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Wii Businesses

Publishers Scrambling for Wii Titles 328

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-recipe-for-shovelware-kids dept.
Bloomberg is reporting on the publisher scramble for Wii titles, prompted by the console's explosive popularity since its launch late last year. Though the article focuses on EA's initial coolness on the console, they certainly weren't the only company that initially missed the bus. "Electronic Arts wasn't the only publisher slow to see Wii's appeal. New York-based Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., maker of Grand Theft Auto games, had no Wii titles when the player was released and now plans to have three this year, said spokesman Jim Ankner. Activision Inc., based in Santa Monica, California, plans to release six Wii games this year, giving the second-largest publisher a total of 11, said spokeswoman Maryanne Lataif." Though that's great news for Wii gamers, the question is: how many of these titles are going to be 'shovelware'?
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Publishers Scrambling for Wii Titles

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  • by fructose (948996) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:45PM (#18679721) Homepage
    Well, even if only 10% of the games coming out are worth getting, it will be that many more games that I might buy. And the experience the developers get by making a game for the Wii will (hopefully) make future games that much better.
  • Silly question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:50PM (#18679795)
    Couldn't they have started developing the games a bit earlier, and have them ready more or less when the console ships?
  • Though that's great news for Wii gamers, the question is: how many of these titles are going to be 'shovelware'?

    Sugarcoating: Developers are going to port their existing set of games to the Wii, but they're going to spend hundreds of hours fine-tuning the controls for the Wii Remote. The graphics won't matter because it will be so much fun playing on the Wii!

    Real Answer: Developers are going to do a half-ass port of existing games to the Wii, and they're going to spend most of their time removing graphical features and figuring out how to read "waggle" from the controller. Since no one will actually optimize their games for the ArtX chip, the graphics will be substandard in comparison to the first-party Nintendo titles. Even worse, the games will have all the "fun" sapped out of them as the publishers don't yet "get" the Wii.

    The end result? Miyamoto will need to yell louder. [1up.com]
  • Re:shovelware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:53PM (#18679853) Homepage Journal

    The Wii could get a reputation for having nothing but crap ports

    Nintendo usually has enough first-party titles in the pipeline to prevent that from happening. As a result, the third parties get a reputation for making nothing but half-assed ports to the Wii. Glad to see that not much has changed since the GameCube. :-/
  • Re:Silly question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by k_187 (61692) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:57PM (#18679915) Journal
    Yes, but nobody (even Nintendo) expected the Wii to take off like it has. So they didn't start things early enough and now see there's money to be made. What's the fastest way to that money? Pushing out crap.
  • Re:Silly question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:59PM (#18679973) Homepage
    They didn't expect the Wii to sell, so they made a business decision not to support it. Now that it's selling, they are scrambling to start development for it.

    Prior to launch, most people in the industry thought of the Wii as a cheap toy that would sell as good or worse than the GameCube, and they decided to throw their development dollars at the XBox 360 and the PS3 instead. They simply misjudged the market for the Wii.

    Of course, if you believe the idea that the Wii is successful only because it has brought a whole new demographic (casual gamers) into the console market, these publishers that specialize in catering to the hard core gamer market may still not do very well on the Wii. Time will tell.
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@@@comcast...net> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:19PM (#18680229) Journal

    When your best system is a handheld there is something wrong.
    Funny you say this, since technically, the best systems have always BEEN the Nintendo ones up until this generation, developers just didn't "get" them either. But since Microsoft and Sony are now sucking wind too, they are being forced to actually work for once.

    The only thing the Nintendo 64 did wrong was go with carts, but graphically it was better than the PS1, just more expensive to develop for because of those carts, and the only thing the Gamecube did wrong was launch late, since just about every bit of it was technically superior to even the Xbox.

  • by Webapprentice (608832) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:22PM (#18680273)
    Not yet. The only decent driving game so far is ExciteTruck, but it is not a driving simulator. It's an arcade-style driving game.
  • Re:shovelware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tuffy (10202) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:26PM (#18680341) Homepage Journal

    2600

    The longest-lived and one of the best-selling video game consoles of all time, despite an abundance of low-quality titles throughout its lifespan.

    It overstayed its welcome, certainly, but the Wii can only hope to do as well as the 2600.

  • All of them. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pluvius (734915) <pluvius3 @ g mail.com> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:38PM (#18680511) Journal
    When these companies have no Wii titles under development in November, but three to six titles now slated to come out by the end of the year, how can you expect otherwise?

    Rob
  • Give it a Year (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:54PM (#18680791)
    Give it time people! The Wii will come out with some legendary games, but it will take time. For one, developers don't have the experience with the Wiimote to implement it fully and functionally. Not only that, as online play becomes functional for games, the possibilities will increase ever more.

