I’m shocked that anyone wants to buy the Wii. But I’m even more shocked that so many people are doing it. Earlier this week, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter reported, based on his checks, that a little over 1 million Wii units were sold last month, putting the device slightly behind the Xbox 360 in overall sales during the period.
When I saw that statistic, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Is this really the same Wii console that has been on store shelves for five years now? Is it really the same Wii console that has watched its annual sales figures dwindle? Is it really the same Wii that will be replaced in about a year with a new console from Nintendo?
It’s that last question on the Wii being replaced soon that makes the console’s strong showing last month so vexing. In as much as a year, the Wii is going to be obsolete; a device that few will want to play, since it’ll be replaced with the latest and greatest technology Nintendo has to offer. Furthermore, over the next several months, it’s highly likely that the dwindling Wii third-party developer force will only further ignore the console to focus their efforts on the Wii U.
Of course, Nintendo supporters say that doesn’t matter. They point out that the Wii already has a solid lineup of games, and at its current $150 price tag, it’s a bargain for shoppers looking for a nice gift to get the kids this holiday season. Plus, with more kids reaching the so-called “gaming age,” it would only make sense that parents would want to get their hands on the console.
But do those people really know what they’re buying? As noted, they’re getting a device that will be made obsolete by its successor next year. And some might argue that the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which are far more affordable than ever, have already made Nintendo’s console obsolete.
In addition, Wii buyers are getting a device that lacks the deep library found in other consoles (unless, of course, you’re a fan of Nintendo’s franchises). They’re also getting a device that, most would agree, offers no online-gaming support, a second-rate motion-gaming experience, and overall value that falls short compared to its more-capable alternatives.
Am I coming down too hard on the Wii? It’s tough to say. When one peels back the layers of hyperbole surrounding the console, they find a device that performed well initially, but couldn’t hold up over the long-term. And now, Nintendo is scrambling to replace the console so its hardware business doesn’t suffer.
But alas, I recognize that I’m not in the majority with my thinking. People around the U.S. are lining up to buy the Wii.
Too bad. They might find a better use for their money elsewhere.