We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.
WiiU

Will Wii U Be the Same Old Game?

by Mike Sklens - June 20, 2011, 5:01 pm PDT
Total comments: 43

The RFN co-creator gives his thoughts on the newest Nintendo console.

Nintendo unveiled their new home console, Wii U, which will launch at some point in mid-to-late 2012. Initial reactions from the gaming community during E3 2011 seem to be mixed, but the stock market is pretty unified in their view. They don't like it. Nintendo shares dropped 5.7 percent with the announcement, and have fallen another 4.6 percent since then amid fears that the Kyoto game giant will not be able to capture the game market with Wii U (and 3DS) the same way it did with the systems' predecessors. (Editor's Note: Mike originally wrote this shortly after E3. The stock prices have continued to decline, though not as sharply as they did at first.)

Expectations for the new console were surely sky-high, and Nintendo unveiled pretty much exactly what everybody thought they were going to unveil, so what went wrong? I'm guessing the stock drop is two-fold. First off, there's the old adage "buy on the rumor, sell on the news." Every company that is about to announce a hotly anticipated new product sees their stocks rise ahead of the announcement. Almost immediately after the reveal, the market starts to sell. Essentially, everybody buys up stock based on pie-in-the-sky expectations, and once it's announced, there's nothing left to inflate the price of the stock. You might think that a good enough product would prevent this drop, but history has shown that even the best product can't totally stop it. After the announcement of the iPhone 4 on June 7, 2010, Apple's stock took a dive right away, and didn't start rebounding until June 9.

So maybe Nintendo's stock will turn around in the next few days, but I actually doubt it. That's because I think this is a bit more than "buy on the rumor, sell on the news." Investors are skittish about Nintendo for good reason. Wii sales are slumping, and 3DS is not living up to its initial sales expectations. UBS Securities has even downgraded their stock rating from "Buy" to "Neutral." Nintendo needs a way to bounce back, and the market doesn't think Wii U is it.

Nintendo obviously does. Reggie and Iwata spent a lot of time hemming and hawing up on stage about how they are now going after "all gamers" again. They're not abandoning the Wii market, but are rather attempting to keep it secure while at the same time returning to the "hardcore" audience that they've left in the dust these past five years. There are a number of problems with this approach, and I'd like to go over two that I think are the biggest.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

The Wii U strategy strikes me as extremely scatter-shot. Karl Castaneda brought up a very good point on the recent episode of NWR Newscast we were both on. The first thing you learn in the software business is that you need to find your niche and focus in on it with laser precision. All the best companies do this, even the big ones. When you focus on one area, you'll end up with fewer products, but they will be of higher quality. If you try to please everybody, you'll end up making a bunch of products that are good but not great. This is what I see happening to Nintendo.

History has shown that the first-party leads the way. If the console's manufacturer focuses on making big-budget, AAA titles, then the third parties will follow suit. This is why the Xbox 360 is the system for shooters and racing games. That's what Microsoft initially focused on, and the third parties followed suit. Nintendo has always focused on family-friendly games, including a lot of platformers and with the Wii, mini-game compilations, and the third parties have followed suit. Nintendo's never been known for making the big-budget, western-style games that their competitors make.

The Name Game

We all hate this name, but there's more to it than that. Wii's brand image may have a lot of positive mindshare with its current user base, but it has just as much (if not more) negative mindshare with the rest of the gaming community. By keeping that name front and center, Nintendo is essentially telling consumers that nothing has changed. This is still a Wii, and Wii's brand identity with hardcore gamers is about as bad as it can be.

To an enthusiast that truly cares about the games, that statement might sound like a bit much. But an average consumer is going to hear a brand name and instantly make a host of assumptions based on their prior knowledge of the brand. Based on those assumptions, they will make an initial judgment on whether or not they want to learn more. If they do, they'll likely move past the brand name and on to the system's merits. If they don't, they're going to stop their information search right there, and the sale is lost. This is a very real threat to the Wii U's success.

Nintendo tried to combat this by showing a host of M-rated third-party games at their press conference. But when it came time for them to show off their own ideas, everything looked like a Wii game. This reinforces the existing Wii brand identity. Zelda was the lone exception. That looked good. However, Mario, Metroid, and Zelda couldn't keep Wii relevant to hardcore gamers. Why should we expect them to keep Wii U relevant?

The Solution

The name is important, but a bad name alone isn't going to sink a system. It's certainly going to make it a bit more of an uphill battle, but if Nintendo really can change their ways and break back into the hardcore market, the Wii brand will expand to encompass all gamers. If that happens, the Wii U name will become an afterthought.

If Nintendo wants to fix Wii's poor brand identity with the hardcore audience, they need to have at least one internally developed massive western-style game. They already have Mario, Metroid, and Zelda, but they don't have anything like Uncharted, Halo, or Gears of War. If they can't step up in this department, I don't think they'll successfully expand their audience.

My guess is Retro Studios is working on this title right now. They're Nintendo's only top-tier western developer, and they certainly have the talent to make this game. There's a chance it could be a Metroid game (the series has always been more popular in the west), but I'm personally hoping for something entirely new to help break the mold.

