Is the Wii phenomenon finally over?

Gaming Age Forum-goer Entrement started an interesting discussion yesterday, in regards to Nintendo Wii becoming cold product. “This is not a qualitative analysis, or whether you like the Wii or Nintendo games,” he writes. “But the future doesn’t look too bright,” he says, for the following reasons:

The 3DS: Nintendo is not a big company. They have small, dedicated internal teams. With the 3DS push, could one say that many of the key Nintendo teams–the Zelda Team, after finishing SS and EAD Tokyo, who can be working on anything, with Miyamoto hinting on 3D Mario on the 3DS, could Nintendo’s dev teams already moving onto the 3DS.

The Wi___ line: The Wii____ line has been gangbusters for Nintendo. With the exception of WiiMusic, they sold millions worldwide, however, the most recent–Wii Party didn’t even chart on NPD. I hear it did respectably in Japan and I’m not aware of Europe’s reception. But such a big drop off in a such a tent-pole line seems troubling for Nintendo.

Competing mindshare from Move and Kinect: Now that the HD twins have some form of motion control, Sony and MS have essentially created a diversion for prospective, new customers. Would a gaming layperson, who has no idea about NPD, gaming sites, etc, easily be swayed away from a potential Wii purchase for a 360 with Kinect or a PS3, with additional BR functionality?

Add the fact that Wii has trailed Xbox 360 in sales for five consecutive months, not to mention being beat by PS3 sales for only the second time last month, and you can see how quickly Nintendo has dropped from first place, unlike steady PS2 sales of last generation.

Still, “even if sales drop to hell,” concludes Entrement, “Nintendo’s strategy was brilliant. They became relevant again, avoiding obscurity that could have easily happened after the Gamecube. Furthermore, they’ve shown everyone that a new market exists and can be catered to with great results. And they’ve positioned themselves nicely for next generation.”

What do you think, Infendo Nation?

14 Responses to Is the Wii phenomenon finally over?

  1. Ross says:

    I would concur with some of these statements. Nintendo did do fantastically well after the gamecube incident and bounced back showing people that they still had ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ was.
    As the Xbox and PS3 had time to see what worked and what didnt work from the Wii, there was a lot from both sections might i add, they were able to go away and form competitive advantages upon the Wii.
    For the Xbox 360 the distinct lack of controllers was highlighted and personally is a big draw card.
    For Ps3 it was sensitivity much like the upgrades to the Wii remote, so there was not such a big hole to be left open there.
    ‘In regards to the 360 it would appear that, with the surpassing of Wii sales, they will hold the market for some time. Whether it be short or long term.

    It is time Nintendo started focusing on their position in the next concole race and make a drastic move like the Wii to ensure they are still in contention, as the other consoles are sure to be up there with them.
    Nintendo really needs to find a strong hold, or a niche market, they can exploit and take ownership of. Family entertainment and motion controls are now everywhere.

    On the 3ds, this is likel to place them in a good position, like the DS in the handheld market. However we must also be aware of Mac and the ipod/pad/phone situation. Sales may decline if they decide to extrapolate upon the idea of 3d etc.

    It is not impossible but Nintendo really do need to keep their wits about them!

  2. Jack says:

    Weird, Blake, I could have sworn I read this analysis before 🙂

    http://www.infendo.com/nintendos-next-gen-console-will-be-strangely-portable/

    “Add the fact that Wii has trailed Xbox 360 in sales for five consecutive months, not to mention being beat by PS3 sales for only the second time last month, and you can see how quickly Nintendo has dropped from first place, unlike steady PS2 sales of last generation.”

    Not entirely accurate. Nintendo is still very much in first place, just not as impressively as before. Not that this is a race or anything.

    Anecdotal: People I know who do not own an Xbox or PS3 still balk at the buy-in costs associated with Kinect and Move.

    Lastly, if Nintendo really wants to disrupt things again, as they did with the Wii, their next system, whatever it is, will not compete with Sony or Microsoft directly. While Move and Kinect battle it out for the non-traditional, motion loving scraps that Nintendo created for them, Nintendo will again focus elsewhere and make bank.

    Sounds kind of like the 3DS to me, but what do I know.

  3. Gern says:

    @Jack
    Me too. Because I have elementary age kids, I know a lot of other families, and most all of them have Wii, the few remaining have PS2 . There is one good friend of mine that has Wii and Xbox 360 like I do. There is one guy at work that will buy a Wii this Christmas, but that is it. I know this is anecdotal evidence, but this is probably the similar situation with many families in America.

    The phenomenon of the Wii might be over, but Nintendo has gained huge market share with a new generation. Think of all of the children out there that are playing Wii and DS today. My kids love the Wii and DS and know all the Mario characters and Pokemon and Zelda. I call it “mindshare” in that Nintendo is on track to have a legacy similar to Disney for the foreseeable future. This is the power of a Nintendo’s successful brand and marketing strategy.

