Nintendo not worried about poor Wii Music sales

Sales projections for Nintendo’s winter “smash hit” title Wii Music, fell short of intended data expected to be as great as Wii Fit’s first month (650,000+). October yielded a meager 60,000 copies in the United States since Wii Music’s launch. Nintendo vice president of marketing, Cammie Dunaway expressed the company’s reaction to the incoming numbers…

“We’re predicting that it’s going to be an evergreen title. And if you look at titles like ‘Brain Age,’ it’s about the same as what ‘Brain Age’ did during it’s first few weeks and went on to sell 2.5 million copies. ‘Wii Fit’ certainly had a larger launch than that. But I think that people are starting to understand ‘Wii Music.’”…

…“People have a box in their head of what music genre games are all about,” Dunaway said. “And we’re doing something that is a complete departure from that. As people start to experience that and tell other people about it, I have no doubt that ‘Wii Music’ is going to be a long-selling, top-selling game for us.”…

Nintendo, there comes a point when trying to “change” the way a genre is played should be left alone. Sometimes there is no need for a massive “Miyamoto-effect”. Innovation in how we play and think games worked great for general gaming (Wii Sports) and active gaming (Wii Fit), but the music-rhythm genre isn’t at a point where we need a massive revolution. RockBand and Guitar Hero might be cementing a music-rhythm cliché, but we aren’t quite to that point of “just another music game”.

I honestly don’t see Wii Music becoming a sales staple in the “Wii line” unlike other titles. Yes, granny and little Jimmy will move some units this Christmas, but can this really hold up to be the next “Brain Age” in sales? What do you think? Comment below



  1. hmm im not sure but i kno its on my xmas list as well as a ton of other games i still havent had a chance to pick up

    on a side note WOOOO ITS 2AM IN THE MORNING HERE

  2. I’ll eventually get it, it’s not a pressing urgent matter that I go and get a tech demo.

  3. A month later and my store still has the original launch shipment in stock, unopened (except for display copies.) I think we’ve only sold 1 or 2. I don’t think it will do as well as the Brain Age games; it doesn’t have that “EXERCISE! (YOUR BRAIN!)” marketability/word of mouth that Wii Sports/Fit/ Brain Age does.

  4. I think even Nintendo knows it sucks, but of course they can’t admit to it.

  5. everybody is tools. this game will sell over the holiday season. regardless of the economy. Nintendo doesn’t sell games at launch. they sell over years.

  6. I don’t think Nintendo is trying to change the music genre of gaming. After all they are still making millions on the current genre of music games. What they are doing is expanding the music genre. Instead of offering another “simon-says” type of music game (which is what most music games really are), they are giving us a game where you can actually learn more about music, not by simply repeating a bunch of keys on the screen that represent notes, but by going much more in depth into the whole concept of what creating music really is. I think a lot of people are initially unimpressed by WiiMusic because it requires quite a bit of time and work to reap the true benefit of this program.

    I still can’t understand the apathy that is so prevalent on so many gaming sites (including this one) against this game. It’s not like Nintendo is threatening to do away with the popular music games that already exist (again, they are selling more of those music games than anybody else). Just as with so many of their other games, they are simply expanding the market to include newer types of games. Isn’t innovation and creativity to be lauded in a game developer rather than ridiculed?

  7. wii music is definetely not the conventional music game that we would envision. it does take another approach to what a music game can be and does have unique ideas that can be used as a jumping board.

    ive played wii music with some friends, some that are musically inclined and others not so much and its easy to enjoy. it might not have the most depth to it but it has an undeniable fun factor to it when you have a bunch of friends over and you want something a little simpler to have some fun with your casual and hard core gamers.

  8. I think that it’s important to tackle the issue of “just another music game” before it happens by introducing interesting alternatives and variations. However, I think that Nintendo is going about it the wrong way. I’d personally love to see what they would seriously do with the music genre, and Wii Music (being little more than a noise-making toy that happens on screen and, by coincidence, has to be inserted into the Wii’s slot to be played) is clearly not a good example.

    It’s natural for Nintendo execs to cover their hides and tell us white lies and misdirect our attention when all the while, they’re hiding behind their monitors just praying that angry gaming enthusiasts will get together and buy Wii Music for a “game burning” bonfire event. At least that would bump up the sales a bit, right? ;D

    Seriously, though, I don’t think Wii Music really stands a chance. I think most consumers can see beyond the cheap facade and realize that it’s just an unattractive-sounding “alternative” to Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

  9. So they don’t mind it sucked at sales, yet they aren’t willing to bring Disaster to NA? Sigh….

  10. Parents buy a Wii for their kids (and themselves!), find stuff like Wii Music and Samba De Amigo, and money is made.

  11. I’ll cut and paste part of my Infendo backchannel email with Blake on this one. Personally, I don’t think we can judge Wii or DS titles the way we used to judge game sale in the past.

