Friday, September 24, 2010

Nintendo Unveiles a Wii Remote Plus That Will Never Be Used

Yes, it's nice that the doomed-to-obscurity Flingsmash will be graced by the new Wii Remote Plus - which integrates the Motion Plus accessory into the standard controller - and that can only be a good thing.  I'm looking forward to this game because it promises to be everything the Wii badly needs - a multiplayer, motion-controlled arcade game.  That said, today's announcement (in truth a goof by Gamestop) only leaves me feeling frustrated.

The Nintendo Wii is hurting in global sales for one key reason - Nintendo simply cannot be bothered to make games for the damned thing.  I remember something Shigeru Miyamoto said when Wii Music arrived at the end of 2008.  He said that the company had finally achieved all its goals; that is to say, they had made all the Wii motion-control games they originally envisioned, mission accomplished.  In other words, Nintendo made their four Wii Series games, and now they're done.  It's time to move on to the next gadget.

Now we are coming into the final week of September, 2010.  To date, Nintendo has released exactly four games for the Wii.  Just four.  All were sequels, only one was a moderate hit, and none fulfilled the promise of motion control games ala Wii Sports or Wii Play.  And nothing whatsoever for the Motion Plus.

Yes, we are coming into the all-important 4th Quarter of the year, where Wii Party, Kirby's Epic Yarn, and Donkey Kong Country Returns are potential blockbusters.  But notice that each of these come from outside developers.  Among Nintendo's internal studios, only one title remains - Zelda: Skyward Sword.  After that...???

I really have the sinking feeling that Nintendo is finished with the Wii.  The conventional wisdom is that 2010 is the console's final year, and that the Wii 2 (whatever it's called) will be revealed sometime next year.  Of course, a "Wii HD" would violate and contradict everything in Nintendo's strategy since 2004, but who can say at this point?  They're not making any games, and they're not supporting a console that has sold over 75 million units.  Why is this?  Who is responsible?  What's the plan?  If these questions are not asked by journalists, then they will be asked by investors and stockholders.

What's the point in a Wii Remote Plus?  Nintendo could care less about the Motion Plus.  If they did care, they would have bothered to make some games that require its use.  They would have bothered to follow through on their promise of motion controls, the kind of motions and ideas expressed in Wii Sports Resort.  Hell, they would have bothered to do something, anything.  Instead, where the M+ is concerned, Nintendo has done absolutely nothing.

I've seen stronger first-party support from Atari Corp when they were dying.  Nintendo has, thus far, utterly failed to take any meaningful action or offer any significant level of support for their Wii console since its momentum collapsed at the end of 2008.  Thank goodness for Super Mario Bros 5, is all I can say.  If it wasn't for 2D Mario and Wii Sports Resort, the Wii would be dead and buried.

Do you think we're ever going to see another 2D Super Mario or another Wii Sports Resort?  Fat chance.  You'll see another Wii Music before that ever happens.

Alright, that's enough of my cranky, "Grampa Simpson" rant.  Everybody go play outside for a while and get some sunshine.


Rebecca Gunn said...

Nintendo tend to have some fallow moments with their systems. N64 had a bit of a break in the middle of it's lifetime with a bunch of big hitters released in the last 2 years of the system.

After Ocarina of Time & Mario Kart there was a large break before Kirby 64, Smash Bros and Paper Mario. Gamecube had a bit of a break between the inital big hitters on the system (Pikmin, Mario Sunshine, Windwaker) and the later big releases (MK: Double Dash, Pikmin 2, Twilight Princess)

I think personally DKC and Kirby should of come sooner than they have, but they are welcome additions all the same. Nintendo tends to do a lot to support their system because they haven't quite got the 3rd party support the other 2 have. Microsoft just buys everyone and Sony tends to lay back and let everyone else do the work for them (GT5 has taken how long to produce?). So when they do take a break, it's more noticable for them. They can get away with it on DS much better for that reason ;P

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Excellent point, Rebecca. Thanks a lot for dropping by and sharing comments. This was a post that I was trying to write this morning over the daily latte, and for whatever reason, I'm in a cranky mood. My complaints about Nintendo have been brewing in my head for a while, so I had to get it all out.

That said, I do hope you're right, and I especially hope that Nintendo doesn't abandon the Wii anytime soon. At my age (37), I'm so tired of having to buy new videogame machines every four years. We have more than enough toys to play with by now, right?

Thanks a lot for writing, again.