Third Party Wii Games

michaelpachter

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Running through the NPD results for 2009 (U.S. only in retail dollars), it looks like Nintendo first party Wii titles sold 27.5 million units for a total of $1.53 billion at retail. In contrast, overall Wii software sales were 72.4 million units and $3.23 billion.

I think that this illustrates an obvious point: Nintendo first party titles dominate on the Wii.

Nintendo captured 38% of unit sales and 47% of dollar sales, leaving the rest for third parties. The average Nintendo first party Wii title sold for $55.63, while the average third party title sold for $37.85. Nintendo first party titles captured the top 6 positions, 9 of the top 10, and 15 of the top 21.

The games I mentioned in Bonus Round (Resident Evil The Darkside Chronicles and Dead Space Extraction ) finished at positions 151 and 261, respectively.

Interestingly (at least to me), the six third party titles in the top 20 were EA Sports Active, Lego Star Wars, Madden 10, Tiger Woods 10, Deca Sports (?), Game Partyand Rock Band 2.

The Nintendo first party games in the top 21 are the usual suspects, with Mario and Sonic counted as a Nintendo title because it has the name "Mario" in the title.

Recently, we've seen comments from third parties (Capcom, EA and Ubisoft) expressing frustration over an inability to generate big sales on the Wii. Similarly, we've seen comments from Nintendo about how quality and marketing is the key to success on the Wii.

I found it fascinating that the highest ranked Guitar Hero title on the Wii in 2009 was GH World Tour at #30. I also found it fascinating that games like Just Dance, Cabela's Big Game Hunter, Deal or No Deal, The Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels 2009 all finished ahead of the highest ranked GH game.

The conclusion I draw from this is that the Wii audience is far more casual and harder to reach than the PS3 or 360 audiences (pretty obvious), and they buy brand name software (with "Wii" or "Mario" in the title, or with a TV/product tie-in). The only titles that don't fit this are Deca Sports and Game Party. The average selling price of third party titles says a lot, coming in almost $7 below the average for all Wii titles, and almost $18 below first party titles. There were a lot of units sold with the word "party" in the title at $20 or less.

I made a comment on Bonus Round that half the Wii audience is hard core and half is purely casual. That split sounds pretty agressive, and the data above suggests it's more like 25/75.

Given that NeoGAF is a hard core site, I'm curious to hear your spin. What should publishers do?
 

Aaron Strife

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They should probably try making decent games

I'm not ripping on RE: DSC or DSE or the teams that made them but Wii gamers are just sick of rail shooters. Hype for Dead Space was high until they announced what it was.

It shouldn't even be that hard. Third parties always use the excuse "Oh we can't possibly dumb that down on the Wii" but you see games like Soulcalibur or Assassin's Creed get PSP versions (that stay true to the series more or less) where the Wii gets jack shit. Sales probably wouldn't be as high but if you look at games like Force Unleashed or the CoDs there's clearly a market there buying the inferior versions
 

Lonely1

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I didn't saw the likes of Assassin's Creed or Modern Warfare 2 on the wii. That might had something to do with it...
 

GaimeGuy

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I like how GTA is now apparently a hardcore game this gen. just wanted to point out the kind of stupid morphing of "casual" and "hardcore" for no apparent reason.
 

Scythesurge

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I think that if publishers devoted more time/money/effort into creating high quality games (just "good" games aren't really going to capture a huge audience on the Wii) then I think 3rd parties can still have success. The Wii games market is oversaturated with quick cash ins, so if publishers consolidate and focus on fewer, more expansive titles that can have long selling lives then they can find success on the Wii. This has yet to really happen at all though.

Edit: Also, Mr. Pachter, I don't think GAF is as hardcore as you are giving credit to it. There is a strong casual audience on GAF from what I've seen.
 
Feb 28, 2009
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The obvious answer would be to advertise more. A lot of the recent complainers sent their games out to die with fans that would otherwise buy the game not even knowing the existed.

Take No More Heroes. While potentially the most important third party core title on the console, Ubisoft has done barely anything to let people know about the sequel. I honestly saw more ads for the first game. A commercial would be nice even if they only put it on past midnight on Adult Swim.
 

Turrican3

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michaelpachter said:
Given that NeoGAF is a hard core site, I'm curious to hear your spin. What should publishers do?
Producing high quality titles similar to Nintendo's own efforts would be a good start, I think. :)

GaimeGuy said:
I like how GTA is now apparently a hardcore game this gen. just wanted to point out the kind of stupid morphing of "casual" and "hardcore" for no apparent reason.
EDIT: also, this.
 