    Email follows…

    That’s actually an interesting point, when you dig in deep. Was Wii Music really a flop?

    Critics’ first thought when they see these numbers this week is to say that Nintendo is selling mucho consoles, but no software. However, if you think more long tail about it, it’s win-win for Nintendo. They win with hardware sales numbers; and they win with software because you have this huge install base buying a wide range of software (and growing, hello 1.5 million [DS and Wii] sold last month!). The bigger the install base, the larger range of tastes. Even a “flop” like Wii Music is actually a “win” because Nintendo didn’t market that game to the entire Wii owner population (it also looked damn cheap to make, btw). This train of thought runs contrary to the conventional wisdom, like on PS3 for example, that says you need to sell a title that appeals to every person who owns that system for it to be a success.

    Wii Music has also only been out a month. You should know better — Wii and DS titles can only seriously be considered “failures” or “successes” once we view their tally over the course of a year! Look at the top 10 this month. Wii Fit? Kart? How the hell are they beating new releases like [LittleBigPlanet]? 😉

    I expect Wii Music will follow the same arc: Strong start, then falls off the top charts, then slowly build momentum again (perhaps during the holiday season). There’s probably a very good reason why Nintendo released that title in the month that they did. If you’re Nintendo today, this is just fine. Their first party titles, as always, remain in the top 10 for months, perhaps even years now. The rest? Well, they hover in the top 25 or 50, but they REMAIN there, again, for months or even years. That’s actually much more money than a solid game like GOW2 could ever hope for, because that game blows its load and then departs.

    Lastly, to finish the earlier point, Nintendo’s 25 million strong Wii base isn’t all going to follow the ball like a toddler’s soccer game (i.e. the latest big blockbuster release), which is kind of how I see software sales going with the 360 and PS3. This point also, again, makes the whole casual vs. hardcore mentality moot. There’s simply no such thing as a “casual gamer” as it’s been defined by the marketers this generation


    Now, if we look at Dunaway’s comments about Wii Music in this context, they make a heck of a lot of sense. Not only does Nintendo make money on its big core titles like Super Mario Galaxy today, they make even MORE money on these “evergreeen” titles over a year or two years’ time.

  12. Who had these sales expectations anyway? Give me proof that nintendo has large sales expectations.

    Do we even know how many units they shipped for release?
    It was only a few people that thought having Wii in the title would make it sell a million in the month or people who hate the game who want to laugh at it as soon as it didnt hit a million.

    Miyamoto himself has expressed an understanding that the game is hard to market and that the game will have a long sales period.
    Only people looking for trouble are really calling this game a bomb. Its a niche product. I mean, nintendo would love it if as many people wanted to love to create music as want to lose weight but thats just not the case.
    Even a tiny percentage of GH or RB users know how to or care to learn how to play an instrument. Hopefully they can sell people on an interest in music creation, but its not unexpected that it takes time.

  13. I completely agree with Joshdad. “Isn’t innovation and creativity to be lauded in a game developer rather than ridiculed?” Of course it is.

    We have to try new things, sometimes we will end up with great new games, sometimes not so great, but that’s the nature of trying. I’m someone that believes that the best game genres are still to be discovered.

    Anyway, everytime I’m less and less inclined to pay $50 for Wii Music, maybe a price drop will help here.

  14. My two kids, 8 and 6, love this game, and asked for it specifically before it was released. They’re exactly who it was made for, and it’s fun to watch them play it together and even take a turn myself now and then. Dunaway’s take on it seems right on point.

  15. they’re probably right. its going to keep selling over a longer period of time. and in due time, its going to be a best seller. i think the ideas in the game are very good. its just too bad there is no downloadable content, and there aren’t more contemporary tracks. otherwise, i think its a brilliant game with a lot of good ideas. it really is a different feel for the music genre, and in many ways feels much more creative then the other games. no doubt there are going to be wii music clones coming. but that may be a good thing. if another dev, can take these ideas and come up with a better tracklist, then i’m all for it. if you’re the type of person, that needs direction in a game, then you probably will find that this game has little direction, and very little value to you. on the other hand, if your personality is that you dislike clear cut direction and prefer to explore and experiment, you will find value in your time experimenting in the game. it all depends on the type of player. although there are no scores in the game, one can really tell if you played well or not, just by watching their music videos. it really is night and day, with someone skilled, and not skilled. one can definitely be very proud of their music video if done well. and that is another element in the game that cannot be found in other music games.

