Gamasutra has a fascinating article
up on the state of Wii gaming, specifically about the quantity and quality of software on the console. One interesting tidbit within the piece is that supposedly, some big retailers like Target and Best Buy are refusing to stock any more Wii minigame collections, because there are so damn many and they aren't selling anymore. This might signify the beginning of the Wii bubble deflation, as the casual market gets completely saturated with shovelware.
To put it in perspective, the Wii's software library is bigger than the DS library, even though the DS is two years older. It's also only a few hundred titles behind the PS2's library, a console that's been around for a decade. I knew this problem would show up eventually but it will be interesting to see how it pans out.
The article has some good info from some industry leaders, and Chuck's oh-so-favorite analyst Michael Patcher, and it raises a good question: just who is the Wii for? Is it destined to be an orphan console without an audience, as the fickle casual crowd moves on to the next gimmick and the snubbed longtime gamers refuse to come back to the console that jilted them?
Maybe Nintendo saw this coming--they're definitely pushing for a more traditional appeal on the Wii, considering how for the first time in the console's history, they're handling the advertising for something like Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri
. They also have three big franchise hits scheduled for tentative 2010 release: Mario Galaxy 2
, a new Zelda
game and Metroid Other M
. They probably hope to revive long-dormant hardcore interest with these games and jump-start third party sales of similar titles, but I have to wonder if it's too late.
In the end, Nintendo's business isn't just based on first party publishing, but also on third party royalties. They can't support a console single-handedly again (the N64 and Gamecube taught them that), so sooner or later, Nintendo will have to do something about the quality of software on their platform.
Give the article a look, it's a lean read that raises a lot of good points.