GaimeGuy

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cosmicblizzard said:
The obvious answer would be to advertise more. A lot of the recent complainers sent their games out to die with fans that would otherwise buy the game not even knowing the existed.

Take No More Heroes. While potentially the most important third party core title on the console, Ubisoft has done barely anything to let people know about the sequel. I honestly saw more ads for the first game. A commercial would be nice even if they only put it on past midnight on Adult Swim.
Last night I saw ads for TvC on TV. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a TV ad for a 3rd party Wii game before TvC.
 

Taurus

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The lack of marketing on most even decent 3rd party games is depressing. How do you expect people to buy games they don't even know they are out?

Also, the amount of shovelware on the platform is disturbing. Nintendo should really bring back the "Seal of Quality", or something similar. The terrible shovelware games have encouraged people to buy more Nintendo games, since Nintendo equals quality on the platform which leads to the result that even decent 3rd party games don't get a lot of attention especially if they are new IPs.
 

demosthenes

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I own 5 Wii games, 4 have Mario in the title and the other is Zelda. I own 26 PS3 games, I'm part of the problem, sorry everyone.
 

ksamedi

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First thing publishers should do is figure out why their games don't sell on Wii. The rest will be easy to do. They should take the Wii audience seriously and deliver unique products. Third parties can't be happy with their so called core 360/PS3 video games sales either. They don't sell enough to justify costs.
 

Sir Johnny

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They should probably try to do something good and advertise it, and sell it for a reasonable price. No one that I remember did all three at the same time.

Heck, not even two of them, actually.
 

OMG Aero

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GaimeGuy said:
I like how GTA is now apparently a hardcore game this gen. just wanted to point out the kind of stupid morphing of "casual" and "hardcore" for no apparent reason.
I think the definition of hardcore now is any game in which you can kill someone.
 
Feb 28, 2009
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GaimeGuy said:
Last night I saw ads for TvC on TV. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a TV ad for a 3rd party Wii game before TvC.
Yeah, TvC is actually being advertised by Capcom. We'll see how that goes.

Crystal Bearers also got commercials, but we all see how that did. I think that's proof enough that quality + marketing is the formula to success on the Wii, not just one or the other.
 

Aaron Strife

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Taurus said:
Also, the amount of shovelware on the platform is disturbing. Nintendo should really bring back the "Seal of Quality", or something similar. The terrible shovelware games have encouraged people to buy more Nintendo games, since Nintendo equals quality on the platform which leads to the result that even decent 3rd party games don't get a lot of attention especially if they are new IPs.
lose/lose situation. If Nintendo put more limitations on what third parties could release (i.e. "If your game is called Billy the Wizard Broomstick Rocket Racing, Reggie will punch you in the face") they would just complain about Nintendo stifling creativity and not even throw them the couple of bones that they currently do.
 

badcrumble

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Publishers should probably put their more hardcore-oriented games on the HD consoles where an audience for them has been proven to exist.

Hey, my wish came true!
 

Stumpokapow

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GaimeGuy said:
I like how GTA is now apparently a hardcore game this gen. just wanted to point out the kind of stupid morphing of "casual" and "hardcore" for no apparent reason.
clearly everyone with a double digit iq or higher can differentiate between current generation casual (popcap, facebook games, wii dance wagglefests, minigame collections) and previous generation casual (mario kart, madden, gta) so i'm not sure why people obnoxiously insist on reminding that this generation the words mean slightly different things
 

Scythesurge

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cosmicblizzard said:
Yeah, TvC is actually being advertised by Capcom. We'll see how that goes.

Crystal Bearers also got commercials, but we all see how that did. I think that's proof enough that quality + marketing is the formula to success on the Wii, not just one or the other.
I think you're confusing quality with "niche."
 

Boney

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Thanks for your analysis Micheal. But drawing from that, why would Nintendo want to launch a new system in order to compete for the 15-35 year old market and lose all their audience they have now and start from scratch?

And another point your analysis brought, is how third parties really dropped the ball with the Wii.
 

Lenardo

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Aaron Strife said:
They should probably try making decent games

imo they should have made a high quality game & given it some actual advertising to go with said high quality game.

no more rail shooters, no more spin offs. make a lead exclusive "AAA" game for the wii and give it the advertising budget it deserves.


ea's "mature" title fort he wii - extraction- while a good game had 2 knocks against it, of which EA was at fault

1- on rails shooter - the wii has a plethora of quality rail shooters -ie a saturated market.

