The third parties do not understand Wii, but does Nintendo do something to reverse the situation?.
The month of November 2008 will go down in history as the month that Reggie Fils-Aime decided to pull out his hatchet and lop off some heads. At least verbally, of course.
We all remember the poison dart he shot at the third parties by declaring that they did not understand Wii and that its best developments were not on the Nintendo console, that until then I could not congratulate them.
At the time we discussed whether good old Reggie was right or wrong, we shuffled various points of view, that of Nintendo, which Reggie himself defends in an obviously interested way and even that of some developers, who could if they wanted to argue a lack of help from the Japanese multinational. But it has not been until now, when someone has dared to raise your voice against what the head of Nintendo America thinks.
He has been in his country and more specifically a columnist specializing in video games for the newspaper Dallas Morning News, Victor Godinez. Of course, let’s keep his opinion in quotes, that despite not being a heavyweight in the industry, he does point out interesting things.
“Nintendo also bears responsibility for the current situation. The Wii is the least powerful of the three next-gen consoles and you simply can’t “duplicate” a “high-end” Xbox 360 or PS3 title on it.” ”’Dead Rising” for Xbox 360, for example, was fun and unbelievable in part because there were usually hundreds of zombies on screen at once, each one trying to eat your brain. The Wii version, despite being in development, is limited to a dozen zombies on screen, which makes the title quite meaningless.” “But it was Nintendo itself that chose the path of the less powerful console, with low-cost hardware, And a side effect of that decision is that some games just can’t exist on it.” “So even though many developers have to do more, Nintendo hasn’t done them many favors.”
We might agree with him, or even totally disagree. As there will always be those who think that the Wii hardware is powerful enough to do better things than what we see today and that the Wiimote should be explored more and better, and others instead will see in that reason the main handicap why the console does not enjoy more hardcore games.
But the last pearl of Mr. Godinez is the one that takes the cake of misfortune, without a doubt.
“I think a lot of game makers came into the industry wanting to make the next ‘Doom,’ ‘Halo,’ or ‘Command & Conquer,’ and not the next video game adaptation of ‘Hannah Montana’. So the best creators migrate to consoles that seem to specialize in the games they like.”
How to take this? Let’s use Godinez’s column to try to think about the current situation and how Nintendo could help turn it around.
It seems obvious that the big studios will always pay more attention to the cutting-edge consoles at a technological level. It’s not that the latest works from Bethesda, Kojima or Epic are selling poorly, precisely. And for people who always want to go further, program the best AI or the most realistic graphics, the choice is obvious.
That’s why Reggie’s words don’t make much sense. You can’t ask leading studios to develop their best works on Wii, because it’s simply not the soccer field they like to play on. Now, where could the Nintendo console take advantage of and acquire a huge number of titles?
Do you know how many small development studios would be dying to put out a Wii title? There are thousands of great development teams, and small format, that would bet on the Nintendo console to release their games. Perhaps we are not talking about “megamacro productions”, but we are talking about a lot of people with innovative and fun ideas to whom implementing enemies that “can suffer, cry, insult you or set traps for you” does not keep them awake at night, instead using the Wii remote funny way yes.
Nintendo should support these studios, open up its platform more, facilitate development kits in a more efficient way, create an open channel (Wiiware takes that path) where it can upload games made by small studios, capable of giving new energy to the platform.
It will be interesting to closely follow the life cycle of the Wii, what plans does Nintendo have prepared for it? Making it the preferred console for the development of less powerful studios could be an option, but I’m sure Reggie already knows of other plans…