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Third Party Puzzle

Fri 26 Feb 2010 10:45am GMT / 5:45am EST / 2:45am PST
BusinessPublishing

The idea that third parties can't do well on the Wii is firmly rooted - and completely wrong

If the strength of feeling displayed on games forums and websites is a good measure of consumer sentiment (and I'm not implying even for a second that it actually is), Nintendo is a company in gamers' black books right now. The stunning success of the Wii and the DS in reaching out to new audiences who have never played games before is viewed in the Internet's darkest corners as a betrayal of core gamers, an abandonment of traditional games to be replaced with brightly-coloured, "waggle controlled" abominations.

The reality, of course, is somewhat different. Only this week, Nintendo announced dates for a line-up of Wii titles which should please any long-term fan of the company's output - Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M and Sin & Punishment 2 being key highlights for the hardcore audience. Many of the top sellers on the console are games which appeal broadly to upstream and downstream gamers alike - Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros, Super Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Galaxy all appear in the console's top ten.

Viewed dispassionately, it's hard to see the Wii as the scourge which angry gamers claim it to be. It's unlikely to be the only console that an upstream gamer owns - but as a second machine, sitting alongside an Xbox 360 or a PS3, it's absolutely ideal, while for more casual gamers, young families and so on, it's the ideal machine to sit alone under their TV. Hence, presumably, the machine's sales - which remain almost as high as the 360 and PS3 combined, and almost 20 million units higher than the mighty PS2 was at the same point in its lifespan.

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