Data Implies Wii U, Wii, and PS1 Had Worst Launch Games

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Data Implies Wii U, Wii, and PS1 Had Worst Launch Games

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A look at average console launch window review scores puts the GameCube on top.

How do you decide which console has the best launch games? You could get into the fanboy arguments that have kept the console wars going for decades, or you could, you know, do some math. Gamasutra decided on the latter approach when looking back at launch window games from 1995 to the present, averaging Metacritic and Gamerankings review scores to break down how each console delivered. The results are in the graph, listed from highest average review scores to lowest; as you can see, the GameCube comes out on top, with the original PlayStation dead last.

There are some other factors to take into consideration, such as the number of games that came out close enough to the console to be considered launch games, and the amount of review information available for each console. Gamasutra's Matt Matthews stated that he was "rather liberal" in regards to the Nintendo 64, which launched with only two games; for that console, he included every N64 game that came out in 1996. And though the PlayStation is on the bottom, Matthews mentions that there wasn't a whole lot of data available for Sony's first console.

Despite ending up at opposite ends of the review score spectrum, the GameCube and PlayStation had nearly the least amount of launch games (even with all of the 1996 titles counted, Nintendo 64 had the fewest). The PlayStation 2 had the most launch games, followed by the Wii U and Wii. One could argue that the graph represents a decline in quality of Nintendo-published consoles, but that's not necessarily true. Even though the Wii is near the bottom of the score chart, it also has a wide range of scores that goes up past 90%, and the Wii U data is still being collected, since the console just launched about a month ago.

As someone who has followed the launches of nearly all of the systems present here, either professionally or as a fan, it's interesting to look back at console launches from the last 17 years and see just how those early games stack up against each other. Within the next year or so, we could be looking at this information again with launch information from the next Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

Source: Gamasutra

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I've always thought that the Wii, and now the Wiiu have had a very bad lineup of games, especially considering their unique controllers. Creative games could flourish there, but nope, shovelware ahoy. Original playstation is a surprise though. But what do I know? For I am of the glorious pc master race, muahaha!

I'd say it's a bit too early to count in the WiiU's launch titles, given that we're about a month after release now, yet the Nintendo 64 is counted in with ALL the games of 1996.

The 360 had a tight launch from that graph, or were there just not many launch games? Because they've got absolutely no bad, only matched by the Gamecube. Also shocked by the shovelware for the PS3, is that Genji: Day of Blades at the bottom end? Ah no it's Mobile Suit: Gundam.

As graph criticism, (because critising a graph where the makers will never see it is helpful) it would have been nice to find a way to show more detailed weighting (maybe dots for each game?), for example, from what I can work out, Mobile Suit: Gundam was twice as bad as the next PS3 launch game, so the long tails for the PS3, Wii U are probably the result of one game with the rest being in the 50-60 range that the others are. I guess the dot kinda of hints at that, but you can't tell if some of them were just consistently good or had a lot of highs and a lot of lows. Dots would help people see the number disparity too and that'd be new data and allow them to interpret this stuff a bit better. (The PS2 had 30 ish launch games compared to the PS3's 12ish) It wouldn't look so pretty though

EDIT:

NLS:
I'd say it's a bit too early to count in the WiiU's launch titles, given that we're about a month after release now, yet the Nintendo 64 is counted in with ALL the games of 1996.

Launch is launch. The N64 was the only console allowed to break that rule because of a pitiful start. Otherwise if it doesn't appear in the first month it's not really a launch title (which really should be available from launch =D)

Oh my goodness sweet Jesus... really? Really? This is what we're considering news now?

This 'data study' is so full of holes it would make Swiss Cheese embarrassed.

Firstly, it's based around Metacritic, a site universally acknowledged to be highly irregular in how it collects and aggregates reviews. Secondly, it creates a median score for each console whilst ignoring the fact that different consoles had different numbers of launch games available at launch. If I were to create a median for one study based around a sample of 5 available sources, then another median for another study based around 20 available sources, and were then to claim that those two studies are in any way comparable, every data collector and statistical analyst would laugh me out of the business. Lastly, by ignoring not only the number of games available, but the individual scores for each game to focus on a median, the study completely ignores the fact that the highest scoring game on the Wii U rates higher than the highest scoring game on the PS3. Or that the 360, supposedly the second best launch console of all time, rates significantly less than the original Xbox in terms of high data points.

