Friday, February 02, 2007

Why the Wii will win the console wars

I know, I know....this is a MMO blog traditionally but stay with me because this has quite a bit to do with MMOs. Or rather, this has a lot to do with the current MMO trend.

First of all, take a look at this article. If you're too lazy to do that, one of the more interesting things that the article says is this:

"While Sony and Microsoft are targeting the same audience of hardcore gamers, Nintendo has made clear its intentions to appeal to a wider band of consumers, even those who might not traditionally play video games."

....sound familiar at all? Right, this is exactly Blizzard's strategy when it comes to the MMO space. Before WoW came along, most North American MMOs were seeing around 100-250 000 subscribers (give or take 50000). That was considered a successful MMO. Blizzard comes along and creates a game with a such a broad appeal that attracts those who usually don't play games (like my wife, her friend...and many others, you know who they are). They now have over 8 million subscribers.

Switch to Nintendo. Here is Microsoft and Sony creating graphical upgrade platforms in the form of the 360 and PS3. The controls are the same, the games are the same...they just look better than the last gen consoles. Apparently, this means that these consoles are for the "hard-core" audience...I have no idea why better graphics = "hard-core", but there it is. Nintendo comes along with their new console, but they change the way the user interfaces with the game with the Wii wireless remote. A motion sensing remote that mimics your movements on screen. Some say this is "gimmicky", that it won't last. Others say that the graphics will ultimately kill the Wii once people get over the remote., thanks for playing though. Numbers don't lie and so far, for both Blizzard and Nintendo, they have both hit home runs buy thinking outside the box. They have both figured out what the big boys couldn't. They've figured out how to make a gamer out of Mommy, out of Grandma and Grandpa and out of the Aunt who lives with her cats. They've grown the market in big ways and then moved in to take that growth by storm.

The current MMO trend is to make games more accessible to a larger demographic of current and potential players. Gone are the days of the "hard-core" MMO, and good luck to those companies who make one out of a misplaced sense of nostalgia. Blizzard's strategy and Nintendo's strategy are exactly the same...other gaming companies should take note of the results if they ever plan on getting out of Blizzard's shadow.

D out


Tholal said...

I would say yes and no.

There are plenty of smaller 'hard-core' MMOs (so to speak) that make plenty of money for their developers and creators.

Certainly if someone wants to challenge Blizzard's subscription numbers, they will have to try and appeal to the lowest common denominator.

That being said, I still play WoW myself, and would like to own a Wii someday. But just because those products are successful, certainly does not mean that any related product has to follow in their footsteps.

darrenl said...

Thanks for the comment tholal.

You are correct, no product has to follow in their footsteps...that much is certain. What I'm suggesting is that the current model that both Blizzard and Nintendo are following can certainly be implemented and improved upon by other companies. This gets into the who "evolution of gaming" discussion that we had a couple of weeks ago.