“On paper, the Wii prob­a­bly shouldn’t work as well as it does”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Gaming Reviews -

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.

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