Why Making the Wii Was Never a Crazy Decision

Posted by Gamer_152 (14078 posts) -

One observation about the Wii which seems to have been consistently made by Nintendo fans is that their decision to suddenly begin catering to the “casual” crowd with a daring new control scheme came out of the blue. I don’t believe that this is the case and to cut to the chase I want to prove that this choice wasn’t as nonsensical as it might have seemed.

The Gamecube in the Sixth Generation

Nintendo's Poor Box of Purple Goodness

I think most of us are of the opinion that the Gamecube had some real gems, and the critics agree, titles like Super Smash Bros. Melee and Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker are, to this day, held up as some of the best examples of great games on Nintendo platforms, but as enjoyable as some of what the Gamecube had to offer may have been, it was falling behind in terms of sales. Many tend to think of the original Xbox as a console that was flagging behind during its time and this is somewhat true, but it still managed to push more than 24 million units by May 2006 as opposed to the Gamecube which only pushed less than 22 million by the time of September 2010, but much more worryingly the Gamecube was being mercilessly dominated by the Playstation 2 which managed to sell 150 million units by Februrary 2011. Even taking into account the fact that the PS2 had a much longer intended lifetime than the Gamecube, these figures are still representative of the fact that Nintendo were taking a serious beating in the console wars and this is without even looking at software sales.

With their loveable moustachioed mascot, a proud lack of mature games and a console that was almost toy-like in appearance Nintendo were trying to taut a strong family-friendly appeal, but playing video games was just not something that families did. Video games were very largely the pursuit of the young male alone, the Gamecube’s image ended up as more kiddie than they had hoped for, and as those looking to publish, develop and play more mature games turned to the PS2 and Xbox, Nintendo lost out. Perhaps even worse though, the inferior hardware of the Gamecube in comparison to its rivals, made it an unappealing choice for publishers looking for a strong platform. Interestingly the Gamecube seems to boast both a CPU and GPU with more power than the Playstation 2, but it was outclassed by both competitors in terms of RAM and internal storage, and the fact that Nintendo were still insisting on using their own media storage format for their games probably didn’t help either.

Entering the Seventh Gen

 Not just a profitable console, but a necessary one.

I certainly don’t disagree with the fact that what Nintendo did with the Wii was pretty wild and ballsy, but like any other console manufacturer, Nintendo were and still are a business and like any business they were going to do what was most likely to make them the most money. Many game-consuming bystanders considered it only logical that Nintendo were going to bring out a Gamecube 2, nothing as radical as the Wii had been tried in the industry before, but whether people recognise it or not a Gamecube 2 might well have been a very poor decision for Nintendo.

They were down on hardware sales, much of the popular third-party software out there was setting up shop on other systems and if they were to march into the next generation with little more than a box of new parts then they would have faced the impossible task of trying mass-manufacture and sell a piece of hardware better than one of the world’s biggest powers in electronics and one of the world’s biggest powers in computing. With Nintendo’s humble roots as a video game and toy manufacturer, this didn’t exactly seem like it would have been the sensible course of action for Nintendo, and so it only made sense that they had to devise another plan.

The Wii and the Gamecube may seem like vastly different offerings from Nintendo but in some ways they’re not so disimilar; they’re both games consoles featuring classic Nintendo franchises, alongside  a family-friendly image, it’s just that the Wii managed to do the family-friendly part much better than the Gamecube did, and boy did it need too. If the traditional audience were more interested in the brute power of hardware than anything else and Nintendo couldn’t do brute power, then they needed a new audience, and so they had to come up with a new idea, if they couldn’t make a very powerful console, perhaps they could make a very accessible one and so the Wii was born. Of course Nintendo were probably no doubt spurred on by the success of the DS in the casual market but it must be observed that work began on the Wii long before the DS started proving that console gaming could achieve significant popularity beyond young tech-savvy men.

