Why the Wii wins

by vivin

WiiI bought myself a Nintendo Wii in February. I really wanted one because it looked like fun, and I also really wanted to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I tried to get one in December, which didn’t happen because they were all sold out. In February, I went to Best Buy to get one and they were sold out. I hung around for no particular reason and ended up playing the Guitar Hero II game for about half an hour. I suddenly noticed store personnel walking in with a bunch of white boxes. I swear, as the guy reverently placed the box on the shelf, the clouds opened up and a single ray of sunlight fell on the box (there was a hole in the ceiling). I also heard a chorus of angels.

Wii ControllersI used to game a lot, but then I stopped because it got too expensive. Also, graduating and getting job was a huge factor. I simply didn’t have the time to play a lot of games. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them. The first thing that got me about the Wii, of course, is its revolutionary interface. The first game I played was Tennis, from the pack-in Wii Sports game. Of course, the graphics weren’t mind-blowing, but playing it was fun above all else. That is what made the Wii a success. It is an excellent family console that targets the casual gamer. In a paradoxically Zen manner, Nintendo managed to be a gaming success without targeting gamers.

I got firsthand experience of the how much fun the Wii can be, when my parents came over to visit. My parents don’t play games as much. My dad will occasionally play but more often than not, they’re usually telling me to stop playing. But both of them found the Wii to be a lot of fun. My dad especially enjoyed Tennis and Bowling. This last weekend, I took my Wii over to California, so that my sister, my cousins, and I could play. My uncle, who never plays games had a whole lot of fun playing Golf and Tennis on Wii Sports. The fact that a console can generate interest in a demographic that doesn’t typically play games demonstrates its success.

I hear a lot of comments from Xbox (360 and the older one) and PS3 fanboys. They seem to be peeved that the Wii is a success (PS3 fanboys seem especially peeved). I’ll address their points here:

  • The graphics on the Wii suck! It’s not even that much better than the Gamecube!
    It’s not about the graphics. Nintendo didn’t try to make a console with breath-taking graphics. They tried to make a console that was fun, and that everyone would enjoy. From the looks of it, the gamble paid off.
  • I’ve played the Wii and it’s ok for a while, but now I play my Xbox/PS3 while my Wii gathers dust.
    Good for you. You must be a serious gamer. Nintendo didn’t make the Wii for you. The market consists of two kinds of people: hardcore gamers and everyone else. Nintendo went after everyone else. Guess which group is bigger?
  • The Wii is not a serious gaming console. It’s just for kids and it’s mainly for fun.
    Fanboys say this like it is a bad thing. It’s not. The Wii was never meant to be a serious gaming console. It was meant to be a fun console. I remember watching my dad play the Sinclair ZX Spectrum when I was really young. It was a home computer created by Sinclair Research Ltd., a UK-based company. It had very simple games which were fun. I think this was probably the last console that my dad played games on (not counting FIFA 97 on the N64, and Prince of Persia on the PC). He played those games because they were fun and simple. Most casual gamers, or even non-gamers don’t really enjoy complicated RPG’s (Role-playing games) or FPS’s (First-person shooters). They like to jump in to a game and play without learning complicated button-sequences, or even figuring what each of the buttons do. The Wii offers them that in an extremely innovative and revolutionary form.
  • The Xbox and PS3 are technologically superior to the Wii.
    So? Technological superiority has nothing to do with it. Don’t you get it? This is not about the serious hardcore gamer. Yes, the hardcore gamer cares about photo-realistic graphics. The hardcore gamer cares about specifications. The casual gamer doesn’t. Despite the Wii not being “up there” with the Xbox and PS3 as far as technology is concerned, it still is a raging success.
  • The Wii controller is lame! The motion-sensing is not that precise! It doesn’t even have that many buttons!
    I forgot where I saw this gem of an argument… Anyway, the Wii controller is simple. You move your controller, and your character does the same. Someone was griping that the Baseball game on Wii Sports wasn’t like actual baseball. Ok, so you’re telling me that pushing a button on a regular controller is more like actual baseball? Casual/Non gamers don’t want to take on the learning curve of complicated button sequences and button assignments. The Wii even hearkens to the days of the Classic Nintendo Controller, when things were much simpler. So understand this: Simple = Easy = Fun.
  • The Wii sold more only because it is cheap!
    Yes, this is true. But that’s not the only reason. Yes, many customers balk at the $500-$600 price-tag of the PS3. However, why shell out that much when you can get a more “fun” console at half the price? I went to Best Buy a few weeks ago and saw a customer asking one of the employees if they had any Wiis. The employee’s response was that they were all sold out. I went up to him and asked him about the sales of the PS3 vs. the Wii. He said that the Wiis were getting sold out almost as soon as they came in, whereas the PS3’s were still sitting on the shelves.
  • The Wii games are lame! There are not even that many games!
    This also falls into the “Wii is for fun” category. Wii games are for fun. It is true that the Wii doesn’t have that many games, but neither does the PS3. Another important point to realize is that many developers are scrambling to develop titles for the Wii. Many developers ignored the Wii, and laughed it off as a console that was doomed to fail. After the console’s success, many developers are now rushing to release titles for the Wii. This further highlights the success of the console. Also take into account that development costs for the Wii are between $2 million to $3 million versus the $20 million to $30 million for Xbox 360 or PS3 titles.
  • Wii is for losers and pussies!!!!PS3/XBOX RUELS!
    I suspect that most of the people who make these sort of comments are frustrated 14-year olds who’s moms didn’t buy them a PS3. Or people who bought the technology-laden PS3 to compensate for some part of their anatomy. I can only say this: most people who buy Wiis, buy it for casual gaming. Casual gaming probably means that they have other things that are more important. Like for instance, they may actually have a life.

Let me categorically state that I don’t consider the Xbox or the PS3 to be “bad” consoles in any way. I am also not saying that the Wii is the “best” console out there. I have played games on the Xbox 360 (Gears of War is one of them) and I have seen the PS3 in action. Gears of War is a fun game, and the graphics on the PS3 are mind-blowing and gorgeous. It all comes down to your needs. Do you want a technology-heavy gaming-powerhouse? Then you might want the PS3. Do you want a fun console that the whole family can enjoy? Then you might want the Wii.

Nintendo made a brilliant (and risky) strategic decision to target casual gamers, and it paid off. There’s no reason to be mad at Nintendo because of that. All I know is that I enjoy playing my Wii, and so does my family. This is more than I can say for any previous console I have owned.

Wii Sports Twilight Princess

Wii Sports and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess