Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 6, 2010

Nintendo cuts its losses on Zelda Wii

I did not look at the news when I posted the previous post. Much Nintendo news from Iwata talking about the DS successor to Zelda Wii being announced to come out in 2010.

In my post last night, I didn’t see anything interesting pre-E3 2010 (that we knew) for Wii with the exception of maybe Monster Hunter Tri (which has potential in the West but is already long out in Japan). Mario Galaxy 2 isn’t going to do anything. Metroid: Other M isn’t going to do anything. And I find I keep railing against Zelda: Wii since it seems as if Nintendo doesn’t know what to do with it. Zelda: Wii was far too much in development for Nintendo to make the game correctly. The success of Mario 5 shows that consumers are responding to a tight old school type gameplay and Zelda has been getting further and further away from that.

I think the Zelda Wii for 2010 is Nintendo’s way of cutting their losses with the game. Zelda Wii is too far along to fix the glaring problems the Zelda franchise has. It is best to get it out now.

Another way to look at it is that Nintendo has no faith in Metroid: Other M and Mario Galaxy 2 to push hardware in 2010. If so, they are right. I always considered Galaxy 2 and Other M to be the wrong types of software. However, they are far better than the User Generated Content games. At worst, apathy will greet Galaxy 2 and Other M. But with the anti-content direction that Nintendo went on, there was a serious backlash. The potential people saw in the Wii just died. I don’t see any other way to explain the sudden turn in their momentum.

Interestingly, I am hearing Nintendo people mention the word “content” alongside the “user experience”. They did not used to do this before.

Iwata is saying there was a downturn in the Wii (no one could deny that) and blamed it on the software at the time. What was that software? It was software of Wii Music, Animal Crossing Wii, and some other games all having the banner of ‘User Generated Content’ with them.

Nintendo has been very quick to rush to the microphone and declare their success this December. They are combating this narrative going around lately that Wii is in decline due to “dah CAS-suals!!!”

Ever since the Wii launched, people have dismissed it as a ‘fad’. They jumped the gun declaring the Wii ‘doomed’ when its sales began to suffer under the User Generated Content direction. So what are the doomsters going to say now that Wii sales are going back up? Apparently, the viral messengers are all just saying that “Nintendo is lazy” for making Mario 5 and are trying to spread that message around. But if Nintendo is so lazy, then why can’t Microsoft and Sony do it? No answer, of course. Making a game like Mario 5 is not easy at all (which is why no one has ever bested the Mario platform games even when Mario games stopped being made for twenty years!). Games are not a graphic display or a programming language. Gaming is more than the sum of its digital parts.

People are making too much emphasis on the DS successor. New hardware comes out when the market demands it. The market currently does not demand it (which Iwata admitted as well). Iwata does not choose the right time to release a new console. Neither does Miyamoto or Reggie or even Michael Pachter. The market does. The Wii is a very unusual console. I think Nintendo needs to prepare for a much longer console life especially in these bad economic times.

I’ve been worried that Nintendo, after digging a hole with the Wii, was planning to dig another hole with another console before filling their previous hole with correct software. Hopefully, we will see more interesting software for the Wii that utilizes the Wii’s strengths (and isn’t a Super Gamecube game).

I’m seeing the move to put out Zelda Wii as Nintendo to cut its losses. Hopefully, Nintendo is itching to looking to make the next Zelda more like what they learned from Mario 5. Not retro or even 2d, but a very tight old school gameplay structure. That is what will sell the game and their console.

Zelda, Mario, and Metroid released all the same year? But these are all very weak games. in terms of momentum building. None of those games are like Mario 5. They are more like Super Gamecube games.

The Nintendo ship seems to be turning and sailing far away from their User Generated Content direction they were on. They also now appear to be dumping the baggage of “Super Gamecube” type games that Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M.

Zelda Wii isn’t being released in 2010. It is being dumped.

I’m glad to see the old ferocious Nintendo returning. It is feeling more and more like November 2006 again.



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