News Article

Parent Trap: The Wii Is Still Crucial To Family Game Success

Posted by Andy Robertson

Andy Robertson (not pictured) on why Nintendo's old console is still vital

While core players slowly turn their attention to the next generation of consoles, families are still getting a lot of value from the Wii. Families don’t buy as many games for their gaming systems as other demographics — the long tail of family gaming habits means that they expect their hardware to entertain them for longer and they are happy with fewer games.

Case in point are these graphs from that depict the sales of Skylanders and Disney Infinity. What strikes you is how well the Wii versions are still selling — not only Spyro’s Adventure, but also Giants and the recent Disney Infinity release.

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There are as many people playing Disney Infinity on the Wii as any other format. This is significant not only for ongoing Wii support (or lack of it, we’re looking at you LEGO Marvel Super Heroes) but also how complete an offering is created on this more limited technology.

The question is whether this is a good or bad thing. Continuing to support older consoles like the Wii will mean fewer resources to spend on the newer platforms for developers. At some point they have to draw the line and either relegate the Wii version as a lesser cousin, or move on and skip the Wii altogether.

For families though, this leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Why should they be forced to buy new hardware because of the industry’s drive towards HD visuals and more complex experience? While the Robertson household has really enjoyed The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, we also still play a lot of Wii Sports Resort and Go Vacation (a much overlooked game for families).

It is kind of inevitable that families will eventually move on to more powerful hardware, but for now the Wii format still drives a huge number of sales. Developers will overlook it at their peril.

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User Comments (28)



Socar said:

I still think that there's no point in going next gen. 3DS plays very similar to DS, Wii U plays a lot like the DS except with a few new things and pretty much PS4 and ONE are the same thing with using controllers, CD's etc only thing is the enhanced graphical power.

If you ask me, Consoles should be cheaper to get due to increase of the technology. That's one of the reason's why Ninty does a better job in terms of production.



unrandomsam said:

I wouldn't say Wii U games in general are as complex as nearly all of the Gamecube ones.

I think same as music when you are a child you should hate the games your parents like.



unrandomsam said:

First game I ever played was a port (BBC Micro) of Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando - I think I was either 6 or 5.

Same as anything best way to learn it is to start with something miles harder than you actually need.



Mario-Man-Child said:

The Wii Is the most family friendly console ever. Old people talk about the Wii and parents that know nothing about games have Wii's for the family.

The Wii U is not going to replace the Wii for these people, it on the other hand has a controller that intimidates people. It's a complicated console, gone is the simplicity of the original Wii. If family's have to upgrade they might go Xbone or PS4 probably more Xbone since it has kinect.



GeoCronus said:

@Falco, what you say is true for the most part. Although I do see what you are saying about the gamepad but I do not see it as too big of a deal. Also while casuals may find the kinect to be attractive, the X Box One is far too expensive all on its own. Compare it to the Wii U and the comparison is even more validated as the Wii U is now only 300 dollars compared to the much more expensive 500 dollar X Box One. That a 200 dollar difference.



Goginho said:

I've said it before, and I'm sticking with my standpoint that the Wii U should be the last stop what graphical updgrades go. It has everything, and it's for anyone. Sure, parents aren't pouncing on it like they did on the Wii, but maybe time will tell. Nintendo need to do some convincing now, and show consumers why the Wii U can be the ultimate investment in home entertainment for parents and older folks. It has everything the Wii has and then some.

So making this console last more than just one "generation" is key. Any more graphical upgrades are unnecessary, since they would basically be miniscule upgrades. All the other (necessary) upgrades, such as UI, stability, online stuff, add-on content, faster load times, DLC, yadda yadda..can be done through simple updates via quick downloads.
The other consoles can keep buffing out every microscopic jaggie, adding more sweat to their characters, dirt on their jerseys, swaying blades of grass, since that is generally their most apparent and most capital selling point.
Nintendo, on the other hand, are not about realism. Besides, Nintendo, and video games in general, have reached the point where all of that is possible. Looking at some of the more realistic games (mostly third party) on the Wii U, I can safely say that there is not much more you can graphically "add" to the characters and environments. It's all a matter of "polish", adding that finishing touch of maximal, graphical improvement..and that is sorely up to the developers to do so.

Long gone are the days where for every possible upgrade a new console must come out. That being said, I think that this is the era, where, through a simple download, we can get all the necessary updates we need, since everything virtual revolves around online today, thus prolonging the life of a Nintendo generation.
Guys, correct me if I'm wrong on any of this, since I'm not very technially inclined. I just find that this would be the better alternative. Having virtual updates, instead of any more physical, a-la new hardware/consoles and what not, since that would mean starting from scratch again for a company, and creating new resources, only making development slower.

Keep the Wii U around for at least 10 years, all the while, secretly, and in the background, researching, experimenting and testing on the next, new, groundbreaking advancment in video game progression.
Possibly some ultra-crazy, 3D hologram, virtual reality?? heheh
Now THAT would be a big step forward, and not this PS3 to PS4 "more-realistic-blades-of-grass-movement" crap.



