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, " 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.

From The Chatty
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    December 11, 2009 7:34 PM

    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."

    The reason is because almost no one is even trying to make a decent game for "hardcore" gamers.

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      December 11, 2009 7:38 PM


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      December 11, 2009 8:24 PM

      If company's thought they could make money from it, they'd do it. They obviously don't think they can make a buck in it, so they don't try. They might be wrong, but its all up to a profit motive, nothing more or less.

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        December 11, 2009 10:03 PM

        Very true. Rockstar thought they could cash in on the DS's insane userbase, but that didn't work out (same demographic as the Wii, probably even younger though). Dead Space dev's tried the same on the Wii with Extraction; didn't exactly work out. I seriously hope the dev's DON'T try it, cause as much as I like seeing EA have a blunder (haha) I can't stand to read about dev's I like (I loved Dead Space on ps3) making decent games and having them suck, only cause it's on the Wii.

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          December 12, 2009 4:13 PM

          What a load of fail.

          I will repeat: GTA Chinatown Wars bombed on PSP. This proves the PSP has a young demographic that doesn't buy core games right? Ever stop to think maybe no one wanted more GTA, much less top down GTA?

          Answer me this: if Resident Evil: Railshooter Edition were released in HD on the PS3, how many people would buy it? Since the original sold around half a million on PS3, I'm gonna go with "almost no one." What does this have to do with the Wii? Nothing. No one wanted this game, so no one bought it. How shocking. And new IP fails on various consoles all the time, from Mirror's Edge to Blue Dragon. Wake me up when there's a big game, established franchise, that doesn't sell on Wii.

          Devs just want to make excuses. The end.

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        December 12, 2009 11:17 AM

        it's one of those chicken-egg situations

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      December 12, 2009 1:08 AM

      I guess that depends on what you call a "harcore" game... as i dont see many of those made for any system...

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      December 12, 2009 2:56 PM

      No More Heroes is pretty hardcore and good. Yet no one bought it.

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        December 12, 2009 4:04 PM

        If by no one you mean nearly half a million for a niche game, and by good you mean not that good...

        If fewer than 500,000 people buy it for 360, can we all agree that it's unclear whether or not hardcore games sell on the 360?

        Of course not, because lots of actually good core games exist that people bought on 360. On the Wii all I see is RE4, and that sold in the millions (on its 4th platform!)

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          December 12, 2009 4:43 PM

          That made no sense at all.

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      December 17, 2009 6:46 AM

      I like the resident evil stuff...

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