I mean, how bloody serious am I supposed to take a study that claims the Xbox 360 had the second best launch lineup of all time? Did I somehow miss out on all the critical acclaim that Bullet Witch and Perfect Dark Zero got?

The guy straight up admits that he's ignored digital titles, despite the likes of Trine 2, Nano Assault Neo, Geometry Wars, flOw and Blast Factor being games that sold the consoles to a lot of gamers in the first place.

Lastly, the guy himself admits that its harder to collect data for older consoles, instantly skewing the spread of data. If I were to try and pass off a study after admitting in public that I wasn't able to gather as much data on older entries as newer ones, but I'm still totally going to compare them, again, I would be laughed off the internet.

This is just a complete crapshoot as far as data collection goes, and seems like nothing more than an excuse for more Escapists to continue bitching about Nintendo, despite the fact that NSMBU, Trine 2: Directors Cut and Nintendoland all got a pretty glowing reception.

Whatever. No doubt there's going to be a torrent of bile directed towards Nintendo, and how they deserve to go under for the abomination that was the Wii. At least it's good to know that Gamasutra is the place data analysis goes when it wants to die...

To add to Jeffers points - the numbers don't remove outliers when figuring averages, don't account for number of available titles, and most importantly, don't account for number of available reviews.

There are also intangibles that aren't considered, such as the "Awe" factor some games induce due to the simple leap in technology. The Wii U didn't offer much (if any) "Awe Factor" in terms of graphical fidelity, while something as simple as Madden 06 on the 360 was much more awe inspiring.

I know many people like to slag on metacritic/gamerankings as useless pieces of garbage, but I think they're fairly reliable if what you're looking for is a broad overview of how a particular game stacks up. I really find this story quite hilarious considering how many sources were absolutely over the moon about how awesome the WiiU launch line up was going to be. And, given how great the PSX line up ended as the system aged, how little launch line up really matters in terms of the overall quality of a system.

StriderShinryu:
I know many people like to slag on metacritic/gamerankings as useless pieces of garbage, but I think they're fairly reliable if what you're looking for is a broad overview of how a particular game stacks up. I really find this story quite hilarious considering how many sources were absolutely over the moon about how awesome the WiiU launch line up was going to be. And, given how great the PSX line up ended as the system aged, how little launch line up really matters in terms of the overall quality of a system.

As it happens, this data does show a bad launch for the Wii U, but an average score is generally a bad way of assessing the value of launch titles, say the PS60 was launched with 3 games with 99% metacritic rankings and then 12 shovelware titles. It would have a 'bad launch' but actually no-one cares about shovelware, because you just don't buy the game. They do care about the number of high quality titles and just how good they are but if they're satisfied on that front, no amount of bad launch titles will remove that satisfaction.

If I wanted to get a metric of it, I would remove all games from below a certain metacritic point (probably 80%) and then just straight up count the number. Maybe giving an average (amongst those top titles) as well to try and account for truly breakout titles (For example, Halo in it's incarnations was a console buyer for a lot of people).

To be fair I don't think the maker has made any claims about his graph. It's just a collection of data and it's up to us to interpret it

It's all fairly meaningless, given that popular opinion and "success" (financial) does not equate to the opinions of critics.

Also, review score scaling isn't universal, especially for that time frame.
There was a time where 50% meant "average" or "recommended" for some publications, rather than 70% or 80%.

To be fair, that's the only data one could use for an article like this.
To be even more fair, this proves the article is basically bullshit and a waste of effort.

lazarus1209:
To add to Jeffers points - the numbers don't remove outliers when figuring averages, don't account for number of available titles, and most importantly, don't account for number of available reviews.

There are also intangibles that aren't considered, such as the "Awe" factor some games induce due to the simple leap in technology. The Wii U didn't offer much (if any) "Awe Factor" in terms of graphical fidelity, while something as simple as Madden 06 on the 360 was much more awe inspiring.

The Xbox 360 generally had better launch titles though...

The Wii U does have good titles such as Nintendo Land, Super Mario and a bunch of games that have been ported over, but then these are just ports, another mario game and a far improved Wii Play.

The Xbox 360 had GREAT titles such as Amped 3 and Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero.

You are both taking the study way too seriously. Launch titles don't determine how good a console is. They're generally quite bad.

