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Wii's Longevity, Competition Questioned 277

Posted by Zonk
from the everyone-makes-a-fuss dept.
Gamasutra reports that, despite the Wii's breakaway sales success, some analysts are skeptical of the Wii's staying power. Other analysts are, of course, pointing out that many of the 'hardcore' titles are expected later this year. "[They] not[ed] that 31% of Wii owners surveyed in March said they expected to play the Wii more often a year from now, compared to 21% of Xbox 360 owners." At the same time, Nintendo of America's George Harrison is questioning the staying power of Sony and Microsoft. According to Harrison, the two larger companies 'lack the DNA' to move with the industry, and keep with the the demand for casual, more family-friendly titles. "'They're really good at reaching a certain customer, and have a real difficulty understanding how we succeed with the customers that we have,' said the senior vice president of marketing and communications. With the sales of Wii and DS hardware crushing the competition in the US, Harrison is confident that Nintendo could take up to as much as 50 per cent of the market for this latest 'next-gen' cycle."
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Wii's Longevity, Competition Questioned

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  • by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:11AM (#19321071) Journal
    I reserved and got a Wii on the launch date along with Zelda and Red Steel. I have also bought Monkey Ball, Excite Truck and Wii Play games. Currently, I am waiting for a good RPG... I was looking forward for the Dragon Quest game but so far there is no sign of it. I do not like the "mini games" as I have enough of them with Wii Play/Sports and MonkeyBall... also I do not have lots of people to play with... WHERE IS THE INTERNET PLAY!!! THIS IS 2007...

    I got bored of my Wii... I am still waiting for a good game, the problem with consoles like this with so few games is that sometimes it is impossible to get a game you like if your "tastes" are not standard... Also, I do not have the £40 to spend on some wannabe game without testing... how am I suppose to see if I like that game? considering that these days, online reviews are less worthless...

  • by josquint (193951) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:13AM (#19321083) Homepage
    I'd play ALOT more a year from now, as I figure that's about when i'll finally get my hands on one!
  • by svendsen (1029716) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:13AM (#19321085)
    Analysts make sweeping unfounded generalizations to get their daily 15 mins. Must be a slow news day for Slashdot.

    The Wii is here to stay and dominate. Especially once they start doing some cool DS to Wii integration. It's base is huge, is constantly growing and still a huge demand which outpaces the supply.

    I have no interest in one but may be buying one once Animal Crossing 2 comes out (its like crack for my fiancé). Unless Nintendo comes out and says they kick puppies, love Nazis, and wipe their ass with every nations flag in the world they are not likely to drop the ball.

  • by Lockejaw (955650) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:17AM (#19321127)

    Also, I do not have the £40 to spend on some wannabe game without testing... how am I suppose to see if I like that game?
    Is renting an option for you?
  • by Stevecrox (962208) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:20AM (#19321175) Journal
    There is no news here, analysts have long bashed the Wii because its graphics aren't that great and for the moment their aren't any games. They do have a point after two or three years the Wii is going to be seriously outdated (graphically) while there could be some really great games over the next year or two. But I get the feeling that Nintendo will release an updated Wii (Wii Advanced? Wii Advanced SP?) to compensate. Kudo's to Nintendo for selling so many units but just how long is your product aimed to last? I know a PS3 will still be around in ten years (aparently.)

    The comments that Sony and Microsoft don't get the casual gamer market are laughable, Sixaxis was an attempt to steal the WiiMotes thunder. Buzz, Singstar, Guitar Hero and Eye Toy are all products on the PS2 for the casual gamer and they sell really well. What Sony/Microsoft lack are mini games, to think they won't see that they need is to expand their casual game base of course they don't know that (*cough* XboX360 has Guitar Hero *cough* Singstar downloads for PS3 *cough.)
  • by justinbach (1002761) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:20AM (#19321181) Homepage
    So...on the one hand, we have a couple of analysts vying for first prize in the unorthodox-opinion contest, because, well, because it's their job to sensationalize things so people talk about their opinions, and on the other, we have the head of one major gaming company that has taken an brilliantly unorthodox strategy (and done very well by it) questioning his competitors' ability to continue to succeed in the market.

