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Nintendo Wii Games

Dearth of New Nintendo Games Could Indicate Wii 2 118

A speculative piece at Kotaku looks at the release cycle of Nintendo games over the past 10 years, pointing out a current lull that's quite similar to the one near the launch of the Gamecube. They suggest this could be because first-party developers are busily working on games for the Wii 2. Quoting: "The spring of 2002 was the longest Nintendo game drought on record, and has a number of characteristics in common with the season we're entering now. Nintendo has launched a major piece of technology (the 3DS) and is initiating the gradual retirement of a console with a large and reliable installed base. While we entered into this data mining project with the presumption that we could recognize a pattern that presaged a new console release—the Wii 2, obviously—the last time there was a Nintendo game drought this pronounced was after the release of the Gamecube. Still, you can neatly overlay the release history of the Gamecube overtop the current release history of the Wii—they match that closely."
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Dearth of New Nintendo Games Could Indicate Wii 2

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  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Thursday April 07, 2011 @04:54AM (#35742286) Journal

    It could indicate the Wii 2 - or it could just indicate that Nintendo has once again managed to run out of first-party games to ship at pretty much the exact moment that the last remaining third party developers lose all interest in their platform. It wouldn't be the first time.

    That said, I think Kotaku probably have this right. The Wii had a very strong few years but is pretty conclusively stalled now - I suspect that despite its early sales lead, it would still end up in third place overall if the cycle were allowed to run for 10 years as some had suggested. MS and Sony have far stronger release lineups for their platforms across pretty much every genre and have hardware that is probably good for a couple more years at least (though I've always been dubious about the 10 year claim). Nintendo will no doubt have a war-chest due to the Wii's early sales, so moving to a new platform which, at the very least, has technical parity with the 360 and PS3 to enable easier cross-platform development would be a smart move. Besides, with the 3DS's long-term success still far from guaranteed, they probably need another basket to keep some of their eggs in.

    The big challenge for them is going to be getting third party developers to actually stick with their platform this time, in a way that they haven't for several console cycles now. This probably means facilitating cross-platform development, backing off with some of the "obnoxious" behaviour that they often seem to deploy with the wider industry and, perhaps most importantly, making a real effort to promote third party games on their system and demonstrating that they can actually sell. I'd also suggest shipping any new console with a "proper" controller as well as a motion-wand - a lot of games have felt really "forced" on the Wii-mote/nunchuck and you can't count on everybody going out and buying the classic controller when it's sold separately.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @04:55AM (#35742296)

    Something I've noticed with Wii owners is that the Wii tends to end up like a board game: When it gets bought they play with it for a bit, then set it aside, only to take it out at parties or the like. This isn't universal, of course, but I've observed it in enough cases to believe that it is at least somewhat prevision and it isn't something I see with the other consoles.

    It seems to me that some people get a Wii because they think the motion control looks cool, but quickly find out it is fairly gimmicky and they get tired of it and set it aside.

    I could see that leading to less interest in games for it from developers. Given that a Wii port will require more reworking than the other consoles, due to the lower capabilities and different controls, I could see developers giving it a miss in cases where they don't expect as many sales.

    That isn't to say there are no games sold on the Wii or it will die or anything, just that developers may be bringing less titles to it because perhaps people are purchasing less.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Thursday April 07, 2011 @05:27AM (#35742432) Journal

    I think this is correct. I also think that there's a big issue here about the audience that Nintendo were chasing - non-gamers. They did so very successfully during the Wii's early years. I have colleagues and relatives who would never have bought a "normal" console who bought a Wii. Back in 2007, this was the cool thing to have on the middle-class dinner party circuit.

    Thing is, however, the novelty does wear off quite fast and the people who bought the Wii when it was cool and fun have moved on to other things - things which don't involve gaming. Gaming wasn't a part of their life before they bought the Wii, then they played with it for a few weeks and now gaming isn't part of their life again. They might get a short spike of renewed interest if there's another cool new accessory like the balance board, but the law of diminishing returns is very much in effect. They're certainly not going out and buying the games, so the system becomes a graveyard for third party developers, even the ones who do have decent products.

    I do wonder whether the 3DS will suffer a similar fate - potentially worse, because I don't think it's had the kind of unprecedented launch hype that the Wii had. It's certainly vulnerable in some respects; the 3d effect will prove to be a gimmick for most people; I can't use it for more than 20 minutes without a splitting headache and pretty much all of the reviews I've read mention that the reviewer turned the 3d off after a day or two. Once you strip the 3d away, you're left with a platform that starts to look a lot like a more expensive and region-locked PSP (complete with loading times, battery life problems and single-analogue-stick control issues).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 07, 2011 @05:51AM (#35742522)

    From anti-Nintendo fanboys, probably. When asked, Nintendo always say they don't have any plan to end the Wii's life, and they shouldn't. That thing is still printing money, still has the most market penetration, and the platform is well known by developers for a long time. Why should they kill it? MS and Sony sure would very much enjoy a fresh start on the race, but Nintendo?

    And no, you can't overlay the Wii's history with the GC's. Nintendo pre-Wii was very different from Nintendo post-Wii. It is just ridiculous to compare both. In fact, it is ridiculous to insinuate that Nintendo needs to change the tide at all. Sure they are working on the successor of the Wii, they admitted it many times; as soon as they release a gaming machine they start working on the next one. But they don't have any reason to wrap up the ongoing project and release a new product, not when they are clearly in good position.

    And the slow rhythm can be explained by many factors; they have a ton of software to make for the 3DS. Miyamoto is taking his sweet time with Zelda. And they don't really hire that many people, they know that in exchange for a limited growth they can keep top quality staff. Too bad for us that want to play more and more Nintendo games; but that is what makes them Nintendo games after all. Seriously, very few other companies have a reputation of being able to create good games on just about any genre.

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @06:06AM (#35742602)

    I tend to think that this is based on the types of games that people are attracted to on the console. I see you observation too, but if you actually go and look through the game library of the owners of abandoned Wiis you'll typically find a lot of gimmicky crap. Ok the tennis game on Wii sport was fun for about 5 minutes, but got very boring very quickly. Yet amongst the abandoned Wiis you'll find pretty much this game, and maybe a few more like Wii Fit, Wii Play, and other similar crap.

    However the game collections of people who actively use the Wii seem to be quite different. Sure everyone has a copy of Super Mario Smash Bros to bring out at parties, but a lot of active Wii users will have things such as Guitar Hero / Band Hero, Pikmin, New Super Mario and the Galaxy games, and Donkey Kong Country Returns. If you know what you're looking for and ultimately have the ability to pick games that you can actually play rather than waving a stick at the console is fun and stays fun.

    People have been saying the Wii is dead for years, yet by Dec2010 Donkey Kong Country Returns sold 4.21million copies worldwide. Clearly there are quite a lot of people who actually are still interested in their console. I think the biggest problem is that everyone tried a Wii, even those people who simply should not be interested in such a console. My grandma has one FFS.

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