StriderShinryu:
I know many people like to slag on metacritic/gamerankings as useless pieces of garbage, but I think they're fairly reliable if what you're looking for is a broad overview of how a particular game stacks up. I really find this story quite hilarious considering how many sources were absolutely over the moon about how awesome the WiiU launch line up was going to be. And, given how great the PSX line up ended as the system aged, how little launch line up really matters in terms of the overall quality of a system.

It is not transparent in how it weights different review sites. There was recently an example of a NS2 review that dragged the score extremly down and when I made the calculations I realised that the site with the shitty review (it was actually literal garbage, the site in question apologised for that review) has more impact on the score (after calculation the score was off by several points).

Since it is not transparent in how the scores are made it is plain and simple shit. Metacritic is just shit.

I'm actually not all that surprised about the PS1. The system did launch with Bubsy 3D, after all.

Now while I love the WiiU, and while there are a lot of great games coming like Rayman Legends and Pikmin 3, I will admit the actual Day 1 launch was pretty weak.

That being said, yes, basing all this on Metacritic pretty much instantly makes this whole thing a waste of time. Ignoring how inconsistent it is regularly, trying to use it to gauge the launches of retro consoles nails the coffin shut.

And really? Worse than the PS3? I loved the PS3 as well, but it's launch was awful.

Not to be smug, but I clicked on this thinking that the Gamecube would be close to or at the top of the list. That system had some really quality launch titles: Rogue Squadron 2, Pikmin, Luigi's Mansion (pretty low rated at the time, but still a fun game), and Wave Race. Wave Race and Rogue Squadron 2 could easily edge their way onto my personal favorite games ever made.

Further proof that the Dreamcast was just awesome and ahead of its time. I loved that console in a way Ive not loved a console since.

why did'n't the WiiU launch with a Zelda game?

I would very much like to see a similar chart detailing the launch window for handheld consoles. No matter how bad the Wii, U and PSX launch were, they can't compare to the VB or 3DS launch window.

I don't know how much I trust that study but alright, I'll play.

To me, I'd say the original Xbox had a very tight line of launch games. Halo was there, though, and that kinda carried them through. (Yeah, I know there were a couple of other good games)
On the other hand, the same could be said of the PS1. The both had good, original games that just...felt right. To me, the Wii and WiiU have games that could potentially be good but they always go back to the same thing.

Example: Skyward Sword. The game could have been great if it wasn't for the weird motion controllers that feel unnecessary half of the time. On top of that, the game is reaaaaaaaaaally easy for a Zelda game. Granted, it's not like Zelda games are meant to be extremely hard but they're not ridiculously easy either. So I feel like one of Nintendo's mistakes is making a bunch of casual games, even the ones that are not meant to be casual.

It's funny; Nintendo offered me most of the toughest games I've ever played when I was a kid and it seems like those days are long gone (I'm also not saying there are no tough Nintendo games nowadays, mind you). But hey, that's my opinion. I could be wrong so don't grill me because of that.

That doesn't seem like a very useful measure of launch quality to me- I would care how many good games there were, not what the average quality was. I don't have to buy the massive piles of shovelware that fill out most launch lineups, but they drag down the average. These data will only be reflective of your experience if you buy the same number of games at each launch and select them entirely at random.

A Smooth Criminal:

The Xbox 360 generally had better launch titles though...

The Wii U does have good titles such as Nintendo Land, Super Mario and a bunch of games that have been ported over, but then these are just ports, another mario game and a far improved Wii Play.

The Xbox 360 had GREAT titles such as Amped 3 and Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero.

You are both taking the study way too seriously. Launch titles don't determine how good a console is. They're generally quite bad.

There have been some amazing launch titles and some launch titles have saved a system and launched franchises. Halo, SSX, Timesplitters, Soul Caliber, Motorstorm, Project Gotham, Resistance, Ridge Racer, Wipeout all got their start as a launch. Also a little game called Super Mario Brothers =D

And then you have stuff like Panzer Dragoon, Super Mario N64, Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Tetris owes it's popularity to a gameboy launch.

