Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Console War: 120 million Wiis served

"Nintendo's market strategy of attracting the casual gaming audience is having continued success. According to figures released by ELSPA and Chart-Track at the beginning of this month, over a million Wii units were sold in the UK over the last half year. [The Wii] accounts for over 50% of the overall market share in hardware units including the PS3 and Xbox 360."

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata is so happy he thinks the Wii could outsell the PS2's 120 million consoles sold record.

What does this mean? This means that the Wii's transformation of what gaming is - is well underway. Just as Sony changed gaming forever by marketing games to the cool joe, the average jock, the Wii will have a similar or greater impact.

It also means that all this stuff you read from videogame "journalists", and I use the term loosely, wherein they deride the Wii or cast it in an ill light, unsure of what it means, portraying it as a family, silly affair, is complete and utter crap.

Sony is struggling to keep the PS3 from becoming the next Sega Saturn. The 60GB PS3 is already dead - they aren't making any more.

There are many people who may be so stubborn as to never get buy a Wii just because, well, it's a Wii, or it was made by Nintendo. I find that silly. I have no brand loyalty. I left Nintendo when the N64 came out and never looked back, not even for the NDS (I acquired two after my kids got their Wii). Gamers can ride the revolution now or - wait.

There are two good reasons (for a gamer) to not get a Wii right now:

  1. Not enough games you like, depending on your favorite genre(s), such as Roll-Playing Games, First-Person Shooters, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Hokey, Strategy Games, etc. Name your must-have genre that is absent on the Wii, and you have a good reason.
  2. The best is on the horizon. Most gaming developers are playing catch-up, so if the plan is to wait until the menu becomes enticing, and you're well handled in the mean-time, then that makes sense.
There are some reasons it's not a good idea (for a gamer):
  1. If you miss out on a Wii deliberately, you are in effect, if this thing sells as many units as a PS2 one day, or even comes close, writing yourself off from a large portion of gaming history.
Did you "miss" the PS2? Anyone? I'm sorry, you're not a gamer if you did. You are a PC gamer, perhaps, or a Nintendo fan-boy, but you are not a gamer, which is a beast that consumes all things games, regardless of platform. No, if you avoid the Wii, just because you don't want one, now you are, in effect, a platformist - someone who holds on to beloved platforms. Many of us have done it. Anyone here who didn't buy an XBOX? Oh! Hands, they do go up! And yet somehow, PS2 fans have bought in to the XBOX 360, begrudgingly - they even write songs about their lament.

120 million? I'm no optimist (I'm a realist), but I can see why Iwata had the balls to say that the Wii could break that record. I just think he should have had Reggie say it.

If there are 80 million PS2 owners out there (I'm sure some folks bought 2 PS2's, I have no idea how many), the current generation hasn't made much of a dent in them, and therein lies the reasoning: the current game console generational war is bigger than folks imagined, because I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of Wii owners who never had a PS2. And folks - they aren't gamers.

And what of the people who avoid the Wii? If this thing outsells the PS2, can they say they're a gamer? Or a knight of some forgone era? We call them platformists. They're great knights. They stick to what they believe in, and if an image or a line doesn't fit them, they don't wear it. There are Nintendo fanboys as well as Nintendo Haters, they're both knights with different banners to wear. Microsoft is corruption, they don't have knights that hold aloft their cause, they have mercenaries who hold up their XBOX Live banner. No one believes Microsoft is out to make the world a better place, but Nintendo and Sony fanboys do believe that, roughly - whatever their respected camp gives them speaks to a need within them that jives with their internal structure of how things ought to be.

Gamers, by our nature, are promiscuous. If it's a game and it's good, we'll try it. We're gypsies, neither knight nor mercenary. We're ignoble, cheap, easy, and frowned upon by the old guard. Do you know what I'm describing? I'll give you a hint:

I'm not describing today's definition of gamers, I am describing what's coming.

Human nature demands that there will always be Knights (fanboys, loyalists, whatever) to a given market brand. Humans like to look at something (such as a label) and feel safe in our purchase of it. Sony used to thrive on this - people paid more to have the Sony name on their TV, it used to mean quality.

But if you stay in the game long enough you begin to realize: It's not about the console, it's about the games. Every gamer knows this, yet so few live it.


an_urban_scorpion said...

Still not a big fan of the Wii.

None of the games truly interest me, and I am annoyed by the control system.

But what do I know, I'm one of those PC gamers that only get a console if they want to play a certain game.

...before we can emulate it.


David said...

Frankly, as a fellow PC gamer, such a game has failed to materialize for me - if I were concerned only about something for me to play.

As a father and having my lovely Latina's youngest brother in the house, the Wii has come in great handy - it's really designed for families and groups of people. I rarely play the Wii alone, and the exceptions are mostly due to the game: Heatseeker, Driver & Scarface are single player, and the latter two are off limits to kids anyway.