Hardcore Wii games just need the proper support to do well, says Nintendo UK’s head of communication.
The strong sales of the new GoldenEye 007 on the Wii has led Nintendo to conclude core games from third-party publishers can succeed on the console, defying the misconception that it’s a “casuals-only” platform.
Nintendo UK’s head of communication, Rob Saunders, said that the idea that Wii owners were only interested in minigames compilations or first party titles was a myth and that a high-quality game with the proper support from the publisher and from retailers had every chance of being successful as a Mario or Zelda game. The game has received a very positive critical response, which would be the first part of the equation, and Activision never tried to hide the fact that it was taking advantage of the lack of competition for this type of game on the Wii, which technically covers the second part.
While there’s a lot to like about the Wii, and it’s got some great games, singling out GoldenEye – an exclusive remake of a game regarded as one of the best shooters of all time – as proof that core titles can succeed on the console is misleading. It’s great that GoldenEye did well, but the picture that Saunders paints – that all a hardcore Wii game needs to sell is the proper support – is overly simplistic, and ignores the other factors that contributed to make that particular game a success.
First, there’s the nostalgia factor to consider. It’s redundant to say that this game wouldn’t have sold as well without the GoldenEye name attached to it, but it can’t be stressed enough how much brand recognition GoldenEye has among its target audience, even 13 years after its original release. This isn’t the only reason the game sold, but it certainly didn’t hurt. More importantly, the Wii is hardly awash with hardcore titles, at least not titles that don’t have better looking versions on other platforms. If a Wii owner wanted to play a new hardcore game on the console, it was basically either GoldenEye or nothing, and that’s something that Activision was banking on. The other side of that coin is that without versions on other platforms, anyone who wanted to play GoldenEye had to play it on the Wii, which in turn boosted sales.
Saunders comment is kind of right: GoldenEye is a good game with solid backing from the publisher, and it did well. But there’s so much else going on with it as well, I don’t think it’s the right game to prove anything about the Wii.