    I picked up Need For Speed: Carbon the other day. Driving games are really fun for the wii, I must say. Now, all I need is a Star Wars game and a RTS game and we are set.
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@@@comcast...net> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:57PM (#18680849) Journal
    no they where cartoony for specific problems resulting from the SGI chip used and developers inability to be innovative in light of those problems (Factor 5 is a great example of a developer who DID deal with the problem and made incredible games because of it), but from a completely technical standpoint the SGI chip was 5 years of development ahead of the chip used in the PS1 (and not surprising, since the PS1 was based on Superfancom hardware that was pulled out and replaced with Sony produced stuff when Nintendo pulled out of the Play Station project.) It was the difficulty to develop for the 64 that caused issues, EXACTLY the same problems that both the 360 and the PS3 now are experiencing, the 360 in the fact that its not a carbon clone of the original because of the architecture change, and the PS3 because the Cell chip it's self is incredibly complicated.
  • Silver Lining (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:59PM (#18680885)
    The fact that the big game companies were caught off-balance by the popularity of the Wii (clearly they were not reading SlashDot since last years E3 conference.) could be good for some of the smaller game companies. This will give them a window to launch titles and get some publicity and shelf space at retailers. In particular, HeatSeeker and Sadness both look interesting. The fact that the Wii is cheaper to develop for (I assume it's got a good SDK) and lower resolution (less time to do custom artwork) should also help the smaller development companies.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:09PM (#18681051) Homepage Journal
    you're just getting old.

    Just to shjow your not the only one getting old:
    "....after the initial novelty wears off ..."
    reminds me of some og the complaints that was around when Pong came out.
    Yet here we are with outstanding games that were unimaginable then.

    Wii may very well prove to go on to do some amazing things, or at leastr lay the ground work for them.

  • Re:Silly question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by donglekey (124433) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:20PM (#18681207) Homepage
    That isn't just publishers, that is every industry, period. Everyone wants a safe and profitable investment.
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:31PM (#18681375) Homepage Journal
    Agreed. The industry has needed a major shakeup in design philosophy for YEARS coming, but noone had the guts to do it until now. Nintendo basically took the lid off of the boiling proverbial kettle. If the DS weren't evidence enough, simply the reaction from E3 should have clued everyone in.

    Now, the degree of success is up for grabs, not even *I* thought that it would be THIS big, but my suspicions are not really that far off. The teeny-bopper XBox and PlayStation crowd didn't want to agknowledge the Wii's possible success, because of its threateningly, "family oriented" stance. A lot of the game press is teeny-bopper centric, so a lot of people were blinded by their own personal bias.
  • by LKM (227954) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:42PM (#18681549) Homepage
    Oh, and your DS is collecting dust??? If the DS doesn't provide any games you're interested in, I'm afraid no console does.
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:44PM (#18681585) Homepage Journal
    Did you have a GameCube? If not, you have an entire library of amazing single-player titles to check in on. The GameCube's library might be small, but it's pound for pound, probably the best console library in existance. Some of the finest action games, finest RPGs, and finest platformers out there.

    Skies of Arcadia: Legends
    Smash Bros. Melee
    Metroid Prime 1 & 2
    Zelda: Wind Waker
    Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
    Tales of Symphonia
    Mario Sunshine

    Just to name a few A+ titles. (I know I'm forgetting some big ones, but whatever)

    As for the Wii itself? Yeah, there's not a whole lot out right now. Mine's sitting on the shelf, too. But that's to be expected, we're only 5 months in, and just beginning Q2 of the fiscal year. It's the inevitable post-launch game draught. The PS3 is doing just as bad, if not worse. The 360 didn't get rolling until almost a year after its launch. All the PS3 is getting is ports right now while we're getting minigame collections. Definitely not my thing, sounds like its not your thing either, but that'll change.

    BTW: that's absolute SUCK about Super Paper Mario not coming out in the UK until November. The game industry really screws you guys, doesn't it? Super Paper Mario basically ends the draught, as far as I'm concerned... all the reviews are pretty amazing. If I remember correctly, first party titles aren't region coded, so you should be able to order SPM overseas.
  • Re:shovelware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:57PM (#18681797) Homepage Journal

    The majority of "hardcore" gamers tend to be fixed in their ways; be it PC games or traditional consoles, they (not everyone) do not want something new. Why should they have to use the Wii nunchuck instead of the traditional controllers?

    Exactly. This gamepad thing is never going to catch on. One button joysticks, [atariage.com] For The Win!

