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Friday, October 20, 2006

Hits and Misses:Nintendo Wii

With just a few weeks leading to the launch of the Nintendo Wii, Powerplay takes a look at what the Wii has gotten right, and what not.


When it comes to the best part of the entire Wii package, nothing comes closer to the position than the Wii-mote. Instead of sticking with the conventional controller design with the buttons and analog sticks, Nintendo went all out to sculpture one brand new never-seen-before controller design – the Wii-mote. Shaped like a remote control, it will change the way gamers interact with games. As the features of the Wii-mote have been talked about in many previous articles, I would not be repeating all the information again. We have the motion-sensitivity technology to thank.

Least Expensive Next-gen Console
Among all the next-gen consoles, the Wii will be the cheapest. In fact, it is also value for money. For your money, you get the console, the Wii-mote, the sensor bar for the Wii-mote, a free game, Wii Sports, and the Wii Channels. The only trade-offs are the lack of a hard disk and DVD playback functionality.

Wii Channel
Many of us expected Nintendo to go with a plain, simple interface for the Wii, but Nintendo gave everyone a nice surprise when the Wii Channel is announced. To put it simply, the Wii Channel is the first screen that you will see once you fire up your Wii. From the screen, you can access the Internet Channel, which allows you to browse the Internet on your television set via an Opera web browser, New Channel, which is constantly updated with the latest news, Weather Channel, which tells you the weather forecast, your Virtual Console, which you will be using to download classic games from previous Nintendo consoles, as well as those from many other manufacturers, and last but not least, the Disk Drive Channel, which tells you what disc is currently in the Wii disk drive, be it a Wii game or a GameCube game. The Wii is also fully compatible with all GameCube games. Cheers!

Hit Wii Games Including Those from Virtual Console
Ubisoft, EA and Midway have all shown tremendous support for the Wii, which is a good sign that Nintendo is gathering more third-party support. Third-party exclusive Wii games include first-person shooter (FPS) Red Steel, GT Pro Series, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Far Cry Vengeance and many more. In addition to third-party games, Nintendo has stayed true to its tradition of releasing hit first-party games. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is invading the Wii, and so are Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Excite Trucks, Wii Sports, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Battalion Wars 2, Wii Music Orchestra among many others. 30 games will be available before the end of this year and not forgetting the Virtual Console games. Now, there is one problem: Do you have the time to finish them all?


Lack of HD Support
For many who expected the Wii to have at least some kind of HD support, they were let down. Nintendo claimed that not many people are adopting HD, and so, to keep the cost of the console down, Nintendo has not included HD support, the obverse to what the PS3 and Xbox 360 are doing – aggressively promoting HD technology. On the other hand, for people who do not have HD TVs, you are still able to enjoy the full benefits of the Wii, plus there is no need to fork out extra money for a HD TV. But Nintendo should understand that the next-gen console war does not only last for one or two years. By the time the Wii reaches its fourth year, there is every possibility that HD will be popularized by then. At that point of time, the Wii could be on the losing end.

Still Needs More Third-party Support
It is true that Nintendo has some fantastic third-party games coming right up, but I still could not find the 2K Games logo on anything associated with the Wii – or DS, as well. Vivendi Universal Games/Sierra has also not been adopting the Wii, save for a game called ‘Ice Age 2: The Meltdown’. To conquer the console market, it is a given that the Wii needs more third-party support. Nintendo must persuade game publishers to throw away the ‘The GameCube is a kids’ console, so the Wii must also be a kids’ console’ concept. This is further demonstrated that there are many kid titles for the Wii like Barnyard, The Ant Bully, Cars and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. I am sure you do not see these games released for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nintendo needs to get rid of that wrong perception – fast – if it wants the Wii to succeed!


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