Analyst: Wii 'Inhospitable' for Third-Party Games

By Blake Ellison, Sep 12, 2008 2:11pm PDT "The Wii is a relatively inhospitable platform for third-party publishers," said analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company in a report relayed by GamesIndustry.

Creutz clearly had a look at yesterday's NPD numbers in which Wii games took four slots on August's top ten console sales chart. Of those four, three were developed by Nintendo, and the fourth was annual sales juggernaut Madden NFL 09.

"The Wii version of Madden 09 sold 79 per cent less units than the PS3 version and 87 per cent less units than the 360 version, despite a larger console installed base," Creutz observed. By the numbers, even the PlayStation 2 version sold over three times as many copies as the Wii version.

Blake's take: When you sell the only current-generation system that allows selling "budget" games when they launch, you're bound to wind up with a library of games that aren't hits. Microsoft, for example, forbade selling games below a $40 price point at launch. The policy reared its head when Rockstar launched its table tennis game at $40, leading consumers to question the game's price tag. The logic, supposedly, was to restrict the console's library to games with more value in them.

The Wii, with its huge install base and lack of a Microsoftian price-equals-quality policy, was a welcoming platform for non-hardcore, easily produced games. These games aren't made to sell a million copies; they're made to turn a quick profit from a short development time and a movie tie-in. They're the fast food of games. As such, Wii's third-party entries on NPD have always been rare. The last two before Madden were Guitar Hero III and LEGO Indiana Jones--like Madden, two very big games that just happened to get a Wii port.

That the Wii version of Madden is under-selling the others is understandable. When a new sports game is released, it should sell better on hardware that generates more realistic images and has more flexible online play. But someone looking at NPD charts and wondering why the Wii's broader game library isn't showing up is just looking in the wrong place. The platform is profitable, even for third-party games. But when those profits don't go to Nintendo, they go to the guys that made the Wall-E game and sold it for $30. Simply put, looking for the Wii's third-party success in the NPD charts is akin to reading Bon Appetit magazine and wondering how McDonald's makes so much money.

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15 Threads | 31 Comments
  • I'm rather fond my wii but its currently not even connected to my television. The last game I bought for it was smash brothers brawl (was dissipointed by mario cart reviews). But I knew this to begin with I bought it for mario, zelda, and metriod I hardly ever play the wii sports crap. I own Elebits but other then that I haven't found anything interesting in 3rd party games its all the same the shit that has been made over and over again. This isn't just the wii though I don't own any other consols because of the same problem. With few exceptions theres nothing orignial on xbox and ps3 either. I do enjoy the very high quality games even if they arn't ground breaking but my preference for them is PC (other people perfer something else god knows why). So I guess what I'm saying is the first party wii games are the only thing that make it worth owning a consol for me.

    So as a wii supporter I don't by 3rd party games cause they suck. They sell on other consols but thats just happenstance the great unwashed masses (self rightess pc gamer) happen to have chosen xbox this time around to buy the same sports game again and poorly controlled FPS clones. But from my perspective it feels like all consol gaming is dying in stagnation.

  • More BULLSHIT for the average moron to lick up. Shortsighted analysts are always a good source of FUD.

    Nintendo is not inhospitable to 3rd party games in general, just to the cheap mediocre games -- WiiS2 ports. Games that try to be everything for everyone; Hence Madden "All Play." WTF?! I didn't buy it for that reason alone. Making a game that can be played by everyone like Galaxy is not the same as simplifying a game by generalizing it and this is why "SOME" 3rd party games don't sell that well on the Wii and it's a big problem with most developers right now.

    If developers want core gamers to buy their games for good initial core sells, they need to produce core games for the Wii -- notice my overuse of core. When they make a casual game targeting this elusive casual gamer which ironically makes up a "majority" of all gaming markets, they need to expect a casual rate of sells. Look at Bloom Blox, it sold well in the long run and I expect the same for Madden on the Wii. Casual gamers don't rush out and buy games, that's why they're called "CASUAL"!

    It was already bad enough that so many games have been gimped for the console's limited controller, now developers have swallowed a stupid pill and are dumbing games down further, because they believe true casual gamers will buy games that in all actuality ONLY appeal to core gamers, so in the process they mediocrities the game to a point that even core gamers will pass on it. Then they cite STUPID shit like this analyst -- who has clearly jumped the gun for the type of gamer Madden(Wii) is actually targeting.

    The other reason 3rd party games bomb, is because most publishers outscore it to 3rd and 4th tier PS2 developers and then expect us to pay $50 for an obvious rush job, a game that's quality is on par with a piece of shit. And then they have really a hard time understanding why Nintedo's new massive-budget game is selling so well, it's called QUALITY!

    Even when a developer does well on the Wii, like Capcom, their post actions don't seem to make any sense. They sold 1.5 million copies of RE4 on the Wii and about 1.3 million copies of RE:UC on the Wii. Do they continue this trend, no, they decide that all upcoming games need to be more casual, or kid-friendly. Even RE:UC is a casual game when it comes down to it. So when NeoPets bombs or only sells OK, will they also take this analyst's STUPID pill and state the Wii is inhospitable for 3rd party devs, or will they look at RE4 as an example of a true core game that sold very well, not because casual gamers bought it, but because it's a great game periodm, that was made better by the Wii's ability to actually point. At first I thought they had caught on with Dead Rising Wii, but even this game is being made "accessible" so that gamers that normally aren't interested in this type of game can play it -- big mistake on their part and its shoe-string budget makes matters even worse.

    Anyways, my Wii library is not uncommon and it's composed of about 60% 3rd party and about 40% first party. I've bought more 3rd party Wii games in the past 2 years than I have PC games and I've been a PC gamer since the eighties. This has to do with the fact most PC games have taken a back-seat to a lower common denominator, so when they do make it back on the PC they're generally unsophisticated compared to PC games of of the past. I hope this changes soon and it seems to be doing so, just as I see that not all developers are stupid when it comes to the Wii and aren't afraid to make a game that isn't rated E for everyone.

    Wii === Cube. That's not RIGHT! If guys are going to talk about toys and games, at least do your research, It's Wii === (Cube)*2.

  • Blake makes a great point, though I don't know if it was the one intended. The Wii is a great system for "quick buck" games and "value" titles. The expensive and awesome games from companies other than Nintendo sell about as many copies as the latest "Waggle Games 3" from PortCo.

    So yes, I'm sure that there are tons of games that make profit on the Wii that aren't from Nintendo, and that's precisely because the publishers don't put very much money into them to begin with.

    Not exactly the way I had pictured the system turning out, sadly.

  • Do you have a link for this? I would be interested to see the whole thing in context. Out of context, a thought or two:

    Many people own a Wii and a 360 or PS3; they will probably buy multi-platform games on the most powerful one - which is not the Wii. This can affect third-party games but it's an issue of multi-platform games, really.

    This could be saying the demographic of the Wii is simply not interested in Madden NFL 09. Madden NFL 09 is not all third-party games.

    Maybe the Wii is inhospitable for third-party games - I haven't seen the figures and haven't read whatever these quotes are from - but I wouldn't judge that solely on sales of the latest Madden game.