2- this one is ea's fault. ADVERTISING.... or rather the lack of it.

same problem goes for the reflex edition of COD that just came out. ZERO advertising. world at war sold well- AFTER THEY STARTED ADVERTISING IT.


they cannot continue to put soso games out and expect million sellers, they cannot put good games out without advertising and expect good sales.

the Wii audience for the past 3 years has had shit and shovelware shoved at them so the audience is JADED against anything BUT a nintendo produced product, so just shoving the title onto the shelves is a sure way of making sure the game bombs. if you are proud of the game allocate the appropriate advertising budget and show the people - who are jaded against wii 3rd parties due to the shit they have released- that the game is GOOD, you will garner more sales.

it's not difficult, the 3rd parties -due to their crap games and shovelware overload has made it so that the wii customer is very skeptical about buying a game from ANY of them.
 

Dascu

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Let's be realistic, 3rd party devs aren't going to bother making new IPs for the Wii and marketing them heavily.

Do's: Ports of blockbuster titles. See: Resi4:Wii, CoD: WaW, CoD: MW Reflex
Don't's: Niche spin-offs at full price-points. See: DS Extraction
 

LSauchelli

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Aaron Strife said:
"If your game is called Billy the Wizard Broomstick Rocket Racing, Reggie will punch you in the face"
I would pay to see Reggie punch the people behind all these shovelware games...

A "Seal of Quality" that actually means something would be pretty good. Also, if the black cases and the new "Players' Choice" start popping up outside Japan, I think that would make a big difference.
 

OMG Aero

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Taurus said:
Also, the amount of shovelware on the platform is disturbing. Nintendo should really bring back the "Seal of Quality", or something similar. The terrible shovelware games have encouraged people to buy more Nintendo games, since Nintendo equals quality on the platform which leads to the result that even decent 3rd party games don't get a lot of attention especially if they are new IPs.
The Seal of Quality is still on the back of boxes. And as far as I recall, the seal never meant anything more than that Nintendo had tested it and the game works, it didn't have anything to do with whether the game was good or not.
Hell, I've played Wii games that have random freezes in them that require the system to be restarted that still have the seal on the box, the seal means nothing now.
 

Taurus

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Mayor Haggar said:
Oh, I know how to solve this problem Michael.

The WiiHD!

Yeah.

That'll work.
Or maybe we could try and discuss about this matter in the OP without derailing the thread?

OMG Aero said:
The Seal of Quality is still on the back of boxes. And as far as I recall, the seal never meant anything more than that Nintendo had tested it and the game works, it didn't have anything to do with whether the game was good or not.
Hell, I've played Wii games that have random freezes in them that require the system to be restarted that still have the seal on the box, the seal means nothing now.
Yeah, this makes me a sad panda. :(
 

Epiphyte

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At this point, aren't we talking about what 3rd party's should have done?

I mean, the consensus seems to be that they need to devote proper AAA effort into their Wii games to see a good return. Which means those games will need around a 2 year development cycle.

And Pachter says we'll have WiiHD by then, so it's too late to implement that strateg. In the meantime, I see no way for 3rd parties to meaningfully increase their Wii sales except by buying licensed properties and churning out quick cash ins. Some people should probably lose their jobs for fucking up this badly
 

Black Rainbow

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Do what works. Capcom could have followed up Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition, a resounding success, with a game that had a similar format but instead chose to release an on-rails shooter that no one was asking for. It worked the first time to an extent (Umbrella Chronicles) but as the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". It would appear that not very many people were fooled twice, and thus you have the Darkside Chronicles being totally ignored.
 

Opiate

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Great topic Michael, thanks.

First, I have a question specifically in relation to your GameTrailers appearance: you expected Heavy Rain to sell relatively poorly, despite its high quality and strong backing from Sony, due to the niche nature of its genre. I completely agree with that. However, why wasn't the same explanation afforded games like Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, which are also in a niche genre? Or would you argue that on rails shooters are not niche?

To your more immediate questions: I do think brand names tend to sell extremely well on the PS3/360 as well, it's just a different sort of brand recognition. Final Fantasy and Call of Duty would be instant hits on the PS3 and 360, for example. Those are recognized brands to these gamers. In fact, I'd argue that consumers (and publishers) are more averse to new IPs on the PS3 and 360 than they are on the Wii.

Lastly, I'd add that brands such as "Wii _____" and "Mario _____" sell well on the Wii precisely because these brands have served the Wii audience well in the past. Wii _____ games and Mario titles continue to sell very strongly, and I presume this indicates that purchasers have been satisfied, and are thus interested in more games with that branding.