Duder, It’s Over

I think the lack of new Nintendo IPs and the way their old IPs are continually rehashed is a legitimate weakness, but I also think it speaks to the ingenuity of Nintendo that they’ve managed to provide a completely original experience to millions with the Wii and that they’ve come from a position of being the most down-and-out of the big three, to becoming the console manufacturer all others are playing catch up too in a single generation. Whether or not you like what Nintendo is doing I think you have to admire them for being able to do it, however, while the Wii may have been a slightly crazy idea, I hope I’ve made my case for why I believe it was never a crazy decision to try out a crazy idea. Good luck, have Meat Boy.

Sources

-Gamer_152

Moderator
#1 Edited by Gamer_152 (14078 posts) -

One observation about the Wii which seems to have been consistently made by Nintendo fans is that their decision to suddenly begin catering to the “casual” crowd with a daring new control scheme came out of the blue. I don’t believe that this is the case and to cut to the chase I want to prove that this choice wasn’t as nonsensical as it might have seemed.

The Gamecube in the Sixth Generation

Nintendo's Poor Box of Purple Goodness

I think most of us are of the opinion that the Gamecube had some real gems, and the critics agree, titles like Super Smash Bros. Melee and Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker are, to this day, held up as some of the best examples of great games on Nintendo platforms, but as enjoyable as some of what the Gamecube had to offer may have been, it was falling behind in terms of sales. Many tend to think of the original Xbox as a console that was flagging behind during its time and this is somewhat true, but it still managed to push more than 24 million units by May 2006 as opposed to the Gamecube which only pushed less than 22 million by the time of September 2010, but much more worryingly the Gamecube was being mercilessly dominated by the Playstation 2 which managed to sell 150 million units by Februrary 2011. Even taking into account the fact that the PS2 had a much longer intended lifetime than the Gamecube, these figures are still representative of the fact that Nintendo were taking a serious beating in the console wars and this is without even looking at software sales.

With their loveable moustachioed mascot, a proud lack of mature games and a console that was almost toy-like in appearance Nintendo were trying to taut a strong family-friendly appeal, but playing video games was just not something that families did. Video games were very largely the pursuit of the young male alone, the Gamecube’s image ended up as more kiddie than they had hoped for, and as those looking to publish, develop and play more mature games turned to the PS2 and Xbox, Nintendo lost out. Perhaps even worse though, the inferior hardware of the Gamecube in comparison to its rivals, made it an unappealing choice for publishers looking for a strong platform. Interestingly the Gamecube seems to boast both a CPU and GPU with more power than the Playstation 2, but it was outclassed by both competitors in terms of RAM and internal storage, and the fact that Nintendo were still insisting on using their own media storage format for their games probably didn’t help either.

Entering the Seventh Gen

 Not just a profitable console, but a necessary one.

I certainly don’t disagree with the fact that what Nintendo did with the Wii was pretty wild and ballsy, but like any other console manufacturer, Nintendo were and still are a business and like any business they were going to do what was most likely to make them the most money. Many game-consuming bystanders considered it only logical that Nintendo were going to bring out a Gamecube 2, nothing as radical as the Wii had been tried in the industry before, but whether people recognise it or not a Gamecube 2 might well have been a very poor decision for Nintendo.

They were down on hardware sales, much of the popular third-party software out there was setting up shop on other systems and if they were to march into the next generation with little more than a box of new parts then they would have faced the impossible task of trying mass-manufacture and sell a piece of hardware better than one of the world’s biggest powers in electronics and one of the world’s biggest powers in computing. With Nintendo’s humble roots as a video game and toy manufacturer, this didn’t exactly seem like it would have been the sensible course of action for Nintendo, and so it only made sense that they had to devise another plan.

