One Last Push for Wii
It’s been coming for some time now; this December will mark the final complete year that the Wii remains as Nintendo’s flagship home console, after defying the odds and numerous predictions of failure for so long. With dwindling sales and an ever decreasing release schedule, Nintendo’s little white box that could has finally come to the end of its mightily impressive 5 year lifespan, a lifespan which has included some of this generation’s finest games. This time next year homes around the world will be reverberating to the sound of Nintendo’s next big paradigm shift in the form of Wii U, as we swap our Remotes for Tablets and motion control for dual screen displays and also enter the HD realm for the first time as Nintendo fans.
But that’s not to say the Wii is just going to shuffle off without making a scene. The Wii has been the console that has refused to be squashed by critics over its lifespan despite huge odds stacked against it, and this Winter Nintendo have got it lined up once again to prove the critics and naysayers wrong. Is the Wii dead? Not by a long way yet.
The first and most obvious way Nintendo have gone about boosting the Wii’s popularity is by offering a new model of the system. Dubbed the ‘Family Edition’, the new Wii gets rid of all the unnecessary Gamecube compatibility that families will clearly not use, and markets the system as a purely family orientated console, with Wii Sports and Wii Party brought to the forefront of the marketing campaign. It’s a move that is clearly aimed at penetrating the last percentage that are yet to buy a Wii, and by directly marketing it towards families, and going as far as to remove things they will not use, Nintendo will no doubt manage to drag in the families that were at one point sitting on the fence about buying a games console.
Nintendo have also taken the standard manufacturing route of releasing new colours, something that remarkably, they really haven’t needed to do up until this point. It says a huge amount about the strength of the Wii that only one colour of system was needed to shift millions of units, whereas standard Nintendo procedure is typically to release new colour iterations every year or so. This Winter Nintendo are making use of the simple marketing technique of colour, with more Black consoles and a new Blue console arriving to potentially boost sales.
But of course, what we’re all concerned with are the games, and despite peaks and troughs of game releases over the Wii’s lifespan, Nintendo have managed to pull together a few big titles for the system’s final farewell.
Naturally the big title going into this final season for the Wii is the game we’ve been waiting for since Day One of the console’s lifespan all the way back in 2006 – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I was lucky enough to try it out recently at the Eurogamer Expo, and it really is a game that proves everything that the Wii could and perhaps should have been doing all this time. The motion controls are almost perfect, the game looks beautiful and the scope of it is something we haven’t seen in a Nintendo game for some time now. Whether or not Nintendo can shift enough units of the game thanks to the requirement of Wii MotionPlus remains to be seen, but if any game needs to be bought and played on the Wii, it is this one.
It would be easy though to just dismiss everything else coming for the Wii as Zelda really is a game that could help the Wii survive on its own, but thankfully there are two other big titles on the way that will help sell consoles well into 2012; Kirby’s Adventure Wii and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
While neither of these titles are aimed at the most ‘hardcore’ of gamers, it’s the family appeal of these games which will help the system survive past the end of 2011. While Zelda is aimed at you and me, titles such as Kirby’s Adventure Wii and a new Mario & Sonic offering are aimed at a younger and perhaps more family orientated audience, providing two more examples of what made the Wii so special. With Kirby’s Adventure Wii, you have the communal, local multiplayer aspect of the Wii, something that has made a resurgence in recent times thanks to the success of New Super Mario Bros Wii. On the other side we have Mario & Sonic 2012, which not only encompasses the multiplayer aspect of the Wii, but proves that the simplicity of the Wii Remote really was the defining aspect of the Wii. The Olympics games are the very essence of fun through simplicity, as anyone can pick up a Remote and instantly join in. Of course practise still makes perfect, but it’s that feeling of being able to have fun without needing to have skill that has brought the Wii so far in the family market over the past years, and it is that which will also lead it to having a bright future in 2012 and beyond.
So while the story of the Wii is coming to a close, over the next few months there really will be something for everyone on Nintendo’s little motion controlled rectangle. Whether you’re a serious gamer, a group of gamers looking for a fun multiplayer title or a family sitting down together to play a game, the combined strengths of Link, Kirby and Mario & Sonic will ensure that in its final days, the Wii will not become a redundant piece of technology. This is the Wii’s farewell moment, and it’s going out just as it went in; proving critics wrong and surviving longer than anyone thought possible.