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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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  • shovelware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by L-Train8 (70991) <`Matthew_Hawk' `at' `hotmail.com'> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:47PM (#18679749) Homepage Journal
    The Piper Jaffray analyst says, "They're going to need to get their best-branded product on that platform. That will take a good nine to 12 months."

    But if the big publishers rush Wii tiles out the door, the Wii could get a reputation for having nothing but crap ports, and lose some of its appeal. On the other hand, with the lag time involved in video games, market share might be cemented before that could happen.
  • by ditoa (952847) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:56PM (#18679895)
    I will probably get modded troll however this is just my honest opinion - I am bored of my Wii. I got one at the end of January. I didn't pre-order one as I wasn't all that sure it would be fun but I played on a colleagues one a few times and enjoyed it so decided to pick one up. I got Rayman, Zelda and WiiPlay as well.

    At first it was a lot of fun however I soon found that lack of decent single player games and no online made the console a total bore for me. I tried to convince my wife that it was fun to play and while she did enjoy it the first couple of times she said it was "too robotic" which I do agree with.

    I don't have people round the house all that often as we tend to go out. When we do have people round it is more to chat than play games. When I first got it and people came round we played but after an hour most people found the games too repetitive.

    So basically it now sits under my TV doing nothing. I am a single player gamer and the Wii really doesn't work well for me. I had (still have but it is modded) an Xbox and used to really like Live however canceled my subscription after 2 years as I didn't feel I used it enough. I have thought about getting a 360 however it is too noisy for me so until they put in a quieter drive I won't be picking one up.

    I really wanted to like the Wii however it just doesn't excite me, after the initial novelty wears off it does feel rather gimmicky and it doesn't really revolutionise gaming, it is just another form of input, it doesn't really add any additional depth to a game.
  • Re:shovelware (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tuffy (10202) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:57PM (#18679927) Homepage Journal

    But if the big publishers rush Wii tiles out the door, the Wii could get a reputation for having nothing but crap ports, and lose some of its appeal.

    Probably not, though. No major system has ever failed for having too many games, even if most aren't "A" quality titles.

  • What's on tap? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:06PM (#18680061)
    I'm not much of a gamer. I've never owned any console of any kind. I have played the Eye of the Beholder series of D&D games back in the day, and I liked Half Life 1/2 and Counterstrike. But I made do with whatever hardware I had. That's it.

    And now, my time is taken up by work, bills, etc. However, the Wii is really starting to appeal to me, as it seems like a console you can just play periodically without being a die-hard. And the (more) physical nature of it is appealing.

    However, I really would enjoy a 3D D&D type of game, where you use the wiimote as a sword and nunchuck to control a shield, switch to pulling the two apart like cocking a bow, even moving your arms like you're running and having that get picked up and move you along like you're running/walking, etc., etc. But, sadly, it doesn't seem like anything like this is in development.

    Regarding the shovelware note, I do note that Eye of the Beholder is being made for the Wii, but it may turn out to be shovelware - just like the original, pseudo-3D game. That would suck.
  • I don't know if it's any good, but I saw one in Bestbuy that came with a steering wheel in the package.

    If you want a bit of advice, don't waste your money on GT Pro [wikipedia.org]. The Steering Wheel attachment might make it tempting, but I guarantee that you'll regret the purchase. Try one of Ubisoft's better games, like Rayman. I have not heard anything about Monster 4x4 World Circuit [wikipedia.org], but I recommend that you be wary of it. Nintendo really had to strain the quality in order to round out the Wii launch titles. :-(
  • Re:shovelware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pxtl (151020) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:23PM (#18680277) Homepage
    Yep, that fits. Nintendo consoles have, since the N64, always been like that. Wonderful first-party stuff (and console-specific stuff from Rare), and mediocre third-party-stuff. Basically the same story now, but with Sega's Sonic Team taking Rare's place... although Sonic Team replaces the furstratingly-difficulty of Rare games with frustrating-camera-controls of Sonic games.

    I bought a wii at launch time, and so far have been pretty disappointed. Wii Sports is nice, but every title I've picked up since then has been something of a disappointment - cooking mama is terrible, Monkeyball is nice but the minigames are hideously bad (and reviews of Sonic say it's more of the same), and the Metroid title promises to be singleplayer. I've yet to see a multiplayer title for the Wii where the multiplayer gaming is anything but hacked-up minigames.

    I'm worried that the Wii will end up collecting dust the same way my DS does.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:33PM (#18680443)
    This post is going to sound trollish, but it's not intended that way. I like the Wii. I've got one.