To me, it seems that third parties have failed to establish similarly attractive brands, and that sales are consequently stagnating. Does that seem fair to you? If so, then I'm not sure there's an answer this generation. The chance to establish strong brands on the Wii has essentially passed us now, and I think third parties would be wise to look for new opportunities.
 

dolemite

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michaelpachter said:
Given that NeoGAF is a hard core site, I'm curious to hear your spin. What should publishers do?
More games like Fanfare Games and Just Dance and let Nintendo worry about selling highly rated titles of its own (New Super Marios Bros. etc.)
 

zigg

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Scythesurge said:
Also, Mr. Pachter, I don't think GAF is as hardcore as you are giving credit to it. There is a strong casual audience on GAF from what I've seen.
I'd like to take that one step further and say that I don't believe there is a split in the first place. I think there's a wide continuum, and even then, one axis is probably not enough to express the distribution of appeal and taste.

The same person can easily happily sink over 30+ hours into a lengthy quality game like Little King's Story and also love the crap out of Wii Sports. Let's not forget that many of Nintendo's own titles (recent example: New Super Mario Bros. Wii) appeal solidly to both sides of that unfortunately widely-accepted division.

I suspect the whole idea there are two camps that don't touch each other in the first place is part of the reason so many publishers have failed at Wii in the first place. They're far too focused on these ideas to figure out how to make a good, fun game in the first place. I understand the concept of NSMBW's Super Guide mode as not thinking "let's reach the casuals with Mario," but rather "some people who like this game are falling by the wayside; how can we help them get more into it?"

Anyway, apologies, but this is sort of a hit and run, other things to do...
 

Meatwad

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They should focus on making high quality games on par with their HD efforts. Darkside chronicles is no RE 5. I feel if Capcom took the time to make a new RE using the RE 4 engine they would've been better rewarded for it. That's one example but this is a problem with most publishers. Take the Wii seriously and treat it as a serious platform and the sales will follow.
 
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michaelpachter said:
I made a comment on Bonus Round that half the Wii audience is hard core and half is purely casual. That split sounds pretty agressive, and the data above suggests it's more like 25/75.
50/50 actually sounds about right, but the problem is that most of that hardcore 50% also have a 360 and/or a PS3 and are finding the hardcore games on those systems to more appealing, while most of the casual 50% probably only own a Wii.

I think that the hardcore Wii owners are just hard to impress. When they compare the Wii's hardcore offerings with those on the other 2 systems most of them seem to be more interested in the latter. I also think the marketing on most hardcore Wii games has been underwhelming. Hardcore Wii games are just a harder sell. But instead of getting more marketing than their 360/PS3 brethren, they usually get less. Just look at the lack of marketing for No More Heroes 2, which releases today. Word so far is that it's a great game, but I don't think anyone expects it to sell very well. Lack of marketing is one reason for that. Another is that it came out on the same day as Mass Effect 2.
 

JohnnyPanda

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How about learning that spinoff =/= core game in a series? On Bonus Round you cited poor sales of DS:E and RE: DC as signs that the hardcore market just isn't there on Wii, but seriously, how well would lightgun spinoffs sell on the HD consoles? Would Castlevania: Judgement have sold any better? What about that Soulcalibur game that nobody cared about?

There's a reason RE4 sold gangbusters on Wii and that's because it was a quality game that fit the platform well. It boggles the mind how few developers and publishers understand this and instead thinking that there is no place for M-rated content on the console.

What about Madworld or No More Heroes, you say? While great games, they're very niche and likely wouldn't fare better elsewhere. Conduit was generic and drab too, so no wonder it didn't light up the charts.

I can't wait to see how No More Heroes does on 360/PS3 with a traditional controller. Playing Desperate Struggle with a Classic Controller just sucked and I'm curious to see how many people want in on an essentially neutered version of it.
 

Sipowicz

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a few things i'd suggest

-ignore gametrailers/1up/ign/kotaku. they hate your game and they hate the system it's on
-throw in some local multiplayer.it's done wonders for a bunch of wii games and plays to the strengths of the consoles
- dont just assume that "gamers" magically lower their standards when buying wii games and will buy any old shit for 50 bucks. make something more like silent hill shattered memories and less like dead space extraction
-advertise it heavily and advertise it broadly. i'm talking newspapers and magazines and stuff like nintendo do
-dont make sequels to casual focused games. there's a reason boom blox 2, umbrella chronicles 2 et al sold poorly
-try and out some proper games on the wii that are from well known franchises.vif you are going to lauch a new ip then minimise costs, market the FUCK out of it and turn it into something recognisable. there's a reason the rabbids games sell shitloads
-make something good
 

Mayor Haggar

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Any company that complains about their sales on the Wii has nobody to blame but themselves, not Nintendo, not the gamers, just themselves. There's not one example I can think of from a third party standpoint that was

Built from the ground up.
Marketed very heavily, at least up to HD standards.
Was not in a niche genre (rail shooter, spin-off)
Was good.
 

