Developers Address Wii Development Hurdles

Industry magazine Develop recently surveyed a number of game developers for their thoughts about making games for the Nintendo Wii. Developers were asked if they have been able to take advantage of the Wii's potential given its global leadership in the home console environment. Their responses, while not entirely surprising, clearly illustrate some common concerns.

One of the chief issues cited by those surveyed was that when a 3rd-party introduces a new IP on the Wii, they do so from a commercially tenuous proposition. According to an anonymous studio head of a "leading international developer," the ease of Wii development compared to other consoles is partly at fault in that "it has become too easy to flood the market with under-developed product(s) which have the potential to confuse and disappoint the public." Ed Daly, General Manager of Zoe Mode, further supported the view that oversaturation makes bigger developers wary stating that, "fear that over-supply and fatigue from the mainstream Wii adopters is holding back some publishers and suppressing dev budgets."

Gary Penn, Creative Director of Denki Ltd., reveals his "love-hate relationship with Nintendo. He states that he "hates most of what's done with the Wii," explaining that he rarely bothers with titles on the console that aren't first-party offerings. That said, he also admits that he has "infinitely more fun" playing the Wii with his kids than any other console.

Zoonami CEO Martin Hollis cites "humility" as one of the key requirements for Wii development, stating that, "...you will be making games for people who are unlike yourself. Therefore you will need to place their wishes above yours."

Climax Studios CEO Simon Gardner also weighs in regarding his studio's recent "hardcore" Wii title, Silent Hill Shattered Memories. He believes the actual game development process for Wii is "fine," but admits that it's still unclear whether or not hardcore games can be successful on the Wii. "I think it's yet to be proven," he stated. "I think a lot of people have bought Wii's, but many aren't buying software for it."

That matches up with our earlier report on the Metacritic data for the year. 362 games came out this year for the Wii but only about a fourth of those games were assessed as positively-reviewed by Metacritic. Yet despite developer concerns, Wii's continue to sell like proverbial hotcakes.