Global Game Industry News Blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Publishers "Scrambling" to Understand the Wii

This is an interesting article about publishers now figuring out that the Wii is a pretty good idea. Well, that's true, but I think they're going to have a lot harder time figuring out how to market and make games for the Wii. Much like US Publishers have had one hell of a time figuring out how to make games and market them for the DS, the Wii is going to prove just as difficult.

Sure all the basic games ought to make it out for the Wii (I'm holding out for hockey on the Wii), they're going to have to try some new stuff. Much like US publishers "don't get" the DS, they're going to take some time to figure out the Wii as well.

Hell, I consider Guitar Hero a prime example of how backward looking most publishers are. It took a new fringe publishing company to make GH happen. Of course they then get bought up by a company looking to extract maximum profit from the franchise, but it's sad that it takes these small forward looking companies to get gamers (and game developers) a chance to try new things.

Try new things. The Wii and DS are the cheapest platforms you can develop for. The risk has never been lower.

Bloomberg: Publishers 'Scrambling' to Get More Titles on Wii
With Nintendo's Wii having sold 3.56 million units in Japan and the U.S., the unique motion-sensing enabled system is already a bona fide success at this early stage in the console wars. While many anticipated the Wii to do well thanks to its positive E3 showing last year and all the hype generated up to its launch, Nintendo's new console has done probably even better than many expected.

According to Bloomberg.com, publishers were simply taken by surprise, with the exception of a few (like Ubisoft). "Those companies are backtracking," remarked Piper Jaffray analyst Anthony Gikas. "They're going to need to get their best-branded product on that platform. That will take a good nine to 12 months."
...
While supporting any new console is generally a risky proposition, Ubisoft has believed in the Wii from the very beginning. The French publisher released 7 titles for the Nintendo platform in December and has another 6 games in the pipeline to be released by this June. "It's not really a bet anymore," said Ubisoft's Tony Key, head of marketing in the U.S. "It's a viable system that's going to make us money."

Indeed, games on the Wii cost (on average) far less to develop than on Xbox 360 or PS3, potentially saving publishers millions. Furthermore, according to research firm IDC, publishers will continue to be pressured into supporting the Wii as its install base grows. IDC is predicting that Nintendo will ship 16.1 million Wiis this year, outpacing 9.87 Xbox 360s and 9.1 million PlayStation 3s.

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