The Wii and the Gamecube may seem like vastly different offerings from Nintendo but in some ways they’re not so disimilar; they’re both games consoles featuring classic Nintendo franchises, alongside  a family-friendly image, it’s just that the Wii managed to do the family-friendly part much better than the Gamecube did, and boy did it need too. If the traditional audience were more interested in the brute power of hardware than anything else and Nintendo couldn’t do brute power, then they needed a new audience, and so they had to come up with a new idea, if they couldn’t make a very powerful console, perhaps they could make a very accessible one and so the Wii was born. Of course Nintendo were probably no doubt spurred on by the success of the DS in the casual market but it must be observed that work began on the Wii long before the DS started proving that console gaming could achieve significant popularity beyond young tech-savvy men.

Duder, It’s Over

I think the lack of new Nintendo IPs and the way their old IPs are continually rehashed is a legitimate weakness, but I also think it speaks to the ingenuity of Nintendo that they’ve managed to provide a completely original experience to millions with the Wii and that they’ve come from a position of being the most down-and-out of the big three, to becoming the console manufacturer all others are playing catch up too in a single generation. Whether or not you like what Nintendo is doing I think you have to admire them for being able to do it, however, while the Wii may have been a slightly crazy idea, I hope I’ve made my case for why I believe it was never a crazy decision to try out a crazy idea. Good luck, have Meat Boy.

Sources

-Gamer_152

Moderator
#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I already have Super Meat Boy, but I might as well take a look at this. *plays it a bit* Well, that sucked. How can controls be both loose AND sticky?

#3 Posted by awadnin (275 posts) -

geart article :)

#4 Posted by Gamer_152 (14078 posts) -
@Video_Game_King said:
I already have Super Meat Boy, but I might as well take a look at this. *plays it a bit* Well, that sucked. How can controls be both loose AND sticky?
They found a way. I really thought the game was more notable for its aesthetics than its gameplay. 
 
@awadnin said:
geart article :)
Thank you.
Moderator
#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -
@Gamer_152 said:
I really thought the game was more notable for its aesthetics than its gameplay. 
You mean for looking like VVVVVV? Then why not just play VVVVVV?
#6 Posted by Mikemcn (6988 posts) -

I want Nintendo to absorb some western studio, and create an IP thats both new and not crazy/Japanese.

#7 Posted by Gamer_152 (14078 posts) -
@Video_Game_King said:
@Gamer_152 said:
I really thought the game was more notable for its aesthetics than its gameplay. 
You mean for looking like VVVVVV? Then why not just play VVVVVV?
It was just that they'd put Meat Boy into VVVVVV. Really that link wasn't supposed to be a big deal at all, it was just one the links I always throw in at the end of my posts to something I thought might be entertaining for some, even if only for a minute or two. 
 
@Mikemcn said:

I want Nintendo to absorb some western studio, and create an IP thats both new and not crazy/Japanese.

I'd like to see that as well but as long as Nintendo's current IPs are still making them mountains of money, there's really not any incentive for them to risk money doing something like that. It's a shame.
Moderator
#8 Edited by mariokart64fan (366 posts) -
@Gamer_152: well as far as money goes nintendo was fine because the gameboy advance had its back but i do agree had gameboy not been there , nintendo needed this and sure enough they got it  , and now people seam to be doubting the nintendo 3ds and wiiu - but suprise suprise,   the 3ds seams to finally be catching on  a little price drop and a few games like the ds it self , the 3 ds looks to be a handheld that is a force to be reconed with , at this rate it will decimate gba sales at least and still be enough for the win cause honestly seeing what the vita has in store .
 