    C'mon, guys, all that we accomplish by publishing non-news like this is giving both parties exactly what they're looking for in free publicity. Adding together two non-stories doesn't create a story unless there's some really interesting counterpoint, and here all we have is a parallel phrase structure in "questions staying power".

    I'm not trying to flame here or anything, I'm just saying that I think we could at least do a little better than this. Analysts and senior figures are always going to try and get themselves into headlines by saying controversial things; is it to much to ask that we don't actively facilitate this behavior?
  • Re:I wouldn't know (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:21AM (#19321201) Homepage
    Bingo. If anything will be the undoing of the Wii it's that. People like you and I who just get frustrated of waiting and buy a different console which is readily available. (or none at all).

    And frankly, that we keep having threads about "The wii is dying" kinda makes me think that the others are just scared of the competition so they spread this fud around. The wii is a fine console, both capable of decent graphics and immersive gaming. The only really shitty thing about it [other than the small game library] is that they're impossible to find without entering a waiting list 2 months long.

    Tom
  • by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:22AM (#19321213) Homepage
    Are these the same analysts who predicted that Nintendo would be a distant third this cycle?

    Funny how you don't see them making a statement of "Oops, sorry we had no clue what the hell we were talking about."

    These analysts are as good at predicting the future as any random person off the street, they just get paid a lot more.
  • I'm not going to sleep outside of stores or get raped on ebay just to join in, either.

    I just checked every time I walked through Wal-Mart or Target (once or twice a week) and after a couple of trips I picked one up. There were 3 or 4 in the case. I haven't looked as much since then, but I think anyone who takes the trouble to just look around a bit ought to be able to get one. Then again, maybe I just got really, really lucky.

    In any case, I am not super-impressed with the titles so far. The Wii Sports game is a lot of fun (tried it out on my non-video gaming parents last weekend, they were hooked) and Super Paper Mario is also a lot of fun. But I'm still not extremely psyched about the titles coming out. (For comparison, I own a 360 as well and my favorite game so far is Call of Duty 2 and I have the legendary edition of Halo 3 (yes - the $125 one) on reserve).

    I will say that there's one point to consider: Nintendo is in a much better position to come out with a new system before MS or Sony can. I think we're talking what 5 years? 7? until we see Xbox 720 and PS4. I would be shocked if Nintendo doesn't come out with their own hi-def capable system in 3 or 4.
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7 AT kc DOT rr DOT com> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:26AM (#19321273) Homepage
    I am bored with my Wii at the moment but my wife and daughters who never play anything beyond popcap games on the web are still playing it regularly. I dont have many games and do play it alot when I get a new one, but they dont seem to have the staying power with me that they do on the rest of the family. Nintendo really has managed to capture an untapped market and because of that I think you can toss probabilities and gamer opinion out the window, its not a gamers console, its a non-gamers console. That may change as more high profile titles are released, but so far my wife and my parents (who picked up their own after their last visit) would be happy if nintendo just kept cranking out minigames. My mother mentioned that what her Wii really needed was a trivia game and some board games. There are so many of the non-gamer genre's out there that are untouched and dont have to rely on gimics. Imagine "Pictionary" where you could sketch the "clue" on the screen with the remote, the secret word could be given quietly via the remote speaker. Maybe Wheel of Fortune where you can zap away the letters to select them, chess where you can just point to the piece you want to move, Jeopardy using the remote as the buzzer, the possibilites are endless.

