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Third-parties on Wii - is there any hope, at this point? [roundtable]
 
I know, I know. Most people who talk about third-parties on Wii are stupid and biased, or, at the very least, ignorant. Their 'analysis' is often full of holes and just pure misinformation. Dead Space: Extraction should've been a blockbuster hit? No More Heroes was a bomb for Suda? Third-party games don't sell on Wii? AAA third-party games don't make their money back (have there been any)? And so on and so on...

But let's use the data we DO have, from every region. Monster Hunter 3, Tales games, RE4, quirky stuff like Boy and His Blob and Let's Tap. Do you think the Wii will ever become the lead third-party platform for quality games? Could it happen next gen?

Even more modestly, CAN a good, deserving game sell to the Wii audience? How many of us informed, longtime gamers are IN that audience? Could a game like Silent Hill ever be a sales sensation? Do you honestly believe that third-parties could sell commensurately with their 360 stuff if they put in the effort?

And which genres DO (or COULD) sell best on the Wii? What do you think are the obvious hits that just aren't being made (besides Point Blank Wii)?

How do all of these factors differ for that Japanese audience? We know Emperor Yamauchi rules the country, but is the Wii still healthier than the PS3 for third-parties? How about the European one? Are they actually better at supporting a wide variety of games, or is it a 'casual' continent?

Most importantly, the Wii, unlike the other consoles, is unquestionably globally successful. Does that translate to global sales? Is the piecemeal, segmented nature of analysis actually giving the Wii short shrift? Does that analysis feed back into publisher decisions, even though they should HAVE hard sales data to go by?

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Posted: 01/05/10, 18:11:53  - Edited by 
 on: 02/24/11, 23:03:38
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Well, I am a bit late to the party with a Boy and his Blob, but the party is still kicking and well worth it. Hopefully others will arrive soon. I'm sure there was a holiday bump for the game, wouldn't be surprised if it did 20-25k in december.

Edit: THQ is taking their sweet ass time announcing the sequel, though.
Posted: 01/05/10, 21:40:06  - Edited by 
 on: 01/05/10, 21:42:04
I don't even know if I know who their intended market is anymore. I'm beginning to wonder if Resident Evil DC would have even sold that well if it were essentially a Wii version of RE5.

I'm starting to think it might not. Look at Silent Hill, by no means a small series or a bad game...

EDIT: Also de Blob deserves every one of those sales. I'm shocked we haven't seen another, now that the engine is built. What are they waiting for? Add in some in-level save points and you've got 4 sales just from ME! If you don't own "de Blob" go get it!!!
Posted: 01/05/10, 21:47:13  - Edited by 
 on: 01/05/10, 21:48:50
I dunno, everything I've heard from around the oft-faulty interwebs points to Silent Hill not doing so hot. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see once NPD numbers hit, right? Which should be next week I believe.
Posted: 01/05/10, 22:15:08
Also, remember that it was reportedly difficult to find in stores. We should make morbid projections.

I'm guessing 14,000 copies. No, 13,000.
Posted: 01/05/10, 22:17:06
Yes, it is over for the Wii. Everything but casual games and Nintendo's games sell piss poor. I will love Nintendo and their systems forever and will always support them but....

Third Party abandonment is the one problem that has PLAGUED them since the N64. They get some decent support and some really fucking amazing games here and there but they really gotta get a SNES, PS1, or 360 going on where amazing games just keep coming out of the system. Like seriously, they'd be stupid not to know its their biggest problem (they even knew it this generation and tried to fix it, the problem is it didn't stick and they got ports and remakes instead of inspired sequels) still. Throw money, make it HD and easy to develop for, I don't care what it takes. FORCE developers to make games for Wii 2. Nintendo could literally dominate and rule the entire industry if they wanted to. Throw enough money and nothing becomes an exclusive game anymore. Throw enough money and you'll get your OWN exclusive games.

Third parties are to blame but so is Nintendo. Look what MS did with Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, and GTA. Sony lost serious ground when they lost those and if Nintendo jumped in the other two would lose even more. I'd say Nintendo would have the best chance at selling these games too if they actually had them. There could be a huge gaming shift, but it almost seems Nintendo doesn't want it. They seem pretty damn happy with their family friendly content and image. If I were Nintendo I'd wake up and try to rape and dominate the industry with an iron grip. They're a fucking business. You think Mcdonalds wouldn't nuke Burger King off the map if they had the chance?

