Is the novelty of Wii wearing off?
18th Feb 2007 | 10:00
Despite it still being completely sold out in the US and UK, Wii sales are showing signs of slowing in Japan as players settle into Nintendo's new generation...
The initial hype generated by Nintendo's motion-controlled console was phenomenal. Forums erupted with Wii speculation, rumour and excitement, Gav was even live on Channel 5 News. Amazon.co.uk was completely overwhelmed when its entire pre-order allocation was sold within just seven minutes, and Wii's were flogged on eBay for as much as £900 - FIVE times the retail price.
It was an exciting launch for sure, but one that Wii critics have claimed is a temporary phase. Opposition to the controller's motion-control concept cite it as a gimmick whose appeal would soon diminish. Are we already seeing this happen in Japan?
There are a number of reasons why gamers' interest in Wii could be waning. Most prominent is the first batch of games, many of which do a better job at exposing the obstacles of full motion control, rather than the benefits.
Red Steel is twitchy and occassionaly clumsy, Need For Speed: Most Wanted is near unplayable, Far Cry got it all wrong, and the motion control in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance just feels tacked on.
The LAST thing Wii needs is lazy ports of existing games, particularly games that have been out for A YEAR or thereabouts on other consoles (Prince of Persia, Blazing Angels). They could do more harm than good.
But if Wii is approaching a lull, it'll be a temporary one. Regular CVG forum poster, Mr Vengeance, commented: "The Wii needs some new software fast - I'm a very frustrated Wii owner right now. I need some games!" signalling the games drought to be the main concern right now.
Patience, gamers. Nintendo models Wii on the similarly-innovative DS, and look at how that went. The touch-screen console had a strong launch, followed by a slow period. It seemed PSP was going to steal Nintendo's handheld crown. It took a year for the DS' killer apps - New Super Mario Bros., Animal Crossing: Wild World, Metroid Prime Hunters, Nintendogs and Brain Training - to excel it to its current record-breaking status.
Wii has had a good start. Elebits, Wii Sports and Wario Ware: Smooth Moves are great games but, more importantly, they're blueprints for what's possible on Wii and how well motion-controlled gaming works when done properly.
Now it's all about waiting for the Wii's big guns, as CVG reader maugrim2712 points out: "The Wii will slow down for a while soon, but once games like Metroid and Mario come out it'll shoot up again."
Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Nintendo big-shot Super Smash Bros. Brawl are all due for release later this year and are bound to reignite the passion in owners as well as pull in new ones. And those are the games we know about; Nintendo is bound to have plenty of surprises in store...
Don't go forgetting about the constant stream of retro classics Nintendo continues to release via Virtual Console every week. We've finished Zelda, Excite Truck, Monkey Ball and all of Wii's bigger titles, yet the Virtual Console updates keep us turning on Wii every week, and every lunchtime for Mario Kart 64 sessions, which is still an awesome multiplayer game.
We should also consider that many third party developers, CVG has been told on different occasions, didn't receive proper Wii development kits too long before the console's release. With the average game taking well over a year to make these days, we should see an influx of third-party releases - developed specifically on Wii dev kits (not GameCube placeholders) - rushing to Wii later this year and in 2008.
Wii is not a temporary craze. Industry analysts, retailers and developers alike have backed Wii to have a healthy run in the new-generation console war.
Next Christmas is crucial for Wii. It'll have great titles and will be the cheapest console on the market. This will be when Wii will truly prove its worth. Head to the forum and tell us what you're looking forward to playing on Wii this year.