Commonplace criticisms of Wii, Nintendo begin to fade

250_nintendo-mario.jpgRemember that damning New York Times piece about Wii, low attach rates and how the system is anathema to “hardcore gamers?”

It’s been pretty much summarily attacked all week long as an example of poor reporting (believe me, I can relate), but this article from Ars Technica–and a response from VGChartz, from which the NYT compiled its data–pretty much smothered the article’s weakened husk as it slept.

We’ll take the misinformation in chunks. First, the attach rates. Traditionally, the media and the gaming community has associated an attach rate stigma of sorts with the Wii. The NYT article used this as one of the main foundations for its anti-Wii, desperate for controversy piece, but today the source of the information, VGChartz, says the analysis was bunk. Basically, VGChartz calls NYT out for not including Japan or Europe in its analysis. Rookie mistake for a senior publication, but perhaps it was a slow news day and the reporter in question needed to get something filed.

Back to the ars technica article on this point. According to Nintendo’s internal data, each Wii owner has purchased 6.07 games since launch. Ars correctly notes that this is a figure that’s in line with the competition (in fact, it’s one of the few positive notes Microsoft can still claim when spinning quarterly reports). “The US audience is even hungrier for Wii games, as the attach rates for systems in America is 7.48 games per system,” reports ars.

But they’re all Nintendo first party titles, right? Well, you’d be half right if you stormed over the NeoGAF forums to bash the Wii. There are in fact several third party titles that have sold over a million units each. These include several well-known titles, like Guitar Hero III, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, Carnival Games, Rayman Raving Rabbids and Red Steel.

So what’s left? Not much, really, especially with this week’s Majesco revelation. Even Friend Codes appear to have lost a little bit of the black mark that gaming aficionados assigned them early on. As it has always been and always will be, those who are proactive in looking for alternatives, and approach things like Friend Codes as a challenge, and not an excuse to complain, are being rewarded. It would appear as though Friend Code workarounds were always there, but developers and publishers were either too lazy, or too dismissive of the console, to see the forest through the trees. Harmonix, Rock Band, I’m looking at you right now as a poster child for this laziness and carelessness. It’s too bad, because you were first to the party, but today, with the potential for Guitar Hero instruments on the horizon, I am firmly in that camp when it comes time to open the wallet.

Ars technica sums up the non-news regarding Nintendo this week succinctly and with a calming finality, in my opinion. Writes Ben Kuchera, “The arguments against the Wii’s apparent success—that players aren’t using it after it’s purchased, that game sales are low, and that it’s a fad—are starting to ring hollow, and the latest data from Nintendo should go a long way towards silencing the critics. While developers are struggling to understand the Wii, trying to figure out how to deal with its prominence in gaming, or simply slamming it to the press, one thing is apparent: gamers know exactly what to do with the console.”

10 Responses to Commonplace criticisms of Wii, Nintendo begin to fade

  1. It’s nice to see people stepping up to right some blatant wrongs. This is a huge relief to me; I was very confused when I first read that NYT article.

    No one is buying or playing Wii games anymore? Oh no! What have I been buying and playing?! I could swear I had over 20 Wii games in my collection… I must have been mistaken. Thanks for clearing that up, NYT.

  2. AC says:

    you know, theres a lot of people in the industry afraid of change. many of these people fail to acknowledge the success of the wii, the innovation of it, and its contribution to the video game industry. the wii is a great system. though one complaint is that there is a lot of shovelware. but for gamers that know what the good games are, there are quite a few good ones out there, that could only be played with wii’s unique hardware features. also i’m glad theres developers like high voltage that are finally trying to push wii hardware. about damn time that people start to give the wii some respect. to me, i don’t think the wii is a problem, but some people in the industry do, and that is a big problem that will hopefully change with time.

  3. rawktapus says:

    Very cool article, but you forgot my favorite quote:

    “focusing on the NPD’s top-ten list is rather shortsighted when it comes to gauging how games are doing: there is a huge margin between the million sellers on the list and failure.”

    People do this all the time and it really annoys me. Not every title needs to be a megaton blockbuster to be considered a success. Just look at the sales of No More Heroes and Zak and Wiki

  4. DmNt says:

    Here’s a snippet from that Ars Technica article:

    “…nearly every criticism leveled against Nintendo has been answered with cold, hard numbers.”

    In other words, Bob talks to Nintendo: “Hey, Nintendo, your online is complete and utter crap.”

    Nintendo replies: “Well, um, see these sales here clearly prove you wrong Bob.”

    — “But that’s not fixing the online, it’s great you’re doing so well, but your online is still crap.”

    — “I think you’re forgetting to notice how well online Wii games are selling Bob.”

  5. Run line 10 says:

    ARS is a great site and one of the few that actually had white papers technical papers online for any one how wanted to get the most out of different CPUs. They are also one of the first to prove that the PS2 was great at some things but inferior to the other systems technically. They actually did the same with the PS3 and the cell stating that gaming would only use about 30% – 50% of it power because it is indeed powerful yet all of that can not be used for gaming.

