Wii Is "Fool's Gold"
Posted by James Newton
Industry bigwigs all agree: review scores are immaterial on Wii
The Wii's well into its life cycle now, but it seems some people in the industry are still cottoning onto what makes a Wii game sell like there's no tomorrow - the magic word of "marketing".
Speaking to Eurogamer recently, one undisclosed "high profile member of an industry-leading developer" stated:
It's fool's gold, the Wii. It looks great, but it's very hard to get money out of it. It's an empty mine for most software developers, including the big ones. It's Nintendo games that people buy on those platforms, and a few others.
Of course, that could be due entirely to good advertising and branding on Nintendo's part, or perhaps the fact that nobody in their right mind would touch the majority of the content on Wii, but that's just our cynical side coming out.
It's certainly true that the Wii requires a different approach to creating awareness of its big titles than the other consoles do. In the past, Peter Moore has spoken out about the importance of Metacritic ratings to EA's titles on the company's next-gen titles, but recently said they're less important on Wii, where a similar amount of buzz can be generated with clever advert placement, particularly in women's magazines or on "lifestyle" websites.
What's interesting about this is that Boom Blox - and its recent sequel Boom Blox: Bash Party - are two of the Wii's finest games and both are published by EA, yet both have missed out on commercial success despite the size of EA's marketing budget and the name "Steven Spielberg" slapped right across the box. Maybe Peter just needed to put a few more adverts in Vogue or Hello!
It's not just Mr Moore realising that good advertising makes sales on Wii: everybody's favourite "industry analyst" and human soundbite machine Michael Pachter had to weigh in as well, showing off his crystal clear industry-analysing skills by saying "clearly, somebody's buying Carnival Games and Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum". Yes Michael - yes they are. He also said "I think that Metacritic scores are irrelevant for people who don't look at them - how's that for obvious?" That'll do us nicely.
Although we here at NintendoLife like to think our review scores are important, and we link to Metacritic scores as often as we can, do you agree with these industry leaders that it's less important on Wii than other formats? If you're a multiple console owner, do you approach your research differently on Wii to your other machines?
Clearly there is gold to be found in software sales on Wii, it's just some companies are going after it with a tiny pickaxe, whereas they might need a huge piece of dynamite instead.