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Nintendo’s losing Japan, tables prepare to turn

October 17, 2007

lonely bubble

Oh yes, here it comes, here it cooomes!

The japanese seem to be turning the other buttcheek to Wii, at long last. It’s the beginning of the end , i can smell it.

A Japanese report has revealed that, while Nintendo’s Wii may be dominating sales charts around the world, almost three quarters of the install base hasn’t picked up a Remote in a long time.

Hamamura also said that Wii hasn’t seen a second big hit at the level of Wii Sports, and cited figures that suggest 67 percent of Wii owners haven’t used the system of late

Well it’s sad, truly is. But the great thing about it, and why i’m borderline rejoicing, is cause this is the wake up call Nintendo has been in need of ever since they’ve turned their sales around. A better metaphor might be ‘the pin to their head balloon’. Dudes are arrogantly complacent, aint no doubt about that.

Wait, there’s some more, and this part’s much more telling.


You heard from the gaming public above, now let’s see what the other end of the game exchange (the developers) thinks. In big-deal Jap paper the Nikkei’s piece titled ‘Software Houses Miscalculate Audience, Demand For Wii’, Tomoyuki Kawai channels the extremely valid concerns of the japanese industry’s pros.

Firstly, Nintendo’s getting all the business. What is this, 2002 (2001? 2000?1999? 1998? 1997? 1996?)? Nintendo’s been the best poised to gauge the demand from early on and give the “core” what they want (Prime, Galaxy, etc). So even though Nintendo’s been driving up sales industry-wide, they’re the only ones benefitting from it, not their ‘very important to us’ 3rd parties. Does that sound like an industry saved or an industry tyrannized?

Must be the reason why only big names like EA and Ubi have been able to commit to the Wii platform. Too many other 3rd parties have had flop titles (good and mediocore in quality) in the wake of Nintendo’s 1st party stuff, and have experienced no increased sales in comparison to last year, thusly having a bad Wii taste in their mouths and a reluctance to develop anything else for the white rhombus.

Moreover, the author seems to believe that Japanese sales of Wii have peaked, and like the poll in the first part of this post implies, gamers are not using their Wiis all that often nowadays. One president of a development studio is quoted in the article as saying:

“People bought it out of curiosity, and it’s likely a lot of them haven’t used it.”

That’s a guesstimate, sure, but it’s not hard to see why he’d go there. For the past 2 months, Wii sales in Japan have been plummeting. Maybe there’s something to that poll, after all.

Somebody put Jack on suicide watch.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2007 5:49 pm

    It is possible, although too soon to tell…

    But now that I have a 360 and that I’ve been looking at the LIVE Arcade service, I’ve been noticing that a lot of the $10 titles there have a similar quality than the $40 titles 3rd party developers have been releasing for Wii… which is not good. Or, some $60 titles on the 360 come bundled with “mini games” that, by themselves, are up to the quality of a Wii premium title (witness the awesomeness of the five games within the Orange Box!).

    And most interesting titles for Nintendo systems are being released for the DS, not the Wii, and that’s a completely different market.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: most of those “casual gamers” Nintendo is trying to seduce with the Wii are buying a Wii Sports machine, not a console… that’s why Wiis are gathering dust. They never planned on playing anything other than Wii Sports, and they don’t care much about shopping for games.

  2. October 17, 2007 7:31 pm

    The report’s a bit of stretch. The kind of hysteria that wiisports brought about may come again once wiifit makes it debut. While I don’t enjoy it when fanboys cream themselves over Nintendo’s “perfect” week, I think it’s way too soon to predict a bubble bursting right now.

  3. Ruben permalink
    October 17, 2007 7:47 pm

    I really hope this article foreshadows what is to come for Nintendo. I would really like Nintendo to change their focus to games that gamers would actually like to play. Still, I’m more than a bit worried that the motion controls will never be what they should. I don’t remember where, but I’m finally starting to read that people are realizing that the Wiimote reception is just too poor to control games properly. I have been saying this from the beginning but had always hoped it was a software issue and could be fixed with an update. It seems it may be a hardware problem after all.

    I just want to reiterate that the problem lies with the motion controls. The pointer functionality works great.

    Has anyone here played a Wii title that had well implemented motion controls? The best I can think of is Wii Sports and that’s not saying much. Actually, I played a little bit of Excite Truck and it seemed pretty good…

  4. frisby permalink
    October 17, 2007 10:09 pm

    I think its creepy that Nintendo knows how often I turn on my Wii. Big brother connect24.

  5. October 17, 2007 10:35 pm

    Well Rye, the guy did say that Wii Fit might bring some new hope for a 2nd wave of Wii hysteria, but i left that out. Either way, it is on the table already.

