There seems to be a steady tug-of-war going on between the perception of what Wii is, which Nintendo continues to propagate, versus the reality of what gamers are getting. The biggest third-party sellers on Wii are routinely mini-game compilations that can secure shelf placement at Walmart. In stark contrast, games for the so-called "core" gamer seem to be having a terribly trying time getting noticed. Is it because hardcore gamers make up but a tiny fraction of Wii owners? Who is buying these consoles after all?
Already this year we've seen the release of Tenchu: Deadly Shadows and House of the Dead: Overkill for Wii, but the jury's still out regarding the market response to those games. Electronic Arts just revealed their prequel to Dead Space, but is another light-gun game what Wii owners really want? As of this writing, hardcore Wii owners wait in great anticipation to see what kind of success MadWorld (SEGA) will be greeted with. For good or ill, the game appears to be the groundhog who will tell us whether the gaming winter of shovelware on Wii is over, or if we'll have to endure another two (or more) years of games whose titles end with the word "party."
In the end, gamers are the folks who will keep the system alive. No matter how many peripherals and marketing campaigns Nintendo foists upon consumers, it's still all about the games. Nintendo really doesn't have to concern themselves with any of this, however, because whether or not third-party games sell on Wii, it likely won't affect them or the success of their first-party software.
Which brings us full circle 'round...
Is this the reason why many, very talented third-party teams (like Bethesda) find themselves shrugging off Wii? If there's no incentive for Nintendo to make the ground fertile for third parties, then perhaps there's no incentive for those folks to try and plant their creations on the system. Fallout 3, of course, hasn't been hurting, and it appears to be one of the best-selling games of the past six months.
So, who does get hurt? No one, really, but there will undoubtedly be many disappointed Wii owners if things don't take a turn for the better. The system has so much potential. Nintendo's vision (beyond the marketing) was still very inspired, and many of us gaming dreamers are holding out the hope we'll eventually see that potential realized. MotionPlus is on the way; a storage solution - albeit flimsy - is also on the way. Heck, Dragon Quest X has been confirmed as a Wii exclusive, for God's sake, so there's definitely light at the end of this tunnel. However, even with such bright prospects on the horizon, it would still be nice to see other big developers/publishers finally bring their A-game to the system. Wii, too, want "big entertainment."
CCC Freelance Writer