The next generation game console war continues to be a bloody one. One army has emerged with lots of victories, another has held its own but the army with the most victories in the last war has been beaten badly and may not have any major victories until the fall months. Over three months ago we posted up our first report from the front lines and gave some advice to Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo for how they can get the upper hand. Now that the war is six months old now we take another look at the ongoing war effort
Wii Battle Report
The Wii may be hard to find in stores but that hasn't stopped the console from still becoming the hottest home electronics product since Apple's original iPod. Whenever a retail store like Best Buy or Circuit City advertise in their Sunday papers about having Wii consoles on sale, the lines of people tend to be massive as they wait for the doors to open. It's clear that if Nintendo had more Wii consoles to sell they would quickly vanish from shelves.
It's clear that consumers want something that's both cheap ($250) and fun to play and the Wii delivers on that promise with its Wiimote controller and its emphasis on easy to play games. One of the best selling games for the Wii continues to be WiiPlay, which combines a new Wiimote with quick mini-games akin to the Wii's included game title Wii Sports. Nintendo also uses its Mario franchise well; its Super Paper Mario game has been a big best seller and the Mario Party 8 game will likely also be a big selling when it is released in late May. In June, the Wii will bring its first online title to the US with Pokemon Battle Revolution. The Pokemon name should be enough to bring in gamers but we will have to wait and see if Nintendo's online multiplayer for the Wii will be up to snuff.
Despite the huge initial success of the Wii Nintendo doesn't have a free ride to win the console war just yet. Lack of supply continues to be an issue and if it continues into the summer months it could hurt Nintendo as the all important holiday season looms. Uncertainty about Nintendo first party game releases continues and third party publishers still don't seem to have a handle on how to create games for the console. As we go into the summer months we offer some advice to Nintendo to keep its current momentum alive
Solve Wii Supply Problems
We are, quite frankly, wondering why Nintendo doesn't seem able to make more of the console. The hardware isn't exactly state-of-the-art compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360 so making more shouldn't be an issue. Some have even speculated that Nintendo is deliberately trying to keep supple scarce but that doesn't make much sense either. Nintendo needs to fix these supply problems and soon. If they don't have consoles ready to pick up in stores by the start of the holiday buying season in September people who are still waiting to get a new console may turn to the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Make Sure First Party Titles Come Out This Year
The Nintendo fans are waiting for Super Mario Galaxy and hardcore gamers are waiting for Metroid Prime 3. Nintendo has stated that they expect Super Mario Galaxy to be released before the end of the year and today they announced that Metroid Prime 3 will be coming out on August 20.. However, Nintendo does have a tendency to make some unexpected announcements for delays in their games. With games like Halo 3, GTA IV and more coming down the pike Nintendo cannot afford to have nothing less than at least these two major titles in stores this fall.
More Online Multiplayer Gaming Support
The Wii online service certainly has features that make it stand out from the other two consoles; from offering tons of classic games to news and weather support and more. However, we are still waiting for more news on how the console will handle online gaming. According to online rumors third party publishers might have to wait until after the end of the year to offer support for online multiplayer games for the console (Nintendo execs have been quoted as saying that they do expect third party games to offer Wii online multiplayer this year). As multiplayer gaming continues to grow among consumers, Nintendo might have to accelerate their support of these features. Having Wii parties is one thing but not everyone who buys the console will have access to that kind of social scene. Making online multiplayer a priority would seem to be a great way to extend that kind of fan support for the Wii
Offer Original Virtual Console Games
We mentioned this in our last console war report and it bears repeating here. Having access to a bunch of classic games from the NES, SNES, and N64 from your Wii downloadable Virtual Console channel is terrific but quite frankly most of these games show their age quickly. Both Microsoft and Sony are accelerating their efforts to offer original downloadable only games. It's something that Nintendo needs to do as well.