I also think there's a remote chance that this game could come from Silicon Knights. They've worked with Nintendo in the past on Eternal Darkness (and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes), and they could definitely bring the kind of game Nintendo needs to the table. The question with Silicon Knights is if they can stay focused. The company is now notorious for Too Human, a project that was in development for nearly a decade. It ended up releasing on Xbox 360, and was not well received. Nintendo kept Silicon Knights on track in the past, and I think they'd be wise to court the developer back into their arms.
It's certainly an interesting time for Nintendo, and I'm anxious to see how this new strategy pans out. The company has always had tumultuous relationships with third-parties, and they'll need a real game-changer to bring them as well as the hardcore gamer back into the fold.

Originally Posted on Pixel du Jour

Talkback

ShyGuyJune 20, 2011

Ban Edit Lock Delete.

Do you paint the same picture for MS who seems to be targeting at least three niches right now with the Xbox 360?

StrikerObiMike Sklens, Podcast EditorJune 20, 2011

Actually yes. However I think Microsoft is in a better position here (slightly). Nintendo's existing market is fickle, and has basically stopped playing games. That's why they are trying to get back the traditional gamer. Microsoft is the opposite. They've locked down the traditional gaming market, and are trying to expand into the casual space. The big difference is that while Nintendo's casual market is not buying games, Microsoft's traditional market is. So if Kinect (and motion gaming in general) fails, Microsoft can fall back on that market. But if Nintendo can't successfully reclaim traditional gamers, their casual base won't lend them a soft landing.

BeautifulShyJune 20, 2011

Quote from: StrikerObi

Actually yes. However I think Microsoft is in a better position here (slightly). Nintendo's existing market is fickle, and has basically stopped playing games. That's why they are trying to get back the traditional gamer. Microsoft is the opposite. They've locked down the traditional gaming market, and are trying to expand into the casual space. The big difference is that while Nintendo's casual market is not buying games, Microsoft's traditional market is. So if Kinect (and motion gaming in general) fails, Microsoft can fall back on that market. But if Nintendo can't successfully reclaim traditional gamers, their casual base won't lend them a soft landing.

I keep seeing this mentioned alot but do you have any proof that this is a fact and not just your opinion.

StrikerObiMike Sklens, Podcast EditorJune 20, 2011


Here's an article from the LA Times in November. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/30/business/la-fi-1130-ct-nintendo-20101130

Wii hardware sales have dropped off a LOT over the last year, they are now at their lowest point ever. It had been the top selling console every month since its launch until a few months ago. Xbox sales were up 34%, PS3 sales up 14%, Wii sales down 24% compared to last year.

There's a quote from a rep at Electronic Arts in which they say (to their investors) that Wii games sales outside of Japan were down 34% and they expect them to keep going down. I'm not sure if they are referring to overall Wii game sales or just EA Wii game sales.


You can see it anecdotally as well. Just go to the store. There are no new games coming out for the Wii, outside of shovelware. Every month a big game is coming out for PS3 and 360, but the amount of major content for Wii is basically non-existant. Even Nintendo only has one big game coming out this year (Zelda).

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJune 20, 2011

Mike pretty much nailed my impressions on the Wii U. It seems like it wants to do EVERYTHING and please EVERYONE, but lacks a clear focus. Instead of me going "Oh my God this is awesome can't wait to play it!", I just went "Uuuuuh....wait, what?". That's why I decided to wait till next year's show in order to form a clear opinion. Nintendo sold us IDEAS, and not all of them weren't cohesive.

AVJune 20, 2011

I wonder why Sony's stock didn't fall. Vita price point is nice for the consumer, but Sony is going to be BLEEDING money with that high tech machine

broodwarsJune 20, 2011

Quote from: Mr.

I wonder why Sony's stock didn't fall. Vita price point is nice for the consumer, but Sony is going to be BLEEDING money with that high tech machine

It's because Sony came out of E3 looking fairly strong.  Nintendo's looking pretty weak right now with the Wii pretty much dead and the 3DS selling below expectations.  They have a big console coming next year, but so far I'm not seeing any reason to buy it and I doubt I'm the only one.  Meanwhile, Sony shows some software at E3 that's going to sell well, and they formally unveil the Vita at a price point that's extremely competitive with Nintendo's 3DS.  Sony may be bleeding money on the thing, but the Vita's looking like it can potentially cut some serious marketshare away from Nintendo.

EnnerJune 20, 2011

I guess I'm an odd man for being really excited and not too worried how unfocused and unclear is everything for the Wii U at the moment? Wii U is going to unfamiliar and foggy territory and I'm eager to see where it goes. Perhaps I should be more worried over the prospects of its success?

broodwarsJune 20, 2011

Quote from: Enner

I guess I'm an odd man for being really excited and not too worried how unfocused and unclear is everything for the Wii U at the moment? Wii U is going to unfamiliar and foggy territory and I'm eager to see where it goes.

How is it "foggy and unfamiliar"?  Mechanically, it's just the DS again with one screen on the controller and the other being your TV, and I've already seen how little developers will "innovate" using touchscreens on the DS.

BlackNMild2k1June 20, 2011

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Enner

I guess I'm an odd man for being really excited and not too worried how unfocused and unclear is everything for the Wii U at the moment? Wii U is going to unfamiliar and foggy territory and I'm eager to see where it goes.

How is it "foggy and unfamiliar"?  Mechanically, it's just the DS again with one screen on the controller and the other being your TV, and I've already seen how little developers will "innovate" using touchscreens on the DS.

Your right. They should have just called it the WiiDS.
(pronounced Wee Dee Ehss. not weeds)

broodwarsJune 20, 2011

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Enner

I guess I'm an odd man for being really excited and not too worried how unfocused and unclear is everything for the Wii U at the moment? Wii U is going to unfamiliar and foggy territory and I'm eager to see where it goes.

How is it "foggy and unfamiliar"?  Mechanically, it's just the DS again with one screen on the controller and the other being your TV, and I've already seen how little developers will "innovate" using touchscreens on the DS.

Your right. They should have just called it the WiiDS.
(pronounced Wee Dee Ehss. not weeds)

Hey, at least it would have been better than "Wii U".

EnnerJune 20, 2011

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Enner

I guess I'm an odd man for being really excited and not too worried how unfocused and unclear is everything for the Wii U at the moment? Wii U is going to unfamiliar and foggy territory and I'm eager to see where it goes.

How is it "foggy and unfamiliar"?  Mechanically, it's just the DS again with one screen on the controller and the other being your TV, and I've already seen how little developers will "innovate" using touchscreens on the DS.

You are thinking about the controller and the system. When I typed the post, I was thinking about the direction and place Nintendo wants the Wii U to go.
Now that I think about it, I could be wrong on both accounts.

If I may propose a counter to your arguement regarding the name:


You bring up an interesting proposition that the Wii name itself carries a negative connotation within the hardcore community, and as such that would somehow negatively affect the image of the Wii U among hardcore gamers.


My proposition is this: what if among hardcore gamers, rather than the Wii, the more prevalent image is that of the Nintendo brand name, not the Wii. In such a case regardless of what the Wii was, and regardless of what the Wii U was named, the fact that Nintendo prioritizes price over performance in order to attain a larger market share, as well as their unfailing dedication to providing the best of the best 1st party titles would be foremost on the hardcore gamer's mind.


Those people (read: we) would be more inclined to base their decision on Nintendo's history than what Nintendo named the console either way.


Just food for thought.

BboyJune 20, 2011

Why so negative? I feel like everyone's attacking the Wii U based almost purely on the name when we really won't know anything until a year from now when it comes out.

broodwarsJune 20, 2011

Quote from: Bboy

Why so negative? I feel like everyone's attacking the Wii U based almost purely on the name when we really won't know anything until a year from now when it comes out.

Well, if that's the case Nintendo brought it upon themselves.  They didn't show a single 1st party Wii U game at E3, their demo reel was all footage from other consoles, and they didn't announce a single Wii game for this year besides Skyward Sword to fill in the waiting period for the new console.  Nintendo didn't do anything to deter speculation and criticism of their mediocre E3 showing, such as bringing over games to satiate that audience.  Had Nintendo announced that they were bringing over any of their Japan-exclusive Wii games or (heaven forbid) announced new Wii games for this final year of the Wii's life, it would probably be simple enough to brush off the Wii U until a later date.

BeautifulShyJune 20, 2011

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Bboy

Why so negative? I feel like everyone's attacking the Wii U based almost purely on the name when we really won't know anything until a year from now when it comes out.

Well, if that's the case Nintendo brought it upon themselves.  They didn't show a single 1st party Wii U game at E3, their demo reel was all footage from other consoles, and they didn't announce a single Wii game for this year besides Skyward Sword to fill in the waiting period for the new console.  Nintendo didn't do anything to deter speculation and criticism of their mediocre E3 showing, such as bringing over games to satiate that audience.  Had Nintendo announced that they were bringing over any of their Japan-exclusive Wii games or (heaven forbid) announced new Wii games for this final year of the Wii's life, it would probably be simple enough to brush off the Wii U until a later date.

Just because Nintendo didn't announce that many Wii games at the conference doesn't mean that they didn't the days and weeks after. Just because something doesn't get announced at the conference means that something isn't coming out ever.

broodwarsJune 20, 2011

Quote from: Maxi

Just because Nintendo didn't announce that many Wii games at the conference doesn't mean that they didn't the days and weeks after. Just because something doesn't get announced at the conference means that something isn't coming out ever.

And when they finally get around to showing and talking about them, people will start focusing their attention on those.  Until then, Nintendo's left them little else to talk about, and that's all on Nintendo.  Nintendo didn't have to have these huge software droughts on the Wii, and several times promised we wouldn't.  Now, they're suffering the consequences of their complacency.

ThePermJune 20, 2011

Even on Nintendo's worst Wii year, it still sells 30% more Wiis that year than Gamecube sold its whole lifespan, and by this time Gamecube was down to $99

axisofweevilsJune 20, 2011

Quote from: Mr.

