The Wii might be the oddest console in gaming history. Hitting retail in late 2006, the massively underpowered system sold millions upon millions on the promise of its innovative new controls and its potential for great games, exploding at retail overnight. And while the hardware sales for the Wii continued to set records, the software side was a bit more dreary, with nary a proper third party game hitting the system, and the only bright spots being Nintendo’s own excellent and top of the line first party endeavors. Whereas the situation soon changed once the third parties got a tab on the situation and began to take the system seriously, it didn’t help when, without exception, all third party games began to fail on the Wii.
This was also accompanied by a widescale adoption of HDTVs, causing the Wii’s technology to be undoubtedly inferior and obsolete, especially in the wake of its HD enabled rivals getting their own motion control systems.
According to EA, the Wii is already finished- he believes it’s now a legacy console, something that, in stores, one would find next to the PS2 section.
Speaking to IndustryGamers, EA Games head honcho Frank Gibeau hinted that Nintendo knows the situation and is working on another platform. “When you look at Nintendo, for a while there, it was all about the Wii being the biggest entertainment platform ever and capturing the mass market, and it faded away. Now, they’re coming back with a second act. I think they know that. They’re very self-aware as an organization and a very powerful brand,” he said.
“They understand the dynamics and the fact that HD consoles is a booming part of business right now. Legacy platforms like PS2 and the Wii have dropped off significantly. They’re not stupid. They’re going to figure something out. They’re going to come back at it.”
He also had a word of advice for Nintendo, saying that they needed to better court third parties if they wanted to avoid the software droughts that have become characteristic of their systems since the N64 days. “The Wii is a tough market for a third party. When I look at a development dollar in terms of which teams do I invest in, and what platforms to go at, they’re not very competitive when you look at HD consoles, or free-to-play bets, or things like tablets and handsets. It’s something they need to think seriously about with their next gen – how serious is a third party development community for them on their next platform and their next bet? They can get to a certain level of success with their own IPs and their own internal development, but if they don’t have that developer ecosystem where it’s frankly easy to make money on the platform, they’re going to see there are too many opportunities in the world right now to go build games on other platforms in a very successful high quality, highly profitable way. They need to take note of that,” Gibeau offered.
Whereas I can by and large agree that a new Nintendo system is probably right around the corner, maybe being revealed at this year’s E3, I’d say that Nintendo tried their best to make the Wii as third party friendly as they could, and that maybe the third parties could perhaps have taken the system a bit more seriously and dedicated their resources and teams to the systems if they wanted to see results. Some companies who did this and saw results were Ubisoft with games like Just Dance and the Wii versions of games like Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, and Activision, with games like Goldeneye 007 and the Wii versions of the Call of Duty games. EA was nowhere on the horizon.