How would you describe the primary Wii owner?


This is how I responded to the same question on Game Theory:

I’d say the “real” Wii audience is made up of the following:

– People who play games for fewer than 5 hours a week total, regardless of genre
– People who play games for fewer than 5 hours per *month* total, regardless of genre
– People who used to like playing games, but feel overwhelmed by the 17 depressable buttons on both PS3 and 360 controllers or don’t care for complex 3D graphics.
– And to a much lesser extent, people who play upwards of 4-5 hours a night (i.e. the ones that eat up anything Nintendo puts in front of them and any high-profile third-party game).

Basically, the “real” Wii audience is made of up people that don’t play games as much as PS3, PC, and Xbox 360 owners. Less engaged gamers exist on those HD systems too, but it’s more disproportionate on Wii.

Agree? Disagree? How would you define Wii’s most popular user?


  1. Sadly, the majority probably fits this mold. I am somewhere in between. I average 2 hours or so on a system whether its Wii/DS/PC. I’d play more but I don’t have the time with work.

    Nintendo found a way to get the systems in people’s homes, but they don’t want to do the advertising to get games in there. Though third parties are much worse. Third parties expect word of mouth to sell their games on Wii, and that is cause for a huge problem.

    The one aspect you did leave out sadly is this: “Wii owners have this stigma that they should only buy first part titles because third party titles are crap.” Unfortunately, most of the best rated games are first party, because third party refuses to put the same time and effort into Wii games as they do PS3/360.

  2. I think there are a lot of users who bought Wii because they like the idea of owning a Wii. What I mean is, they like knowing that they have one, they are hopeful to enjoy playing games that a family can play together or the occasional quick fix of a retro memory. I have a few friends with kids that also own a Wii. Their kids might play it as a family game night sort of thing, but it doesn’t hold the “spend all weekend in the basement” attention span that the more obsessed fans like us remember.

  3. The demographic I’m most familiar with is the group that loves videogames. Period. Most have 360 in addition to the Wii and play both about even. I play the Wii with my wife more often that 360 because she gets to damn competitive with shooters and other HD fare.

  4. You know for a “Nintendo site”, you guys sure do alot of hating on Nintendo, and Nintendo owners lol.

    For one, I own the Nintendo Wii and the Ps3, and I love them both. I don’t get why people and especially online video game article writers, have to make up some kind of divide between owners of the two. Like there is some kind of war between Wii owners and Ps3 owners. A true “gamer” should like all formats, for each brings different experiences, and ways to play games. None are supperior, just different. If all three consoles were the same…it would just suck.

    Secondly, Where did you get your information to make such assumptions of Wii owners? Personally I know when I first got Zelda Twilight Princess, I played that bad boy for 5 to 8 hours daily.

  5. I would completely agree with Dibs. There is way too much of this going on with online publications. I imagine if you went out into the real world outside of the internet you’d find a completely different set of data than you would from the bubble that the internet provides you. It’s not about which system is better. Each system is different and that’s why this generation of video games has been so good. There’s something out there for everyone.

  6. I think a vast segment of Wii owners look at their system as another high-tech gadget they bought to bring the family together or get “fit.” It’s an iPod for their living room. Many of them have probably never removed Wii Sports from the machine.

    If I took a wild guess, I’d put that segment slightly ahead of the next largest: Casual players who enjoy Nintendo’s games, but only buy heavily advertised or instantly recognizable titles like New Super Mario Bros and Mariokart.

    If you look at the sales figures for Super Smash Brothers Brawl, that will probably give you a good look at the actual core “gamer” segment of the Wii owner base: Players who really appreciate the unique fun and polish of Nintendo’s first-party titles, whether they play only Nintendo, or own multiple systems and enjoy the best of all worlds.

    Most players and families probably fall into a combination of those groups. I play it for an hour or two most evenings instead of watching TV, and it’s the only system my family has played as a group. I bought it because I love Nintendo’s first party titles, and–as a bonus–it plays a good-enough port of my favorite third-party series (Rock Band). Lately, it’s proved itself an outstanding conduit for Netflix. All-in-all, I’ve found it to be one heck of a useful little box.

  7. @Dibs

    You’re negatively reading into this. The post made no mention of marginalizing Wii owners who play fewer hours a week than other consoles. In fact, the exact opposite could be mentioned: Perhaps Wii owners are more balanced in their entertainment diet than other console owners.

    Either way, I’m comfortable admitting to tech nerds that I own and play Wii. Are you?

  8. I also agree with Dibs.

    Logically, if Blake’s definition is correct, then it matches the stereotype third parties and major publications.

    However, if this is such a widely known fact and easy to understand, then how come third parties and to a lesser extent fail to cater to said audience? As in, why do their games not sell as well as Nintendo’s? Perhaps analysis of Nintendo game quality and third party game quality (related to Wii efforts) should be analyzed more than what “type” of person plays the Wii. Besides you could say the same thing in relation to DS/PSP, and nobody calls DS owners grandmas and casual gamers (at least not anymore.)

    I thought this crap was over and done with. I never expect it would be Infendo to keep stoking the fire.

  9. @ BB

    I sure am proud to be a Wii owner, there should be no reason not to be. At the same time I am not discrediting PS3 or 360 by saying that. They are all great. I just don’t get why the Wii, or Wii owners are constantly looked upon as inferior. The only reason I can think for this is HD graphics, which have never made a game that much better. Final Fantasy 13 for instance, yes looks amazing, but for game replay, leveling up, abilities, weapons, and for the most part just fun aspects, I would take Final Fantasy 3 for the SNES, or more importantly Final Fantasy 9 for the PS1 ANYDAY! (just my opinion)

  10. Dibs – Look at it this way: The article is not saying gamers who play Wii are inferior. It’s just pointing out that the system has more non-gamer buyers than any other console in game history. That’s why it’s sold so well. That’s the very crowd Sony & Microsoft WISH they could capture. It’s not a bad thing. Nintendo has really changed the industry landscape.