  16. bottom line: the improvisation in the game, and the fact that you can make your own unique music videos is what sets this game apart. another point is, is if we’ve learned anything about wii and DS software, is longevity. case and point, ‘wii play’. how the hell is that game still selling? wii fit, carnival games. these may not be the best games, or examples, but people enjoy them and find value in them. another example, not so much in sales, but in replay factor, wii sports. i can still pop that game in and play with friends today. its unbelievable that one can still have fun with that game. nowadays nintendo is programming games for replay factor. hence the longevity in sales. wii music appears to be another one of those games. its replay factor is amazing.

  17. Some of the people posting comments here should be politicians. They move the goalposts better than the real ones do.

  18. Can be stop beating this horse until say… 6 months from now? Just let it be and let it grow or die, THEN we can say if this really was a flop or truly another case of the truly casual getting it and enjoying it as opposed to the jaded and hardcore.

    Joshdad, I agree with you completely and don’t understand all this apathy as if Wii music was some sort of attack on them.

    Is it the fact that it’s a Miyamoto title that has caused all this uproar? Is it because it carries the “Wii” title? What exactly is it that makes Wii Music and it’s gameplay/success/failure such a big deal to everyone?

  19. “Some of the people posting comments here should be politicians. They move the goalposts better than the real ones do.”

    No, they just actually realise the facts and figures – even Cammie pointed this out. Brain Age has doe over 6 mill I think worldwide, and as noted, it had a similar start.

  20. And those facts and figures don’t speak to WiiMusic at all. Could it be an evergreen title? Sure. But that’s not what the sycophants were predicting. They were dropping big numbers to kick off sales, not the mediocre ones that have been posted thus far. That’s moving the goalposts.

  21. People love Karaoke [GH/RB]; they do not like pretentious rubbish about “learning” music.

    Wii Music = FAIL!

  22. Hopefully they see this as a slap in the face that we demand real games.

  23. @M.I.S

    A couple of years ago, your post could have just as easily have read:

    “people love entertainment; they do not like pretentious rubbish about “learning” games.

    Brainage = fail”


    “People love sports game, they do not like pretentious rubbish about “fitness” games.

    WiiFit = fail”

    Thankfully Nintendo doesn’t listen to people who can’t seem to look outside the box. In fact the whole concept of the Wii is very similar to games like brainage, wiifit and Wiimusic. They weren’t content to just give us more of the same, so they did something different, and guess what – it’s a huge success.

  24. Joshdad –

    Brain Age could be said to come under the entertainment rubric of quiz games – for which there has always been a market.

    Wii Fit is a mixture of information / entertainment, you’re not really learning anything.

    Wii music debuted outside the Top Ten in the last two weeks in Japanese Media Create sales.

    Not a “huge success” then.

  25. Brainage is not designed for entertainment, it’s a pure learning experience (that Nintendo has made fun anyway). As for the market for quiz games, name me another game of this sort that has so dominated the market. Before BrainAge this kind of game was reserved for a very, very small share of PC users who didn’t care much about video games. Now, thanks to the success of BrainAge, this kind of game has become very popular.

    Wiifit is not like anything other sport game that has come before it, it is a fitness game that Nintendo has found a way to make fun. I would also disagree with you about not learning anything from Wiifit. My kids, for example, have learned quite a bit about the importance of stretching, and fitness just by playing this game. Again, Nintendo has broken all the traditional rules of gaming by making a game that is hard work and exercise, and turning it into a hit that everyone wants to play.

    Wiimusic is not like any other popular music game (apparently there is something similar for the DS), but once again, Nintendo has found a way to make it fun. Yes, it requires work and patience, but just like Brainage and Wiifit before it, people are going to see the benefit of investing time and effort in order to reap the benefits of this game.

    All three of these games are way outside the box of normal video games, in that they require actual work and effort to achieve your goal. Games like Guitar Hero aren’t meant to teach you anything. You see an image and you copy it. Games like Wiifit and Wiimusic aren’t content with that kind of gameplay. They are designed to inspire you to go beyond, to push yourself whether physically or creatively.

    You cannot condemn Wiimusic as a failure because it is different than Guitar Hero or whatnot any more than you can condemn Wiifit as a failure because it’s not Madden 09.

