BusinessWeek: Wii will win; control and development costs seal it


Today BusinessWeek won a new subscriber, me. Their recap of what’s coming down the pipeline from Nintendo in the coming months is well-written, factual and above all, says this:

“The battle of the gaming consoles will commence in November, when Nintendo launches the Wii and Sony its PlayStation 3. The contest will pit two competing ideas about the future of the $30 billion video game market against each other. But industry execs and analysts are already calling a winner: Nintendo’s Wii (pronounced Wee).”

But it doesn’t end there. The article by Kenji Hall also delves deep into the bowels of Nintendo’s development process (Iwata: The new console must be able to play every Nintendo game made over the past two decades), and that fateful day in late 2005 when Sega was given a secretive sneak peak of the system — and then immediately signed up for a Sonic and a Monkey Ball title. Ubisoft followed, and actually built walls in its France studio to keep things quiet.

“Says Xavier Poix, head of Ubisoft’s Paris and Montpellier studios, ‘In our Paris studio, Ubisoft built new walls.’ None of the developers seemed to mind that the Wii was no supercomputer. In fact, that made it cheaper to program games for the console. ‘It’s not unusual for games to have $15 to $20 million development budgets,’ says Sega’s Simon Jeffrey. ‘The Wii’s games cost less than half that.”

The article concludes with the obvious; that the Wii will probably not woo the hardcore gamers away from Xbox 360’s Live service, or from PS3’s hardware specs and horsepower. That’s fine by me, because that’s been Nintendo’s plan all along.


  1. You’d be surprised at how many “hardcore” gamers are turning their heads, though. But I will say any faithfuls to a particular company will probably not even try Wii, which would certainly be a shame.

    Still, the consumers are the target this time around. I just hope Nintendo can keep up with the hardcore Nintendo fans (like myself) and have a steady stream of fun games coming out.

  2. Andrew G does have a point. Sadly, no matter how good Wii is and how much support it gets, even if it’s the only one that gets support, some Sony and/or Xbox fanboys will likely not even give Wii a chance.

    However, if the Blue Ocean strategy does work out like how Nintendo plans it, and Wii is chosen as the 2nd console to get (seeing as how 360 and PS3 are basically the same thing), Wii could possibly pull it off and get, at least, 2nd place this time around.

    A Nintendo loyalist, like myself, will get Wii first and maybe will be my only console that I get this time around like a couple of other loyalists and, or course, fanboys. Yet, I just think that even some Nintendo fans may not try Wii until they are for sure that it’s going to be a good Nintendo console.

  3. With DS, they’ve been able to do some pretty amazing and fun things. I’m not much of a handheld gamer and I even spent the money to get one. So we know the touch screen isn’t a fad. (Well, not that whether or not I play something validates it, just saying…)

    But I do worry about the Wiimote. Iv’e said previously (way back on some other post probably by Jack) that not everyone is going to “get” it, even some hardcore loyalists and fanboys. And it’s so easy to turn into a fad. The thing that worries me is developers are going to start doing the same things over and over and over again, and not be able to think of anything new to do with the Wiimote. I mean, I know it’s a practical well of ideas. But are developers and creators going to be able to drawl its true potential beyond a first impression? Better yet, will they be able to make a good first impression at all?

    Then again, the touch screen was also something that could be easily converted into a fad, but look at the numbers.

    But, I’m a Blue Ocean advocate. I like it. I think it’s going to be successful. But I’m not the almighty, all-knowing gamer.

  4. Nintendo needs to do more to court the “garage” developers. Business Week completely overlooked Microsoft’s XNA initiative in their analysis of development costs. They should open up the Virtual Console aspect of the Wii to small developers so they can market their wares.

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