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

Mature Wii Games 'Calculated Gambles' According to EA

by Pedro Hernandez - July 3, 2009, 10:01 am PDT
Total comments: 36 Source: Gamasutra

The sales of MadWorld and House of the Dead: Overkill still haunt the outlook for mature titles on Wii.

Despite showing the utmost confidence in Dead Space: Extraction, EA still sees its release on Wii as a gamble. EA Games President Frank Gibeau talked to Gamasutra about the situation currently affecting the Wii.

"Well, there has been some M-rated high-quality games released recently on Wii that we've taken note of, and that's why I think Dead Space: Extraction is a gamble. It's a calculated risk," said Gibeau. "Can a high-quality experience like that that appeals to a more mature audience work on the Wii platform?"

This concern is raised due to MadWorld and House of the Dead: Overkill's controversial sales numbers. Both titles are M-rated, stylized Wii-exclusive games that failed to meet sales expectations during their first month of release despite the warm reception they received from gamers and media.

Despite this, EA remains optimistic that there is a market for mature titles on Wii, going as far as to research the needs of the consumer to try to prove that Dead Space: Extraction will be worth the gamble.

"We spent a lot of research, time, and understanding that the customer dynamics of who's actually playing on the Wii, do they own multiple platforms, are there really gamers on the Wii, or is it mainly families and youth?" questioned Gibeau. "But we think we've found a market on the Wii that would be interested in the Dead Space: Extraction experiment. We're going to take a gamble and build that market. You know, until you try, you don't really know if the hypothesis is correct or not."

This opinion is also shared by Sega, who is planning to continue bringing more mature titles to Wii and has confirmed that while House of the Dead: Overkill wasn't a huge seller, it still proved to be profitable.

Talkback

broodwarsJuly 03, 2009

Wait, didn't HotD: O do well for SEGA over the long run?  I know the first month's sales weren't all that hot, but it had a bit of a slow burn...

In any case, does anyone actually care?  Outside Dead Space, I can't think of an M-rated title from Electronic Arts worth caring about.

ShyGuyJuly 03, 2009

Considering that the age of the average Wii player is much older than that average 360/PS3 player, I wish we could call them what they really are: immature titles with mature content.

KDR_11kJuly 03, 2009

"calculated gambles" AKA statistics and probabilities... Business is all about taking risks where the payoff is larger than the probability of failure.

SteleJuly 03, 2009

Yeah this is the reason you see sequels, remakes and spinoffs more often than brand new IPs. 

It's even worse with movies where it almost seems the majority of big releases are a sequel, remake, or book adaptation.  Execs like to take the safer bet on something that has already sold well.

At least gaming isn't there yet.

I can see it could be tricky putting it on the only console to ever pack-in a rubber ducky.

Ian SaneJuly 03, 2009

And here is a third party using a game to gauge interest that is not a full effort and thus is not a fair test.  Is EA taking into account that unless this game gets better reviews than Super Mario Galaxy that I'm not buying it on principle because it plays nothing like the REAL Dead Space and is a cliche on-rails shooter to boot?  This isn't a real effort.  A special edition of Dead Space would be a better effort and a truly full effort would be Dead Space 2.  Even if it turns out to be a decent title it's still just a Wii spin-off cash-in, no different than Soul Calibur Legends.  That fact that it may be good is not important, the goal is to get some sort of product with a familiar name out their on the Wii.

So how can I possibly let EA know what I TRULY want from them?  I don't buy this and they're all "hey I guess Wii owners just want baby non-games".  I buy this and they're all "hey there's a market here for spin-offs of our PS360 games!" and then we get on-rails shooters based on Mirror's Edge.  Give me something REAL, something you would but on the other consoles.  Don't treat the Wii audience as something different that needs its own stuff catered to it.

GoldenPhoenixJuly 03, 2009

Quote:

Give me something REAL, something you would but on the other consoles

Kind of like Tiger Woods 10? Or perhaps Boom Blox 1 and 2? EA's support has been quite good for Wii even if there hasn't been a ton of M rated games.

broodwarsJuly 03, 2009

An on-rails "shooter" verison of Mirror's Edge (where I suppose it's all one-big Quick Time event where you hit button prompts on-screen to perform platforming and select routes) could only improve the game.  The original game tried to be an FPS AND a first-person platformer, and so succeeded at neither because the FPS action was so monumentally bad and the level design sucked after the first few levels.

AVJuly 03, 2009

Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Resident Evil: Umbrella CHronicles

Both M rated 3rd party Wii games.

I am pretty sure they both are million sellers too......