  4. Lance says:

    I think the wii phenomenon is ending for a few reasons. People were buying so many Wii’s that it was only a matter of time before they capped out on sales. Everyone who absolutely wanted one has one now. Everyone who considered getting one probably got one by now. However, I think that when Skyward Sword releases many more people may buy a Wii as they’ve been waiting for a real Zelda game for the Wii. I’m sorry but Twilight Princess doesn’t count because it was a port and didn’t utilize the full capacity of the disc. But something in me tells that Skyward Sword might be the last core Nintendo title they release for the Wii as they’ll be shifting focus to the 3DS.

    I also can’t help but feel that what happened with Wii at launch will happen with the 3DS. There’ll be mass shortages for a few years before people can actually buy one without having to reserve. After the 3DS, who knows what Nintendo’s plans are. They already stated they aren’t considering a new console until after the Wii has sold 15 million more units, though I think they are definitely working on something but won’t reveal until they’ve reached that milestone.

    Either way, I’m still going to be buying Nintendo products as I’ve been satisfied with what titles I have bought.

  5. baelnic says:

    I worry that if the 3DS doesn’t sell like mad that Nintendo’s stock will perform poorly and they’ll rush development of the Wii 2. Having tepid adoption of the 3DS and having Wii sales drop precipitously would be a bad spot.

  6. bananaoomarang says:

    think they should announce the Wii2 at E3 2011, releasing LoZ:SS before hand so that doesn’t get overshadowed, and push the 3DS as much as is possible. the reason that the Wii has stopped selling is because:

    a. Everybody has one

    b. They don’t seem to be utilizing the motion controls anymore (apart from LoZ:SS)

    They should stop pushing the Wii now, concentrate on the 3DS. We may be in for another Gamecube style generation, but that should please the hardcores right?

  7. EdEN says:

    Wii Party didn’t chart because NPD is playing the BS game and thus is making sure Wii and DS games are out of the chart. Now they COMBINE multiple SKUs into a single entry thus Black Ops will be king in november followed by most double or triple SKU releases thus assuring than if a Wii/DS game doesn’t sell over 2 million in a month it stays out of the “hardcore” list. It has sold over 200k copies so far and will definitely make it to 1 million in the US before the end of the year.

  8. ac says:

    last sentence says it all. i’d be really surprised if 360 or ps3 could compete head on with nintendo’s next gen system.

  9. Josh says:

    Kinect is the new exciting video game product in the market and makes the Wii look obsolete. I’m afraid that Nintendo takes too long to innovate, while companies like Apple are continually evolving and improving their product lines.

  10. sam says:

    npd is no longer a viable way to judge a single SKU. with the recent changes to multiplatform release being bundled as one title not may single system games will chart

  11. XCWarrior says:

    I agree with Sam, and give Wii Party a chance to sell through the holidays. It’s an evergreen title.

    If Wii sales don’t pick up during the holidays, then I would worry overall.

    I think the bigger thing we are seeing as a whole is that the video game fad, console wise, is going by the way side. Casual gamers are migrating to facebook, and that’s not good for any of the big 3.

  12. gamecollector44 says:

    I say the guy is full of crap. PS3 is just piggy backing! Why would anybody wanna spend yet another $200 in controllers if they already has a system that’s been motion controlled for 5 years? (Maybe longer I’d have to check) However, I gotta give props to Xbox for at least TRYING to be original, although I can’t see the marketing plan for this…you couldn’t do FPS on it…and how would they do RPGs? And platformers? It just seems like the whole ‘controller free’ thing is only good for so many uses. Although, free-lance fighting games would be awesome on it.

  13. Matt Vaughn says:

    heres my 2 cents as a gamer, a techy and a lecturer within the digital arts.

    the xbox and the ps3 are currently the leaders and undoubtedly so.
    And now that motion control has been introduced to the HD consoles, there is no real need to buy a Wii for the pure sake of ” family fun, or parties”. the Wii though fantastic has remained as , Wii sports and emulated old school games for many people around the world. any hardcore, or even medium core gamer will buy their real games for Xbox or Ps3. Fact.

    The current generation of technology in todays world, is AS STANDARD, HD. When producing content from movies, games and even coming down to internet content such as youtube etc the HD revolution is here, you can barely buy a television under HD resolution these days and why would you want to , when you can pick up a samsung flat panel plasma 50″ 1920 x 1080 for $800 -900.

