Friday, December 11, 2009

Third Party Woes on Wii - Who's to Blame?

Recently the president of EA said finding success on the Wii was "confounding". I found this statement rather confounding myself due to various reasons. This seems to be a common thing with third parties on Wii. Many publishers are hesitant to put big budget content since it's failed them in the past. That's a self-fulfilling prophecy if I ever heard one.

Firstly, third parties have no one to blame but themselves. Answered that question quickly, didn't I? They were the ones who created the current market on Wii by filling it with garbage. What games that aren't garbage they produce get limited marketing and next to no commercials. Again, compare the marketing of the "biggest" Wii third party game, The Conduit, with the marketing of Rogue Warrior, a B-level action game for the HD consoles. Rogue Warrior has received way more of a push. What games deserve to sell on Wii? Little King's Story? Muramasa? Dead Space: Extraction? Maybe. But which ones received proper advertising? Oh, yes. None of them. So none of them "deserved" to sell. Quality can only do you so much in the games business. Customers have to know your game exists before they can buy it. Even when they say it on shelves, how should they know what it's about? That's why I think games like Carnival Games and its ilk do so well. It's obvious when you look at the box what Carnival Games is about. Unless you're a moron which I was told all Wii owners are. "They're casual, they're stupid. They're mass-market. They're mainstream!" Oh, my! I'm getting scared! At least that is what you'd be led to believe by looking at the majority of third party software for Wii.

Then they whine when their games don't sell. No, really. You think? You put out heaps of garbage, and you expect them to sell? You plan to cheat consumers out of money by having them purchase crap on a disc? They also whine that Nintendo gets all the sales. I wonder why. Big mean Nintendo getting all the sales.

I guess you can blame Nintendo. No, not for everything like some companies, overzealous console warriors, and fat, bearded bloggers. Nintendo is the only company this generation seeing mass profits in a time of loss. They're set. They need not do anything for third parties who crapped on them two generations running and now this third one. I think the solution is simple: Nintendo should stop making games that are of quality and games that don't treat their players like mentally retarded or redheaded stepchildren. They should make the same garbage games that everyone else does, so third parties will have a chance. In all seriousness, I think helping third parties with advertising of top games would help out a lot. It wouldn't set the world on fire, but we've seen Microsoft do this (because their first party studios are highly inferior to either Nintendo's or Sony's-- why else would every year be shooter year on the 360?).

So that's the problem with third parties. They're not going to fix their mistakes. They're not going to dare admit they fail at understanding the Wii because in their perception, it's the Wii's fault. Not their own. Will this self-fulfilling prophecy ever change? Probably not this generation. Probably not next either until Nintendo stops making good games that sell well. They don't sell well because they're from Nintendo. They sell well because they get proper advertising, and don't come off as gifts for your mentally ill cousin. Until then, third parties will continue to bleed money, studios will close, and decent people will lose their jobs. Is the Wii the savior of these companies? No, but we've seen the HD business structure is unsustainable. Might as well try something new, guys.

And with that, I'm through talking about this Wii/third party nonsense that pops up every other week. Adieu!

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