 
 --- all i see is a bunch of ps3 titles being slopped down to it,  -where have we seen this before ,,   
the psp at launch had a whole bunch of ps2 ps1 xbox wii etc ports slapped on to it, even 6th gen games like--midnight club 3  ,   
  
  i can go on also what will hurt sony's chances is the longer it takes for vita to release the more it will need to catch up to a unit that is already picking up steam , on top of 4 million launch units it had sold world wide that is,   it is now sold 1.5 million in the us alone ,  it dont even have mariokart 7 super mario land 3d paper mario kid icaris ,   
 
or the resident evil revolutions game ,  driver  renegade starfox 64 zelda oot pilotwings street fighter iv  3d splinter cell 3d sims 3d asphalt and ridge racer 3d are all good starters to ,   suprised people bashed it at launch , the ds had the same line up basically , so will the vita  -takes a look -yep asphalt ridge racer eh not much to be said there,  
 
 and the horrible 3 hour battery life vita has plus 80 dollars more in price -100 more depending on model , and ,  they havent even announced a sure date yet , for any territory and pricing for games! i tell you this if its  $59.99 i will most certainly not be buying much for the thing cause i can get better visuals on a wii u or ps3 or 360 for the same price,  
 
 and thats another thing , the wii u is just around the corner if sony waits til 2012-wii u launch time , i will have no choice but to pass on the vita until it gets cheaper because i know nintendo   

they always charge 100 more then their handheld is currently selling for , based off every gen so far 
 1-snes 199.99 gb-99.99  
2 n64- 199.99 gbc-99.99 
3 gba-99.99 gc 199.99  
4 this ending gen -for wii any way-249.99 wii nintendo ds 149.99 
 
so since the 3ds is 179.99   this wouldnt suprise me to see wii u 279.99 if they dont make the same mistake again , 20 dollars more then a even if its 300 it'll be worth it , because well it can do more then vita and wii put together ,  
 the thing with vita is itll be for those who want ps3 games , 
  ps3 is 5 yrs old and i say i dont want to be playing ports ports and more spinoffs like psp especally if they can not make it bc with umd, 
  how come they couldnt make the 300 version umd bc, thats somthing i dont understand , the only bonus is 3g , thats not worth 50 more ,   
  
 
so with that said ya nintendo is in good position , and by good i mean great,   
 
heres the worst scenerio for sony or ms,  
 they wait 2 and half years to launch 720 ps4 , wii u will already be half way into its lifespan , developers will have it all figured out , -because its already super easy to port 360 games , they can use what they learned from that console to this one , ,   

by the time 720 ps4 come out i dont think theyll be any much more powerful especally if they dont want to pull a ps3 again ,  sony that is , if they go for power i think theyll be finished , 600 dollars in todays economy will spell doom for sony ,  hope microsoft doesnt pull the same thing ,  and if they use digital download that will   be bad!  
  
but worst case scenerio for nintendo is they pull in 50 m illion or more wii u s in line with this gens ps 3 360 battle , theres room for all 3 regardless as long as their priced right
#9 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

@mariokart64fan said:

