Wii

Capcom Discusses 'Ever-Shifting' Wii Market and Zack & Wiki Sales

by Jared Rosenberg - January 8, 2010, 1:11 pm PST
Total comments: 48 Source: Gamasutra

Capcom director talks about the company's difficulty in understanding the Wii marketplace, and reveals poor sales numbers for Zack & Wiki.

When Capcom released Zack & Wiki: Quest For Barbaros' Treasure in late 2007, the adventure game received a great deal of critical acclaim and was highly promoted by the gaming media. Even with the positive word of mouth at launch, Chris Kramer, Capcom's senior director of communications, recently said that Zack & Wiki still "sold abysmally."

In total, 126,000 copies of Zack & Wiki have been sold in North America since the game's release 26 months ago. Capcom isn't exactly sure why the game sold so few copies, but Kramer has a few ideas. He described the Wii as having "a very tough market to crack," and believes that for third-party developers it seems that "If you're not Nintendo, it does seem harder to make money on the Wii today compared to the PS3 and the Xbox 360."

Kramer further cited the Wii market as "extremely scattered and chaotic," because "for any sort of solid statement you want to make about the platform or the audience," there are plentiful amounts of evidence that totally contradict them. For example, party games were extremely successful soon after the Wii launched; however, the market has now been saturated by that style of game. Overall, "third-party publishers are having a hard time determining who the Wii audience is," said Kramer.

Capcom Product Manager Colin Ferris said in an interview in March 2009 that he was willing to place some of the fault for Zack & Wiki's poor sales on the art design for the game's main character. Ferris said, "Well, you know, Zack and Wiki…Another one in a long line of very highly-rated Capcom games that unfortunately did not sell very well. We can take a part of the blame on ourselves by having it star a shirtless boy pirate. That is actually a personal favorite of a lot of people in Capcom, so don’t be surprised if you see it again but we have nothing in the works at the moment."

Talkback

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 08, 2010

Hey guys, I've made an awsome game you've never heard of.  I don't have any copies to ship, and I made sure only the nerd media knows about it.

I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE MASS MARKET AUDIENCE, WHY ARE THESE CUSTOMERS SO MUCH SUCK?

decoymanJanuary 08, 2010

I was rather put off by the style, but when I tried the game, I became a believer.

Dear developers: Just because the Wii is "underpowered" doesn't mean every game on it has to be kiddeh-cartooneh! :@ I'm glad they acknowledge some part of the blame at least.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 08, 2010

Quote from: decoyman

I was rather put off by the style, but when I tried the game, I became a believer.

Dear developers: Just because the Wii is "underpowered" doesn't mean every game on it has to be kiddeh-cartooneh! :@ I'm glad they acknowledge some part of the blame at least.

Unfortunately, they couldn't even embrace that component of the style to even attempt marketing at ze childrens.

Chozo GhostJanuary 08, 2010

Who here has ever seen a Zack & Wiki commercial on TV? I sure as hell didn't. You can't blame consumers for not buying a product they have never even heard of. It is the responsibility of the game's maker (Capcom) to make that happen.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 08, 2010

The interviewee is also forgetting to blame the console manufacturer for not providing free advertising.

ShyGuyJanuary 08, 2010

Wiki looks like a teletubby. DudeBros don't buy no stinking teletubby games!

(I purchased Z&W on day one and thoroughly enjoyed it.)

PeachylalaJanuary 08, 2010

Folks, it has now come to MST3King this shit.

Quote:


Capcom isn't exactly sure why the game sold so few copies, but Kramer has a few ideas.

We are already off to a great start already. Man your life boats because Cheep Cheeps have become feral!

Quote:

He described the Wii as having "a very tough market to crack," and believes that for third-party developers it seems that "If you're not Nintendo, it does seem harder to make money on the Wii today compared to the PS3 and the Xbox 360."

Not mentioned is that if your games suck massive amounts of ass and only piss off the Nintendo fan base more, they won't make jack-shit.

Quote:

Kramer further cited the Wii market as "extremely scattered and chaotic," because "for any sort of solid statement you want to make about the platform or the audience, there are plentiful amounts of evidence that totally contradict them."

Kramer is doing a good job doing this right now and I am happy to report it will get better and more entertaining!

Quote:

Overall, "third-party publishers are having a hard time determining who the Wii audience is," said Kramer.