    The only basis you have for saying that Wiimusic is a failure is because sales have been slower than many expected. On that basis alone you might as well lump in the majority of other games. Not too many games come out of the gate selling like crazy. Nintendo has proven time and time again that their games sell over the long run. Sure there are some games like Wiifit that sell like crazy right away, but that is the exception, not the rule.
    Let’s wait a year and see how Wiimusic does. If it hasn’t sold it’s millions of copies or whatnot by then, go ahead and call it a failure, but I think you are going to see that as more people experience Wiimusic for what it is (and not for what it isn’t), it is going to be one of Nintendo’s solid hits.

  26. i think it will keep selling, though i’m still hoping to see strong sales for christmas. and that season really starts in a couple weeks, so we’re still ok. it’s hard to judge new games launched in the calm before the storm.

    i do worry that the casual gamer’s purchases are not as recession proof as the traditional gamer mkt. but i could see games being an entertainment substitute for other goods/services in a recession too. so the dominant force remains ambiguous.

    (i think the slow burn of many casual games is pretty great proof of the casual game mkt’s existence and the money it wants to spend. it just doesn’t get hyped up over gottahavenow releases the way the traditional mkt does.)

  27. oh, also it’s a shame wiimusic kinda sucks and is aimed at kiddies. imo.

    kiddies + nongaming parents, the mkt of other new ninny IPs, is really much better.

    also, wii music vs guitar hero? hmmmmm…

    pity the poor sap who gets wiimusic cause his parents were too cheap to pick up the $100 rock band.

  28. i hav it on my christmas list….. and i have played it (rented it) it’s kinda fun but if u play it alot it starts to get boring fast. theres only three games on it and five songs in each game. and the lessons are sometimes hard. the free jam gets boring fast to. but if u like music i would tell u to get it. but dont get it in the store get it on ebay or somethin. dont pay fill price (not worth it)

  29. Wii Music is a learning experience, and I’m sure it’s fun for certain people. But videogames are meant for having lots of fun, not learning. I think they should have released this as a separate system, so people can get this game for the learning experience without having to get a Wii that has a bunch of actual games on it that they don’t want. Wii Music is not a game, and it doesn’t belong on a video[b]game[/b] console.

  30. Darn, the bold doesn’t work here.

  31. Click on the link for an Amazon buyer “review” (awarded 3/5 stars).

  32. On-Topic:
    I tried WiiMusic at a friends house and we ended up playing for about 3 hours, it’s pretty fun once you get into it.

    Off-Topic :
    Has anyone tried the Left 4 Dead demo?

  33. I’ve played the L4D demo a couple days ago, twice through. Highly polished and accessible, but pretty boring and sterile. A few interesting mechanics thrown in to push the teamwork angle, but they don’t really make the team feel cohesive, they just get annoying when one of your teammates fails to save you. Not really Valve’s best effort in my opinion. As soon as I picked up Valkyria Chronicles, I haven’t played anything else pretty much, after finishing Fallout 3 and Order of Ecclesia, so L4D has been nothing but an afterthought for me since.

  34. I want to try Wii Music. Some of the demonstrations Nintendo did were awesome.

    offtopic:The PC Left4Dead demo has been consuming all my free time for the past several days. Definitely worth a try.

  35. I played Wii Music for almost an hour last week, and personally I think it really, REALLY sucks. I kept playing hoping for something to like and it never came. It was as awful as that stupid E3 demonstration Nintendo did.

    I have played the L4D demo. It’s fun but I’m not sure it’s something I’d buy at launch. Maybe after a price drop.

  36. In a few months, I think there will be a (sorta) huge critical turnaround where people will give Wii Music a second chance.

    Everyone I know who has played it loved it and it is more polished in audio, graphics technology, and loading/streaming data than most any Wii game out there.

  37. Andrew G said:

    “I think most consumers can see beyond the cheap facade and realize that it’s just an unattractive-sounding “alternative” to Guitar Hero and Rock Band.”

    I wish people would stop the Guitar Hero/Rock Band comparisons. If you’re not interested in Wii Music, then fine but comparing it to those two games, when it isn’t even TRYING to do the same thing, is silly.

    People act as if Guitar Hero and Rock Band invented the music genre and are the only two music-based games that are allowed to exist.

  38. I work at block buster. We have NEVER sold a single copy of Wii Music. In fact our manager said that the first person who sells a copy of Wii Music get’s a bonus. Well we still haven’t sold a copy.

    I asked a customer who was purchasing a copy of both Rock Band 2 bundle and Guitar Hero World Tour bundle if he wanted a copy of wii music as well. He said “Hell no that game’s not worth the money.” Mind you he was getting both games for the wii.

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