bought Strongbad and Sam & Max for PC as well.