Universal appeal says hi. Advertising says hi. Niche game slit it's wrists/game case...?

Quote:

Capcom Product Manager Colin Ferris said in an interview in March 2009 that he was willing to place some of the fault for Zack & Wiki's poor sales on the art design for the game's main character.

AD-VER-TISE-MENT. The best, new problem solver for those games third parties can't be assed to advertise.




Ian SaneJanuary 08, 2010

Zach & Wiki is a good game BUT it has Dreamcast graphics, childish visuals and probably one of the most unappealing names ever.  It's a game you have to have an open mind to try in which case you will likely enjoy it.  But if you have to have an open mind how can anyone expect decent sales?  Seriously if you knew nothing about the game and looked at the case would you ever for even a second assume it was anything worth a shit?  It's look like a sequel to Billy Hatcher.

broodwarsJanuary 08, 2010

Honestly, I think probably Wiki's character design (and baby-like voice, for that matter); the name; the fact that it was a P&C Adventure game (which at that time was practically a dead genre, as I believe Telltale was just getting started on Sam & Max); it being a new IP; and it being given absolutely no advertising had more to do with Zack & Wiki's failure to sell than its art style.  After all, New Super Mario Bros. Wii looks even more like a Fischer Price game than Z&C with its rounded character designs and bright colors, and that certainly hasn't hurt its sales.

Z&C was an excellent game that sold far less than it should, but it by now means failed to sell "for no apparent reason."

vuduJanuary 08, 2010

Quote from: Chozo

Who here has ever seen a Zack & Wiki commercial on TV? I sure as hell didn't. You can't blame consumers for not buying a product they have never even heard of. It is the responsibility of the game's maker (Capcom) to make that happen.

This is all the advertising the game needed.  If Capcom had put this in  magazine ad it would have sold a million copies.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v144/kingvudu/wnk.jpg

ANAGRAMS ARE YOUR FRIEND

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 08, 2010

"Zach & Wiki is a good game BUT it has Dreamcast graphics,"

I don't believe you've ever played Dreamcast, so stop this.

Quote:

third-party publishers are having a hard time determining who the Wii audience is

I've heard this a lot lately. It shows exactly what publishers don't understand. The Wii audience isn't one like-minded group. You don't "crack" it. Nintendo has done a great job of selling Wii to the most diverse audience ever assembled in gaming. It's impossible to create a game that will appeal to all of those people. Choose your segment, understand it, and go after it with gusto. You can't say "well Wii owners seem to be buying X, so let's clone that and dump it onto shelves". That doesn't work on any other console, so why should it work on Wii?

Carnival Games is kind of a clone, but it undeniably picked a market to target: Wii Owners who only had Wii Sports.

MorariJanuary 09, 2010

Quote from: Ian

Zach & Wiki is a good game BUT it has Dreamcast graphics

Sold!

BlackNMild2k1January 09, 2010

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Quote:

third-party publishers are having a hard time determining who the Wii audience is

I've heard this a lot lately. It shows exactly what publishers don't understand. The Wii audience isn't one like-minded group. You don't "crack" it. Nintendo has done a great job of selling Wii to the most diverse audience ever assembled in gaming. It's impossible to create a game that will appeal to all of those people. Choose your segment, understand it, and go after it with gusto. You can't say "well Wii owners seem to be buying X, so let's clone that and dump it onto shelves". That doesn't work on any other console, so why should it work on Wii?

Seriously.

Quote:

According to Kramer, "If you're not Nintendo, it does seem harder tomake money on the Wii today compared to the PS3 and the Xbox 360. It'sa very tough market to crack and is ever-shifting."

He recalls that when the Wii first launched in North America inNovember, 2006, simple casual or party games did so well that they soonsaturated the market. "Now, I don't even know what the market is," hesays. "

"Third-party publishers are having a hard time determining who the Wiiaudience is," Kramer adds. "You can no longer say it is solely casualgamers or that only E-rated games own the space. For any sort of solidstatement you want to make about the platform or the audience, thereare enough opposite proofs to show that it is extremely scattered andchaotic."

Everyone dumps a ton of the same shit mini-games and then all the consumers decide they own enough shit mini/party games and now publishers are confused as to why their shit mini/party games don't sell.
That is the time to start advertising something different, but advertising is still something that the 3rd parties haven't seemed to figure out is needed. The Wii has so many different types of gamers of all age ranges and you need to find ways to reach all those people outside of ad banners on gaming centric sites.

