The Nintendo Wii
What can you say about the Wii? Is it different from the other consoles? Yes. Will it appeal to a more casual audience? Yes. The Nintendo Wii is the hottest system of the three, try to find one on a store shelf, it still is almost impossible to find and this article is being written in late April of 2008.
Some debate is that Nintendo purposely shorted their shipments to drive demand way up. Whatever the case may be, they are selling like crazy. About a month ago my wife bought a Wii. She found one at a local Target. So what is it that drives the demand? After getting some hands on experience with the Wii, I have come up with two reasons that help sell the system.
The first reason is price. It is the cheapest of the three systems, at $250.00. When average parents want to buy their child a new video game system, the Wii at $250.00 or an Xbox 360 at $350.00, they are going to go with the Wii. Now there are some hidden charges that Nintendo really don’t talk about. If you do not have wireless internet in your home, you cannot plug an Ethernet cable into the Wii, you have to go out and buy a separate adaptor for around $30.00-$40.00.
Another thing, if you want a separate controller you have to buy one, now I do not hold that against them because they all do it. But the Wii remote with the system comes with the Nun chuck attachment. When you buy separate controller it does not have the attachment, which will cost you around $20.00. Also they do not come with rechargeable batteries for the controller that will also cost another $30.00. You could just use regular batteries but do you know how expensive it would be to keep replacing them.
When you add in the extras that puts your price around $320.00-330.00. Seems a lot closer in price now, also if you would like different controller attachments like the control pad or Wii sports attachments or Wii points, it will all cost you more money. Now Xbox and Playstation do the same thing also, but for some reason Nintendo always gets a pass on this I do not think they should, they nickel and dime their customers just as much as the other companies.
The second reason the Wii sells well, is brand recognition. Almost every parent will recognize Mario before Kratos or even Master Chief. Most hardcore gamers would disagree, but it is the truth, Nintendo properties are far more appealing to the mass audience, which is somewhat of the problem with the Wii.
When it comes to games with their iconic characters they are great, Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Smash Brothers and the upcoming Mario cart. But once you get past the first party games, there is a huge drop off in quality. Most games end being a collection of mini games or old recycled arcade games (Pointing at you House of the Dead).
The virtual console has some old school appeal, but after playing some of these old games you realize you just paid ten bucks for a 15 year old game that was not as good as you remembered. There are newer games on there but very few are worth the money. Xbox live arcade also has this problem.
The Wii is a good family oriented video game system. If you are like myself and love great high definition graphics, online multiplayer and have been gaming for years, then this system is not for you. If you are like my wife who enjoys very simple, fun, basic casual games you can play occasionally with your friends, then the Nintendo Wii is for you.