    But I don't get it. The Wii has networking and a CPU that is capable of decoding MPEG4 video. That sounds like a perfect replacement for my media PC! But the Wii only appears to be able to play videos from CDs. In this era of XBMC and AppleTV, why isn't there even a simple media centre program available for the Wii with network streaming?
  • by sottitron (923868) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:36PM (#18680493)
    Not sure I agree with your logic. You are assuming quality is constant. A deluge of titles probably means that 10% figure be weakened reduced even more than since you have developers scrambling (i.e. shovelware.) 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 said, I wouldn't mind a bigger Nintendo section to wade through 2 years from now. I do hope you are right that the developers 'get it' while they produce games for the wii.
  • Re:Silly question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:37PM (#18680499)
    One of the things I find odd about this is that most of the people I know who are programmers, scripters or artists in game development were all excited about the Wii after the TGS 2005 showing and it was the marketing drones who thought it wouldn't be successful; at E3 2006 (after the marketing drones came across a 6 hour line-up at the Wii booth) companies started to be far more willing to devote resources to Wii games. In a way this is probably representative of what is wrong with so many publishers currently, they're so afraid to take a risk for fear of losing money that they end up missing out on the opportunity to make money.
  • Re:Silly question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KDR_11k (778916) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:43PM (#18680611)
    I doubt the hardcore demographic is less present on the Wii than other consoles. Sure, it's a lower percentage of the total sales but since most actual hardcore gamers (i.e. not just graphics whores who'd shun a game for looking bad independent of how it plays, a hardcore gamer would accept 2d sprites if the game was good, some would even take ASCII) are interested in the Wiimote and the gameplay it might enable they are likely to buy a Wii. Never mind that many hardcore gamers are likely to own more than one console anyway and the Wii will probably have the least overlap with the libraries of the other consoles so you get more difference for the money.
  • by jchenx (267053) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:14PM (#18681129) Journal
    I have to ask ... are "crap ports" and "shovelware" really such a bad thing for the Wii, considering the new audience it's targeting?

    It's pretty apparent that a significant part of the Wii's appeal is coming from casual or even "non gamers". These are not the players that get excited about a new Zelda game, or Metroid Prime, or Mario Galaxy, etc. Rather, they are comfortable with games with much more massive appeal (Wii Sports, Wii Play, various party games, etc.).

    Sometimes that also includes licensed games (based off movies, TV shows, etc.), which are often regarded to as "shovelware" by hardcore gaming enthusiasts. Believe it or not, one of the better selling DS games in Feburary was Hannah Montana [gamespot.com], based off the popular Disney TV show.

    As hardcore gamers (and yes, I am one), I think we often forget about the massive number of other gamers there are, that buy and enjoy these types of games (otherwise they wouldn't continue to sell the way they do). As much as I hate to think it, Nintendo could probably do quite well business-wise focusing on just the casual audience entirely. Sure, they'll lose much of the hardcore fanbase, but more than make up for it in other ways. In the meantime, they'll always have the Nintendo faithful on board no matter what they do (these are the ones that need their Mario/Zelda/Metroid-fix).
  • by LKM (227954) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:40PM (#18681503) Homepage
    Despite of what the article says, EA has release three great games for the Wii. They started out with Madden, which was great for an early Wii title. Recently, they have released The Godfather: Blackhand Edition (which is absolutely awesome) and the SSX game (which is great if you're into those kinds of games). They've also released a few sub-par games, but even Tiger Woods is quite nice.

    If they keep up that quality level, I'm very happy. I doubt the Wii is going to be another Cube.

    Also, if you have a Wii and only own Wii Sports, Cooking Mama and Super Monkey Ball, you have no right to complain about the games. At least get Zelda, Excite Truck, Wario Ware and Rayman, in addition to the EA games mentioned above. There are quite a bit of great games for the Wii available right now.
  • Re:Just one question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cHALiTO (101461) <elchalo AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:41PM (#18681523) Homepage
    So? they can make a game where if your saber collides with another, they stay so for a moment (both 'pushing') and have the wiimote do some rumbling, then you have to go quickly to the 'blocked' position to match the screen and do something to start struggling with the opponent (nothing too long). and that might just be bosses, I'd buy in a second a game where I can go around a full level or map against, say, stormtroopers , deflecting shots and cutting away troopers, droids and doors or walls (no real resistance needed there, the saber should cut as through butter, but making it rumble while it goes through something would be extra-nice).

    Hey, I can dream ;)
  • by kyph (1077891) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:42PM (#18681551)
    What it comes down to, is that publishers for the Wii need to understand what it's being used for. I know my Wii is pretty much used as a group activity. The great single-player games will be far and few between. I know I always have the most fun with my wii when a group of my friends and I come stumbling home from the bars and attempt to bowl & stand up at the same time. If ninendo plays it out well, the Wii could be the biggest thing in dorm rooms around the country since posters with alcohol and weed references.
  • by trdrstv (986999) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:01PM (#18681849)
    Despite of what the article says, EA has release three great games for the Wii. They started out with Madden, which was great for an early Wii title. Recently, they have released The Godfather: Blackhand Edition (which is absolutely awesome) and the SSX game (which is great if you're into those kinds of games). They've also released a few sub-par games, but even Tiger Woods is quite nice.