    I am definitely reaching here, i obviously want them to be knocked down one good time. But consider that the devs are not happy with their position in the Wii stable. Their software is flat-out flopping in light of being on THE top console of the generation. If their titles are flopping on the console that’s supposed to support small ideas and low costs, then something’s wrong. PS2 devs never had this problem, nor will they ever because that software library is actually varied in some capacity, unlike Wii.

    Would you wanna dev for a console when you know, no matter how much you put into it, chances are no one’s gonna buy anything that doesn’t say “Published by Nintendo” on it? This goes beyond getting 3rd parties, and is more about allowing them to shine on your system. While there might be variety, the brilliant marketers of Nintendo ensure that anything lacking their brand logo sells even remotely close to theirs. Nintendo does not support their paisans, not even exclusives. You will never see the Zak & Wiki display at GameStop because the Galaxy and Corruption posters will be in its way. It’s a fact of life when you’re dealing with Nintendo. Always been that way. We’ve got enough stars aligning here to see what has a good chance of happening in the next few months.

    Wii Fit hysteria, if it happens, will do what, keep the console afloat another 10 months? We’ve got one example of a dying fad, Wii Sports, and we’re waiting to see if the next thing flops before we foresee the whole thing’s derailment? Do we really expect these gimmicks to carry the console the whole way through? If Nintendo keeps its focus on the impulse shoppers and ends up losing them, by then they can’t come back to us. We’ve got plenty of indications right here telling us that the Japanese public is losing interest in the console. It’s enough for me. Could go either way from here.

    All bubbles burst at some point.

  6. drewmg permalink
    October 18, 2007 8:54 am

    yeah, i think the article is pretty accurate, if you’re a gamer. maybe not if you’re a financial analyst, but as a gamer, the wii landscape is pretty bleak. give me orange box, not wii fit. as a gamer, nintendo is not catering to me anymore. talk about bwii, smash and mario – what’s after that? for me? anything?

  7. Bill permalink
    October 18, 2007 10:01 am

    Funny you mention Orange Box too Drew. I was just thinking the other day about that. If Half-Life 2 could run on the Xbox, why not the Wii? The minimum PC stats for the game are lower than the Wii hardware I believe. It may not be able to do the High Dynamic Range and other graphic effects the 360 and PS3 can do, but it would still be playable. And well actually now as I type this out I realize that there really is little point. A game as good as Half-Life 2 is just wasted on the current Wii audience, and almost too good for the other two consoles to really get what it’s all about.

  8. Bill permalink
    October 18, 2007 10:03 am

    Oh and since that last comment was wayyy off topic.. I would LOVE to see Okami come to the Wii! I love the art style, and heard it was a better Zelda than Twilight Princess was. But I never owned a PS2 to play it.

  9. October 18, 2007 11:04 am

    Half-Life 2 could barely run on the Xbox! The load times were frequent and go-get-a-coffee long, and the graphics were sub-Halo 2 quality.

    But besides that, the physical engine of that game is probably too demanding for the Wii (although Elebits did a really good job on that department).

    But the point is moot… what the Wii needs is not a Half-Life 2 or a Halo 2, it needs an Okami or an Odin Sphere or a Shadow of the Colossus: something original that looks great and even better than on other consoles, not something that you will have to compromise just because you have to downgrade in order to run on the Wii platform. If developers can do it for the PS2, why can’t they do it for the Wii?

  10. October 18, 2007 12:50 pm

    Ah! See? Hope is around the corner:

    http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=85578

  11. December 20, 2007 12:38 pm

    …according to Compete.com (who?), which compiled their drastically imperfect data from select groups of people just like every other non-gaming website that tries to dip into the scene. And even if that halfway represents the true nature of the situation (in America, of course), we are not past the short-term period yet. Next holiday will be a more reliable crystal ball than this one.

    Also, and maybe i shoulda said this first but i only just realized it, check what they say:

    Wii Demand skyrockets: nearly 3 million people shopped for the console online in November. In fact, demand for the Wii was nearly 40% higher than in the month that the Wii LAUNCHED in back in 2006.

    Maybe i’m stupid, but I was under the impression that Nintendo has marketed the shit outta Wii since launch, and now everybody knows about it as opposed to launch time. Back when it was “Wee”, only people like us and a few outsiders were aware. A year of word of mouth hype for Wii Sports and highly publicized and exaggerated (by some fanatics) shortages — this “news” is a surprise to whom?

    If Nintendo ever lets the hysteria wear off (by actually supplying stores with units), Wii demand is gonna drop like a rock.

  12. Anonymous permalink
    March 5, 2008 4:54 pm

    In the summer I will be getting a wee.

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