C'mon Nintendo, nuke those fuckers. Let's go back to the NES and SNES days....
Posted: 01/05/10, 22:31:58
^ Honestly though, at a certain point, why throw a ton of money just to get multiconsole games? I think Nintendo found an excellent business model, they make a ton of money whereas Sony and Microsoft do not. Though, as a gamer, I'd love to see it happen, I just don't see how it would make much sense for Nintendo. Right now they have a set-up where their console is going to sell 100 million+ AND most of the software sold will be Nintendo software. I'm not sure they could better that situation much by throwing millions at 3rd parties.

Silent Hill won't do well, but as noted, the PS3/360 versions didn't do very well either. Nor did Origins. Nor did 4, I'd imagine. Vgchartz has Shattered Memories at 100k, which could be fairly accurate, who knows. If so, it seems about on par with most recent Silent Hill games.

Besides, not to knock the game or use Gamerankings as the be all end all source, but it seems to be yet another of those high 7s low 8s scoring games that Wii owners are all supposed to wet themselves over and run out and buy ASAP. How many games that score in that range ever see big sales?
Posted: 01/05/10, 22:37:52  - Edited by 
 on: 01/05/10, 22:42:16
@Zero

I really have to wonder if the game had released on the 360/PS3 if it would still be in 7's. Every single last person I've spoken with has said Shattered Memories is leagues better than Origins or Homecoming, yet those 3 games score near the same as each other. What's that about? Something doesn't add up. Somewhere, something is off.
Posted: 01/05/10, 22:51:16
-JKR- said:
@Zero

I really have to wonder if the game had released on the 360/PS3 if it would still be in 7's. Every single last person I've spoken with has said Shattered Memories is leagues better than Origins or Homecoming, yet those 3 games score near the same as each other. What's that about? Something doesn't add up. Somewhere, something is off.

teh Waggle
Posted: 01/05/10, 23:03:56
^^ Exactly. Shattered Memories is for the most part leagues ahead of both those games. If this game was on PS360 you bet your ass people would make a HUGE deal. It's an amazing game, nowhere near subpar or just average. 7 is a damn sin, 7 is something that The Conduit or Cursed Mountain deserve, not this game that clearly raised the bar for Wii and Silent Hill game development.
Posted: 01/05/10, 23:12:10
Hmm, unfortunately though I think reviewers do have power. I'm a fairly informed Wii gamer and this is the first I've heard of a huge gap in quality between this and the PS360/PSP games.

Don't get me wrong, I was planning on checking it out eventually anyway, loved part 2 and wanted to play another but part 3 is impossible to find for cheap nowadays, and everything since then up until the Wii game doesn't sound so hot.
Posted: 01/05/10, 23:18:38
Depends. I still thought Origins and Homecoming were pretty good. They were seriously lacking in some areas but they also did some things very very well.
Posted: 01/05/10, 23:20:00
@Simbabbad

If not the best, still up there with the first and second. The first and second which are ranked in the 90s, score wise. Something smells fishy, and I don't think it's the fish I've been keeping in my desk for snacking...
Posted: 01/05/10, 23:48:35
Well the first and second are mid 80s on Gamerankings. But still, I think Wii games do sort of automatically lose a few points in reviews.
Posted: 01/05/10, 23:53:40
Don't ever ever trust gamerankings. EVER. For your own sanity.

People say Shattered Memories in the best in the series? I don't agree or disagree but that's still a bold claim. I'd say it's arguable though. The game is fantastic, I love it. I can't get some of the music out of my head.
Posted: 01/06/10, 11:33:32
@Anandxxx: "And which genres DO (or COULD) sell best on the Wii? What do you think are the obvious hits that just aren't being made (besides Point Blank Wii)?"

I'm not sure about genres, but I think if SEGA made another good Jet Set Radio game for Wii, it'd be a winner.
Posted: 01/06/10, 18:55:16
You're going to be sad if you read up on the history of House of the Dead Overkill...
Posted: 01/06/10, 19:04:35
A lot of recent third party games haven't sold well on Wii for one simple reason: the publishers have no confidence in their Wii titles. A game like Dead Space Extraction should have sold a lot more than it did, but EA put zero marketing behind it. No one outside of hardcore message board users knew about the game and it bombed as a result. I don't think its "on rails" nature hurt the game that much. Reviews were very solid across the board. It didn't sell because the casual Wii owner didn't know of its existence.

Same with Shattered Memories, A Boy and His Blob, Muramasa, etc. etc. etc. There are plenty of gamers who would love these games. Not all game players visit message boards every day or read sites like IGN and Kotaku. But they still love "core" games. Problem is, if you don't ADVERTISE YOUR GAME AT ALL...IT WON'T SELL.