CalibanJuly 03, 2009

Quote from: broodwars

An on-rails "shooter" verison of Mirror's Edge (where I suppose it's all one-big Quick Time event where you hit button prompts on-screen to perform platforming and select routes) could only improve the game. The original game tried to be an FPS AND a first-person platformer, and so succeeded at neither because the FPS action was so monumentally bad and the level design sucked after the first few levels.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v26/Caliban/Evil_Monkey.gif

broodwarsJuly 03, 2009

Quote from: Caliban

Quote from: broodwars

An on-rails "shooter" verison of Mirror's Edge (where I suppose it's all one-big Quick Time event where you hit button prompts on-screen to perform platforming and select routes) could only improve the game. The original game tried to be an FPS AND a first-person platformer, and so succeeded at neither because the FPS action was so monumentally bad and the level design sucked after the first few levels.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v26/Caliban/Evil_Monkey.gif

Fan of Mirror's Edge, or you just didn't want me giving EA ideas?  ;)

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJuly 03, 2009

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote:

Give me something REAL, something you would but on the other consoles

Kind of like Tiger Woods 10? Or perhaps Boom Blox 1 and 2? EA's support has been quite good for Wii even if there hasn't been a ton of M rated games.

Actually GP, I'm totally with Ian on this.  In fact... I think Malstrom agrees too.

http://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/translating-ea-games-label-president-frank-gibeau/

Quote:

Spin-offs didn’t sell on the Gamecube. Gamecube players don’t want an inferior version of an IP. Core gamers and Expanded Audience gamers on the Wii share one thing in common: they are tired of being treated like second class gamers. Putting a spin-off of a main series onto the Wii is basically telling them that they are second class gamers. Even if it is good, they won’t buy it, because they feel inferior playing it knowing that the real version is on another platform.

If you want to succeed on the Wii, stop treating Wii customers as if they are second bananas. Spin-offs of a main series won’t work. Ask any Wii owner or the entire Gamecube software sales history.

It is pretty sad that they see this Market saturating Rail shooter spinoff as a solid effort.  And yes, it still could be good game.  even a great game... but it's still a spinoff.  EA probably won't even advertise it as much as their PS360 titles because they seem embarrassed to even be having to make Wii games and feel obligated to do so only because they are losing billions.

The embargo must stop.

CalibanJuly 03, 2009

Quote from: broodwars

Fan of Mirror's Edge, or you just didn't want me giving EA ideas?   ;)

Both.

broodwarsJuly 03, 2009

Quote from: Caliban

Quote from: broodwars

Fan of Mirror's Edge, or you just didn't want me giving EA ideas?  ;)

Both.

C'mon, man, I liked what that game wanted to do in the first 2 levels: put an emphasis on running and traversing obstacles at high speeds.  Then it asks me to go completely counter to that and run into a stream of gunfire shooting enemies with really bad FPS mechanics instead of focusing on the part that works: the running.  If they hadn't done that, the game would have actually been good.

Dirk TemporoJuly 03, 2009

Quote from: broodwars

The original game tried to be an FPS AND a first-person platformer

I don't think you played Mirror's Edge. Enjoy your imaginary video games.

broodwarsJuly 03, 2009

Quote from: Dirk

Quote from: broodwars

The original game tried to be an FPS AND a first-person platformer

I don't think you played Mirror's Edge. Enjoy your imaginary video games.

I don't think you made it past the third level or so, where they start forcing you to engage enemies in trial & error B.S. because you can't run fast enough to get past them.  There was a particularly annoying section late in the game where you're in a shopping mall and have to make your way up to a catwalk area and jump up the catwalk by swinging on a pipe.  Problem is, you have to be dead center on the pipe to swing to the catwalk, and the wall-run you perform to get to it lands you on the left or right sides of the bar so you have to siddle your way to the middle to swing.  Problem is, there's 4-5 guys below you with sniper AK-47s blazing away at you and kill you.  The only solution is to kill them all on the bottom before you run up to do the swing, which is NOT what the level wants you to do (it wants you to do the big epic "jump from platform to platform while they're shooting guns at you ineffectively" thing).  The whole game is littered with nonsense like that after the 2nd level or so.  On the latest PS3 SDK it's also littered with crashes, which kept me from finishing the game (I got up to the part where you have to perform something like 20 wall-run jumps to climb up the inside of a massive skyscraper to get into sniper position).

Still think I didn't play it?  You're always free to check my trophy list as well.

CalibanJuly 03, 2009

I finished Mirror's Edge without shooting once, and I thoroughly enjoyed it like that.