@Gamer_152: well as far as money goes nintendo was fine because the gameboy advance had its back but i do agree had gameboy not been there , nintendo needed this and sure enough they got it , and now people seam to be doubting the nintendo 3ds and wiiu - but suprise suprise, the 3ds seams to finally be catching on a little price drop and a few games like the ds it self , the 3 ds looks to be a handheld that is a force to be reconed with , at this rate it will decimate gba sales at least and still be enough for the win cause honestly seeing what the vita has in store . --- all i see is a bunch of ps3 titles being slopped down to it, -where have we seen this before ,, the psp at launch had a whole bunch of ps2 ps1 xbox wii etc ports slapped on to it, even 6th gen games like--midnight club 3 , i can go on also what will hurt sony's chances is the longer it takes for vita to release the more it will need to catch up to a unit that is already picking up steam , on top of 4 million launch units it had sold world wide that is, it is now sold 1.5 million in the us alone , it dont even have mariokart 7 super mario land 3d paper mario kid icaris , or the resident evil revolutions game , driver renegade starfox 64 zelda oot pilotwings street fighter iv 3d splinter cell 3d sims 3d asphalt and ridge racer 3d are all good starters to , suprised people bashed it at launch , the ds had the same line up basically , so will the vita -takes a look -yep asphalt ridge racer eh not much to be said there, and the horrible 3 hour battery life vita has plus 80 dollars more in price -100 more depending on model , and , they havent even announced a sure date yet , for any territory and pricing for games! i tell you this if its $59.99 i will most certainly not be buying much for the thing cause i can get better visuals on a wii u or ps3 or 360 for the same price, and thats another thing , the wii u is just around the corner if sony waits til 2012-wii u launch time , i will have no choice but to pass on the vita until it gets cheaper because i know nintendo they always charge 100 more then their handheld is currently selling for , based off every gen so far 1-snes 199.99 gb-99.99 2 n64- 199.99 gbc-99.99 3 gba-99.99 gc 199.99 4 this ending gen -for wii any way-249.99 wii nintendo ds 149.99 so since the 3ds is 179.99 this wouldnt suprise me to see wii u 279.99 if they dont make the same mistake again , 20 dollars more then a even if its 300 it'll be worth it , because well it can do more then vita and wii put together , the thing with vita is itll be for those who want ps3 games , ps3 is 5 yrs old and i say i dont want to be playing ports ports and more spinoffs like psp especally if they can not make it bc with umd, how come they couldnt make the 300 version umd bc, thats somthing i dont understand , the only bonus is 3g , thats not worth 50 more , so with that said ya nintendo is in good position , and by good i mean great, heres the worst scenerio for sony or ms, they wait 2 and half years to launch 720 ps4 , wii u will already be half way into its lifespan , developers will have it all figured out , -because its already super easy to port 360 games , they can use what they learned from that console to this one , , by the time 720 ps4 come out i dont think theyll be any much more powerful especally if they dont want to pull a ps3 again , sony that is , if they go for power i think theyll be finished , 600 dollars in todays economy will spell doom for sony , hope microsoft doesnt pull the same thing , and if they use digital download that will be bad! but worst case scenerio for nintendo is they pull in 50 m illion or more wii u s in line with this gens ps 3 360 battle , theres room for all 3 regardless as long as their priced right

That's the most brilliant sloppy mess I've ever seen. In a few years, I'm going to hunt your ass down and talk about how things went down.

#10 Posted by Gamer_152 (14078 posts) -

@mariokart64fan:

"well as far as money goes nintendo was fine because the gameboy advance had its back"

While Nintendo may have been able to stay afloat to try other things had the Wii failed, if it did fail they sure as hell wouldn't be fine. They'd have lost masses of money and had a serious hit to their reputation. No company wants a failed product.

"now people seam to be doubting the nintendo 3ds and wiiu - but suprise suprise, the 3ds seams to finally be catching on a little price drop and a few games like the ds it self , the 3 ds looks to be a handheld that is a force to be reconed with"

I think there's valid reasons to doubt the Wii U, but I'll come back to that in a minute. As for the 3DS, perhaps you know more about the situation than I do but I've not seen anything to really make me believe that people are adopting it as strongly as you suggest. In fact the price drop itself represented a major rise in people doubting the potential of the 3DS. It was indicative to many that things weren't going to plan for Nintendo and that their console wasn't selling.

"at this rate it will decimate gba sales at least and still be enough for the win"

Yes, although I don't think it's fair to directly compare sales of the DS and 3DS to sales of consoles like the GBA. The DS and 3DS have been concerned with going after a whole new market which didn't exist at the time of the GBA.

"all i see is a bunch of ps3 titles being slopped down to it, -where have we seen this before ,,

the psp at launch had a whole bunch of ps2 ps1 xbox wii etc ports slapped on to it, even 6th gen games like--midnight club 3[...]

[The Vita] dont even have mariokart 7 super mario land 3d paper mario kid icaris ,

or the resident evil revolutions game , driver renegade starfox 64 zelda oot pilotwings street fighter iv 3d splinter cell 3d sims 3d asphalt and ridge racer 3d are all good starters to , suprised people bashed it at launch , the ds had the same line up basically , so will the vita -takes a look -yep asphalt ridge racer eh not much to be said there"

It seems that you're criticising the PSP and PSVita for playing host to mini-versions of major console titles. That's basically the reasons I and a lot of other people aren't interested in it, but I don't think you can criticise the Sony handhelds for having cut-down versions of full console games and yet praise the 3DS for doing the same thing.