So, yeah, I think third parties just don't care about Wii at this point. Thankfully, it looks like we'll still be receiving some smaller, niche content, which I'm personally thrilled about. I'll just play the big "blockbuster" games on 360/PS3.
Posted: 01/06/10, 19:18:12
I've only played a bit of Dead Space: Extraction (with Zero), but I don't really see why the game should've done well. It's a rail shooter with very little shooting (and limited ammo). So weird. I can't really see why it reviewed so well, except that the media's priorities are so very different from mine.
Posted: 01/06/10, 19:34:43  - Edited by 
 on: 01/06/10, 19:35:20
I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not the games that are the problem. You look at all the games on MetaCritic with green MetaScores, and they total 126. Sure, we'd always like to see more, but that's not bad.

If we're going to discuss sales, we have to discuss the process of getting the game from the publisher to the gamer's hands. It's not just a matter of making it and this automagically happens. There is a complex web of communication and interactions that must occur before the sale occurs.

On the XBox 360 and PS3, the markets for these games are sufficiently mature that there are process in place to cater to them. They are, as a rule, very Internet-connected, and most gaming web sites cater to them. There's a list of known hang-out places where the word gets out, and the gamers communicate with each other. Any great game should sell a million copies, right?

On the Wii, the market is very different. Aside from the leftovers from the GameCube market -- which is what the gaming web sites seem to be left with on their Wii portals -- this is an untested market, with three primarily unknown entities making up most of its constituency: children and their parents; older, lapsed gamers such as myself, and women. Children are generally too young to have mastered the Web yet. They may use it but don't live on it. Older, lapsed gamers like myself have their attention divided much more greatly. Women....well, how many do you see here? Generally speaking, the Wii market is more demographically disperse, not as well connected on the Internet, don't frequent gaming web sites, and aren't as tightly knit for word of mouth. How do you sell a million copies to this marketing melange?

Even if there are games that are mis-aimed at this market, such as Dead Space Extraction or MadWorld. When you have approaching 60 million consoles in circulation worldwide, don't you think you can find enough sales to make it all worthwhile? The problem is, how do you find those gamers, inform them about the game, convince them to buy it, and chalk up a mark in your sales ledger?

The problem with 3rd parties on the Wii is that they don't know what's necessary in order to complete this cycle. There are definitely enough good games out there that there could be 100 million-sellers on Wii, if only the sales and marketing communication can reach their audience. Aside from Nintendo, that audience is not being reached.

So what is the solution? Well, if I knew that for sure, I would be forming my own game company . But I think the solution lies in the Wii console itself. And this could be another money maker for Nintendo. Reach Wii owners through their consoles.

First off, the Nintendo Channel should be a stock part of the Wii channels, not a download. Second, receiving messages on the console should be set to opt-out, so that a higher percentage of Wii owners will choose to receive the messages. Third, in order to encourage use of the Internet on the Wii, Nintendo should make it possible to register their games, sign up for Club Nintendo, and complete surveys right through the console, not make them get on a separate computer to do it. Fourth, actively use the gameplay logs on the Wii to tune what information gets sent to the console. In other words, proactively suggest games and do it right on the Channels menu. It works brilliantly for Amazon, it could work for Nintendo too. Perhaps part of the NIntendo Channel, perhaps its own channel.

Outside of the Wii console, things get more problematic, but I think the key revelation is that focused advertising won't work except under particular circumstances. If you're making a kid's game, then you should certainly advertise on Nickelodeon. The new EA Sports games should be advertised on ESPN and FSN. But what about other types of games? How do you reach the expanded audience? You're going to have to bite the bullet and advertise nationally, on CNN or Headline News or the terrestrial networks. You can't just run a few ads on Spike and G4 and expect to get much in sales.

The market is expanded, but the 3rd parties are still treating it like a focused market, like the 360 and PS3. It's not. If they can figure that out, what this new market needs for communication, then there's certainly still hope for this video game generation and the next.

David V
Posted: 01/06/10, 19:40:14
Great post, or greatest post?

Yeah, I think I don't have anything to add, you pretty much touched on everything. I do think the games aren't blame-free entirely, though, and pointing at metacritic won't convince me otherwise. I think critics have shown again and again how out of touch they are not only with the Wii's expanded audience, but with the long-time Nintendo fans as well. Well, based on IGN, anyway. Those guys really don't know what makes me tick. But perhaps I shouldn't speak for everyone.
Posted: 01/06/10, 20:05:32
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