I wonder why Sony's stock didn't fall. Vita price point is nice for the consumer, but Sony is going to be BLEEDING money with that high tech machine

They did. Their stock dropped due to the PSN hacking.
http://saveandquitgaming.com/sony-loses-2-08-billion-dollars-since-psn-outage/
Once it hit rock bottom, it was inevitable that the Vita announcement would make it rise again.

Quote from: ThePerm

Even on Nintendo's worst Wii year, it still sells 30% more Wiis that year than Gamecube sold its whole lifespan, and by this time Gamecube was down to $99

Sales, in and of themselves, mean nothing. Wii may still be selling way better, but it's still shaping up to be having as shitty a final year in terms of software support as the GameCube.

EnnerJune 20, 2011

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Maxi

Just because Nintendo didn't announce that many Wii games at the conference doesn't mean that they didn't the days and weeks after. Just because something doesn't get announced at the conference means that something isn't coming out ever.

And when they finally get around to showing and talking about them, people will start focusing their attention on those.  Until then, Nintendo's left them little else to talk about, and that's all on Nintendo.  Nintendo didn't have to have these huge software droughts on the Wii, and several times promised we wouldn't.  Now, they're suffering the consequences of their complacency.

Thankfully, there are some other games to talk about even in these lean summer months. I guess that's a consequence of their complacency and making people wait so long for Nintendo product.

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Quote from: ThePerm

Even on Nintendo's worst Wii year, it still sells 30% more Wiis that year than Gamecube sold its whole lifespan, and by this time Gamecube was down to $99

Sales, in and of themselves, mean nothing. Wii may still be selling way better, but it's still shaping up to be having as shitty a final year in terms of software support as the GameCube.

Maybe there will be some surprise announcements! Maybe, just maybe! ;_;

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Associate Editor (Japan)June 20, 2011

Like a said in my Unanswered Questions feature (point 8.) I'm really concerned how they're going to market this thing other than what I suggested, literally have 2 separate styles for the core/casual crowds, but that just seems unwieldy and confusing.


What if a casual gamer saw a super hardcore (sorry) commercial for Wii U and got put off thinking it's not for them, vice-versa what if a core gamer guy saw a super-happy-fun-time commercial and thought the Wii U is "just the Wii waggle mini-game collection bullshit again".


Seriously how are they going to sell this thing to people other than us? No way our Mums are going to spend $250 on an new system when they got bored of Wii Sports after a few years (unaware it accepts more than the included shiny silver disk) and think the same thing would happen again with the Wii U.


Personally, I'd be fine if it was mainly a core gamer system with the occasional family game I could whip out from time to time, but that's not where the money is...


It's going to be an interesting 12 months!

CericJune 21, 2011

Honestly, good Demographic data and understanding should minimize the wrong message getting to the wrong people.  Though I have personally found that Marketers of today are not nearly as adapt as those in the late 80's early 90's during the height of the Cola Wars.  I have missed plenty of items or events that I was actually interested in but found out about to late.  I mean you just have to look at the ads that pop-up here or those stupid flat tummy ones to see what I mean.

StrikerObiMike Sklens, Podcast EditorJune 21, 2011

Quote from: gypsyOtoko

If I may propose a counter to your arguement regarding the name:

You bring up an interesting proposition that the Wii name itself carries a negative connotation within the hardcore community, and as such that would somehow negatively affect the image of the Wii U among hardcore gamers.

My proposition is this: what if among hardcore gamers, rather than the Wii, the more prevalent image is that of the Nintendo brand name, not the Wii. In such a case regardless of what the Wii was, and regardless of what the Wii U was named, the fact that Nintendo prioritizes price over performance in order to attain a larger market share, as well as their unfailing dedication to providing the best of the best 1st party titles would be foremost on the hardcore gamer's mind.

Those people (read: we) would be more inclined to base their decision on Nintendo's history than what Nintendo named the console either way.

Just food for thought.

Good points, all of them. I agree that the "Nintendo" name still has a good amount of cache with gamers. However, it isn't possible to separate the "Nintendo" and "Wii" brands. They'll intrinsically linked, and I believe that in the eyes of the hardcore gamer the Wii brand does damage to the Nintendo brand.

You also can't look at the traditional "hardcore" gamer as entirely one group. I didn't really address that in the article. I think the Wii U will do fine with longtime Nintendo fans. I'll most likely buy one (maybe not at launch), and so will most of the NWR community. But we are Nintendo fans. Even if the third party lineup is non-existent, we would still buy Nintendo consoles to play Nintendo games. There is a whole different group of traditional gamers out there that aren't longtime Nintendo fans. I see Nintendo having trouble courting this group (the Xbox/PlayStation crowd). They will have to offer a serious advantage to capture those gamers' wallets. The third party lineup isn't going to do it, because those games can already be played on their current console(s).

Quote from: Bboy

Why so negative? I feel like everyone's attacking the Wii U based almost purely on the name when we really won't know anything until a year from now when it comes out.