    Regardless of the AAA "hardcore" titles that come out later, the Wii has all the possibiilty of being the casual gamers ultimate game center.
  • by chad.koehler (859648) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:28AM (#19321315)
    I guess I could be considered a "hardcore" gamer... Been playing games since the early 80's and never really stopped. It's nothing to log close to 100 hours in a good RPG.
    That in mind, I wanted a Wii from when I first saw it, looked to be a very fun system that would give a chance to be more "social".
    I would casually look for one from time to time - then last month, one showed up at my local Walmart (very small store, not one of the new big ones), and I picked it up along with Zelda TP.
    Immediately, I began to see the way the console changed the way people around me thought of video games... My wife is absolutely hooked on Wii sports, and the neighbors come by at least a couple nights a week for some tennis or bowling. Most interesting however, was the interest of my parents. Both nearly 60, they never liked video games in the past. Could never even get them to try one out. The Wii was different. They watched my wife and I play a game of tennis, and wanted to try for themselves. Now, every time they stop by there will be quite a few games of bowling played.

    You shouldn't underestimate the attention span of the casual gamer, look how long SOL.EXE has been around.
  • Absurdity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EMeta (860558) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:37AM (#19321447)
    The true absurdity of the analysts' positions is the very idea of percentage of market share. News Flash: some gamers will have more than one console. In the Super Nintendo, PS1, and even PS2 era, it made a certain amount of sense to only have one console. Gamers were younger, less affluent, and while there were certainly differences between the options available, said difference wasn't that much.

    In this age, however, things are different. Want to play with your friends in one spot? You want a Wii. Want to play with friends across the country? Get an XBox360. Want, um, well, uh, a huge selection of very good titles? Get a PS2. Want to [hmm, I'm trying here!] almost successfully buy your estranged step children's love? Get them a PS3.

    My point being that there is certainly room for more than one console--yes, maybe even three as sad as that would be for those of us who aren't quite as affluent. This is a different ballgame from the 90's. Stop the bickering & just enjoy the games.

  • by Vexorian (959249) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:41AM (#19321503)
    Isn't your non-analyst "The WII is here to stay and dominate" pretty much an unfounded generalization as well? Like "I love the WII"=>"The WII will dominate".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:46AM (#19321577)
    "They do have a point after two or three years the Wii is going to be seriously outdated (graphically)..."

    Yeah, but early PS2 games looked like shit compared the Dreamcast, late PS2 games looked weak compared to the Xbox or Cube, and PS2 games were always blown away by the PC. The DS has laughable graphics compared to a PSP. The Wii and PS2 look seriously outdated right now compared to the 360 or PS3 yet are still selling very well. Graphics mean very little as far as popularity is concerned.
  • by Stevecrox (962208) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:47AM (#19321589) Journal
    Ready for this...
    People's expectations increase, games are advertised on TV and some of them are looking extremely good. PS3 and Xbox360 have the potential to offer photorealistic looking games. If you think it won't matter why is there a Gameboy Advanced or Gameboy Advanced SP? Why is there DS? While the DS gives an interesting input, the advanced releases were merely updated forms of the Gameboy Colour in different packaging.

    What I think will happen over the next three or four years the PS3/Xbox360 price will drop, as the gap between the Wii, PS3 and Xbox360 decreases the reason for a Wii decrease and the differences will as well. To believe that MS and PS3 won't heavily invest in more casual games (considering the trouncing their getting) is pointless. Once those consoles have better casual gamer expearence you start taking away its advantages, the biggest disadvantage will be its graphics.

    An ancedote, The PSP has always been far more expensive when compared to the DS, in the recent bank holiday the place I work we had a PSP (+game) for £129.99 and a DS (+game) for £99.99 we sold five or six PSP's but no DS's. I think the Wii will feel the same effect is Sony and Microsoft can start competing with it on price.

    As I said previously Kudo's to Nintendo for selling so many units
  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @09:48AM (#19321625)
    There are alot of gamers who bought the Wii, cracked out on Zelda and Wii Sports, and are now waiting for other games worth playing to show up. The publishers, meanwhile, are trying to figure out who exactly is buying these Wii's.

    Nintendo has set its self up to be able to ration out what it considers strong releases, but has history has proven, what it considers to be strong is often not what traditional gamers will go for (Warioware, Mario Strikers Charged). And of course, its monster hits have not materialized yet (Metroid, Mario Galaxies, Smash Brothers Brawl).