Why is this so hard to figure out?

Babyz Partyz 2: More Gamez and Fun

Ian SaneJanuary 09, 2010

Quote:

I've heard this a lot lately. It shows exactly what publishers don't understand. The Wii audience isn't one like-minded group. You don't "crack" it. Nintendo has done a great job of selling Wii to the most diverse audience ever assembled in gaming. It's impossible to create a game that will appeal to all of those people. Choose your segment, understand it, and go after it with gusto. You can't say "well Wii owners seem to be buying X, so let's clone that and dump it onto shelves". That doesn't work on any other console, so why should it work on Wii?


Yeah, what was the PS2 audience?  Or the PS1, NES, or SNES audience?  It's the market leading console.  Wouldn't it make sense to assume it attracts the widest amount of demographics and therefore would have probably ALL audiences represented?  If they just treated it like they treated all other popular consoles from the get-go this would a non-issue.  Though now because third parties have screwed stuff up I don't know what the Wii audience is.  Has the crappy third party support scared away certain demographics?

I wonder if this would have never happened if Nintendo wasn't so vocal about this new audience stuff.  Like they could still do it but not be so descriptive about what they're doing.  They don't attract the blue ocean market because they say they do, it's because of what they do.  If they said nothing they probably would have been just as successful and third parties wouldn't be confused.  Not that I see this as something Nintendo could foresee it's just an interesting thing to think about.  They may have been too successful in making the Wii out to be different from all other consoles.

Chozo GhostJanuary 09, 2010

The Wii does have some hardcore games. The problem is it just doesn't have enough of them in proportion to the rest of the library. The Wii has become the market leading console this generation, but at what cost? The cost seems to be that they lost Ian, whereas if Nintendo had remained in 2nd or 3rd place and struggled to gain recognition Ian and other fans might not have abandoned them. Even though the Gamecube did poorly in comparison to its competitors, who can deny the top-notch quality of Nintendo's hardcore A+ games? The GC didn't have 1st party shovelware like Wii Sports and Wii Play. Nintendo gave us Zelda, Mario, Metroid, and the other usual franchises, but they also introduced Pikmin, Geist, and several others (which unfortunately mostly failed).

This time around, Nintendo's new IPs are just non-game shovelware, and by bundling that with the system as a pack-in that kinda set the tone for the sort of games the system would have. Back in the days of the NES and SNES, Mario was the pack-in and that was a hardcore game so it set the mood for those systems as hardcore systems. Then we had the N64 and GC which did away with the pack-in (at least initially), and that might even have contributed to those system's failures. With the Wii Nintendo has re-introduced the concept of Pack-ins and that's great, or at least it would be great except for the fact the pack-in is a non-game with N64 level graphics. Maybe it would have been better if it didn't have any pack-in at all, or maybe it would have been better still if Zelda TP had been the bundled title. Who can say?

But this softcore tone for the Wii has been further exacerbated by the other non-games Nintendo has been shoveling out. By being bundled with a remote, Nintendo guaranteed Wii Play would be a hot seller and end up in the hands of million's of players. Wii Play, Wii Sports, Resort, and the Balance Board are  games that I think have more to blame with the current Wii market than anything else. When you look at sales figures, these games were consistently at the top of the charts and third parties look at these charts just as we do, and that's how they get their inspiration for what they should make.

But I think what 3rd parties don't realize is the only reason those games are so successful  is because they were bundled with either a system or a peripheral. It isn't because the market craves these games or because they are awesome or anything; its just because we wanted to get an extra remote and it happened that we could get Wii Play for $39.99 with a remote versus paying $49.99 for just a remote, which made it a no brainer. This inflated Wii Play's sales and made it seem like a huge hit, but Wii Play is just a collection of demos that got played for a few hours and has been collecting dust on player's shelves ever since then.

So we got these games just because of the peripherals/systems, and not because we liked them, and I think this is why 3rd parties are so confused and think the market is chaotic.

PeachylalaJanuary 09, 2010

Of course, because the Gamecube thinking Nintendo had was SO successful! Screw taking time to polish the gameplay experience, they need to pull a Sega and rush the titles out for the holiday season.

end sarcasm

BlackNMild2k1January 09, 2010

Wii Sports and Wii Play are not shovel ware.

