Four Problems Facing the Wii in 2008: #3 - Saturation of Casual Games

authorIlchymis | January 31, 2008

greedy [Over the next two weeks, MyWiiNews is offering a four-part, in-depth series on the biggest problems that face the Wii in 2008. We'll be looking at the problems and offering a few tips for Nintendo & Co. to meet the challenges head on, and keep the console in first place. Stay tuned to catch the whole series, only at MyWiiNews.com]

Welcome back to the third installment of the MyWiiNews four-part, in-depth feature on the four biggest problems facing the Wii in 2008. Today we continue on in the same direction as yesterday’s discussion about third-party developers and march on to discuss how two types of games are currently competing for the Wii’s spotlight: casual and hardcore.

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The Wii has had a remarkable run over the past year, uniting people together through videogames in ways that many gaming purists had never thought imaginable. Extending the marketing patterns already in place with the Nintendo DS, Nintendo aimed to create a home console that appealed to different generations and types of gamers. Through their emphasis on casual games that anyone could just “pick up and play,” the Nintendo Wii caught on instantly with people everywhere and became an overnight sensation that has continued on to this very day.

While the new emphasis on casual games has influenced a wider range of people to pick up a Wii, the dangers of being such as casual console are beginning to show. On a whole, casual gamers don’t tend to buy as many games as more core or “hardcore” gamers usually do, since the casual gamers generally aren’t the ones following gaming news and waiting for the latest title to come out. The attach rate (average amount of games sold per system) for the Nintendo Wii has been approximately 5.3 titles per console, which is rather strong for a system that has only been out for a little over a year, but is still trailing behind the more “hardcore” Xbox 360’s 7 titles per system.

What does this all mean? While it’s easy to jump the gun and point a finger while exclaiming that a casual system is a doomed system, it’s a bit too early (and absolutely ridiculous) to call the Wii an eventual failure. One thing that I hope was made clear enough yesterday was how necessary it is for the Wii to have solid third-party support in order for the it to appeal to the widest range of gamers possible. Going hand in hand with this is the importance of having more “hardcore” titles on the shelves in order to keep the core gamers, who will almost always support a system more faithfully than a purely casual gamer, happy and buying.

wiifit2.jpgAll of this begs the inevitable question: what makes a game “hardcore” or casual? Gamers may debate this until the end of time, but roughly stated, a casual game focuses on being as appealing and easy to pick up and play as possible. Casual games are games like Wii Sports, Mario Kart, WarioWare, etc. that take little practice to be able to play and enjoy. More hardcore games cannot be enjoyed fully unless a player puts the time into enjoy them by learning about the story, exploring environments, and working towards mastering the game. This does not mean that a casual title can’t be mastered or a hardcore title cannot have a widespread audience that enjoys the game (as is evident with Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and various other games that have sold millions of copies), but simply that hardcore games cannot be picked up at whim like a casual game could.

On a whole, it’s hard to deny how much casual titles are dominating the Wii at the moment. With simple minigame packages, ports, and other shovelware relatively cheap to churn out and make a quick buck from, many developers are using the casual emphasis of the Wii to flood it with the mindless crap that was described yesterday. The lack of emphasis on more hardcore titles will hurt the system in the long run, as gamers will eventually grow bored of the multitude of games with little to no substance. In order for Nintendo to truly appeal to all audiences and compete head to head with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the Wii needs to start focusing on developing more hardcore titles that will draw players in and make them want more.

The effects of the Wii’s stigma as a casual-only gaming machine are something that can be felt when walking down the aisles of practically any electronics store. GameStop has taken this a step further by outright eschewing more traditional core titles in favor of the casual shovelware that currently litters store shelves While this will undoubtedly have a pronounced effect on the Wii in the long run once the casual gamers stop biting, how is Nintendo supposed to manage their casual majority? Can the casual gamers become longtime hardcore fans? We think that it’s possible, and with a little bit of the work we suggest, Nintendo can be sure to remain a success for years to come.

moh4.jpg1. Try to Strike a Balance Between “Casual” and “Hardcore” Titles

At the moment, the Wii is overrun with mediocre casual cash-ins that are discouraging publishers from making more hardcore titles. Much like our suggestion yesterday, Nintendo should start to become a more active part of the game approval process in order to focus the market on a smaller selection of worthwhile casual games and make room for more hardcore titles. Both are necessary when looking at the entirety of the system’s users, and striking a balance on the shelves will make the Wii seem like a more quality system instead of a trash receptacle.

