Is The Wii Dead?

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:

Arzest Corporation

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.

Whatever happened to this game?

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?

11 thoughts on “Is The Wii Dead?”

  1. On life support in my opinion. It’s just that Nintendo’s conference did so little to highlight what’s left of the Wii and they know it. They had too much focus on the Wii U which is extremely far off. Just 5 minutes of their time for a Wii highlight trailer could’ve been more than enough for a proper swansong. Mario Party 9, Kirby and Rhythm Heaven offer some nice supplemental material to the epic Skyward Sword. It just baffles me that Nintendo’s so confident with Skyward Sword they didn’t even bother to mention Xenoblade and The Last Story. Are they keeping both of these RPGs as a back-up plan for the Wii’s 2012 line-up in case the Wii U gets further delayed? Are they moving them to the Wii U?

  2. SEGA seems to think that Wii U is launching around April next year. I don’t know if that serves any indication that Nintendo is really eager to get things rolling, but that can’t be realistic considering the final dev kits aren’t even out yet. Anytime before September will shock me.

    I don’t know, the whole situation somewhat bugs me. In a recent interview, Miyamoto claimed that the company wasn’t anticipating the penetration rate of HDTVs. Really? How long did they expect the technology to be outside most American household budgets? You can pick up a cheap HDTV now for a couple hundred bucks, because unless you’re Apple, you lower the price of your products over time. We all knew 3D wouldn’t be important to them, and that’s fine. I hope they for once offer a legitimate online service.

    I’m also very curious to know how Nintendo intends to handle year-old titles with the Wii U’s launch. It’s great that Assassin’s Creed and Arkham City are coming, but who is going to care when the next entries in those series will at least be in the rumblings? They’re going to have to have a Mario, Zelda or Smash Bros. at launch. Something. And unless those third party ports contain new or updated content, why will it sell?

    Yes, all signals point to the Wii’s downturn. It’s so weird given that it sold bundles, but I have an inkling that Nintendo used the platform to propel them back into console relevancy so that third parties would take them seriously again. I know they don’t at all intend to drop their casual audience, but the billions they forked in could be a reason they’re bold enough to approach the hardcore again.

    We’ll see I guess.

    1. That quote from Miyamoto honestly surprises me. On other other hand, however, this talk is obviously not his forte. I don’t know about Japan, but HDTVs are everywhere now. Buying a tube TV isn’t even worth it anymore in this day and age. On what basis is he stating that there’s no “penetration rate”? What does that even mean?

      The obvious gimmick to refresh this year’s big multiplatform titles for the Wii U is the controller. Simply having these games for a Nintendo system is more than enough to satisfy the hardcore Nintendo fan. But as you said, Justin, unless these developers really think outside of the box to make the Wii U versions unique at launch, people who are already planning to buy them in 2011 aren’t going to wait a couple of months for the Wii U version. Again though, there are a lot of variances in gamers’ routines…because there is an audience which doesn’t buy games at launch, and this is where the Wii U’s versions come in. Either way, big games such as Batman, Darksiders II, and Assassin’s Creed would do wonders for a launch line-up, even if it’s consisting of ports.

  3. Yes, the Wii pretty much is dead and Skyward Sword will be the send-off game (for now, because I think an enhanced port will also be released in time for the Wii U).

    Virtual Console doesn’t get many releases anymore at all. I think in time it’ll be discontinued for the Wii, and that they’re saving some of the most wanted titles for the Wii U to entice people to upgrade, possibly even Gamecube games (though I don’t know how this would work, maybe the games would be streamed as you play and only save games would be saved to memory?).

  4. Those big games you’re talking abour are already available on x360 and PS3. I really don’t see the hardcore buying a new console just to get games they can already have. This is even more true to gamers who care about their trophies or achievements!

    On the other hand, the casual crowd that Nintendo attracted with the Wii are not gonna be impressed by those games.

    What I’m trying to say is, not only do I believe the Wii is dead, I always believed the Wii was the death of Nintendo!

  5. Justin you may be onto something in the sense that the Wii has brought Nintendo back into third parties limelight, at least in the sense that they need to be taken serious. If the Wii U moves another 80 million units and has the ability to play PS3/360 games, they have no choice but to develop for it. Imagine if the GameCube had received every major third party game and PS2 had no exclusives except for the ones Sony made. Would that have made the GameCube sell a lot more? I sure think so, but those were different days. This is exactly the position Nintendo wants to be in. If they make a box that allows third parties to make the games they want, but also allows Nintendo to make their games, well that’s a win-win in their perspective. The obvious question is, will the public buy into the Wii U and none of us can answer that until we see actual games and hear about their online network, pricing, etc.