Wii Sports is a sold game included for free with the system in most places and WiiPlay is a fun distraction bundled with hardware to add value at a minimum price.

Neither were thrown together on a shoestring budget and released hoping to sell enough copies to unsuspecting and uninformed consumers before word got out that it was crap.

Yeah, I stopped reading that post when you called Wii Sports shovelware.

PeachylalaJanuary 09, 2010

Wii Sports Resort is the best game I've played this decade. Party game my ass, I like my archery and sword fighting.

Mop it upJanuary 09, 2010

Zack and Wiki might have performed better if the box art didn't look like a Saturday morning cartoon that nobody's ever heard of. It was virtually indistinguishable from any license game garbage out there, and reviews don't seem to help Wii games as much as games on other systems.

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

You can't say "well Wii owners seem to be buying X, so let's clone that and dump it onto shelves". That doesn't work on any other console, so why should it work on Wii?

It seems to work with shooters on the XBox 360.

ShyGuyJanuary 09, 2010

Quote from: Crimm

Carnival Games is kind of a clone, but it undeniably picked a market to target: Wii Owners who only had Wii Sports.

Roght on the money.

BrandoggJanuary 09, 2010

Here's the problem, plain and simple. Stop trying to "figure out who the Wii audience is" - just make a fucking awesome game, and hope it sells.

UrkelJanuary 09, 2010

The Wii seems to be the only platform ever that third parties expect their games to sell without any advertising.

Mop it upJanuary 09, 2010

Quote from: Urkel

The Wii seems to be the only platform ever that third parties expect their games to sell without any advertising.

Because the Wii audience is gullible and buys into everything regardless of quality.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJanuary 10, 2010

Quote from: Chozo

Who here has ever seen a Zack & Wiki commercial on TV? I sure as hell didn't. You can't blame consumers for not buying a product they have never even heard of. It is the responsibility of the game's maker (Capcom) to make that happen.

Commercial?  Hell... did anyone actually see a copy of this game on store shelves? I never did...

PeachylalaJanuary 10, 2010

Capcom's manufacturing plant got hit with a glitch after the game reached gold?

RABicleJanuary 10, 2010

Yeah i think they can blame a lot on the games artwork. I remember when it was first shown and the thread went up in this very forum and I said something to the effect of "this looks disgusting, what is shit shit?" I still stand by that assessment of what the game looks like. Similar story for Little Kings Story, looks like shit.

KDR_11kJanuary 10, 2010

I tried to introduce some casual gamers to it but they were all turned away by the art style.

broodwarsJanuary 10, 2010

Quote from: KDR_11k

I tried to introduce some casual gamers to it but they were all turned away by the art style.

Remind me, please: why again do we want these people in our hobby?  ::)  With each passing game they ignore, I keep coming back to that central question.

TJ SpykeJanuary 10, 2010

I know you are joking, but I hate people who complain about so-called "casual" gamers. You don't see many people complaining about "casual" TV viewers, "casual" movie watchers, "casual" music fans, etc. There are people who complain about those, but it's nowhere near as bad as the number of people who complain about "casual" gamers. I hate that crappy movies like "Wedding Crashers" do well and thus cause more movies like that to be made, but I just ignore them and watch the movies I like. It should be the same with games, stop complaining about "casual" gamers and the games they like and just ignore them.

RAB, are you looking at the same games? Neither game you mentioned looks bad.

Mop it upJanuary 10, 2010

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: KDR_11k

I tried to introduce some casual gamers to it but they were all turned away by the art style.

Remind me, please: why again do we want these people in our hobby?  ::)  With each passing game they ignore, I keep coming back to that central question.

You probably don't if you think it means the creation of less games that suit your tastes (which, if true, is a ridiculous sentiment IMO). We're not going anywhere so you'd better get used to us.

Quote from: TJ

RAB, are you looking at the same games? Neither game you mentioned looks bad.

I can appreciate the art style of both LKS and Z&W, but both games used an art style that could be construed as... well, off-putting. Especially with Z&W categorized as a point-and-click adventure game, a niche market that depends on older, more PC-centric gamers, and LKS being so GOLDARNED HARD ARRRRGGGG... meaning LKS is not likely to be friendly to younger players... well, both of these games had art styles that just seemed to show a disconnect between them and their audiences, regardless of how utterly awesome the art was.

