Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Wii "Won" Last Generation. Time to Deal With It.

A certain site that will not be named, but fashions itself as "a neutral ground where facts and evidence, presented within the confines of civil, inclusive discourse, prevail through careful moderation" recently brought to my attention something that I thought was an open and shut case. Something that was accepted a long time ago and everyone was finally over. Nope. That would mean gamers had grown up, and that's just crazy talk!

It was the idea that the Wii really didn't win the seventh generation of consoles. My first thought was "who gives a %$#%." Since we try to maintain some class on this site (and usually fail), I decided to censor myself. Then my second thought was "why does it even matter unless you're inside your room on your computer playing console wars instead of an actual game?"

It simply amazed me just how much the proverbial goal posts were being moved and how many mental gymnastics people on that site and in other places were participating in just to discredit the Wii. It all really boils down to semantics and careful wordplay, exceptions, and stipulations to revise history.

One such example: "The Wii might have sold more, but how many people played Wii Sports once and then kept it in their closets? Hardly a victory." That would be true if the system's attach rate didn't rival the PlayStation 3's and Xbox 360's attach rates.

How about the argument that Nintendo won the battle and lost the war? Somehow people are bringing up the Wii U to put a damper on the Wii's success. Apparently the Wii U is a direct failure thanks to Nintendo poisoning the well and burning bridges with the Wii. Forget all about mitigating factors like brand confusion, poor marketing, mixed messaging, long droughts with no notable games releasing in that period of time, the rise of mobile and tablet gaming, among other issues that made the Wii U arrive in its current state. It's obviously the Wii's fault. Right... I guess then the PlayStation 2 is also a failure, then, as the PS2 led way to the initially dismal selling PS3. It only put Sony deeply in the red trying to recover from their fall from grace. Of course, the PlayStation 2 isn't a failure, nor can I consider the Wii a failure either because both systems' successors made both companies' financials change in a bad way. They were both successes sales-wise and profit-wise for their respective manufacturers.

This excuse is my personal favorite, though. Since the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were so close hardware-wise and shared a lot of titles, then obviously you can combine the sales of the so-called "HD twins" to reveal that they handily outsold the Wii. This leap in logic makes me literally laugh out loud. It's such a feat of mental gymnastics that shows that there are really some people who cannot handle the idea that Nintendo won a generation. Whether it's through the most consoles sold (which for over two decades was how "winning a generation" was determined, even though the idea is only for console warriors to cheer and whine about), or the idea that Nintendo easily made the most profit for the seventh generation, the Wii is the clear victor.

I guess my question regards to why gamers are trying so hard to discredit the Wii's success. Do some people seriously have such hatred for a gaming company that they have grudges towards some faceless entity and cannot ever accept something positive about them? Do they need to find solace in their favorite pieces of plastic hardware selling more than another piece of plastic hardware? It's amazing how close to children a vocal amount of gamers really are.

It's a popular misconception that Nintendo "abandoned" its audience with the Wii. You might say it did in 2008 with the less than horrible E3 presentation, featuring Wii Music as the "big" finale of the show. However, in 2010 Nintendo released not only one of the best games of the generation in Super Mario Galaxy 2, one of the greatest 2D platformers of all time in Donkey Kong Country Returns, showed off GoldenEye 007 at their press conference, as well as Metroid: Other M. This isn't even counting the other games released prior: new entries in the Fire Emblem, Punch-Out!!, Sin & Punishment, Battalion Wars, Wario Land, and Kirby franchises, among many others. While it is true that Nintendo did focus on non-gamers, to say that the company ignored or abandoned its base is preposterous.

Somehow, for some reason, certain gamers cannot admit that the Wii did the best last generation and "won" the console wars for the seventh generation. However important that is. There are a myriad amount of excuses and stipulations thrown around by people who seem so emotionally involved with their hatred towards a friggin' video game company that shoots out franchises that many love that they can't admit something that is fact. It's as if Nintendo was a person and beat the crap out of them and stole each gamers' lunch money throughout elementary school, and these gamers are still bitter and angry to this day.

Apparently the Wii is the incarnation of all things evil in gaming, despite having a worthwhile library of titles. It brought forth those filthy casuals into OUR hobby! How dare Nintendo try to expand gaming to more people!

The truth of all of this is that the Wii outsold the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 last generation, and unless the PS3 can sell approximately a fifth of its total sales to catch up to the Wii, it will remain that way. That's seeing as the PS3's sales have greatly slowed down since the PS4's launch, and that the PS3 is also probably not going to do a PS2-like performance where it admirably sells on and on for years.

You may not like the Wii, you may not think it has any games worth playing, and you might think that it was just a fad and not a real gaming system (whatever that means). That's just fine. Just understand that the only metric the "winners" of past generations have had is sales, and Nintendo and its Wii won with that metric in place. It's time for all gamers to finally accept and move on to another discussion that is meaningless as long as we get good games to play. Where will gamers move on to? Perhaps a heated discussion about the NPD numbers coming tomorrow. That's always good for a palm to the face in disbelief of how attached some gamers are to companies and their consoles-- so much so that they feel the irrational need to cheerlead them and bash others. Ah, gamers. Keep on keepin' on.

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