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Wii Falling into Troubled Times?

Written by Sherlock on Saturday, 18 April 20096 Comments

Plugged in blogger Ben Silverman sees signs of a slowdown for the console that current leads the third generation in sales, citing the recent trouble in Japan, some difficulties incorporating the Wii Moton Plus into new games, and the lack of hard-hitting titles for the console to drive sales.

The most troubling comments come from industry analyst Doug Creutz, who had this to say about the Wii’s console sales lead:

“”The choice here is really between investing for the Xbox 360 and PS3 — since their capabilities are fairly similar — or the Wii,” he said. “I would caution investors and developers that the larger installed base of the Wii is really a bit of a red herring.”

The red herring, he says, lies in the similarities between the 360 and PS3.  They have cut into the other’s sales, but their total sales lead the Wii console, 22 to 19 million in the U.S.  And, he says, the 360 and PS3 have more control over their console sales if they create a quality title, where as the Wii is a bit of a “crapshoot” with whether or not a title will actually work.

While his data is confirmed by recent sales troubles with GTA: Chinatown Wars and Animal Crossing: City Folk in the U.S., I would caution that any console sells based on its hype.  No console received more hype than the Wii, from beginning, and no console continues to have usages other than gaming than the Wii.  I also believe that you can sell a console like the Wii to gamers based on quality, a fact that should not fall on deaf ears.  I hope Nintendo is listening.

So, the new data and analysis fans the flames of the debate between consoles.  With this in mind, do you still think the Wii is the console leader, or is it a myth in the data?

6 Comments »

  • red40 said:

    the wii is slipping we have xbox and wii three ds i find that the fan base of the wii are the ds players and they are drifting back to the ds games as said before you have to cater for all in gaming world and from the lack of games on the wii that appear on ps3 -xbox the soft ware companies just aren’t backing the wii. Nintendo you missed the chance to rule

  • Satsy said:

    Nintendo has never been very good at listening, sadly. However I can safely say while everyone else was screaming and crying last year as a result of E3, I was still quite content in knowing Nintendo could do something with the console, which could really help it fly.

    I can also safely say Nintendo has done pretty much nothing since then with the Wii, which is finally starting to affect them, as news such as this proves. This, and PS3 outselling Wii last month.

    Although I do recall Nintendo saying they wouldn’t branch into other things until sales of the Wii slowed. I’m under the impression that the sales have been slowing for quite a while, but that is only a fleeting observation. Perhaps now they’ll kick back into gear, and throw something at us that will once again generate interest in the Wii, especially now they have their memory problem sorted out (short a measure as I’d like to call it).

    Of course this may not stop me picking out another console… the library on those other consoles looks pretty snazzy about now…

  • Sean Aaron said:

    Analysts seem to focus on the Japanese sales; in the USA the Wii is still outselling the other two consoles, so clearly the markets aren’t the same. I suspect that E3 will not be the same as it was last year, but whether or not that energises the online communities, who knows? They clearly aren’t the ones driving Wii sales and so are pretty much irrelevant anyway…

    It remains to be seen if Monster Hunter will do the same for Wii sales as it has for PSP in Japan, but clearly Nintendo has to do something if they want to up the console sales in Japan.

  • Nintendo Forums said:

    Its hard to tell. The Nintendo wii only has dumbed down games that appeal to children, and with the economy in the state that its in, all sales globally are probably starting to fall.

  • Sherlock (author) said:

    Same question on the board that I’ll ask here… is the Conduit the last link the Wii has to long term prosperity in 2009? If the Conduit flops, might that be the last straw?

  • Ben said:

    I think the main thing to keep in mind in this discussion is that the Nintendo Wii is a particularly special console that does well to differentiate itself from the Sony and Microsoft consoles. This differentiation is the key to sales. The branding of the Wii is unlike the other consoles - it’s packaged as the innocent little family console. It would be difficult for the Wii to enter the Sony and Microsoft market because that would involve juxtaposing the brutal-gaming of the other consoles with the Wii’s touchy-feely concept. People bought into the Wii because of its innocent, family orientation and so injecting a range of mature games would only tarnish the concept that Nintendo has worked so hard to develop. Also, it’s not just about the games but the imagery of the gamers - let’s be honest, if you go into a Game store you’ll find the stereotyped spotty school kid or teenager flicking through the cheesy-packaged Xbox/PS games, whereas the Wii shoppers always come across as being parents, young kids or couples (with the obvious outliers here and there). I don’t think changing the nature of the game library would be a good thing since it’s the differentiation which is part of the selling power. The Wii gamers are a unique crowd because they are defined by what they don’t buy into, as much as what they do buy into (if that makes sense…).

    A further point worth mentioning is that the Wii has a different technological base - it doesn’t have the graphic processing power of the other two consoles. If the Wii was seen simply as a “variation” of the other two consoles, rather than an alternative console altogether, then it couldn’t compete. Nobody would buy the Wii because graphically, it’s the worst console on the market by far. If the Wii doesn’t remain distinct, with distinct controls, distinct games and distinct concept, then it becomes the same as the others, which would be an automatic fail. Why would anybody choose the Wii as a watered down (but still pricey) version of the others?

    This is why Nintendo have been super successful with their sales - it caters for a unique market which Sony and Microsoft veer away from.

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