E3 2008 Nintendo: Wii Music, Wii Speak, MotionPlus, Wii Speak
And nothing happened. Nothing captured my interest and certainly nothing was announced to satisfy the hard-core gamers.
Wii Speak: A microphone that sits atop the TV that picks up all the sounds and voices from a room. This will be used in games in lieu of a headset. But the Wii doesn’t have a system-wide voice system (let alone a decent online game strategy). This will need to be supported from game to game.
Wii MotionPlus: An add-on that plugs into the WiMote to add wrist based twisting motions to its repertoire of recognized real-time movements. One wonders how developers are going to appreciate the burden of developing titles that work with both the WiiMote alone and with the MotionPlus adapter.[gizmodo review here]
Wii Sports Resort: A new game, similar to Wii Sports, but situated at a beach resort. They demoed Frisbee throwing (with a cute dog catching it), sword fighting and lumber chopping. This game uses the new Wii Motion Plus for accuracy. Coming March 2009.
Wii Music: A new music game featuring 50 virtual instruments was announced. A virtual piano, violin, sax and drum kit were demonstrated. Unlike Rock Band and Guitar Hero, the user doesn’t need to purchase physical plastic instruments. Nor do they follow note patterns on a screen to play. The instruments are ‘virtual’. Waiving/moving the WiiMote around in a manner similar to the instrument being played simulates the instrument. The virtual drum kit (see picture below) that uses the WiiMote and Numchuk as the drumsticks and a WiiFit board as the drum peddle was clever. But the other instruments looked like little more than air-instruments where regardless of what the user does some facsimile of music will be produced. Lame. And it sounded pretty awful. [more info here]
Animal Crossing: Animal crossing is coming to the Wii.
Statistics Can Say Anything
Nintendo used statistics to contrast the first ’19′ months of sales on each console. For example Nintendo pointed out that in the 360′s first 19 months they had just 126 games on the market compared to Wii’s 246 in their first 19 months. Whether that is true or not is irrelevant because the 360 is in its 32nd month and by the end of 2008 there will be 1,000 games out on the 360 and about 300 for the Wii.
Nintendo also failed to mention that their attach rate (the number of games sold per console) is the worst of the three current devices with Microsoft doing circles around the other two. Microsoft has sold more games for the 360 than the Wii and the PS3 combined. This is somewhat astonishing given that the Wii has outsold the 360 2-1. Console owners are playing the 360 far more frequently and playing more games on it than they are the PS3 and the Wii. Most Wiis are sitting unused and collecting dust on shelves around the world. Once the initial novelty of Wii Sports has worn off most Wii’s are rarely used again.
Finally, Nintendo failed to point out that almost all of the big selling Wii titles are Nintendo franchise retreads. Third party games are largely selling poorly on the Wii.
I applaud their initiative to grow the market to grandmas and non-gamers. But the Wii is no longer a main-stream gaming machine. It’s a mass-market toy.
Now, the DS, that’s another story. Kudos to Nintendo for outstanding sales on an outstanding portable game playing device.