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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How The Wii Might Fail

Curmudgeon Gamer shot along this well-thought out analysis on how the Wii could stumble:

As the Nintendo guy, I’m zeroing in on Wii.  You might predict that I have a positive slant toward Nintendo and you would be correct.  After all, developer support is the strongest in years, there’s a radical and compelling new dynamic to the console, and people are proably still standing in line to see the Wii in the LA Convention Center.  So, it’s pretty easy to presume success for the House of Mario, right?  Wrong.  Not by a long shot.  Today, we examine the question…”Could the Wii Fail?”

Dumb mistakes.  Nintendo’s made plenty of them in the past.  From cringe-worthy advertising to burning bridges with developers, the gaming veteran has hit most of the metaphorical potholes.  Does disaster loom?  Well, that all depends on the new Nintendo, the Satoru Iwata Nintendo, and if the risks he’s taking are right.  Iwata has done a good job to cleanse Hiroshi Yamauchi’s imperialistic Nintendo image, making amends with scorned developers and paying some honest-to-god attention to the American market (Reggie, anyone?) 
-- Could The Wii Fail?

It goes on for a few pages with pretty specific points and makes some intelligent jabs at Nintendo's armor. Will the lack of Rare on the Virtual Console hurt? Is the NiWiFi system too clunky for a console compared to the handheld? Instead of waiting for me to paraphrase, read it for yourself since paraphrasing won't do it justice.

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Patrick said...

Nintendo is going to succeed because I'm going to be producing exclusive franchise and feature IP based content for them.

Patrick said...

And yes, I have been up all night.

Patrick said...

Okay, now that I've read the article, a few points.

He's right that the first three points aren't high risk. That the WiFi can be streamlined easily implies that Nintendo will streamline it eventually, though hopefully they won't have to aggregate thousands of fan forum quibbles before the catch on to what are fairly obvious UI improvments. Marketing really is the big one, and his criticisms are justified (I mean hell, the name has grown on me, but it is what it is). The thing is, Nintendo is probably going to try and reach, Blue Ocean style, for the ENTIRE entertianment market, but in reality it'll take years of long tail momentum for the non-gamer market to get penetrated in a non-trivial way. But thats still something amazing, and even if that succeeds marginally Nintendo will still pull profit on a diverse portfolio of long tail niches.

Now, you must understand that my first gaming experience at age 3 was with the NES, and I debated with third graders about how SNES was better than Genesis (it was) and then I dropped off for the fifth generation consoles and got a Playstation. Now that I'm launching a career for myself I'm aiming to do my console buisiness exclusively with Nintendo because I'm empathetic to their craziness. So that all explains my statement that Nitendo cannot fail, they can only fail to succeed spectacularly.

Josh said...

I think N's chances are pretty good and I really do hope "Blue Ocean" turns into a winning formula - because it feels like a philosophy right for the time (as opposed to assuming that gamers are all geeky first adopters with tons of disposable cash).

NiWiFi worries me a bit, although I'm a big fan of the service. It's up against Xbox Live and Sony might be smart in mostly just lifting from Microsoft.

I do think he leaves out the possibility that people won't buy into the motion controller. N gets credit for trying something new ... but it's still risky. Will it be more friendly? Going back to my rant on casual games ... I partially like playing Tiger Woods so that I don't have to swing a golf club.

Still, the Wii will probably be my only big game purchase this year.