“On paper, the Wii probably shouldn’t work as well as it does”
the Gamecube. Viewed sceptically by gamers and media, the Wii has carved out a niche by encouraging casual new players into a market they would never have ventured into before.
On paper, it probably shouldn’t work as well as it does. The console is behind rivals Sony and Microsoft when it comes to graphics and power. But instead of pushing for more lifelike graphics, Nintendo has concentrated on family-friendly aspects. And while it was a gamble, it’s certainly paid off.
Perhaps it’s in part to do with price. At a time when the PS3 was upwards of ¤500, you could buy a Wii for the same price as an Xbox 360. The result was sell-outs and shortages of Nintendo’s new console in stores after its launch, and particularly in the run-up to Christmas.
Nintendo has definitely succeeded in making games that are fun and hugely addictive. Take its Mario titles, which are a staple part of the games industry, whether it’s the hand-held version of Super Mario Bros or his more recent incarnation on the Wii. The game has translated well from Game Boy and GameCube to DS and Wii, moving with the hardware.
Of course, one major factor in the Wii’s popularity is its innovative control system. The motion-sensitive controllers were a novelty when first released, and gave the console an edge over its rivals in the fun stakes.
Now, with Sony Move and Xbox’s Kinect controllers eager to lure away some of Nintendo’s more casual converts, the market is about to get a lot more competitive. And with 3D making a big splash, Nintendo’s own take on it could help further boost the process. The Nintendo 3DS dispenses with the need for glasses to experience 3D gaming, something that Sony and Microsoft haven’t yet cracked.
With Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 Slim console making an impact on sales, the Christmas season should give a better indication of where Nintendo stands in overall console market.