You're also under-representing the library of games which will be available on the Vita, ignoring features of the Vita like the touch interface which aim to accommodate a wider collection of games on the platform, and ignoring games like Little Deviants and Sound Shapes which show at least some promise for the system beyond ill-suited console ports. What's more the 3DS line-up isn't the DS's same basic line-up and even if it was I think that would mean Nintendo had fucked up by bringing nothing new to the table.

"i can go on also what will hurt sony's chances is the longer it takes for vita to release the more it will need to catch up to a unit that is already picking up steam"

Except the market Sony are going after with the Vita doesn't appear to be the same exact one Nintendo are going after with the 3DS. There'll certainly be some overlap, but as you already used as a point in Nintendo's favour, they're largely offering different kinds of games and I think anyone that concerned about handhelds will be okay picking up both.

To be fair to Sony, while I may turn my nose up at the cut-down console ports that have traditionally plagued the PSP, not only are they now going after a certain kind of casual game that the 3DS doesn't have the features to support but their reluctance to go head to head by trying to outdo Nintendo at their own game is understandable. I'd rather have some market diversity than one console doing well and the other simply trying to replicate the first console's success.

" and the horrible 3 hour battery life vita has plus 80 dollars more in price -100 more depending on model , and , they havent even announced a sure date yet , for any territory and pricing for games! i tell you this if its $59.99 i will most certainly not be buying much for the thing cause i can get better visuals on a wii u or ps3 or 360 for the same price"

If the Vita has a horrible battery life it'll be in good company, as the short battery life of the 3DS has been one of its greatest criticisms. The lack of date and game pricing may be irksome to Sony fans right now but it isn't going to affect the quality of the final product. Of course you can get better visuals on a full home console than the Vita, because you play with them on a full-screen television. The same applies for all handhelds, including the DS and 3DS. I agree though that the proposed price of the Vita is personally very off-putting but it may be that it's an acceptable price for fans.

"so since the 3ds is 179.99 this wouldnt suprise me to see wii u 279.99 if they dont make the same mistake again , 20 dollars more then a even if its 300 it'll be worth it , because well it can do more then vita and wii put together"

Again, you can't directly compare full consoles and handhelds like this, but even if you could the best console is not the one with the most features.

"so with that said ya nintendo is in good position , and by good i mean great"

Maybe, maybe not. Not only are there worries surrounding the 3DS which I mentioned earlier, but you can't completely ignore what the Wii U sceptics are saying either. The argument is out there that most of the casual gamers who would've bought a Wii have bought a Wii, and that they'll either now see the Wii as a poor novelty purchase, not consider there to be enough incentive for getting a new Wii console, or both. Meanwhile, for the "core" gamers out there the Wii U is still providing hardware inferior to seventh gen Microsoft and Sony hardware.

"heres the worst scenerio for sony or ms,

they wait 2 and half years to launch 720 ps4 , wii u will already be half way into its lifespan , developers will have it all figured out , -because its already super easy to port 360 games , they can use what they learned from that console to this one , ,"

The new Microsoft and Sony consoles may launch some time into the Wii U's lifespan and you may be able to port more old games over to the Wii U, but again, they're not going after the exact same markets and the Wii U is technically inferior to the 360 and PS3. After that you sort of lose me with talk of optimising porting. I don't exactly see what bearing this is supposed to have on the console market as a whole.

"worst case scenerio for nintendo is they pull in 50 m illion or more wii u s in line with this gens ps 3 360 battle , theres room for all 3 regardless as long as their priced right"

You really don't think it's at all possible for the Wii U to sell off less than 50 million units before the new Microsoft and Sony consoles hit? I'm sorry but this seems a little naive.

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