    On the flip side of it, the 3rd parties are rushing to step up. But they did so a bit too late, so we are getting alot of ports of PS2 and Xbox games. The 3rd parties are going to try their hand at the casual games, of course, but it may yet be a while before they start showing up with the kind of games that the traditional gamers want.

    Demand has been quite strong though, so I have no doubts that we will see the kinds of games we want. The real question is whether the publishers will be able to make any money at it. There is a very real danger of all the more traditional games only showing up on the 360 or PS3.

    There are a great many Wii's being sold, but until everyone figures out who the hell is buying them, there will be a lull. Are they being bought by Core gamers who also own a XBox 360, or Casual gamers who are only ever going to play Wii Sports? Either of those does not help the Wii in the long term.

    END COMMUNICATION
  • Such group games like Wii Sports / Play really should have had internet play. Period. The only reason why I'm still playing Sports after three weeks is because my roommate and I have a rivalry going as far as getting gold medals in the trainings and trying to outdo each other in the fitness tests.


    I have to disagree. Why? The fun of Wii Sports/Wii Play is playing with friends/family. I had my hair cut this weekend, and the stylist was complaining about sore arms because she went to a friend's house "and they showed us their Wii and I played Tennis".

    Online play might work for gamers, and maybe it would have been a nice addition, but I don't think it as "required". Look at your own example - you're still playing it because you're competing with someone you know. Grandma Pearl and Grandpa Fogie wouldn't care about "Wii Tennis" ladders online - these are people they don't know, but they do care about their war buddy Jim who comes over to play (and yes, I'm being serious - I have some older coworkers who aren't tech guys who were talking about playing Wii Sports and getting competitive about their scores).
  • What you're forgetting is Microsoft and Sony have many other divisions that (can) pull major profits. Especially Microsoft with Windows and the Office lines. They could give away 360s and not hurt the bottom line too much.
    Thats a falicy. For one thing it STILL is red ink when you get your stockholders report. Stockholders are going to see it and say "why are you funneling that much money into something not turning a profit" Ultimately if the trend continues, they would have made more profit NOT being in the gaming business with a system than being in it, which stockholders dont like to see.

    Nintendo's warchest is peanuts compared to Sony and MS. That's what allows Sony and MS to hemorrhage at the seams; their game division is but one of many. They won't leave this game simply because that one division isn't turning a profit this quarter or year. Nintendo lives or dies by its games division since that's all it has.
    But its bad business for Microsoft and Sony to go into their warchest BECAUSE of the fact that they are a company with multiple lines. Stockholders will want answers when their profits are being spent on futile endeavorers, your continuing to miss that point. A Company pulling money out of its coffer to support a failing or faltering division is a one way ticket to its value being lowered, and its masters being out on their ass. Nintendo has a out on this fact because they only have ONE division. They dont have to manage multiple divisions, and they dont have to justify keeping a division open thats tanking. Microsoft and Sony can and have. Apple when they where retaken over by Jobs lost a huge number of their divisions for exactly this fact, because their profits where being spent supporting their losses. Oh and to put it in perspective, while Microsoft and Sony both are huge companies, their gaming divisions are roughly much smaller than Nintendo.
  • by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:23AM (#19322163) Journal
    Online play might work for gamers, and maybe it would have been a nice addition, but I don't think it as "required".

    The main problem I see is that, I must arrange a "party", "meeting" or whatever with whatever friends I've got here in the UK (I am originally from Mexico) in the not much *spare* time I've got (doing my PhD) in order to play those games, whereas if they had on-line play I would be able to get into my flat (after a 12 hour office day), log in and have fun playing 1 (or 2) games of Bowling/Tennis/etc... against other players.

    Also, my rank in tennis is between 2100 and 2200 (dont remember the exact number now) and I can beat any of my friends very easly... I would really enjoy playing against other people in the world which are equally good.