Samurai_Goroh said:

I think families with a Wii are still way more likely to upgrade to a Wii U than to any other console. Once they learn that it is compatible with all their Wii games and controllers, they won't want to hear about Playstation or Xbox. And the games they know and like will be on Wii U. Wii Sports Club (still think they should release it on disc), Wii Fit, New Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Wii Party...Plus the Skylanders and Disney games.
But, I agree the GamePad is not that attractive for families, they'll be using the Wii remotes more. Nintendo need to convey the message that Wii U is about playing with the controls you like, the GamePad is just A controller.
The thing is some people will only replace Wii when the console stops working or they can't find any more games for it in stores, so there's a long wait for Nintendo.



TG1 said:

Props to giving a shout out for Go Vacation Andy! A great game that deserved more attention!



Zombie_Barioth said:

I think your comparison is a bit over-simplified but otherwise I agree. Beyond things like graphics and specific details what incintive is there to upgrade? If I just want my Mario and Zelda fix but I already have a Wii or 3DS what am I missing out on by not getting a Wii U? Is it $300 better than what I have? Thats what Nintendo needs to address, what makes the Wii U such a worthwhile investment.

As for cost the reason it doesn't go down is they're spending about the same amount each time, only the tech at that price range is better than before.



Mahe said:

Don't use VGChartz, they're very unreliable.

I still play several Wii games on my Wii U backwards compatibility, though there aren't many new interesting Wii games being released these days.



Turbo857 said:

@GeoCronus, @Falco

Also, the Wii U is still backwards compatible and its 2 screen displayed OS can be activated and navigated through using only the Wii remote. So casuals still have their "simplicity" in the Wii U.

It's just up to Nintendo to market that fact home, especially when Wii Sports Club and Wii Fit U get released.



JebbyDeringer said:

Casuals don't always want to pay the price of a Wii U though, having a cheaper system is a good thing.



element187 said:

@Falco xBone and PS4 are far more complex consoles.... Non-gamers are terrified of controllers like the dual shock and whatever you call microsoft controllers.

The touch screen, while a bit more complex than the Wiimotes, is still going to be the easiest next gen console to use, because thanks to smart phones and tablets, people intuitively know how to work a touch screen as compared to a controller with 4 face buttons, d-pad, 4 triggers, etc.



rjejr said:

Families may not want to upgrade, and continued Wii support means they don't have to, but Nintendo needs families to upgrade b/c if they don't, who will, w/ the X1 and PS4 coming out?

I really like the JD2014 and Party bundles, I just wish they were in the same box and NL kicked out so they could advertise fun for the whole family.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympics and Sports Club have online, and Fit U has that cool little meter, and SM3DW looks 4 player couch fun for the whole family. If Nintendo can't get families to upgrade at $299 this holiday w/ that line-up then they aren't advertising enough.



JimLad said:

I agree with Falco. (except for the part about families buying XB1/PS4s)
The fact that the Wii is still selling (more than WiiU) is proof that people don't want to upgrade. It's a cheap system for those who just want something to play at parties or gatherings.
Nintendo really should adopt a third pillar strategy for this reason. Keep supporting the Wii with Mii games for families to play, and focus WiiU squarely on hardcore gamers. All the casual stuff would still be backwards compatible anyway.



jayclayx said:

people are waiting games for the wii U, personally I considered the wii as dead long time ago, the ds sold well but it doesnt mean Nintendo should produce games on it till 2020, so please let this epic old console dies and lets focus on the wii U!



GreatPlayer said:

Graphics is not the most important factor to family gamers, just like people having more fun playing 3DS than PS Vita, even though 3DS has inferior graphics. It is like buying a electronic equipment. Family does not always go for the latest one, because it is much more expensive.



ICHIkatakuri said:

@unrandomsam That was one of my first games too!Though the very first game I saw was Kickstart on the speccy48k, and from then on I have been hooked on games like excitebike, trials HD etc.



Big_Boy_Chubs said:

I love how in every wii add it's a white family with perfect teeth, labeless clothes, and a beatutiful home.



FullbringIchigo said:

you know i think that the fact they keep pushing the Wii is one of the reasons the WiiU isn't doing so well i think if they want the WiiU to pick up they need to drop the Wii completely and advertise the fact that the WiiU is fully compatible with all Wii games and accessory's maybe even ship new WiiU's Wiimotes and Nun-chucks packed in



wiirocks1 said:

the Wii is a great console the Wii u has to have a lower price then it will sell.



LittleIrves said:

Still have my Wii hooked up to a SDTV for Virtual Console and the occasional WiiWare game. Re-discovered Art Style: lighttrax and love it. Really hope Wii U devs keep pushing what made Wii games interesting — use of pointer, motion where it makes sense, innovative mechanics — and not just make the same games as are available on Xbox/PS#.

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