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 VGChartz.com 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.
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.