Deku

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Dead horse is dead.

Suffice to say, broad generalizations tend to fail and there's always a caveat in the context of Wii third party titles. It NEVER fits in neat boxes, which is why every theory expounded thus far as to why third party titles fail begin to excluding certain games on some arbitrary groun.

I'm not really interested in that kind of acamedic grudge matches, and people do get offended quite easily if you disagree with their 'framework'.

It is fair to note that
- Big budget games with actual marketing push put behind it from third parties have about the same batting average as HD titles. More broadly, GOOD GAMES that are well marketed with brand recognition appear to have a fairly standard track record of success.

- Third parties attempts to differentiate their Wii software by spinning off the franchise in strange new directions, into niche genres (the oft mentioned rail shooter) appears to be a self fullfilling prophecy. Attempts to 'differentiate' by implying the Wii branded title isn't important enough to receive a proper entry is met is mediocre response if not hostility. So the product dies even before it hits the shelf. There is no word of mouth to push a good 'effort' game into sleeper hit status, as is sometimes the case with overlooked high quality games.

Those are the two key points. I don't think, as others do, that third parties are out to fail intentionally, or they don't take the Wii seriously. But this is a strange industry where Nintendo has created some of its own problems by promising the Wii as a cheap platform to develop for, so what they get are cheap watered down efforts.
 

Celine

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Thank you for the input Mr Pachter.

michaelpachter said:
Running through the NPD results for 2009 (U.S. only in retail dollars), it looks like Nintendo first party Wii titles sold 27.5 million units for a total of $1.53 billion at retail. In contrast, overall Wii software sales were 72.4 million units and $3.23 billion.
Is it more or less than last year ? I'm fairly certain it's less ...

michaelpachter said:
I think that this illustrates an obvious point: Nintendo first party titles dominate on Nintendo systems.
Fixed :p

michaelpachter said:
Nintendo captured 38% of unit sales and 47% of dollar sales, leaving the rest for third parties. The average Nintendo first party Wii title sold for $55.63, while the average third party title sold for $37.85. Nintendo first party titles captured the top 6 positions, 9 of the top 10, and 15 of the top 21.
I'm not surprised in the slightest, most popular Nintendo games sell at (near) full price even after years ( and the popular Wii Fit has a high price tag ).

michaelpachter said:
The Nintendo first party games in the top 21 are the usual suspects, with Mario and Sonic counted as a Nintendo title because it has the name "Mario" in the title.
I would count M&S as Nintendo published only in Japan.

michaelpachter said:
Recently, we've seen comments from third parties (Capcom, EA and Ubisoft) expressing frustration over an inability to generate big sales on the Wii. Similarly, we've seen comments from Nintendo about how quality and marketing is the key to success on the Wii.

I found it fascinating that the highest ranked Guitar Hero title on the Wii in 2009 was GH World Tour at #30. I also found it fascinating that games like Just Dance, Cabela's Big Game Hunter, Deal or No Deal, The Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels 2009 all finished ahead of the highest ranked GH game.
Quality is determined by consumers, not reviewers or developers.

michaelpachter said:
The conclusion I draw from this is that the Wii audience is far more casual and harder to reach than the PS3 or 360 audiences (pretty obvious), and they buy brand name software (with "Wii" or "Mario" in the title, or with a TV/product tie-in). The only titles that don't fit this are Deca Sports and Game Party. The average selling price of third party titles says a lot, coming in almost $7 below the average for all Wii titles, and almost $18 below first party titles. There were a lot of units sold with the word "party" in the title at $20 or less.
IMO the Wii audience is more diversified than PS3/360 one like the PS2 had a more diversified audience than GC/XBox ones.

michaelpachter said:
I made a comment on Bonus Round that half the Wii audience is hard core and half is purely casual. That split sounds pretty agressive, and the data above suggests it's more like 25/75.
So your definition of Hard Core and casual is if a game is made from Nintendo or by a third party ? :lol
There are Nintendo core gamers on the Wii that's for sure.

michaelpachter said:
Given that NeoGAF is a hard core site, I'm curious to hear your spin. What should publishers do?
It's too late IMO.
Nintendo won a huge chunk of the industry all for themselves.
 

Chris1964

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dolemite said:
Mad World and Conduit sales prove otherwise.
You are right. With these two games Sega really took the Wii seriously and treated it as a serious platform.
 

Aaron Strife

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Taurus said:
Seriously, how much do you think these titles would have done on HD platforms?

I'd say about 100k for The Conduit and maybe 500-1000k for Mad World.
Conduit would have been the next Halo, it's all because of the Wii audience holding it down