  11. I think probably the main category for Wii user is CHILDREN. Man, they love that thing and play it all the time. Sure adults like it too, but the Wii is perfect for kids.

  12. Not sure if I completely agree. But in much fewer words the target audience is the same as what the NES was. Whatever that is.

  13. AC – I disagree on that point: The NES was marketed squarely at kids on all fronts (though teens and game lovers of all ages bought it) — at least in the U.S. The Wii, from day one, has been after the less-time-for-games working iPod crowd. It’s still marketed that way.

  14. Guess my family and myself are a huge exception. We own three Wii consoles and over 120 games between my brother, my sister and myself, play 10-15 hours a week and usually buy games at launch (1st and 3rd party).

  15. “It’s just pointing out that the system has more non-gamer buyers than any other console in game history. ”

    That’s BS. There were plenty… perhaps the majority, of casual gamers who owned PS2s and PS1s who got into gaming from the side door like through Tony Hawk or Madden. Of course back then that was said to be “game variety,” and 3rd parties didn’t scramble to “type” the PS2 owner like a strange new animal.

    Only when Nintendo is victorious with the DS and then the Wii, is there this need to label and explain “why,” to study and test and experiment on.

    Again, if this is such common knowledge, why have third parties struggled to capitalize on this truth? How come their games, especially the ones “tailor-made for the Wii audience” failed whiled Nintendo’s soared? I heard one EA guy say it was because of the extreme Nintendo loyalist fanbase. Wow. Nearly 80 million casual grandmas and girls who are also hardcore Nintendo fans. That makes perfect sense doesn’t it?

  16. I’m in the first category myself, though not any of the others. Well, there were some weekends where I spent like 20 or 30 hours playing Zelda or Mario (and also Elebits and Mushroom Men, but it seems the third-party games I like most are the ones that don’t do that well…)

  17. I love my Wii but I never have time to play it, but even my DS has not gotten a lot of action lately, just too busy with school.

  18. Go-Getter: It’s not B.S. The Wii really does have far more casual buyers than any other console. And, though I don’t like “labels” either, it works in this case.

    By “Casual Buyers,” I’m not talking about Madden and Tony Hawk players. The Wii casual buyers wouldn’t bother spending one second of time fiddling with those control schemes before going on to something more important in their lives…like jobs, family, etc. I’m talking Wii Sports families. I’m talking about the dozen housewives who were the only ones waiting in line for Wii Fit with me at Target on the game’s launch day. I’m talking about my 50+ year old co-workers who bought it to bowl and do hula hoops. Seriously, at my office alone, I’ve counted 2 dozen co-workers who bought Wii. They’re all over 40, most are female, and most play no other games except Wii Fit and Wii Sports.

    These are people who would never have bought a game machine otherwise. They’re BONUS buyers above and beyond what the system would have sold otherwise. It’s a previously untapped market that Nintendo found first. It’s good news!

    Nintendo knows this. Microsoft and Sony know this and are dressing up their systems in motion control costumes this Holiday Season trying to attract that crowd.

    It’s no reason to get upset: The Wii ALSO has a huge loyal fanbase of game-loving folks of all ages with great taste in entertainment. It’s a reason to be happy: Those casuals have sent Wii sales soaring to unbelievable heights.

    But, y’know, there’s a big reason Metroid Other M isn’t going to sell as many copies as Wii Fit. And it’s not because of reviews.

    And the reason 3rd party casual-aimed games fail is because they suck, and Wii owners–even the casuals–aren’t as stupid as developers think. Carnival Games got away with it because it was early out of the gate. Wii owners learned pretty quick to wait for the heavily-advertised first party titles. And they buy them at Costco.

    Again, sharing your game space with hoards of casuals is nothing to be ashamed of. There’s still quality non-casual games on Wii. It’s still a great machine. And Nintendo’s celebrating all the way to the bank.

    And why are you quoting an EA rep like he’s an unbiased source of accuracy and wisdom? 🙂

    Relax. Casual’s not a 4-letter word, it’s not the only thing Wii’s good for, and we’re all Nintendo fans, here.

  19. Good post Richard. I agree 🙂

  20. The primary Wii owner is parents who have children. Almost all of my friends (who are also parents) have a Wii. Nintendo DS is popular too. They are well known brands.

  21. @Dibs

    “You know for a “Nintendo site”, you guys sure do alot of hating on Nintendo, and Nintendo owners lol.”

    Nah, you should see other Nintendo sites. 😛

    Back on topic:
    I’m one of the odd numbers in the Wii statistics, but for me: the Wii is the perfect console (except it doesn’t have RTS games or enough RPG adventure games… sooo… not too perfect…). I have a balanced taste for all genres and have a love for unique concepts, the Wii’s the perfect fit for me (I like my Elite and PS3 and PC as well, but not love). And when I game on a Wii game that I love, it can last for 28+ hours (usually building up skills in multiplayer games) per gaming session.

    But yes, I agree with your “statistics”.
    The average Wii gamer hardly spends more than 5 hours a week playing it – but that’s a good thing. It shows a healthy lifestyle that they’d rather not game for too long – mentally, socially, and physically healthy. So thank goodness that the Wii’s there. You’ll hardly find a console that delivers short gaming bursts to a public that’s been wanting it for years other than Cellphone Tetris and PC Peggle.

  22. Like an action figure: Always in motion!