Wii’s Great Expectations, gone too far?

20 09 2008

Japanese video game and computer entertainment network Enterbrain claims that last week Xbox360 sales outnumbered those of Wii. If I’m not wrong this is the third time something like this happens in Japan.

The numbers this time are 28,861 pcs against 27,057. Not such a big deal if we weren’t speaking of Japan: Nintendo and Sony’s stronghold.

Anyway, all the chatting about can be nothing more than worthless speculation but here’s my opinion.

Nintendo Wii is without any doubt a wonderful and revolutionary game console. When I saw it for the first time at show during 2005 E3 I wasn’t so excited about it. Of course they didn’t show the controller yet. Then they launched it in 2006 and that was a sudden boom. I don’t think they expected such a big and rapid success and as a matter of fact there was a shortage of units in all the markets. Sometimes I think the Wii went back the same way PS1 did by penetrating the market in such an impressive way as to be acquired by a vast range of customer’s type and notably family units.

I got caught by the hype myself and when I played tried it for the first time I got equally excited and disappointed. Wii sport was brilliant and it made me sweat but then my friend started Call of Duty 3 and I felt dizzy. The controller was flipping uncomfortable but that was just a matter of train perhaps, nevertheless the graphics was appalling! It looked like PC games of the middle nineties! Playing later on with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess only reinforced my belief that Wii’s wasn’t a console suited for me.

What I think now, after having listened to lots of people just in love with it and many of them abandoning it for a 360 or, less frequently, a PS3, is that Wii’s market and hype bubble got its maximum and it’s now beginning to pop. I know this is a bit of a risky and quite upstream guess from me but that’s just my opinion. At the state of the market and technology I think Wii’s will ultimately retreat to a profitable niche. The console it’s just great and I absolutely agree with the technical and marketing choices Nintendo did (balancing the revolutionary technology with less expensive and traditional one to keep a low price profile) but I think that given the console configuration the success Wii had (and is having) is far more that Nintendo itself expected.

Let’s just see how the things will move and what will they do for Wii2…

Credit: picture by avlxyz licensed under this Creative Commons license

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