    So, for me, the lack of online playing on the Wii *is* very bad. They should have added online play on the VC games too, that way I would have bought SF2 or some other SNES game just to play with my girlfriend (who is in Mexico now)... as I said in another post, this is 2007 !!?? , the hardware is there, these are NINTENDO games... WTF happened?
  • by ProppaT (557551) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:58AM (#19322763) Homepage
    "the problem with consoles like this with so few games is that sometimes it is impossible to get a game you like if your 'tastes' are not standard"

    I understand what you're getting at, but I feel just the opposite. I've been a Nintendo fan ever since my mind was blown as a kid when I played Super Mario Bros, Zelda, and Metroid for the first time. As Nintendo grew as a company and managed to somehow obscure themselves during the N64 and Gamecube era, I started realizing that while Sony and now Microsoft changed to conform to the flavor of the month, I was constantly surprised with the ingenuity and how much many of my favorite Nintendo games strayed from the norm. Looking at my game library...sure, it's full of RPG's (which, believe it or not, are fairly mainstream and have a decently large market over here these days...they're not the black sheep games they were during the NES/SNES era), obscure rhythm games, and just plain old genre breakers such as Katamari and the like on my PSX/PS2. But then I look at my Nintendo consoles and I have equally odd games...games such as Blast Corps, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Cubivore, Goemon (Mystical Ninja) games, Mischeif Makers, etc. In fact, I'd have to say the ratio of relatively obscure games (or financial flop but terrific game) vs. mainstream games is much higher on my Nintendo consoles than on my Sony systems.

    It may be that you prefer the type of non-standard games that the Playstation invites vs. the type of obscure game that Nintendo consoles invite, but to say Nintendo consoles don't cater to non-standard tastes is slightly confusing as their consoles attract some of the most non-standard games I've ever seen.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:59AM (#19323729) Homepage Journal
    My 500 shares of Nintendo stock bought at E3 from proceeds from Sony stock say no.

    But I will predict, in 2009, when HDTV becomes mainstream (e.g. market share of more than 50 percent in US), that if Nintendo doesn't have a new console utilizing HDTV, then they should start worrying.

    But for now, I'm just raking in the stock growth.
  • Re:I wouldn't know (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drsquare (530038) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @12:29PM (#19324201)

    It's sort of like a camera on a phone - Even if you did have one, you wouldn't use one unless it was an extreme condition because it's a piece of shit and not what the company/product does best.
    You seem to be unaware of the widespread use of camera phones.
  • by Kelbear (870538) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @12:39PM (#19324337)
    Doesn't look that way to me. Nintendo underestimated demand for the console and third-party developers are getting a late-start on this console because they placed their projects on the PS3 and Xbox360, hence the relative lack of non-firstparty games for this system until next year.

    Now that the Wii looks like it will have a strong portion of the market, they'll be jumping on board and I expect to see a swell of games coming up for the Wii in the future when they are completed.
  • by allthingscode (642676) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:09PM (#19324797)
    I think all of this ultimately gets to Nintendo's point. Microsoft and Sony went after "gamers" and Nintendo went after everyone else. Guess which market is larger? It will be interesting to see the kind of titles that do come out, but with Zelda, Metroid, and the reported Star Wars game it could be interesting. The arguments going on sound very much like the conversation James Cameron supposedly had with the movie studio when he was making Titanic, something to the effect of: Studio: But your movie is only targeted to females. You'll only get half the population in the theater. Cameron: I wish. And because he only got half the entire population in, rather than the 13-17 year old males who like explosions, he now has the highest grossing movie of all time. Nintendo isn't making the worlds best game console, it's making one people will buy. And it's actually making money on each console, even when it's the lowest price.
  • by segedunum (883035) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:37PM (#19326143)

    My 360 is the console I expect to be playing far into the future, while the Wii will be relegated to being the console that non-gamers have fun with at parties.
    And that's why the Wii is winning. There's far more of them then there are of you.
  • by CloudsSpaz (824168) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:53PM (#19326431)
    That's pretty much my experience as well.

    I camped out overnight with a friend to grab a Wii (one for each of us) back in Feb., but I didn't open it right away. Instead we played with his. At first, I was incredibly impressed by Wii Sports. But after a few days (during which I also played Zelda, Rayman, and Monkey Ball), the novelty wore off fast. So I sold the unopened Wii to a friend of mine, and haven't regretted it since... particularly since my friend hasn't touched his in a long time.

    On the other hand, I've had my 360 since last April, and I play it 4-5 times a week with regularity. And the funny thing is, it's not even like I have a lot of games. My roommates and I have just picked a game to play, and then continued to play it for a few months until the next big title comes out (GRAW, GoW, GHII, etc.). And as much as Nintendo might want to marginalize it, much of that comes from the fact that the 360 offers 1) a fantastic online service that allows us to play (co-op and competitively) online with our friends who are attending college all over the country, and 2) the HD resolution which allows us to play split screen without having to stare at grainy, tiny objects.

    I mean, yes, the 360 has been out a long time now relative to the Wii, so it has some headway in the 'great-games' department, but I would argue that the real key to its longevity and replayability comes from the choices Microsoft made that Nintendo has otherwise decided to brush aside. What's also key here I think is the fact that Microsoft isn't ignoring any consumers like Nintendo seems to be doing: Live Arcade does provide a lot of fun, otherwise creative games that match up well with the market Nintendo wants (although admittedly with a more classic control scheme).

    Of course, my friends and I belong to a different market than the demographics Nintendo is trying to target with the Wii, so much of this is likely irrelevant. But it is the reason why we won't likely be buying a Wii anytime soon.

  • by Metroid72 (654017) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @04:44PM (#19328281)
    Dude,

    If more people knew Spanish (especially Linux fanboys) - your Karma or moderation won't be that high.

    Be an adult and change that sig.

    From a Spanish speaking dude to another.
  • by trdrstv (986999) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @06:00PM (#19329585)

    Point 1: Casual Games

    Microsoft and Sony showed lip service to casual games prior to launch. Assuming they started development of oodles of casual games 3 months post-Wii, we're still a good year or two away from seeing the fruits of that labor.

    Ironically no. XBLA has a MUCH better selection of games for casual gamers than Nintendo's VC, or main library. This is despite the VC already having more titles available. Nintendo needs more casual titles in the mix, and they simply aren't there yet, despite the console being MUCH more casual friendly than the PS3 or 360.

    The people whom these games are aimed at already know "Wii". These are the same people who, given a management position in charge of a database, will stick to the same obsolete technology because that's what they're familiar with. They aren't going to be dropping their Wiimotes for PS3 or Xbox controllers (even if they can tell you what an xbox is). There isn't mental room for more than one system at a time for many of these people, and right now they and everyone they know have "Wii" sitting there.

    To say there isn't 'mental room' for more than 1 console, is rather demeaning, but I do agree that people tend to stick with what is 'familiar'. This is the Wii's #1 issue with the gaming press, Nintendo is challenging what they are confortable with. If the Wii becomes the dominant player in the market (like the PS2 did) then the market will shift in ways they don't like.

    To summarize this point, there aren't any games my uncle or aunt would want to play on a 360 or PS3, but my uncle did bruise his finger sinking a ball in WiiPlay because he exuberantly thrust his hand upwards into the ceiling fan.

    This I doubt. XBLA has Solitare, Bejeweled, Online Poker, Online Uno, Online Hearts... The issue isn't that they don't exist it's that it does not exist to them. It's like having the food they enjoy served at the wrong resteraunt where (for whatever reason) they simply won't go to eat.

    To summarize my point, it doesn't matter if the PS360 adds a ton of casual games, and marginalizes the price difference AND even bolts on their own Wiimote like controller... These systems will not gain the Mindshare back from Nintendo. Nintendo is bringing people in with a fun, intuitive system that they are confortable to use. Once that mindset gets established brand loyalty strengthens and the other systems effectively don't exist.

    People shop for a Wii, not a 'Video game system' much in the same way people shop for an iPod and not an 'MP3 player'.

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