I suppose my outlook is grim but I didn't intent it to be outright negative. I wanted to go over my thoughts on how brand identity plays into the Wii U. Everybody is saying "it's just a name, it doesn't matter" and I don't agree with that. It may have held true for the Wii, which was a totally new brand with no identity, but this time around the name has an existing identity that can't just be erased. Nintendo wants to get the hardcore gamer back, but they also want to keep their casual audience, and they don't believe they can do the second without the Wii brand. They do think that they can regain lost consumers in spite of the Wii brand. It strikes me as wanting your cake and eating it to.

Quote from: famicomplicated

Like a said in my Unanswered Questions feature (point 8.) I'm really concerned how they're going to market this thing other than what I suggested, literally have 2 separate styles for the core/casual crowds, but that just seems unwieldy and confusing.

What if a casual gamer saw a super hardcore (sorry) commercial for Wii U and got put off thinking it's not for them, vice-versa what if a core gamer guy saw a super-happy-fun-time commercial and thought the Wii U is "just the Wii waggle mini-game collection bullshit again".

Seriously how are they going to sell this thing to people other than us? No way our Mums are going to spend $250 on an new system when they got bored of Wii Sports after a few years (unaware it accepts more than the included shiny silver disk) and think the same thing would happen again with the Wii U.

Personally, I'd be fine if it was mainly a core gamer system with the occasional family game I could whip out from time to time, but that's not where the money is...

It's going to be an interesting 12 months!

Great points, and I agree fully. It is going to be very difficult to run two concurrent advertising campaigns with separate messages. It's not impossible, but it will definitely be a big challenge. I'm interested in seeing if Nintendo can pull it off.

Quote from: Maxi

Just because Nintendo didn't announce that many Wii games at the conference doesn't mean that they didn't the days and weeks after. Just because something doesn't get announced at the conference means that something isn't coming out ever.

As far as the fall goes, if something doesn't get announced at the conference (or tucked away in the press kit), it's not coming out this year. Find me an example from the past three years where that hasn't been true and I'll concede, but I'm nearly positive that's true.

We'll be lucky if we get an interesting Wii game at all in 2012. Well, actually, we will, because Zelda will probably get delayed again. :P

AdrockJune 21, 2011

Around E3, I suggested that a better name for WiiU would be "Nintendo" as it promotes the stronger Nintendo brand, much like their portables do. WiiU is a poor choice for more than the way it sounds for both core and casual gamers. Unfortunately, the chances of Nintendo actually changing the name are pretty much at zero percent. We'll see if their strategy works. It's a shame that the name is still a point of contention but I think that says something about how questionable the choice may be. In 2006, "Wii" was just a silly name that was easy to pronounce. Today, it's a brand that, more than simply sounding dumb, tends to turn off core gamers through its association and may confuse casual gamers who don't know what WiiU is. How the tables have turned...

CericJune 21, 2011

Hey at least it makes Vita sound good.

EnnerJune 21, 2011

Quote from: StrikerObi

Quote from: Bboy

Why so negative? I feel like everyone's attacking the Wii U based almost purely on the name when we really won't know anything until a year from now when it comes out.

I suppose my outlook is grim but I didn't intent it to be outright negative. I wanted to go over my thoughts on how brand identity plays into the Wii U. Everybody is saying "it's just a name, it doesn't matter" and I don't agree with that. It may have held true for the Wii, which was a totally new brand with no identity, but this time around the name has an existing identity that can't just be erased. Nintendo wants to get the hardcore gamer back, but they also want to keep their casual audience, and they don't believe they can do the second without the Wii brand. They do think that they can regain lost consumers in spite of the Wii brand. It strikes me as wanting your cake and eating it to.

Is there a storied history of wanting cake and not eating it and eating cake when not wanting it? :p
If we are assuming the lost hardcore audience is so shallow that they would write off the new Wii U system based on the name and/or company, then why not also assume that this shallow audience can be swayed by a really cool game or killer app?
Ew, now I'm realizing how much of an uphill battle that will be for Nintendo. It would be improbable to think that anything will tear people away from their investments in to Xbox Live and Playstation Network. Also, there's still brand loyalty to Xbox and Playstation or otherwise we wouldn't have system wars. Hmm, this is a really tough nut for Nintendo to crack. I don't recall Nintendo ever having any recent success in trying.

Luigi DudeJune 21, 2011

We're still well over a year away from the Wii U's launch.  The fact that Nintendo themselves didn't even have any games ready to show just reaffirms my belief that the system isn't going to be out until Holiday 2012 at the earliest.  Yeah the E3 reveal wasn't that great but the Revolutions reveal at E3 2005 was a million times worse.  And yet a year later at E3 2006 when they unveiled it again as the Wii with actual games, everything turn around.

Quote from: StrikerObi

I suppose my outlook is grim but I didn't intent it to be outright negative. I wanted to go over my thoughts on how brand identity plays into the Wii U. Everybody is saying "it's just a name, it doesn't matter" and I don't agree with that. It may have held true for the Wii, which was a totally new brand with no identity, but this time around the name has an existing identity that can't just be erased. Nintendo wants to get the hardcore gamer back, but they also want to keep their casual audience, and they don't believe they can do the second without the Wii brand. They do think that they can regain lost consumers in spite of the Wii brand. It strikes me as wanting your cake and eating it to.