As previously mentioned, much of the Wii’s current fan base are casual gamers that picked up the system due to its versatility and ease of use. For some of these owners, the Wii marks their first big gaming purchase, and as such, is a great way for them to get more into videogames. Creating “intro-hardcore” titles that include more “training wheels” for first time casual gamers, such as thorough tutorials, lowered difficulty, and casual options (like the on-rails arcade adventure option found in Medal of Honor: Heroes 2), would be a great way for Nintendo to tap their overflowing resource of casual gamers and help them grow into full blown gamers.

smgal.jpg2. Balance Out Individual Titles More Effectively

Building off of the Medal of Honor example, Nintendo and third-party developers should focus on balancing out casual and hardcore elements of individual titles that are released for the Wii. Super Mario Galaxy is a great example of this. It effectively balances a main game that any casual gamer could make their way through and enjoy, while offering an extended adventure for any hardcore player that wants to collect every star in the game. Even though it isn’t quite as “pick up and play” as some might want a casual game to be, Mario Galaxy still strikes that delicate balance between being a core game that any novice can pick up, and a title that presents enough challenge for hardened players to enjoy.

Working on creating more core titles that appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers will be a challenge that Nintendo & Co. will have to work on in the coming year. Finding out the proper way to balance out individual titles will be the biggest hurdle for many developers, as finding out how to make your title appeal to both markets will obviously bring in the greatest revenue possible. More games with separate casual and hardcore elements, a la Medal of Honor’s separate arcade and story modes, will be an extremely valuable way for more casual gamers to start to see games as more than a casual diversion.

Truth be told, Nintendo’s upcoming 2008 release list looks extremely promising. With a pretty solid mix of hardcore and casual games setting the tone for the majority of 2008, gamers should have a lot to play through the year. It’s important to note that this list doesn’t include all of little titles mentioned, as further examination of the February release list uncovers a lot of the shovelware crap on the way as well. As long as Nintendo can work on focusing its resources on promoting the worthwhile casual and hardcore games, we can keep on hoping for the scene to get even brighter. Check back here at MyWiiNews next week for the exciting conclusion to our in-depth series!

Did you miss a part? Ready to read on? Catch the whole series, only at MyWiiNews:

 

Strike up the band

2008 looks to be one exciting year for Wii owners. Titles such as a new Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the unique Animal Crossing have Wii owners primed to become one with their Wiimote.

But perhaps the most innovative title for this year, at least for this gamer, is Wii Music. Wii Music is set to be the fourth installment in the Wii Series, which includes Wii Sports, Wii Play and Wii Chess.
The title was first introduced at E3 2006, as it featured Shigeru Miyamoto’s main theme for the Legend of Zelda. Visitors to the demo were shown using the Wiimote and nunchuck in the same fashion that a conductor would use a baton to conduct an orchestra. The demo also showed people playing a drum set by striking different point in the air with the Wiimote and nunchuck-combo.
Wii Music

Although the people shown were mostly using the Wiimote to just tap the downbeats, I couldn’t help but to speculate on the possibilities of bringing this type of gameplay to rhythm-based games.

The success of Guitar Hero and Rock Band have shown that gamers enjoy rhythm-based games, but Nintendo has the chance to really offer players with another dimension of musical gameplay with this innovative title; a dimension that only the Wiimote and nunchuck-combo can provide.

While it would be great to lead a virtual symphony with classic NES themes, such as Rygar’s under appreciated soundtrack or Nobuo Uematsu’s “Flight of the Red Wings” for Final Fantasy II (FFIV in Japan), this music-lover can’t help but to salivate at the thought of conducting Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” or Verdi’s requiem, “Dies Irae.”

Shigeru Miyamoto

G4tv.com (http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/index.html) reported this week that Wii Music is scheduled for a Japan release later this year.

Here’s to hoping that music-lovers stateside get to enjoy the title of maestro, as well.