ShyGuyJanuary 11, 2010

Epic Mickey is going to have the same problem. Cartoon characters, "hardcore" gameplay.

Quote from: ShyGuy

Epic Mickey is going to have the same problem. Cartoon characters, "hardcore" gameplay.

I dunno. If it's as hardcore as Kingdom hearts, it should be fine.

Mop it upJanuary 11, 2010

Quote from: ShyGuy

Epic Mickey is going to have the same problem. Cartoon characters, "hardcore" gameplay.

Can you really say that with certainty about a game which hasn't been released?

ZapJanuary 11, 2010

Casuals don't play "epic" games. Duh.

Mop it upJanuary 11, 2010

I'm not even going to touch that comment as it would turn into a tired definition war.

Chozo GhostJanuary 11, 2010

Zack and Wiki is actually a pretty mature title. It isn't full of blood and gore, so it isn't "mature" in that sense, but it is a thinking person's game which means it would be more enjoyable to grownups instead of children. But the art style of the game is very kiddie, so therein lies a conundrum. The game might have done better with a pirates of the caribbean art style to it, with a pirate hero who resembles Johnny Depp and for the flying Monkey I'm thinking something like those flying Monkeys from the Wizard of Oz movie, except more piratey.

KDR_11kJanuary 11, 2010

Or maybe a parrot?

PlugabugzJanuary 11, 2010

This issue of third parties of not getting it can be compared almost exactly to Ford making a typical "American car" and expecting it to sell in Europe. Then complaining about it because it's not selling. It won't because its 1 - not what people want, 2 - Most people think that it's ugly, too powerful and not suited for european driving and 3 - Nobody ever SEES THEM!

Capcom shouldn't just throw things out and hope something sticks. if they go for the same approach. I only knew of Z&W because of NWR and the interwebs. Take that out and i heard NOTHING. I saw ads for the condomunit, house of the doo, and a handful others. And even one for Just Dance that Pedro just reviewed.

There's a reason why this:

http://www.treehugger.com/ford-fiesta-econetic-z01.jpg

Is outselling this:

http://www.hspnnews.com/images/uploads/428R.jpg

Work it out capcom.

Ian SaneJanuary 11, 2010

Quote:

I know you are joking, but I hate people who complain about so-called "casual" gamers. You don't see many people complaining about "casual" TV viewers, "casual" movie watchers, "casual" music fans, etc. There are people who complain about those, but it's nowhere near as bad as the number of people who complain about "casual" gamers.


I think it just appears that way because you hang out on a gaming forum.  Tons of people complain about reality shows ruining TV, crappy mass-market films being number one, manufactured pop music ruining the music industry.  You just have to be in the place where the discussion is.

Bitching about casuals overrunning a hobby and ruining it for the "real" fans is a common discussion item in any situation where something achieves mainstream popularity.  And I'm not crapping on that trend, just pointing it out.  I think it makes sense that it happens.  Life is constantly compromised by the lowest common denominator.  If you don't notice it then it probably mean you're one the idiots everyone else has to adapt around.

TJ SpykeJanuary 11, 2010

I know that there are people who complain about that it other media forms, it just doesn't appear to be as bad as it is with video games. I tend to avoid TV and movie show forums for the exact reason you described, they are full of people complaining about shows they don't like (and even complaining about shows they DO like). I hate shows like "Survivor" and just about any reality shows about raising kids ("Super Nanny", "Jon + Kate Plus 8", etc.) and shows that I don't understand how in the world they are popular ("Lost", "The Office"), but I don't go around complaining about them ruining TV.

D_AverageJanuary 15, 2010

I actually heard a lot of ZAW ads when it came out while in my local Gamestop. Problem is, they sucked. During the promo the PR lady actually said the game was for kids 13 and under, so I avoided it for a long time until various forum folks convinced me it was solid.

The game mops the floor with both Monkey Island and the newer Sam n Max games. I lay the blame for this at the feet of Capcom PR and their artists. What a waste. Out of all the games I've played this gen across every console ZAW easily makes my top ten.

Chozo GhostJanuary 15, 2010

Quote from: D_Average

During the promo the PR lady actually said the game was for kids 13 and under,

Unfortunately, that's the exact opposite of the crowd that would have an interest in this.

Quote from: D_Average

During the promo the PR lady actually said the game was for kids 13 and under

Dear god.

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