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Nintendo Wii Games

Can Nintendo Court the Casuals Again? 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-think-they'll-manage dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Eurogamer: "Do you remember the last time? When the Wii launched at the tail end of 2006, it was to an air of excited curiosity that went well beyond the borders of core gamers, with Nintendo conjuring what ran close to a full-blown phenomenon. ... Nintendo's masterstroke, of course, has been resurrecting the ultimate hardcore poster girl with the announcement that Bayonetta 2 is heading exclusively to the Wii U. There's something slightly incongruous about an over-sexed, incredibly violent action game rubbing shoulders with Mario and co., but then again that's exactly what makes the proposition so very exciting. ... There's still one very important section of the market that may prove a little tougher to persuade. Right now it's harder to see the broader appeal of the Wii U, and it's not simply a case of fearing that it'll fail to replicate the success of its predecessor — there's every chance that it could endure the same rocky start that plagued Nintendo's 3DS."
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Can Nintendo Court the Casuals Again?

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  • Re:Jumped the shark (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sir_Sri (199544) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @02:57PM (#41347399)

    That's partly because no one wants to develop a game for the Wii when it's massively underpowered compared to the 360 or PS3.

    At this point the term 'casual' gamer really means someone who games occasionally, it doesn't necessarily mean they want to play shitty games with low production quality, they just don't want to spend 3 hours a day every day playing games.

    For the Wii basically all of the good games that have a broad appeal are first party nintendo products. That's a problem, because without the ecosystem there's no long term monetization strategy. Although just dance managed to do well as a franchise.

    Also, I tend to think the premise of 'are they going to win back casuals' is wrong. I don't think they want to. They sold 100 million Wii's, and then pitifully few games. That's not a good business strategy. Now admittedly, they made money on the consoles, but they'd be happier to sell 50 million consoles and 4x as many games sort of thing. Lots of people bought a wii, wii sports, and one game, and never touched the thing again, all of that unrealized potential turns out to be really really really hard to capitalize on. It's easier to make something people who buy a lot of games want, so you can keep selling them games.

  • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 15, 2012 @04:02PM (#41347737) Homepage Journal

    No. But it goes beyond just the law, for a number of reasons:

    • Economy.
      Wii was introduced before the housing bubble burst and long before the global economic recession. People had the idea that they had money to spare, whether or not they actually did. This helped fuel generic consumer interest along with the "newness" that is motion controls. In addition, the new price points puts Nintendo out of that "sweet number" they had in 2006. The $250 price point for the Wii at release in 2012 dollars is $285; the cheapest model is $299, and wages haven't kept up with inflation.
    • Wow-factor.
      Motion controlling was a big thing when the Wii released--while it was not exactly new tech, Nintendo managed to mainstream it and make it work (sort of, the Wiimote Plus greatly improved this but still had issues.) Furthermore, the controllers for other consoles were seen as "intimidating" to your average consumer due to the myriad of buttons and inputs on them (whether or not this is true I don't know, but it was common thought both then and now). The Wiimote was extremely simple and could be used as a controller harking back to the NES days.
      The Gamepad doesn't offer anything in the "wow-factor" to pull consumers in. Touch-screens have been around for quite some time (the original DS had a touch screen, after all) and everyone is tablet-crazy these days so it acts like a me-too. In addition, it integrates all those scary buttons. Furthermore, at least to someone like myself who is a regular gamer, the controller looks horribly clunky (my understanding from reading testimonials of those who have been able to hands-on is that it actually works decently, but that's not going to stop perception of those on the outside.)
    • Power.
      The Wii U is, from my understanding, about as powerful as the 360. While I can understand that Nintendo wants to focus on user interface, they can't ignore that having a lower-powered system hurt them greatly this last gen. It wasn't the controller, it was the system processing power that kept a lot of otherwise-multi-console games from coming to the Wii (and when they did they were relatively bad). Nintendo has caught up, but as soon as the PS4 and XBox720 come out (supposedly in the next 18 months), they'll be lagging behind once again. Furthermore, by tipping their hand this early, it gives Microsoft and Sony a chance to integrate whatever features into their next system and likely do it better (the Kinect and Move have their own issues that will likely be firmed up and integrated better for the next console cycle).
    • Games.
      A big selling point for the Wii was that it came with Wii Sports. The Basic (read: cheap) version of the Wii U comes with no games (except whatever demos or utilities they have on the system, like TVii), which only intensifies the economic issue. This may be intentional, though, as the tie-in (how many game were sold per console) for the Wii is extremely low, especially compared to the other consoles. By forcing "casual" consumers to buy games off the bat they can increase that number this time around; many bought the wii, played Wii Sports, and then never bought another game.