    So it comes down to the facts, wii is not HD therefore when seen by the majority of the population, there is less than acceptable anti aliasing and blurring within its graphics. the production of games that are released on multiple platforms, are actually held back by the processing and visual power of the wii.

    i garauntee , without a doubt, that a Wii-HD console as the ONLY update to the wii , would sell tens of millions of consoles,I know people in the gaming industry , and when they create these games, they create them in HD then downscale them when finalizing for production , crazyness. take this step for the time being .

    and then bring a wii 2 out when your ready.

    forget about motion control and bring back a controller for the fans, gamers play games cos they dont want to go out and kick the ball some times, they want to sit and relax in a dark room with some pizza and beer. Bring back the controller (not just as an option) and youll bring back the hardcore.

    the world will thank you 🙂

    ok long rant over. 🙂 haha.

  14. Kytim89 says:

    Thoughts about the Wii 2 have been bugging me for a while, especially since the 3DS is so close to being on the market. Therefore I have compiled a list of things that the Wii 2 must have once it is revealed.

    Advanced 1:1 motion controls. Take the concept of the motion plus and advance it further. This controller system would be Nintendo’s version of Sony’s Move controller.

    The Wii 2 will have four to eight GB of internal flash memory.

    Internal HDD support (2.5 SATA). Nintendo will not provide a hard drive for the Wii 2, but they will leave it up to the consumer to buy their own hard drive from a third party (Maxtor, Toshiba, Seagate, Western Digital, etc.).

    External storage support (USB flash and HDD). Consumers will be able to utilize the USB ports of the Wii 2 to use external storage devices for back up.

    Dreamcast, Saturn and possibly Gamecube virtual console.

    High definition graphics comparable to Xbox 360. Nintendo’s game design philosophy is that graphics are secondary to game play. However, Nintendo knows that SD graphics are becoming extinct, so they will move onto HD for the Wii 2. It would be easier for Nintendo to make the jump from Wii to 360 then from the Wii to PS3. Although Nintendo will utilize cheaper components to make the leap in graphics.

    Built in 3D capabilities (unlocked via firmware). Right now the cost of 3D televisions is too cost prohibitive for Nintendo to include 3D in their next console, but it might cheap to include in the Wii 2 and if the price of 3D TVs fall in the next five years then Nintendo could just open 3D up via firmware and have a 3D home console like the 3DS.

    Wireless Classic Controller Pro with rumble. Taking a queue from Sony and Microsoft’s controllers, Nintendo releases an update of the Classic controller pro that is wireless with rumble capabilities.

    Wireless motion controllers similar to the Move controller, but with an IR sensor. The Wii 2 nunchuck would feature rumble as well.

    Form factor similar to the Xbox 360. If the Wii 2 is going to have HD graphics, Nintendo will have to make the system bigger than the current Wii system. The form factor of the Wii 2 would be similar in size and scale to the 360 slim, but instead of a disc tray, the Wii 2 would have a disc slot like the Wii console.

    Holographic disc storage or HD-DVD. Nintendo has invested millions into holographic storage for a number of years now, but what ever disc media that is simultaneously cheap to manufacture and hard to pirate, Nintendo will adopt it in a hot minute.

    Universal friend codes. All Nintendo fans detest the friend code system, so instead of individual codes for each game, Nintendo gives each system its own code and any multiplayer game played on that system uses that same code to link up to other players. Problem solved, right?

    Online structure to better accommodate DLC, MMO and multiplayer (see Universal friend codes). There is a robust online system for both the PS3 and 360, and this is something that the Wii is lacking. The Wii 2 will have to turn this around. The Wii 2 should be home to a number of good MMO and at the same time allow third parties to deliver down loadable content to consumers.

    Wireless head set support for multiplayer games. The PS3 and 360 both have head set support, and arguably the Wii has Wii speak, but the head set system for the Wii 2 must support all multiplayer games with little to static.

    SD card slot retained from the first Wii.

    Netflix and Hulu subscriptions in HD. The Netflx account of the Wii 2 would also allow movies to be purchased and stored onto the Wii 2 as channels like games.

    If the Gamecube is not on virtual console, then Gamecube controller and memory card ports should be retained for backwards compatibility.

    Transfer of virtual console and wiiware via Club Nintendo account. All a gamer would have to do is remove their account from the Wii and then reactivate it onto the Wii 2 to make the games transition over to the new console.

    Wii shop channel upgrade to include faster download speeds and a shopping cart and wish list features. This system would be similar to one such as Amazon where a purchaser can read reviews about a certain game and even watch demo videos to determine whether the game is worth buying. Also, games from the Wii shop channel should be allowed to be down loaded in bulk to lower back tracking.

    Touch sensitive buttons. The 360 slim has touch sensitive buttons, and Nintendo loves touch sensitization, so instead pressing the power, reset or eject buttons on the front of the Wii 2, all you have to do is run your finger across the button to activate its function.

    Built in Ethernet port to supplement bandwidth for MMO games.

    Built in HDMI port with resolution support up to 1080p.

    Five USB ports for accessories and external storage devices.

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