I’m sure the headline convinced you to at least read this far. I pose the question to all of you Nintendo fans out there. Is the Wii dead? It’s an honest question and now that E3 is behind us I think the answer is…it’s on life support. So now that I’m really trying to cover more Nintendo news as well as continue to cover Microsoft and Sony, I realize that I don’t have very much to talk about when it comes to the Wii.
Did you all see the incredible lineup of titles Nintendo announced at E3? Wasn’t it just astonishing? We got Mario Party 9 baby! Microsoft announced Halo 4, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and showed Gears of War 3. Meanwhile Sony showcased this holidays’ blockbuster Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and announced Sly 4. Nintendo just talked about Skyward Sword as their tent pole release and slapped a few logos on the screen. There’s nothing wrong with having a huge game for the holiday, but what about everything else until then and after? The Wii won’t be getting BioShock Infinite, Prototype 2 and the other 98 third party titles releasing this year. So again, is the Wii dead?
Realistically Nintendo has a few games left for the Wii, but it’s very interesting to see that they themselves aren’t really developing for the platform anymore. Here are the biggest games coming out for the Wii in 2011, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Just Dance 3, Kirby Wii, Wii Play: Motion, and Mario Party 9. Let’s talk a bit about this past week’s release, Wii Play: Motion. The list of developers include:
Chunsoft Co., Ltd.: Creators of the Mystery Dungeon game series.
Good-Feel Co., Ltd.: Developers of Wario Land: Shake It and Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
Mitchell Corporation: Developers of the DS titles, Magnetica and Polarium.
Prope Ltd.: Yuji Naka’s development studio, creators of Let’s Tap and Ivy the Kiwi.
Skip Ltd.: Creators of Chibi-Robo, Giftpia and Captain Rainbow.
Vanpool, Inc.: Creators of the Tingle series of games.
Nd Cube Co., Ltd.: Nintendo subsidiary and developers of F-Zero: Maximum Velocity and Wii Party.
We know that Just Dance 3 is a Ubisoft game. Nd Cube is developing Mario Party 9, and HAL Laboratory is developing Kirby Wii. That leaves only Skyward Sword being developed by an internal Nintendo team. That proves exactly what I’m saying, Nintendo has dropped all internal development for the Wii.
What about the following third party games, most of which are already out in Japan, The Last Story. Xenoblade. Pandora’s Tower, and Dragon Quest X. There was no mention of any of these games at E3, and Nintendo of Europe has mentioned they plan to localize all but DQ X, but do you really see that happening now? I’m not convinced. The very fact that no one wants to talk about these big releases is quite scary. What about DQ X? That game hasn’t been talked about for ages now. We all saw the official announcement, but will it honestly release for the Wii given everyone has dropped support for the console? I personally think not. It will likely shift development to either the Wii U or the 3DS. I think Square-Enix will stick with Nintendo if only because the publisher likes to have their games pushed by Nintendo in North America. I fully expect to hear more about DQ X when the Wii U has a firm release date.
So now we come to the jest of it, if the system is dead how exactly did this happen? How did Nintendo go from selling over 80 million units (that’s 30 million ahead of either the Xbox 360 or the PS3) to completely bowing out? Was it because of the decline in third party support? Was it because people tired of the motion controls? Was it because of the lack of high definition support? Did the system simply not age as gracefully as the other two? Whatever the reason is, I think it’s very clear right now that the Wii will be dropped like yesterday’s news when the Wii U officially hits. Thankfully Nintendo fans have the 3DS to keep them busy this year because having only five big releases all year and virtually no third party support isn’t going to keep players happy for over a year before the next system hits.
What do you think of all this? Is the Wii on life support, or is it already in the grave?