If the strength of feeling displayed on games forums and websites is a good measure of consumer sentiment, Nintendo is a company in gamers' black books right now. The stunning success of the Wii and the DS in reaching out to new audiences who have never played games before is viewed in the internet's darkest corners as a betrayal of core gamers, an abandonment of traditional games to be replaced with brightly-coloured, "waggle controlled" abominations.
The reality, of course, is somewhat different. Only this week, Nintendo announced dates for a line-up of Wii titles which should please any long-term fan of the company's output - Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M and Sin & Punishment 2 being key highlights for the hardcore audience. Many of the top sellers on the console are games which appeal broadly to upstream and downstream gamers alike - Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros., Super Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Galaxy all appear in the console's top 10.
Viewed dispassionately, it's hard to see the Wii as the scourge which angry gamers claim it to be. It's unlikely to be the only console that an upstream gamer owns - but as a second machine, sitting alongside an Xbox 360 or a PS3, it's absolutely ideal, while for more casual gamers and young families, it's the ideal machine to sit alone under their TV. Hence, presumably, the machine's sales, which remain almost as high as the 360 and PS3 combined, and almost 20 million units higher than the mighty PS2 was at the same point in its lifespan.
So why the anger? On one hand, perhaps a certain sense of technological disappointment persists. Gamers are used to HD, to persistent online services with voice chat and cross-game messaging, and in those senses the Wii certainly does not stack up to the PS3 and 360. Nintendo's wisdom lay in recognising that the vast majority of its audience would not notice or care about those things, allowing it to save vast amounts of time and money by leaving them off the console - a decision whose knock-on effects are still felt in the much lower production costs of Wii games. (Read more...)
Hm. I didn't think much of that article. It didn't really say anything, IMO. All it said was "Wii sells a lot of units, and Nintendo *and* 3rd party games sell alot." Minimal proof was given for those statements, although both are likely plausible. If not entirely believable.
And then it asks the reader why people and publishers are bitching about the Wii on the internet - and the author doesn't even answer his (her?) own question. Or offer any real "food for thought" or worthwhile suggestions on how to "fix" the "problem."
I suppose it's "pretty good" in the fact that it's a published article from a (respectable?) website that's just saying what the WiiGB (and I assume the Negative World) has for years. But without putting their own spin on it, or offering any alternative methods to fix the problem or really explain why the problem exists. Or if there's really a problem at all, since apparently tons of 3rd party games sell millions on Wii.
As Lewis mentioned, the article doesn't say *which* games sold millions. I know a few like The Force Unleashed and World at War sold a million or so, as did pretty much every Guitar Hero game. I think the rest are the dreaded "mini-game collections" or "licensed kids' movie/TV show tie-in" titles. Just guessing on my part, though. I'd love to be wrong.
More importantly, however, it may be a factor of the continuing inability of some studios to make the Wii work for them as a development platform. Even several years after launch, few developers outside of Nintendo itself have grasped the real potential of the console and its control methods. For every game which truly leverages the potential of the console to provide a unique and compelling experience (Silent Hill: Shattered Memories being a rare recent example), there are dozens of identikit mini-game compilations and on-rails shooters which compound their weakness as games with equally poor presentation.
I wish I could tell the people that say the Wii sucks doesn't make them cool - it makes them sheep. True gamers know where the goods are on the console. But saying/hinting at something like that just initiates flames from the Nintendo Hate Club.