Snakebyte Riimote Looks Like Wiimote

authorBucky | January 30, 2008

sb903632_wii_riimote_bulk_black_hq2.jpgsb903625_wii_riimote_pink_bulk_hq1.jpgReinventing the wheel is hard, it is also completely unecessary. This is why third party Wiimote controllers have been pretty scarce as the Wiimotes shape is neccesary for the style of play and it just absolutley must fit into all those third party accesories. Whereas 360 or PS3 controllers can be redesigned and reimagined to look different the Wiimote is pretty much stuck in its shape. This hasn’t stopped Sunflex, though, from putting out their own Wiimotes, cleverly (and I use this word in it’s most sarcastic sense) titled Riimote.

There ain’t much different about the controller except for a fancy grip on the bottom to help you not throw your Riimote at the television screen, some redesigned buttons and two colors that won’t compliment that stylish white Wii at all. The controllers should be on sale in Europe come Feb. 9 at a cost of 39.99 Euoros and the compnay plans on releasing a wireless nunchuck to compliment it’s Riimote. If you aren’t in Euorope you’ll just have to settle for regular old Wiimotes without crazy names. Darn.

 

 

 

 

 

Wii-Shirt Round Up!

I really LOVE t-shirts, as my two dressers full of them will attest. I’m a man who believes that clothes make the man, and I am novelty t-shirt kind of guy. With that in mind, I have collected what I believe to be the best Wii and/or Nintendo shirts currently available. Show off your Wii-Love with pride and enjoy the collection.

Quick Fix
While some would have you believe this does not work and in fact may actually make things worse. My past experience however has taught me that this is a miracle cure all!

Wii Shirt 5 Buy it!

Let It Bii
Speaking of wors of wisdom. The shirt that has two great tastes that taste great together - the Beatles and Wii!

Wii Shirt 3 Buy it!

Wii Death I love this one - it’s maybe my fave. With all the stories of dead TV’s, well - this one simply takes it to the next level. I suspect Wii Sports is at the very least an accomplice …

Wii Shirt 1 Buy it!

Tii Shirt
Once again, the point is the same but this one is a pain in the glass…

Wii Shirt 2 Buy it!

Skull & Crossmotes
Show the world where you stand on the whole pirates vs. ninja thing AND your love for Wii. Is there anything this shirt cannot do?

Wii Shirt 10 Buy It!

Mii Love You Long Time
Politically correct it likely is not - but the shirt is still alright in my book.

Wii Shirt 4 Buy It!

Evolution
It’s like a decade of my weekends listed chronologically on a t-shirt!

Wii Shirt 6 Buy it!

Bruce Wii
An homage to the Kung-fu master … are you ready for Wii boxing?

Wii Shirt 9 Buy it!

The Princess
Speaking as someone who spent a lot of time rescuing her, I think Destructoid sums it up quite nicely when the exclaim that ‘The Princess is a c*ckteasing b*tch’. Well, maybe it is a little harsh.

Wii Shirt 8 Buy It!

Keeping It Real
I know that many will feel I’ve kept the best to last … I mean, Mario cannot be rescuing that c*cktease 24/7 - now can he?

Wii Shirt 11 Buy it!

Well, that’s all for now. I guess I should note her that My Wii News is recieving no money for endorsing these shirts - they were just the best we found. If you know of any other good ones, please let us know about them. Of course, if we could figure out a way to make money from the manufacturers - you can bet we would have. All the best and happy battling to all you Wii-kend warriors!

Super Smash Bros. Brawl comes with VC Demos!

As Super Smash Bros. continues to near it release date, we become more and more impatient, but Nintendo has just given us another reason to continue marking off the days on our calender! The Smash Bros. Dojo has just revealed to us that Nintendo’s beloved fighter will not only provide us with pure awesomeness and brilliance, but it will also come with VC demos of all your favorite Nintendo classics. The VC demos will be there to provide a little background history on some of the fighters appearing in Brawl this march. All of the full games for the demos will be available to download on the virtual console channel as well.

The titles that are appearing in Brawl will be…

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  • Super Mario Bros. (1985 NES)
  • Ice Climbers (1985 NES)
  • The Legend of Zelda (1987 NES)
  • Kid Icarus (1987 NES)
  • Kirby’s Adventure (1993 NES)
  • Super Metroid (1994 NES)
  • Star Fox 64 (1997 N64)

Also there are a couple of unannounced demos that will be come with the game! (Sonic anyone?!)

This makes waiting for the game so much harder! Nintendo stop making Brawl so awesome!!!


GameStop, Inc. GameStop, Inc.

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