    For the games that have already been announced I don’t count on any of them hitting the Wii U to be honest, or at least not at full price unless they offer countless extras. No on will buy a year old port with no goodies thrown in. Release Batman eight months later for $30 and it includes exclusives modes, etc well that’s a different story. Nintendo and the third parties also know this. Let’s face facts though, we have yet to see a single first party game so that tells me this machine is ultra early, which in turn makes the Wii their go-to console and based on what we’ve seen, Nintendo has shifted all gears towards getting Wii U software ready. It’s a weird situation for a platform maker that sold in excess of 80 million systems this generation.

  6. I think it’s way too early to tell what will happen with the Wii U. We can speculate though. What made the Wii a success was its draw to casual gamers and families. Everybody has a wii, even houses that don’t game. Will these people buy a Wii U? Hard to say. A single tablet-like controller is not gonna sell to those people, especially since they don’t seem to offer many options for multiplayer gaming. Then again, we do know that the Wii U supports regular Wii controllers, so there’s more here that we don’t know yet. Still, I will be surprised if the Wii U sees the light of day in 2012.

  7. I agree Steven. Talking about the Wii U right now is extremely difficult given what we know, or don’t know. Nintendo made it clear they want the hardcore back but they need to put their money where their mouth is now.

  8. Wii is pretty much on the way out. I’ve always had my feelings about third parties’ approach to the platform considering early comments by people like Ubisoft’s CEO and THQ’s reps and then the eventual admission of EA’s CEO and Ubisoft’s CEO that they “bet on the wrong horse” coming into this generation by assuming the Wii was an also ran from the start. Furthermore, I’m actually surprised that Sega has nothing to show for the Wii in regards to Sonic’s 20th anniversary when that franchise has been so prominent on Nintendo’s home consoles since Sega’s demise.

    However, Nintendo has some explaining to do as well because the Wii is still pushing respectable numbers now that it’s in its twilight years. Certainly more than the Gamecube was ever doing but it’s not so surprising to see why Nintendo were quick to move on from the GCN to the Wii. It’s just kind of weird now because how the Wii is still performing that there is really nothing beyond this year outside of Dragon Quest X which may or may not release outside of Japan when all is said and done.

    Nintendo, even if they have to carry the final year(s) of Wii mostly on their own, could give it a better send off than it seems they’re doing. As we saw from Nintendo’s investor’s report earlier games are still being made for it which is how we first heard about Pandora’s Tower, Kirby 2011 and the new Rhythm Tengoku/Heaven. But so few of these new developments ever leave Japan save for the ones Europe were lucky enough to get such as Disaster Day of Crisis, Another Code R and now Xenoblade.

    Nintendo is going so far to publish GoldenEye in Japan, a country where first person shooters (let alone shooters in general) rarely ever do that well. But North America is still playing the guessing game on some fairly high priority titles like Xenoblade (which is rated as one of the best this generation on one Japanese RPG enthusiast site) and The Last Story. I’m still getting my money’s worth out of the platform in getting around to games I’ve yet to play both retail and VC/WiiWare. I’ve already got Skyward Sword paid off in full and I’m always down for some more Kirby, but it would be nice to have more to go on.

  9. I was very surprised we didn’t get to see more Nintendo support at E3 considering we have no clue when Wii U will hit. Reggie said that it will be sometime after April 2012, but I just don’t see it launching until next holiday considering we know nothing of the games in development. Typically we’d see something in the next few months from the big N to show us what they’re working on for launch and then we can gauge the progress from there. For now we have no idea what’s in the works unless they release another Wii Sports type of game for launch, but that would seem to go against what Nintendo is trying to do with the platform. I know we haven’t seen even half the picture yet, but considering what we know is in development for the Wii, one would assume the Wii U was right around the corner.

  10. The Wii is on life-support, but it’s time is really limited.

    I am very much so looking forward to Skyward Sword. I think it’ll be an excellent contribution to the Zelda franchise and it’ll be a fitting send-off for a system as underrated and underestimated as Wii. I’ve been a Nintendo lover for years, and the Wii is a tough system to love for many people. However, the Wii needed a “true” Zelda game built for it and it’s about time we see that game. Skyward Sword will be the game that to many, would have sold them on a Wii if it had come out years earlier, so it’s timing is kind of sad.

    Honestly though, at E3, I was extremely pumped for Kirby Wii. It looks INCREDIBLY fun. I actually got giddy watching the trailer. I immediately contacted one of my friends and demanded he watch the trailer with me–it reminded me of Kirby Super Star for the SNES. 4-player co-op play and traditional Kirby gameplay? Oh yeah! I absolutely loved Kirby’s Epic Yarn and still think it’s a fun and lovable co-op platformer deserving of attention, it’s a game that should be played. But I missed the old Kirby on a traditional platform. The had a lot of fun with Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, but that game is over a decade old now. I didn’t expect to see a new console Kirby game and I’m super excited for it.

    Unfortunately though, I doubt we’ll see Last Story or Xenoblade. I was hopeful for Last Window on the DS, too (sequel to Hotel Dusk), but sadly I don’t think we’ll get it. I think that was one of Nintendo’s biggest mistakes–not bringing over these remaining pieces of high-quality software.

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