    (dramatic pause)

    We've been here before. Several times, in fact. We'll be here again. The "hardcore" gamers will adapt, just as they always have.
  • Re:Silly question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:05PM (#18681911) Homepage Journal

    Of course, if you believe the idea that the Wii is successful only because it has brought a whole new demographic (casual gamers) into the console market, these publishers that specialize in catering to the hard core gamer market may still not do very well on the Wii. Time will tell.

    I doubt it. A large number of people chose to purchase it because it was inexpensive. They will be looking for traditional games.

    I plan to be one of them when I can find a Wii. (All jokes aside.)

  • by bynary (827120) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:05PM (#18681913) Homepage
    What is really going to happen in the next 15 months is that you will have to wade through more crap to get to the stuff you want.

    That's no different than the PS1 and PS2 libraries: mountains of crap and a dozen or so gems.
  • by drsquare (530038) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:25PM (#18682187)
    So you're saying that the Wii is worth it so you can play games that you played years ago on obsolete consoles? I don't think that makes it worth the pricetag. I think at the end of the day, once the novelty of the controller wears off, the wii is a slightly-upgraded gamecube.
  • by KiahZero (610862) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:47PM (#18682507)
    What are you talking about? The Gamecube controller was certainly better than the PS2 or Xbox controllers, and far and away superior to the controllers of preceding consoles.
  • by jeppster (1031326) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:52PM (#18682579) Homepage
    Fair enough. I'd love to have some sort of survey of all Wii owners that asks the question, "Do you feel like the Wii is significantly different than other consoles and is better because of it?" I would answer, I don't know, but I do know that I've played it consistently (at least every other day) since I got it (two months ago). Probably a little more than half the time is with another person (usually my wife), and neither one of us finds it boring.

    As my boss always says, "You have your definition, and I have mine".
  • by insignificant_wrangl (1060444) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @09:01PM (#18684313) Journal
    I also find this is a "new generation" thing: it usually takes developers a year or so to really capitalize on the new systems' capabilities. Its nice to know that numerous developers will be paying significant attention to the Wii rather than just the 360 and the PS3. I'm a long time Playstation loyalist, but I'm switching to the Wii this generation (assuming I can find one...)
  • by mbessey (304651) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @09:44PM (#18684569) Homepage Journal
    The Wii Remote seems to detect orientation just fine without using the optical sensor. The Wii Sports games illustrate this very well. In Tennis, Baseball, and Golf, the orientation of the remote is mirrored onscreen by the position of the racket/bat/club, all without having to point at the screen.

    Or maybe you're complaining about something else, and I'm misunderstanding the problem?
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:00PM (#18684665) Homepage
    The industry has needed a major shakeup in design philosophy for YEARS coming, but noone had the guts to do it until now. Nintendo basically took the lid off of the boiling proverbial kettle.

    And what shakeup would that be? A gimmicky controller? Offering existing technology at a lower price point than its cutting edge counterparts? Unfortunately, I think consumers have looked at the bottom line and little else. They see $250, $400, $600, and think "Well, they're all NEW.. why pay double+ when I can get a NEW Nintendo for $250?" But in 2-3 years, about half the lifetime of a console generation, the Wii is going to look absolutely ancient. And while the games may still be enjoyable in their own right, everybody wants new things, otherwise we'd still be playing on our Atari's. So in order to cross develop, substantial features will have to be cut for the Wii versions of any sort of demanding title. The alternative is that publishers develop for the lowest common denominator, which doesn't seem like good news either.

    The only reason the Wii is really winning right now is not about any sort of "major shakeup in design philosophy," but rather the complete and utter incompetence Sony has demonstrated in bringing (or convincing others to bring) remarkable titles to market for the PS3. If a solid selection of games existed for the PS3, neither the Wiimote nore the affordable price point would keep Nintendo in the lead. I believe it would still have a solid market share -- as well it should -- but nothing like the popularity it's enjoying right now.
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:19PM (#18684771) Homepage
    In retrospect, I probably should have proofread and better articulated my anti-Wii arguments.

    Imagine X years from now when Hot New Title comes out. Either that title exists for only one platform, or it's cross-platform. If it's cross-platform, then it will likely be the least appealing on the most underpowered console -- the Wii. If it's single-platform (or worse -- 360/PS3 only), then it will only cause Wii owners to become disenchanted with their bargain purchase. This is why people upgrade in the first place. It's only a matter of time before this happens to any console, however it usually doesn't happen until a new generation is released. Since the difference between the Wii and the 360/PS3 is essentially already a generational gap, the lifetime of the Wii is inherently shorter than that of its competitors. The only reason the Wii isn't a complete waste of money is described in my second paragraph, above.
  • by trdrstv (986999) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:48PM (#18685231)
    If it's cross-platform, then it will likely be the least appealing on the most underpowered console...

