Electronic Entertainment Design and Research Vice President and analyst Jesse Divinch gives us his intake of the new Wii U. For those of you who don’t like long names, it’s shortened to EEDAR. EEDAR is a market research organization founded in 2006. These guys help provide information to the game industry, sales forecasts, and other useful services.
We were all very excited for Nintendo’s Project Café. Every rumor, leak, and tidbit of information was analyzed and brought forward for your speculation. With the Wii U announcement at E3, many people are both excited and cautious of what Nintendo will do with this console. With Operation Rainfall and other disappointments, it’s understandable that many fans feel cheated.
That aside, the question asked of Jesse was this. What will it take for the Wii U to become a commercial success at this stage of the console generation lifecycle?
Divnich: “The Wii offered a completely different style of interactive entertainment versus the traditional consoles, which leads me to consider that the Wii was never a part of the “7th Generation” of consoles. I’d argue that very few consumers ever had to decide between an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Nintendo Wii; rather, it was an HD experience (Xbox 360 or PS3) vs. the Wii. Just looking at the top selling Wii games makes it clear that the Wii truly offered a differential experience, since 90% of those titles can only be experienced on the Wii.
“Now this is not to say that the Wii wasn’t a ‘core’ platform, since any true core gamer owns a Wii in addition to at least one HD console [By which Divnich means to say that most core gamers can admit to enjoying a casual gaming experience, and it’s likely one of the reasons why a lot of traditional gamers own a Wii, but we have to admit the expectation of experience on the Wii is vastly different than what one would expect on the HD consoles.
“I would caution Nintendo to stray from labeling the Wii U as a platform that delivers a core experience as its primary function. It just doesn’t need to compete with the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 when they’ve already carved out a rather large niche market for themselves.
“The problem with the Wii U is that the platform will offer the capability of delivering a traditional HD experience, and it may give publishers an ‘easy out’ from having to create a truly differential experience.”
“My biggest fear is that third-party publishers will simply ‘port’ their PS3 and Xbox 360 library over to the Wii U, while adding minimal unique features to the Wii U version. Simply put, I don’t think the core community will fall for it and no one can honestly say they would purchase Assassin’s Creed III for the Wii U, when they’ve already built a strong loyalty to the series on another platform. If someone told me they own every console and have purchased every Assassin’s Creed iteration, I can bet with a high degree of certainty they likely own all iterations for the same console.
“Third-party publishers underperformed on the Wii and it took them years to finally figure out that even though the vast majority of the core community owned a Wii, we didn’t want a traditional core experience. The divergence in the technology created this disparity in desired experiences. The same is true for the iPhone.
“Our data shows that over 55% of Xbox 360 consumers who play more than 10 hours a week of core gaming are also engaged in the mobile markets, yet when we look at the top-selling iOS titles, they are all casual or bite-sized experiences that would only be enjoyable on the iOS devices due to the specific technology inherent to the platform (touch screen, etc.).”
“The idea that the ‘core’ or ‘casual’ classification of a gamer is static is ridiculous. When I go to the theater, the movie I watch depends entirely on the experience I am looking to enjoy. If I am with a group of guys, we want to see something with high octane action; when I am with my wife, a romantic comedy. I believe consumers act similarly with video games.
“I am not suggesting that core ports to the Wii U will be unprofitable since the costs of porting, plus minimal Wii U integration, is likely minimal; however, what I am suggesting is that core ports have minimal reward and with our industry being risk adverse, I fear that publishers would rather make a sure penny over a potential dollar. Two years from now, when we look at the top 25 best-selling Wii U titles, I have no doubt that 90% of them will be unique in some fashion to the Wii U.
“The Wii U will be a successful platform. The question remains, however, aside from Nintendo, who else will be rolling in the profits? My guess, the ones that take full advantage of the differentiating Wii U technology.”
Jesse’s definition of casual and core gamers is of course, his own. I consider myself a core gamer, and I have a Wii in my house as well as a 360 and PS3. I don’t really believe what sort of consoles or types of video games I play define what kind of gamer I am. I play rpg as well as fps, and just about anything that entertains me. Every gamer has different gaming preferences, but at least everyone here is a Zelda fan.
Many of my concerns on the Wii U are mentioned by Jesse. I don’t just want a port of my Xbox games for my Nintendo Wii U. It has a new controller that can be used in a unique way, and I want to see it used to its full potential. This mysterious online system is still in the dark, but I really do hope Nintendo doesn’t let their loyal fans down again.
Like always, feel free to comment about Jesse’s intake of the new system.