Nintendo has never had the hardcore market to begin with, so there's nothing to get back.  Of course Microsoft and Sony have never had the hardcore either since their systems are just as casual, except a different type of casual.  Microsoft and Sony's core market are 18-34 male casuals while Nintendo's core market has always been family casual gamers and with the Wii they managed to expand that well beyond their wildest dreams.  This is why nearly everyone of Nintendo's main series has been selling better then ever on the Wii.  Even last fall when everyone was talking about how Wii sales were down, Nintendo's own games did very well.  Kirby Epic Yarn is already one of the most successful Kirby spinoffs ever and Donkey Kong Country Returns is already close to becoming the second best selling Donkey Kong game behind only the first DKC.

This is why it's in Nintendo's best interest to keep the Wii brand going because even at it's worst, it's still doing better then most of their previous consoles did at their best.  Considering the Wii is on track to selling over 100 million consoles by the time the Wii U comes out, even if the Wii U was to only sell to 50% of the Wii's audience, that would still give the system about 50 million consoles sold which is better then the Gamecube, N64 and SNES did.

Now yes, Nintendo definitely wants some of the audience that Microsoft and Sony have and that's why they've made both the 3DS and the Wii U with third party developers in mind because they're hoping improved third party support might help gain some of them.  But for Nintendo themselves, the current Wii audience is what's best for them because 95% of Nintendo's franchises are aimed at everyone in the family and so they appeal to that audience much more then the 18-34 male GTA/Modern Warfare crowd that currently exist on the 360/PS3.

BboyJune 21, 2011

It's an interesting point about the Super Nintendo selling less than half of the Wii's sales. Maybe that's the sort of thing we should expect in terms of success for this thing. Hopefully it would do more than the SNES considering how much bigger games are now, but the SNES in comparison to the NES. The NES was super mainstream and family oriented. The two games my grandma has played are Super Mario Bros. and Wii golf, for example. So, WiiU like the SNES probably won't sell as well, but will be more "hardcore." Which makes me think how the Wii will be remembered by future generations. Will kids growing up with Wii's remember it as fondly as kids who had NES'?


As for marketing it to two different groups, I can't imagine that would be too difficult. You have a white WiiU that you show on Oprah (or whatever is replacing her) and in commercials on Disney Channel. Then, like they are doing for M rated games in Japan with the black boxes, or what they did with Monster Hunter 3, you have a black WiiU and you show it on Spike, Comedy Central, Jimmy Fallon, internet ads, etc.
\

CericJune 22, 2011

Though for curiousity sake.  How much less actual profit did Nintendo make off the SNES then the Wii when adjusted for inflation and like.  I would not be surprised to find that Nintendo sold, not distributed so pack-ins are out, more full retail games on the SNES then the Wii.

(I also take out  VC and Wiiware games since SNES didn't have that category.  Apple to Orange scenario.)

Ian SaneJune 22, 2011

I think the big question is "can one successfully appeal to both cores and casuals?"  The Wii U is somewhat scattershot and a jack of all trades for a reason.  There is no way it could attract both audiences if it wasn't.  Nintendo talked the talk with the Wii about not alienating core gamers and how they weren't going to just be the casual company.  Things didn't turn out that way but I don't think Nintendo was lying, they just screwed it up.  Their design for the Wii ended up turning away third party support and they themselves were spread too thin between the two groups to keep the core interested.  I remember when the Wii was revealed I figure there was no way Nintendo could please both groups because they only have so many resources.  Where as before they were making EVERY game for the same audience, they now had to target two audiences with the same manpower.  It wasn't going to work and it didn't and we got long droughts all throughout the Wii's life.  If you put a team to work making Wii Music, it means one less core game being made.  That's just reality.

So now Nintendo has made sure that the hardware and controller allows for core game development while at the same time having the nifty screen gimmick for casuals.  This is a requirement if they want to attract both audiences.  They had to provide options and I'm glad they are doing that.

But I fear that the two audiences are not compatible.  Even with the DS Nintendo was upset that it gained an image as a girl's system and they wanted to avoid that with the 3DS.  Forget about the name or the marketing.  The second you start putting in any serious effort into casual titles does it turn off core gamers?  MS has talked about Kinect being for everyone but it sure as shit isn't.  It is totally regarded as a casual focused peripheral.

The problem with making something for "everyone" is that there is no such thing.  "Everyone" means "dumbed down for the lowest common denominator".  To accomodate everyone, you have to make things so generic that no one with any real tastes can form any emotional attachment to it.  Take anything for "everyone" and you'll see a big group of people backlashing against it.  Casuals are the lowest common denominator.  It is very rare to have a hit with them that does not turn off those with more specific tastes.

martyJune 22, 2011

Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros Wii-- Games that outsell anything on any other system and what does Nintendo do?  nothing.  Nintendo has been pissing in the wind for the last 2 years. 

