Hey Nintendo, Why Aren't Core Third Party Games Selling?

Illustration for article titled Hey Nintendo, Why Arent Core Third Party Games Selling?

Third party Wii titles like MadWorld and The Conduit are aimed towards core gamers. And...they're not selling so hot. Why the heck not? Tons of people own Nintendo Wii consoles.

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According to Nintendo's Denise Kaigler, "You know, I don't know. It's hard to say. It could be titles have the same type of sales curve that a lot of Nintendo titles have. A lot of Nintendo titles don't follow that traditional sales curve where they launch big and then that's it. Our titles have a long tail. They build in popularity, and this could be the case with MadWorld and The Conduit. I've played both. I'm not a core gamer, and I found that they were challenging and fun."

In its first month on sale, action title MadWorld sold around 66,000 copies. Meanwhile, first-person-shooter The Conduit sold 72,000 copies from its June 23 launch to the end of the June sales period.

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Thoughts?

Q&A: Nintendo's Kaigler on Slowing Wii Sales, Hardcore Games [GameLife via CVG via VG247]

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DISCUSSION

The tough thing is that these developers see games like Madworld and the Conduit as "core games for the Wii-owner," when in fact most of the Wii-owners who principally play more mature games own one of the powerhouse consoles as well. In such a situation, graphics become a big factor for most of these people. The fact that Wii lacks HD support hurts it, and the only way to overcome that kind of gap with a game is to make everything else in it awesome. Like, realllly awesome. It's a hard battle to begin with.

That battle's being fought and lost so far, and many attempts to bring 'mature' titles onto the Wii often come off as overcompensating blood-fests ("Hey, Wii can dismember too!") or neutered imitations of what's offered on the power consoles, doomed to be considered "good—for the Wii." And I don't think motion controls do anything to bring in those core people in either.

Marketing is tough too. Nintendo has it easier for their titles because, in addition to their quality, they have history to back up any new game in any of its great franchises whenever it releases. Everyone waits for them. Casual players are also more likely to buy, since those names are ones they've heard— and there will be no shortage of people talking about them.

New properties have to try much harder. It's hard to communicate the full charm of De Blob in any commercial, magazine or online ad. And in the case of games like the Conduit which have competing titles on the power consoles— the graphics/online functions are damning. I'm not saying that the third-parties are doing the best they can with marketing, 'cause they're not— but it does cost lots of money to get the hype high enough.

And then the game has to rock.