Slave to the Game

Filling you in on the oddball gaming news

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Remember last November when all of you took your Wii to your Thanksgiving dinner and got your family to give the Nintendo's little white box a go? Remember how astounded they were by Wii Sports? Remember how they said they were going to get a console for themselves? My question is this. Are they still buying new games?

Although this has been in the back of my mind for a while, looking at the sales of Metroid Prime 3 has pretty much confirmed what I've been thinking. Casual gamers are happy to have their console and Wii Sports to play on it, but will they be continue to shell out money for games over the course of a generation? I don't believe they will.

I know a lot of people have been thinking about this and I'm not here to spout doom and gloom for Nintendo. The thing is that even if Nintendo sells the most consoles out of anyone this Christmas, if the only thing Casual Gamers buy the console for is Wii Sports and ignore Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros., and various other games, how do you guys see this affecting the industry as a whole?

Lets be honest. Sure, it's Nintendo's ass on the line if the general population drops Nintendo, but do you see Microsoft come swooping in to pick off the remaining hardcore gamers? I know that hardcore gamers already feel jilted by Nintendo and the Wii Fit announcement at E3. And games like Bioshock and Mass Effect are titillating. Could Nintendo be shooting itself in the foot?

The last time an industry wide crash came about, Atari was riding high and depending on the casual market to help the industry grow. True a lot of crap software was involved in that collapse, but it involved the general population getting tired of gaming overall as well. Will the current casual get tired of the mini-games and novelty of the Wii and stop buying games overall, even when blockbusters like SMG and SSBB hit?

And even if the console does well this winter and a number of publishers move their portfolios to support the Wii for 2008, what if this decision to stop buying games by the casuals comes during late 2008. Not only will Nintendo drag itself down, they would drag down all the other publishers involved with them. Look at EA and their Nintendo numbers. Abysmal.

Sure the big companies have plenty of assets to keep them afloat, but what about the smaller publishers? There could be bankruptcy fillings all over the industry as the attempts to find balance. Smaller developers and publishers could be wiped out and the rest of the industry tries to balance itself from the collapse on the Nintendo sector. Remember Capcom even almost went bankrupt once when their copies of Super Street Fighter 2 didn't sell well on the SNES (which had a huge userbase).

Is Nintendo really going to be able to convert the casual gamer into the hardcore gamer? Or is it setting itself and the companies who align with it for a fall? Thus far, Metroid Prime 3 has only been bought by 8.9% of the people who own a Wii. It's already been hailed as being the best game on the system and yet it isn't selling. With two months still to go before any sign of Galaxy, is this a sign of things to come? If they continue to ignore the hardcore gamer, we may find out sooner than later.