I'm not trying to undermine your experience with the game, I'm just saying that's how I feel about it, and I can totally understand your point of view because just because one game can be known to be great by someone doesn't mean everyone's going to think it is.

Quote from: broodwars]C'mon,

Me too, but I think those initial levels had the purpose for you to learn to observe and use your surrounding environments for quick escapes.

Quote from: broodwars]Then

If you don't shoot then you can only run. See, it can be a game that will focus on the running.

RABicleJuly 04, 2009

Sick of this shit. Oh House of the Dead didn't sell too many copies. What did they fucking expect? it's a zombie light gun game. First up zombies, how long has it been since they were profitable? When was the last zombie blockbuster in cinemas? When was the last light gun game that was relevant even in the arcades? The fact HotD:O was even a blip on the gaming radar should be success enough.

Madworld? A comic book inspired, rap powered arthouse game. Was this ever going to be popular? Come on now.

If EA reckon Dead Space's impending sales disaster (you heard it here first) is based on anything other than the fact that it is a Sci-fi light gun game then they're dreaming.

CalibanJuly 04, 2009

Quote from: RABicle]First

L4D.

Quote from: RABicle]When

Shaun of the Dead (2004).

Quote from: RABicle]When

Arcades are dead... so yeah it begs to reason why some (RE Umbrella Chronicles is an exception only because of the RE brand behind it) light gun games won't sell as much as developers want.

mac<censored>July 04, 2009

What mystifies me is that gaming company management can seem to be so incredibly dense about the whole issue.

If they sat down for more than 45 seconds with an average intelligent gamer and talked about "why didn't X succeed", it wouldn't take long to reach the conclusion "because X sucked" (or at least "sucked much more than the competition").  But gaming companies talk as if they've entirely missed the "our game sucked" factor in their analysis, and dream up the wackiest reasons to explain their problems.

Of course it's painful to look at your own flaws, but it's pretty much a requirement to succeed in business (or most any endeavor for that matter).  Hopefully they're a bit more honest internally, when not speaking to the press -- but the stupid excuses they spew when they are talking to the press actually do some harm, so I really wish they'd shut up a bit more and just say something completely generic instead ("We are sad, we will try harder next time.  頑張ろう!").

PlugabugzJuly 05, 2009

SHHH.

PlugabugzJuly 05, 2009

Quote from: Plugabugz

Quote from: Caliban

Quote from: RABicle]When

Shaun of the Dead (2004).

I don't think a romzomcom counts.

CalibanJuly 05, 2009

Quote from: Plugabugz

SHHH.

BlackNMild2k1July 05, 2009

Quote from: RABicle

First up zombies, how long has it been since they were profitable?

Like it was said before, Left4Dead

When was the last zombie blockbuster in cinemas?

Mop it upJuly 05, 2009

I just hope they don't give a game aspects which cause it to get an M-rating just for the sake of it. An example of this is TimeSplitters Future Perfect. Unlike the first two games it has blood in it, which earned it an M-rating instead of a T-rating. The blood doesn't make the game any better, and all the M-rating does is limit its appeal.

Have I said that already? I can't remember.

KDR_11kJuly 05, 2009

Yeah, in another thread.

Plants vs Zombies is supposedly PopCap's best selling game...

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJuly 06, 2009

What's ultimately tragic about all this posturing about Mature games and what does and doesn't "work" for the Wii, is that the answer to all their problems is staring them right in the face.  RE4 Wii Edition was released in June 2007 and it still remains the best selling M-rated on the Wii.  This is a game many of the original owners even bought AGAIN just to get access to the superior controls.

Despite being a port it was a full game that wasn't some kind of karaoke spinoff.  Capcom's response to this was to make a lightgun spinoff and then pretend they've "figured the Wii out" because it sold significantly more than Clapping Party and make a sequel to the lightgun game.

I mean all these guys have to do is make a regular game, make it possibly exclusive, and market the hell out of it.  None of this "casual" crap that you've tricked yourself into believing Wii Owners want.  And as a sidenote even if all that kerfuffle about casual games is true, you'll never beat Nintendo at it.  If EA's goal with EA Active was to make an exercise game that will sell a tiny fraction of Wii Fit and everybody will ultimately forget about, well then mission accomplished.  All those Wii Sports clones did the same.

I remember Ian once saying that Nintendo had no "clout" with developers and publishers.  I disagree.  I say Nintendo is SO powerful to these developers because most of the time these developers are in lockstep behind Nintendo.  Whatever Nintendo does, there are 30 knock-off cash-in variants coming from third parties in a year's time.  What they need to do is just look at the charts and realize a few things:

1. Other than Wii Music, most "Wii ___" games come with hardware.  Notice Wii Music by itself only sold a "mere" 2.5 million.
2. Most of the Top Wii games are just regular ol' games that are not about "understanding the customer dynamics."  Before I joked that they said crap like because it sounds ridiculous but here is a guy saying it.
3. The reason Nintendo's games are at the top is because they make the best games on the Wii.  They didn't create a new market out of thin air, and you can't tap into this new market by studying the recombinant gamer metrics of said market.