    I don't know about you, but I find Tiger Woods 07 DAMN addictive on the Wii. Even now I want to run home and play. Tiger, and Madden are much more 'Simulation oriented' (and addictive) than they ever were. Madden is simulating backyard 'double touch' football in an NFL setting and Tiger is simulating golf real nicely... I can't wait for Fight Night...

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:52PM (#18682575)
    Dude, we have Big Bumpin' at our workplace and it's one of the most fun party games on Xbox 360 right now. Seriously. Try it before you knock it.
  • by jchenx (267053) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:19PM (#18682889) Journal

    No, I don't think you get it... Super Mario Bros. 3 is THE BEST SELLING GAME, EVER, and that includes Tetris (not solitare, since that comes preloaded on every Windows computer). People may follow football because of their connections with the teams, but sports games don't sell as well as the average Nintendo franchise.

    Sorry, you are wrong [wikipedia.org]. SMB3 was the best selling console game at 18 million. Want to know how much Tetris sold for the original GameBoy? 30 million. And that's only on that portable. There are countless Tetris games and clones available on the PC, web, mobile phone, PDA, etc. Yes, I'm aware that Tetris was a bundled game, and that skews the numbers considerably. But I'm more interested in the influence and mass popularity of games. Being bundled helped it tremendously, just like how Wii Sports is gaining mass popularity from being a pack-in for the Wii. (And on a small note, the original Super Mario game sold even better, since it was also a pack-in game. That has far more influence than its predecessor.)

    Want to know another mass appeal game that has sold like crazy, and was released less than a decade ago? The Sims, at 16 million (and that number is probably out of date by now). Most hardcore gamers, myself included, thought it was a fun game, but quickly got bored of it and moved onto newer things. However, the vast majority of gamers (who are not hardcore, don't read gaming sites every day, etc.), keep buying expansion pack after expansion pack. I don't think those numbers even include the Sims 2 sequel either.

    I am not saying that the Mario brand is insignificant. In fact, it is the most influential franchise out there. That said, I still disagree that a Mario game is going to be the pinnacle of a "mass appeal video game". The numbers are actually quite telling, if you take a look at the sales numbers of Mario games after SMB3. It's going down, not up.

    Again, try going to your non-gamer friends and family, and ask them if they have ever played or heard of SMB 3, or if they look forward to the next Mario game. The answer will probably be no. That said, those same folks are probably giddy about American Idol, or Lost, or the next James Bond movie.

    You're insisting that short, pick-up/put-down games are the only answer to mass appeal, but that is not really historically accurate, now, is it? You have to take into consideration that the moment that you get new people onboard, sooner or later they're going to want more, and suddenly, you've got a lot of people playing more involved games. Short games are short lived... either the person playing them gets bored of gaming and stops buying them, or they move on to more, bigger things.

    I think you've fallen into the trap that most hardcore gamers fall into. That may be how we got into gaming. But why do you make the assumption that they're "going to want more"? The typical grandmother who has picked up a Wii because it's fun to play with her grandkids and maybe her friends from time to time, is not going to change her lifestyle and suddenly be into games like Zelda or Metroid, just because they happen to be on the same console.

    As some who's in the casual games industry, I can tell you that most of the women that play our games adapt them to their lifestyle, not the other way around. Bejeweled gamers seek out similar puzzle games, and "bite size" games. They might try marginally more complicated games (such as Diner Dash, etc.), but there is such a huge leap to more "traditional" games, that your idea that they will eventually become fans of Starcraft, Call of Duty, Zelda, Metroid, Halo ... is rather absurd. We just don't see it, and I've been in the business for a while now.

    Anyway, I'm not saying that short pick-up games are the only answer t

  • Re:Silver Lining (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 7Prime (871679) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:23PM (#18682965) Homepage Journal
    Holding z-trigger for strafing is a killer for most people who play FPSs. It worked great in Metroid because, again, Metroid isn't an FPS. But for serious FPS people who are used to Quake and Halo, you have to be able to strafe, aim, and move at the same time. I'm not an FPS player, myself, but most of my friends are, and every single one I've talked with said they would not play a series FPS, as an FPS, if it had the controls like Metroid Prime. This is why Metroid Prime did not appeal to the FPS crowd at all.

    What I'm suggesting is that the nuncuck's motion sensors be used for turning, not for movement. The analog control is great for movement, and should still be used... although side to side on the a-stick would strafe side to side, the way left/right arrow keys (or A/D keys, more likely) are used on a keyboard. Tilting the nuncuck to the left would turn you to the left, tilting it to the right would turn you right. Tiliting it downward would look down, tilting it up would look up. This way, all movement and positioning are controlled with the left hand, and then the Wiimote is used exclusively for aiming, shooting, and switching weapons (via the d-pad, which would work wonderfully).
  • Actually (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LKM (227954) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:01AM (#18687225) Homepage
    As a hardcore gamer, personally, I would prefer Wii Sports 2 to Manhunt 2, too.

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