CericJune 22, 2011

Quote from: marty

Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros Wii-- Games that outsell anything on any other system and what does Nintendo do?  nothing.  Nintendo has been pissing in the wind for the last 2 years. 

But they Can.  Most companies would love to be where Nintendo is but it makes a company that is in Nintendo's position a little less hungry.

martyJune 22, 2011

Quote from: Ceric

Quote from: marty

Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros Wii-- Games that outsell anything on any other system and what does Nintendo do?  nothing.  Nintendo has been pissing in the wind for the last 2 years. 

But they Can.  Most companies would love to be where Nintendo is but it makes a company that is in Nintendo's position a little less hungry.

Agreed.  Nintendo has quite clearly demonstrated that they don't care about their customers and would rather piss in the wind than actually make the games that people want.  That's what the WiiU is all about--pleasing developers so they can just shovel ports rather than actually put some effort into making awesome games for a Nintendo console.  There's a reason that xbox or ps3 don't have any 20 or 30 million+ selling titles on their console--because devs won't or can't make games that have mass market appeal.

EnnerJune 22, 2011

Quote from: marty

Quote from: Ceric

Quote from: marty

Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros Wii-- Games that outsell anything on any other system and what does Nintendo do?  nothing.  Nintendo has been pissing in the wind for the last 2 years. 

But they Can.  Most companies would love to be where Nintendo is but it makes a company that is in Nintendo's position a little less hungry.

Agreed.  Nintendo has quite clearly demonstrated that they don't care about their customers and would rather piss in the wind than actually make the games that people want.  That's what the WiiU is all about--pleasing developers so they can just shovel ports rather than actually put some effort into making awesome games for a Nintendo console.  There's a reason that xbox or ps3 don't have any 20 or 30 million+ selling titles on their console--because devs won't or can't make games that have mass market appeal.

Doesn't help that Call of Duty sucks up quite a bit of money.
Nintendo cares about its customers. Just not more than themselves; which is understandable. At least, I had fun with Nintendo games last year. It probably helps that I only just got my Wii last year. Still, it is frustrating that Nintendo has always been a profitable and big company but doesn't use that money to make or help make more big games. Instead, the money either goes in to the war chest for safe keeping or in to R&D where small teams do weird and fanciful things, store them, and then do it over again. Or maybe Nintendo doesn't have as much money and people as we imagine it?

Quote from: marty

Quote from: Ceric

Quote from: marty

Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros Wii-- Games that outsell anything on any other system and what does Nintendo do?  nothing.  Nintendo has been pissing in the wind for the last 2 years. 

But they Can.  Most companies would love to be where Nintendo is but it makes a company that is in Nintendo's position a little less hungry.

Agreed.  Nintendo has quite clearly demonstrated that they don't care about their customers and would rather piss in the wind than actually make the games that people want.  That's what the WiiU is all about--pleasing developers so they can just shovel ports rather than actually put some effort into making awesome games for a Nintendo console.  There's a reason that xbox or ps3 don't have any 20 or 30 million+ selling titles on their console--because devs won't or can't make games that have mass market appeal.

Ports are better than nothing. Developers aren't willing to take chances outside the download arena, and Nintendo can't change that. What they can do is ensure that the third parties give the Wii U the same support as the other consoles. Then the decision is which platform has the best first-party lineup, and Nintendo's in pretty good shape in that scenario.

martyJune 23, 2011

Quote from: Enner

Doesn't help that Call of Duty sucks up quite a bit of money.
Nintendo cares about its customers. Just not more than themselves; which is understandable. At least, I had fun with Nintendo games last year. It probably helps that I only just got my Wii last year. Still, it is frustrating that Nintendo has always been a profitable and big company but doesn't use that money to make or help make more big games. Instead, the money either goes in to the war chest for safe keeping or in to R&D where small teams do weird and fanciful things, store them, and then do it over again. Or maybe Nintendo doesn't have as much money and people as we imagine it?

A few years ago (post-wii), Nintendo was a more valuable company than Sony or Honda, I don't know if that's still the case but they've raked in a lot of money.  Maybe they think that not serving the Wii community that made them such a valuable company is a good strategy; I doubt it, though.  I'm guessing people are going to remember that their Wii was the thing they used to stream Netflix rather than something they played their videogames on when the WiiU is launched.  No one ever bought a Wii for Netflix and no one thinks they did.  Maybe if people were still buying games for Wii, this wouldn't be a problem, but that's clearly not the case.


CoD and GTA are the ONLY big games not on Nintendo and even then, they clearly DON'T sell systems the way Wii Sports, Wii Fit, NSMBWii, or Mario Kart Wii did.

broodwarsJune 23, 2011

Quote from: marty

CoD and GTA are the ONLY big games not on Nintendo and even then, they clearly DON'T sell systems the way Wii Sports, Wii Fit, NSMBWii, or Mario Kart Wii did.

I think Microsoft would beg to differ on that when it comes to Call of Duty.

martyJune 23, 2011

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Quote from: marty

Quote from: Ceric

Quote from: marty

Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros Wii-- Games that outsell anything on any other system and what does Nintendo do?  nothing.  Nintendo has been pissing in the wind for the last 2 years. 