    Nintendo also has a lot of uphill battles with 'core' gamers, too:
    --Their online capabilities seem to still lag entire generations behind the competition (those horrible friend codes will apparently make an appearance on Wii U [ign.com])
    --Aforementioned power
    --A number of AAA games they have announced are mere ports of games have been out for some time
    --Internal Storage is limited to a max of 32GB, important as digital sales increase; however, this can be expanded (supposedly easily)
    --Games, games, games, games. Nintendo didn't learn from the 3DS, apparently--the launch window library is fairly "meh", and we don't even know launch titles except for NSMBU

    I've been a devout Nintendork for my life, fighting many a troll online for the Gamecube

  • by Wattos (2268108) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @04:21PM (#41347841)

    I will gladly give my money to Nintendo for the Wii U. I am a gamer, with a huge passion for games. Finally Nintendo will provide next-gen gaming on their consoles. Nintendo, compared to Sony and Microsoft, is a company for gamers.

    They dont charge you for online play (Looking at you M$), they dont charge you for additional storage by selling you some proprietary hdd. They dont remove features after the sale ( install other OS??) and they dont go in rage mode and start suing their customers. They also did not have any security breaches...

    For me it is quite clear, if there will be a game which comes to all consoles, Ill be getting the Wii U version (unless there is a PC version ofc)

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday September 15, 2012 @05:08PM (#41348067) Homepage Journal

    people who want to play a game casually for five minutes at a time are going to whip out their phone and play a $1 game.

    Provided they have a phone. True, a grown-up interested in video games can almost be assumed to own a smartphone nowadays. But any game rated E or E10+ includes kids as part of its intended audience. A phone capable of gaming costs well over $1,000 once you factor in an iControlPad and the cost of cellular voice and data service for two years. I'm under the impression that a lot of parents can't afford this for their kids, so they buy each kid a flip phone on a $80/year prepaid carrier as a pay phone replacement ("this is for getting a ride home; use the land line at home for long calls") and a DS/3DS for gaming.

  • Re:Jumped the shark (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15, 2012 @05:41PM (#41348243)
    The only requirement for Nintendo's "Seal of Quality" was money. Pay them and you got it. 90% of all NES and SNES games were absolute crap because of that.
  • Re:Jumped the shark (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sir_Sri (199544) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @06:13PM (#41348443)

    That's only kind of true. It depends on the game, but some titles, ya, the piracy rate is easily up in the 90% range. If you only release your game in the US, or France or the like you have to realize that it's going to be pirated everywhere else, a lot.

    My biggest piracy gripe at the moment (as a game developer) is when one of my friends pirates a game and says something like 'I spend enough money on games already". As in, they paid for world of warcraft, call of duty etc. All the ones that have an online component you can't get out of, and can get banned from if you pirate. But then the rest of us, who make smaller indie-niche-no massive online service titles are the ones not getting paid, and it's not like EA (or paradox for that matter) just throw us money for being nice people.

    Ubisoft is interesting because they don't have a lot of focus in their publishing, they have Assassin creed, splinter cell, Far cry, and then the ANNO series, and Rayman legends and just dance type stuff. For them I'm sure they are constantly grappling with using the profits from the successful games to fund popular but unsuccessful games, and trying balance that out against piracy cutting into particular portions of their business isn't going to be fun. I'd be surprised if the 97% figure is accurate, but I would not all be surprised to hear a 90% piracy rate for some of their smaller titles like shoot many robots and the like. Well that, and they got themselves enormous bad press for DRM so lots of people are pirating their stuff on principle.

  • by crafoo (591629) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @07:48PM (#41348909)
    No it's not. It's a 60fps arcade-style game with a deep block + counter-attack + positioning combat system that requires very specific and tight timing. Yes it has easy-modes for the casual gamers but Bayonetta is most certainly not a casual game. Some enemies cannot even be beaten on normal or above difficulty with using witch-time effectively. Calling it more casual than pikmin and automated is baseless hyperbole. Back that up son if you want to be taken seriously.

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