But a bad launch doesn't destroy a system as the PS3 eventually ended up proving. Also another reason the data is bad is, the best way to get some good review scores guaranteed at launch is to be a late console and just have loads of already published good third party games. The Wii U's average would have been even worse if it didn't have loads of the best PS3, 360 titles shoring it up

Wow... just wow, I am calling complete total BS on this, Specially since the PS1 launch games were the strongest launch lineup of any Sony console. Let me put it this way, there is a reason why they ended up making a PS2 and PS3; first impressions were good, damn good.

Battle Arena Toshinden and the first Ridge Racer were both among the launch games. Can't think of a single decent game for the launch of the PS2 or 3, in fact my PS2 was a doorstop for an entire year as I rented disappointment after disappointment for it. In the launch window for the PS1 there was also: Wipeout, Jumping Flash, Tekken, Twisted Metal, Warhawk and Tomb Raider. I consider these games the best of what Sony has ever offered.

That's odd. Say what you will about the Wii U, but it's come out as basically yesterday's console, today. That may make it... sub-par for a brand-spanking new console, but it also means the games it has ready to go aren't games that were pumped out because there needed to be some reason to buy the console, they're games made late in this console cycle, but that the Wii-U gets to have on launch. Wii U has problems, but I wouldn't have thought launch line up was one of them.
edit: Actually, now that I think about it, most of the games I'm thinking of aren't necessarily out on Wii U yet, they're just promising to be later.

I have to disagree.
I didn't find even 1 game in the PS360 launch even a tiny bit interesting. The PS360 had the worst launch of them all. The Wii had at least Twilight Princess and Wii Sports. (yeah sue me, but Wii Sports is one of the best party games I've ever played).

PlayStation had it worst, you say?

Good thing they fired that fuck at Sony America who kept saying no to all the groundbreaking games that eventually got released.

Beautiful End:
I don't know how much I trust that study but alright, I'll play.

Read post number 5. This 'study' is wrong on so many levels that it can't be taken seriously.

I think the main problem here is that this implies that the average metacritic score is a meaningful number. Ignoring any and all problems with metacritic itself (not the point here), using the mean sends the message that the quality of one game has bearing on the quality of another game. This is pretty much entirely incorrect (although I think we can all admit that, at points, one game has spoiled another for us - such as a sequel with quality of life improvements, but that's not really the issue here). The Wii, Wii U, and PS1 represent the three largest shifts in technology (unique controls, unique controls, and first serious 3D, respectively) in the selection of consoles, and thus are more prone to having major failures. In contrast, the 360 and Gamecube represent very direct technological leaps and thus have fewer failed experiments to drag the mean down. Looking at the GCN's launch lineup, there's nothing really mold-breaking there. The biggest risk is Luigi's Mansion, and that game's risk is "not Mario", not strange new technology.

Yes, and the PS1 went on to become a smash success as did the Wii. Thus proving the launch don't mean shit, yo.

Jiefu:
I think the main problem here is that this implies that the average metacritic score is a meaningful number. Ignoring any and all problems with metacritic itself (not the point here), using the mean sends the message that the quality of one game has bearing on the quality of another game. This is pretty much entirely incorrect (although I think we can all admit that, at points, one game has spoiled another for us - such as a sequel with quality of life improvements, but that's not really the issue here). The Wii, Wii U, and PS1 represent the three largest shifts in technology (unique controls, unique controls, and first serious 3D, respectively) in the selection of consoles, and thus are more prone to having major failures. In contrast, the 360 and Gamecube represent very direct technological leaps and thus have fewer failed experiments to drag the mean down. Looking at the GCN's launch lineup, there's nothing really mold-breaking there. The biggest risk is Luigi's Mansion, and that game's risk is "not Mario", not strange new technology.

Very, very this.

I think, and I may be alone on this, that part of the problem here also comes from reviewer expectations. Reviewers tend to judge games based on stuff they already know about, and compare to games they're already comfortable with. When a game is released on a new console with a fundamental paradigm change in design, that can move reviewers out of their comfort zone. A new game could be negatively reviewed because it was a genuine failure at trying something new, which is always a risk when moving into new design territory. Or it could simply be that the reviewer simply didn't get what the designers were trying to do with new design ideas. It happens. Edge Magazine, for instance, gave Metroid Prime: Corruption a pretty middling-to-negative review. It's now seen as one of the absolute best games on the Wii. The Times Online criticised Shadow Of The Colossus for not being enough like Zelda. More recently, IGN criticised Zombi U for not having enough action or gunplay, despite the fact it was specifically designed as a survival-horror game, not an action-horror.