    I disagree. If power was that important, the PS2 would have died one year into it's life when the Gamecube and X-box (both more powerful systems) were launched. HD Graphics aren't as important as the typical gaming press wants to believe. Final Fantasy seems to have done well only supporting 480i.

    People do want the best of what's available, but once again that doesn't mean graphics... So far EA has (surprisingly) been able to take several franchises and successfully launch them on Wii in a way that is new, better and more immersive than is possible on any other system. Madden, Tiger Woods, and The Godfather are all made better on the Wii by their intuitive and immersive control schemes.

    I have a Wii60, and as pretty as Fight Night Round 3 looked on my HDTV, I can't wait to buy Round 4 on the Wii.

  • by freeweed (309734) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:51PM (#18685251)
    Your problem, good friend, is that you think of "power" in terms of graphical performance.

    I'd say the PS3/360 are VASTLY underpowered compared to the Wii - power being defined by an easy, intuitive, FUN interface. A cross-platform game on all 3 systems will sell far more on the more powerful system, I agree. That system being the Wii.

    Witnessing the last 4 months, the market so far agrees with me.
  • by Rosebud128 (930419) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:58AM (#18685475)
    Novelty of the controller will wear off? That people will get tired of "inferior" hardware? Twenty years ago, people said the same exact thing of the NES.

    When the NES came out, 16-bit gaming was done on game centric computers (PS3 and Xbox 360 are considered game centric computers). The NES sported a new controller that disrupted the joystick, had lots of mini-games (Duck Hunt and World Track Meet come to mind), and made gaming more accessible (not everyone wants to play at the computer). NES was marketed as a family friendly console and, one of the bonuses, was that it was seen as a virtual arcade machine (where one could play all the great arcade games of past and present) which is similiar to how the Virtual Console is percieved today. NES kept selling out, year after year, in both Japan and America just as the Wii is doing now.

    Everyone, and I mean everyone, said the NES's early success was a novelty of a 'toy' and that all gaming would return back to the game centric computers. It never did. Electronic Arts refused to support the NES until investors threatened to fire Trip Hawkins.

    Wii is still selling out six months after launch. Yet, it is still a 'fad'. I guess the DS Lite is still a 'fad' and 'novelty' too, huh?
  • by seebs (15766) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @02:06AM (#18685757) Homepage
    It's not a gimmick, any more than the DS was.

    I think people will lose interest in the Wii's controller around the time people realize that mice, trackballs, and tablets are just gimmicks and go back exclusively to arrow keys.
  • Re:Not Likely... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @04:55AM (#18686429)
    So what you're saying is that a very large segment of the potential console market doesn't give a crap and just want to play some fun games? Fancy that. It only took a couple of decades or so for the console companies to work that one out. Perhaps Sony and Microsoft might get the point the next go around?
  • by LKM (227954) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @08:10AM (#18687295) Homepage

    And what shakeup would that be? A gimmicky controller? Offering existing technology at a lower price point than its cutting edge counterparts? Unfortunately, I think consumers have looked at the bottom line and little else.

    There is absolutely not evidence to back that up. During the last generation, the Gamecube was the cheapest console. The PS2 still won. People don't just run out and buy the cheapest console. People buy the Wii because it is genuinely a lot of fun to play with it.

    That's really all there is to it.

    If you still call the Wii controller "gimmicky," you do nothing but betray your fanboyism. Have you played "The Godfater: Blackhand Edition"? This game alone is proof that the Wii controller is anything but a gimmick.

    People play with the Wii because they want to. Because it's an accessible and fun. No amount of good PS3 games can change this. The people who love to play Wii quite simply won't switch to the PS3 for games like FF or MGS.

    And yes, if you can't see the change in game design philosophy from the GBA/PS1/PS2 to the DS/Wii, you're blind.

  • by theantipop (803016) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @09:05AM (#18687809)
    I really believe the "novelty" of the controller has yet to fully be explored. Zelda makes the best use of the remote to date for immersive gameplay (try playing the GC version then switch, it's really amazing), but the things only been out for 5.5 months. As far as backwards compatibility and the VC not adding value to the console, that's just craziness. It's really the main reason I bought one in December even though I knew there would be a title slump. I haven't owned a console in 8 (maybe more?) years but now I can catch up a bit on some of the really fun games I've played on friend's systems over the years.
  • Re:Not Likely... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vandon (233276) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:07PM (#18690433) Homepage

    Other than the novel input device, developers targeting the Wii need to basically use last-gen engines and techniques.

    And I'd rather play a really fun game than a so-so game that looks really pretty. Too many publishers are pushing super shiny graphics as the fix to poor gameplay.

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