But they Can.  Most companies would love to be where Nintendo is but it makes a company that is in Nintendo's position a little less hungry.

Agreed.  Nintendo has quite clearly demonstrated that they don't care about their customers and would rather piss in the wind than actually make the games that people want.  That's what the WiiU is all about--pleasing developers so they can just shovel ports rather than actually put some effort into making awesome games for a Nintendo console.  There's a reason that xbox or ps3 don't have any 20 or 30 million+ selling titles on their console--because devs won't or can't make games that have mass market appeal.

Ports are better than nothing. Developers aren't willing to take chances outside the download arena, and Nintendo can't change that. What they can do is ensure that the third parties give the Wii U the same support as the other consoles. Then the decision is which platform has the best first-party lineup, and Nintendo's in pretty good shape in that scenario.

Nintendo isn't in good shape--it's last big seller came out 2 years ago.  XBox and PS owners aren't going to migrate to the WiiU just because it has the same games as the machines they ALREADY own.  Nintendo has already proven, with the last 2 years of the Wii, that they aren't interested in keeping their costumers.  So who is going to buy the WiiU?

martyJune 23, 2011

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: marty

CoD and GTA are the ONLY big games not on Nintendo and even then, they clearly DON'T sell systems the way Wii Sports, Wii Fit, NSMBWii, or Mario Kart Wii did.

I think Microsoft would beg to differ on that when it comes to Call of Duty.

Too bad that half of those systems sold are made by Sony, though.  Not that either company is good at selling videogames or systems the way Nintendo is--by making great games.

BboyJune 24, 2011

Quote from: marty

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Quote from: marty

Quote from: Ceric

Quote from: marty

Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros Wii-- Games that outsell anything on any other system and what does Nintendo do?  nothing.  Nintendo has been pissing in the wind for the last 2 years. 

But they Can.  Most companies would love to be where Nintendo is but it makes a company that is in Nintendo's position a little less hungry.

Agreed.  Nintendo has quite clearly demonstrated that they don't care about their customers and would rather piss in the wind than actually make the games that people want.  That's what the WiiU is all about--pleasing developers so they can just shovel ports rather than actually put some effort into making awesome games for a Nintendo console.  There's a reason that xbox or ps3 don't have any 20 or 30 million+ selling titles on their console--because devs won't or can't make games that have mass market appeal.

Ports are better than nothing. Developers aren't willing to take chances outside the download arena, and Nintendo can't change that. What they can do is ensure that the third parties give the Wii U the same support as the other consoles. Then the decision is which platform has the best first-party lineup, and Nintendo's in pretty good shape in that scenario.

Nintendo isn't in good shape--it's last big seller came out 2 years ago.  XBox and PS owners aren't going to migrate to the WiiU just because it has the same games as the machines they ALREADY own.  Nintendo has already proven, with the last 2 years of the Wii, that they aren't interested in keeping their costumers.  So who is going to buy the WiiU?

Nintendo is in fine shape in terms of first party support compared to the other two companies, it's just that because they don't have big third party releases to space things out, we have great years like last year followed by dead years like this one. I'm not sure what you think came out in 2009 that was the big seller, but Nintendo has plenty of huge sellers, in addition to the decently selling games from last year like Kirby or DK, it's just that Nintendo's huge sellers appeal to a different kind of casual crowd than the other consoles.


That's why this whole idea of "casuals" is so dumb, there have always been casual gamers, it's just that until probably the DS, the casual players were "hardcore" kids or bro-y dudes who would only play the most popular multiplayer games. Honestly, I would much prefer bringing in intelligent, if ignorant, adults, and a new generation of kids as casual gamers than those previously mentioned as long as I keep getting enough games to keep me satisfied. And right now, with as much back log as there is for both DS and Wii, I have more than enough games to play. Way more than enough, I have more games to play than I have the time and money to play. I know that a lot of people consume games faster than me, and it sucks that there are dry spells like this, but honestly, there is far too much whining on the internet for this. I don't understand how people are so "starved for games." I look at Ocarina of Time 3D and say, wow, I'd really like to play that, but you know, I still have Monster Tale to finish, and Galaxy 2, and countless other games, I would be wasting my money. Not to mention that most people complaining about the Wii's drought also own other systems. I'm not apologizing for Nintendo, they could do a better job, but there is no way people complaining actually have no games to play.
Also, I don't think the idea with the ports is to get people to buy games twice. You have to start somewhere and ports are a quick, cheap, and easy way for devs to get familiar with the system and to sell a game they already made to some new people. And as someone who doesn't own another console, I'll be buying those games for WiiU.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJune 25, 2011

Quote:

So who is going to buy the WiiU?

You and everyone else registered on this forum are going to by the Wii U. As soon as you and all the CoD nuts see that both Mario Kart HD and (possibly enhanced) CoD5 are on this thing people will take notice. And who knows, with all the new control options and no valid excuses anymore you know exclusives will pop up.

I only own a Wii, and yeah this year has been horrible for me, but don't knock last year. Donkey Kong and rest kept me busy all year.

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement