Will Sony And Microsoft's Motion Sensing End The Wii's Reign?
After E3, it seemed like everyone wanted to avoid the obvious question, and while I'm well aware of the number of Wii fankids out there, I can't imagine why the question hasn't at least been addressed in some fashion.
Let's face it: the Wii sells on the gimmick alone. It doesn't sell on the strength of its software as that's essentially non-existent (especially in direct comparison to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360), and the bottom line is that it appeals to non-gamers everywhere. The gadget hounds love the thing and senior citizens can go bowling. And I will forever have the utmost respect for Nintendo in producing a machine that ingeniously catered to absolutely everyone who wasn't a hardcore gamer, thereby opening themselves up to a gigantic demographic; i.e., everyone who didn't list "gaming" as their primary hobby. However, after sprinting out to a huge lead, Wii sales have slumped worldwide in 2009 and it's entirely because of what I've been saying all along: without software people want to play, no game console can survive, and consumers are immensely fickle. Yeah, they loved the idea of waving that wand around yesterday but today, they desire something more...and Nintendo ain't givin' it to 'em.
Sony and Microsoft, on the other hand, appear poised to do exactly that. The motion sensing technology for both is awfully impressive and I think we can all agree that it's leaps and bounds beyond the Wii, technologically speaking. Now, considering the almost complete lack of "AAA" software on the Wii and looking down the road, it becomes obvious that besides price, the Wii only has motion sensing going for it. But what happens when consumers can't even look at the Wii and say, "that's the only system I can do this with?" What happens when the best motion sensing experiences can be had on other consoles? I guess the big question is, what would the Wii have left? I have always known that unless Nintendo either produced innovative and top-notch software to go along with the gimmick, or they enhanced the gimmick itself, that the Wii would be little more than a fad. Yes, they've basically stomped the competition already, but with sales falling at a ridiculously rapid rate and Nintendo themselves admitting the health of the Wii is poor, we wonder what may happen in the future...
Seriously, what reason could anyone have for buying a Wii once these motion sensing technologies are available for the PS3 and 360? That it's cheaper? I suppose that would be it, and that might be able to keep things going. But you can't use the "oh, it has family-friendly software" excuse because I can absolutely guarantee that both the PS3 and 360 will have such software for these new technologies. In fact, I dare say many of the first games that support the motion sensing will be accessible and safe for all ages. It may blossom, but the bottom line is that Sony and Microsoft seem to be trying to squeeze out the Wii...and as absurd as that sounds, I'm wondering what can actually stop this from happening. Nintendo needs to do something to counter this, wouldn't you think?
7/19/2009 Ben Dutka