That's not to suggest that there's some conspiracy amongst reviewers, or that all negative criticism is "OMG, teh reviewers totallorz didn't get it!!1!" Just that, when you have consoles which bring fundamental paradigm shifts with them in terms of design, such as the N64, PS1 and Wii, not all reviewers are able to leave preconceived notions of what game design should be in their eyes.

It's not a real problem, until you then start using those reviews years after their original publication as a current standard of quality. I'm pretty sure any professional reviewer who gave GoldenEye or Ocarina Of Time a negative review back in the day (and they are out there, I'm sure) would happily admit today that they were off-base. Opinions change, and as game development marches on, we see that sometimes critical consensus isn't always on the money, and games that garnered a lot of criticism still manage to have a big effect on the industry.

Only proves that beating a dead horse and making mario 25 doesnt actually work.
then again, people still buy it, so what the hell, why not abuse stupidity of userbase?

P.S. capcha: spelling bee. really, capcha is into dark humour today.

Strazdas:
Only proves that beating a dead horse and making mario 25 doesnt actually work.

Right, That's why the Gamecube is on the top of that list. That's also why the N64 is in 3rd Place...

OT: I don't trust this graph, nor do I trust Launch Titles to mean how well a System will and won't do.

NLS:
I'd say it's a bit too early to count in the WiiU's launch titles, given that we're about a month after release now, yet the Nintendo 64 is counted in with ALL the games of 1996.

Is anything new coming out for the WiiU in the next two weeks? No? Then we've counted all games for the WiiU for 2012.

TsunamiWombat:
Yes, and the PS1 went on to become a smash success as did the Wii. Thus proving the launch don't mean shit, yo.

You may have noticed that the Ps1 became a success for a very different reason than the Wii.

Beautiful End:

Example: Skyward Sword. The game could have been great if it wasn't for the weird motion controllers that feel unnecessary half of the time. On top of that, the game is reaaaaaaaaaally easy for a Zelda game. Granted, it's not like Zelda games are meant to be extremely hard but they're not ridiculously easy either. So I feel like one of Nintendo's mistakes is making a bunch of casual games, even the ones that are not meant to be casual.

Windwaker could've been great, if not for the sometimes awkward combat system. And no, I'm not kidding, I hated putting an enemy on the ground and have to waaait for him to stand up again.
SS controls were great, sword combat system was awesome, I only accept criticism in throwing bombs, but even then it's not that hard.

Agree with difficulty but don't mind very much since it's fun. Also, last level of Super Mario galaxy and Super Mario 3D land are very hard. Not to talk about the whole Donkey Kong Country Returns game.

image
> Data implies

Cannot unsee...

Strazdas:
Only proves that beating a dead horse and making mario 25 doesnt actually work.
then again, people still buy it, so what the hell, why not abuse stupidity of userbase?

Right, because it's not like the Super Mario Galaxy games went on to become some of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.

Oh wait...

Foolproof:

NLS:
I'd say it's a bit too early to count in the WiiU's launch titles, given that we're about a month after release now, yet the Nintendo 64 is counted in with ALL the games of 1996.

Is anything new coming out for the WiiU in the next two weeks? No? Then we've counted all games for the WiiU for 2012.

Considering that the N64 launched in June of 1996, and the WiiU launched in November of 2012, there's about a five month timespan difference between the launch windows used in this 'study' for each consoles. For them to be comparable, the study would have to count Wii U games launched up until March of 2013, which coincidentally, is Nintendo's designated launch period.

And yes, considering Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends are coming out in that period, it would be very interesting to see how that changes things.

Foolproof:

TsunamiWombat:
Yes, and the PS1 went on to become a smash success as did the Wii. Thus proving the launch don't mean shit, yo.

You may have noticed that the Ps1 became a success for a very different reason than the Wii.

Actually, not really. The PS1 was a reasonably priced console that managed to use a technological innovation (three dimensional graphics) to appeal to a demographic who had never had any interest in the SNES or MegaDrive systems, and managed to convert millions of non-gamers into gamers by including easily approachable, non-hardcore titles like Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. I remember when my family got a PSX. Even my mum was playing Spyro. In fact, she played it more than anyone else.

Only videogame she's ever played, as far as I'm aware...

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