    ARS has always been the best source for this type of stuff. They are fans of tech not fan boys period. They are best at tearing hype down with cold hard facts.

    Besides they are all distracted by *GASP* a game they have not played! It got a 10 and they are now playing their favorite game which is be cruel to the fan boy beside you! They are so tied up in the GTA4 battle that Wii bashing will be totaly ignored! GTA4 deciding the next gen is where it’s at!
    Any ways you will find most of these guys playing GTA4 on their PS3s celebrating less pop up( less instead of no pop up) and better color [email protected] While the xbox360 guys will obviously be throwing this game out the window because it is so inferior to the PS3. Yeah right…LOL!

    Why bring that stuff up? Well we all know there is a war going on but there is lots of hype and anti hype flying around that just is not true. When AMD was close to the intel chips performance way back in the day AMD gained market due to price. Would this be the case with the 360? Have people every opted to pay for extra frame rates at a cost of $100-$200 more? Simply put the fanboys are ready for this console war to be over. This has been the worst fighting online in a while. I think it’s burning people out since they are going to such lengths even though it is not making a difference in sales or power shown for their favorite box.

    This was not the case during the PS2 days every one simply hated the GC and MS was still too evil to be trusted.

    You know it just came to me but every thing nintendo is doing is really an effort to keep the fanboys at bay. Since they are the real reason why publisher FEEL that this platform is not for them. When truly real fans of gaming will play a good game not matter where it is even if they have to go to a friends house. This gen has been a great teaching tool for any one really paying attention.

    Along with art history there needs to be some type of game history that lets these two sides really post the facts including why they argued and twisted facts so they simply did not have to feel bad. I’m sure the company execs see and I differently do yet the gamers have been caught up in the whole mess. Seriously this is actually the real reason for most people leaving the game industry.

    Take these guys out and you get nintendo Wii sales and games that have no real category yet people love them. Ars Technica doesn’t seem to be on any ones pay roll since it’s for people who really get paid large sums of money and isn’t for your normal fan boy. Don’t let this be the last article you read by them.

  6. Run line 10 says:

    @DmNt really if you look then you’ll see thats not true ether. Even with lag problems people are playing Brawl and MK seems to be prefect online. And the Wii friend codes has finally been used correctly as a way to actually provide a secure way to log on top a community site and download stuff totally independent of nintendo or any network. Which is actualy what I would like because waiting for a big company to make a solution for 100s of developers is silly in away. Just look at the limitations and price associated with live and the lack of home coming out on time.

    The problems have been fixed and yes they have been answered with cold hard numbers people are online having fun. You just have to look for answers. Of course if your so mad you can’t find them then who’s fault is that? Every since I fixed my router online has been great on the Wii. Online play is not a friendly thing competition wise or tech wise let along Wifi online play.

    I will also point to the fact that every one has said that MK’s online is great and completely improved over smash…. Casuals and hardcore are buying it and people are using all of the controller configs for different edges during time trials.

    Seriously go play a PC or some thing if you must have voice chat or what ever else you need to have fun online. Face it… live is suppose to have the best online “service” and they are predicted to be last… So um I guess that stuff doesn’t really matter huh?

  7. peshue says:

    The NYT fabricating information, that’s not surprising.

  8. Gregory Weagle says:

    Well; I’m certain the hate will decrease among developers since it makes better business sense to develop games on Wii and Nintendo DS (just like a company allowing homosexuals to have jobs in the company and doing business with homosexuals. It just makes business sense.); but I doubt the hate will decrease overall since there will be lots of venom from writers and forum posters. I would call the NYT article a prime example of poisoning the well myself.

    Wii is a passion system and the less neutral ground we see the better off Wii will be. While a lot of the hate is absolutely absurd (One example is a poster on Wired called JMS proclaiming that Wii promotes child rape and perverts. Thankfully; no one else bought that absurd poisoning the well); I welcome it. As long as it is debunked with proper research then Wii will be fine.

  9. used cisco says:

    Peshue is right. This is par for the course for the NYT. They are a HORRIBLE source for factual reporting. Worse that Fox News.

    “People do this all the time and it really annoys me. Not every title needs to be a megaton blockbuster to be considered a success.”

    Well, that is unless you’re publishing games on the PS3 or 360. In those cases, games cost so much to dev that you actually do need a major hit to recoup your investment. Look at all the recent studio closing and reshuffling, none of them have been developers active on the Wii. Sega racing studio made a great racing game but it wasn’t a major hit, now they are history. Fortunately, codemasters took them back. maybe they could make a nice rally game for wii. I would buy it.

  10. All good news which means nothing much to me as an Australian.

    What continues to bother me though are the people that slander the Wii for supposively having a lack of quality titles. Even though I don’t play much of my Wii myself there is definetly a great slew of AAA games including numerous third party inclusions. Still the console could be so much more if developers treated the Wii properly.

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