I think the worst part is that third parties in general have been so open with their horrible games that they may have sabotaged other good third party games just because of the atmosphere they've created.  I know I recommend Nintendo's games first and then any third party efforts that apply afterward. I want these people to have fun, not play Dogz: Mini-Party Puzzle Challenge and give up on video games altogether.

Dirk TemporoJuly 06, 2009

Mature Wii games wouldn't be "calculated gambles" if they would give us GOOD mature games, and not stupid sh**ty spinoffs.

UrkelJuly 06, 2009

EA knows they messed up by making Dead Space: Extraction a rail shooter, otherwise they wouldn't be trying so hard to convince us it isn't one.

All this talk about "mature games" is just a distraction from their own incompetant decisions.

broodwarsJuly 06, 2009

Quote from: Urkel

EA knows they messed up by making Dead Space: Extraction a rail shooter, otherwise they wouldn't be trying so hard to convince us it isn't one.

All this talk about "mature games" is just a distraction from their own incompetant decisions.

To be fair, there's no reason that a Dead Space rail shooter shouldn't work, just that it doesn't seem like EA has a lot of confidence that they haven't screwed it up.

KDR_11kJuly 06, 2009

I think the biggest screwup was the name, making it clear that this is a secondary effort instead of a primary game. The second biggest is probably going into a crowded genre like this...

PeachylalaJuly 06, 2009

Third parties are just trying so hard to lose my spending dollars.

I give them a rould of appluse.

Quote:

1. Other than Wii Music, most "Wii ___" games come with hardware.  Notice Wii Music by itself only sold a "mere" 2.5 million.

I still stand by the fact that the game isn't as big as the other "Wii" games due to the crappy E3 presentation and stupid game reviewers.

Quote from: True

Third parties are just trying so hard to lose my spending dollars.

I give them a rould of appluse.

Quote:

1. Other than Wii Music, most "Wii ___" games come with hardware.  Notice Wii Music by itself only sold a "mere" 2.5 million.

I still stand by the fact that the game isn't as big as the other "Wii" games due to the crappy E3 presentation and stupid game reviewers.

The vast majority of the market Nintendo was aiming that game at don't pay attention to E3 or read game reviews.

broodwarsJuly 06, 2009

Quote from: KDR_11k

I think the biggest screwup was the name, making it clear that this is a secondary effort instead of a primary game. The second biggest is probably going into a crowded genre like this...

My only problem with the subtitle is that it reminds me terrifyingly of the abysmal Dead Space: Downfall animated movie.  I have more issues with the hilariously bad box art.

grantimusJuly 06, 2009

Quote from: KDR_11k

I think the biggest screwup was the name, making it clear that this is a secondary effort instead of a primary game. The second biggest is probably going into a crowded genre like this...

I don't see the genre as crowded at all!  House of the Dead: Overkill, House of the Dead 2+3, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, and Ghost Squad are the only currently available light gun games I can think of.  Then, other than Extraction, Darkside Chronicles is the only game on the horizon.  I'd hardly call 6 games a "crowded genre," especially when looking at other genres.

I, for one, was frothing at the prospect for a resurgence of light gun games once I knew what the Wii Remote could do.  I look at the lineup, most of which I own, and am disappointed in the lack thereof.  I'm looking forward to Extraction as a light gun game first, and as a Dead Space game second.

To each his own, I suppose.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusJuly 06, 2009

Again I don't think anybody really minds that this game exists, it's just that it's alone in EA's lineup as a a non-sports, non-demographic-reconstituted-gamer-dynamics game.  People don't really mind spinoffs so long as the real thing is also there for them.  If this were, say a special mode in a Port of Dead Space, then people would definitely not be as harsh on it.  And if it were announced that, say Dead Space 2 were announced as a Wii-exclusive, built from the ground up to use the Motion Plus and such, then nobody would have a problem with them trying to introduce the game with a spinoff or that being their lead game.

But since there seems to be no signs of any of that occurring, then It's safe to say that this game by itself is a pretty weaksauce effort, no matter how much production value goes into it.  Even if the game is great, it's still at best a focus-tested spinoff or WORSE, a cash grab to justify and fund more games that Wii owners will not have access to.

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement