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Wii success to bring publishers pain?

Filed under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii
Posted by Allison on July 26, 2006 9:21 AM
Comments (0) |

According to the investing publication The Street.com, jaded gamers were not the only people who were shocked by Nintendo's Wii performance at E3 2006. Several game publishers were also floored by the new Wii-mote control system and how the audience embraced it. However, unlike the jaded gamers who can simply admit to their premature predictions and enjoy what's to come, game publishers are expected to suffer, particularly this holiday season.

Nintendo's new Wii console, with a $200 - $250 price tag and no predicted manufacturing problems, is now expected to win the console wars of Holiday 2006. Since consoles and games go hand in hand, those game publishers who missed the boat early on will not reap the rewards of the Wii's early days. However, those who jumped in the boat, or, perhaps, those who got a better view of the boat before jumping in, will revel in Nintendo's success.

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Of course, Nintendo, itself, is one of these publishers, and its "Zelda" and "Metroid" titles will surely rake in money this holiday season. Ubisoft, one of my favorite publishers, understood the Wii concept early on, and will be rewarded by Wii gamers who purchase "Red Steel" and "Rayman's Raving Rabbids". Long time Nintendo friend, Square Enix, will share in the Nintendo love with "Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors". And Sega, a former competitor, will be reap its just rewards with "Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz".

More launch titles are expected to be confirmed by other publishers, but we predict these six to be the immediate "go to" Wii games this Christmas. But, what happens to these publishers after Christmas?

The Age.com also picked up on this article from The Street, and make the point that success for Nintendo, a company known for extreme secrecy, isn't necessarily good for today's publishers, who like to pump out games at lightning fast speeds. These same publishers have had problems with Nintendo in the past, and most attribute the early demise of the Gamecube on its lack of third-party support.

With that being said, it was made clear in The Street article that publishers who were taken by surprise by the Wii at E3 are excited about the potential in the new console and are currently working hard on new titles. Apparently, the desire to make games that sell and continue to sell outweighs their desire to quickly publish any and everything they can get their hands on. So, ultimately, third-party support for the Wiiwill depend on whether or not gamers buy the first round of games produced by these publishers. The slate is clean. The game is on.

And let us not forget, Xbox 360 will have a decent showing this Christmas, with the largest installed base of any console in this cycle. As for the PS3? Well, call me a jaded gamer, but I don't have high hopes for the console at launch. In fact, with its high price tag , expected manufacturing problems and lack of exciting exclusive titles, I expect developers to turn their attention to the Xbox 360 and the Wii.






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