PS3 And 360 Are For Gamers, Wii Is For...Everyone Else
I was one of the first to stand up and applaud Nintendo for making the decision to avoid a head-on confrontation with Sony and Microsoft. They took a different route and struck gold...lots of gold. But after 2008 and looking forward to 2009, the evidence is clear: the Wii is not a next-gen gaming platform. It's a gadget. A toy. Something the entire world can easily get behind - I'm not denying that - but also something that obviously doesn't need "AAA" next-gen software to be successful. And because this flies directly in the face of the unwavering rule that a system can't be popular without the games, this proves the Wii isn't really a game platform in this generation.
I've done editorials on this before, but as far as I'm concerned, this is news that everyone needs to accept. If you look at 2008 and list out the top 25 games of the year, there might be one or two Wii titles in there, and neither will have a shot in hell at securing a Game of the Year nomination, let alone a victory. And in 2009, both the PS3 and 360 will leave the Wii further behind in terms of software; there's absolutely no denying this. Therefore, for the very first time in history, the third competitor in the so-called video game console war isn't necessarily a machine that caters to gamers. In fact, one can argue it caters to non-gamers more than anything. The commercials, the buyers, the demographic; I don't see gamers anywhere. I see a lot of people who find the simple technology to be magical and new, those who last played a video game back in 1983 in the arcades. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, as far as I'm concerned. I'm just saying...
And of course, I'm sure we'll get a ton of replies saying things like, "I have all 3 consoles and I'm a gamer!" Yes, I'm aware that gamers own the Wii, but I do have one question- how many out there who call themselves gamers only own the Wii? And here's a better question- of the people who only own a PS3 or 360, how many can be considered avid gamers compared to those who only have a Wii in the living room? The statistics might surprise some people if these numbers ever came out, but they wouldn't surprise me. At first, I was intrigued by a video game console that apparently doesn't need any new software to continue to sell millions of units. Then I realized it's not the software that even matters; it's the gimmick. Nintendo knew they couldn't compete in a technical sense this generation, so I thought they were trying another tact to appeal to gamers, but in fact, they were bypassing the avid gamer crowd altogether. They went after everyone else.
Hence, don't misunderstand this article. That was a genius move on the part of Nintendo, and all the more impressive considering that "everyone else" typically associates the word "Nintendo" with video games. Don't we all have parents who used to call all our game consoles "Nintendos" even when they weren't? So this legendary company found a way to say, "hey, we've got something for you, too...check it out!" That's an amazing maneuver and I will forever remain in awe of the Wii project. I swear I will. But as a gamer, I don't own a Wii and probably never will, and the same goes for just about everyone else I know. And to drive the point home even further, everyone I know who isn't a gamer...owns a Wii. Get it?
12/23/2008 Ben Dutka