Monday, December 14, 2009

Commentary: A juror speaks out.

The following is a comment that was posted on my previous entry "Looks like The Jury is out on the Wii".

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Hello, this is David Amor. I'm quoted in the first paragraph.


Your comments are interesting but with respect, I think you are incorrect about your assumptions of the Wii market. There are certainly some discerning Wii gamers that will dig out quality third party titles, but that's not true of the majority of the market.

Cross reference the metacritic high scoring third party Wii games against vgchartz sales figures:

  • Rock Band 2 - 760K
  • RE4 - 1.65M
  • Okami - 28K
  • Beatles Rock Band - 900K
  • Guitar Hero 5 - 630K

Those are some poor numbers for an install base of 60M.

You are speaking as a gamer with a love of quality software for Wii. The developers are speaking from commercial experience: pitch meetings with publishers, budget restrictions and royalty statements linked to sales figures.

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David, I appreciate you taking the time to post a reply to my commentary. By the figures you posted, it does looks like a rather risky gamble to create disc based software for the Wii. Just to be fair I decided to expand on what you posted. Here's what i came up with so far.



-From the total figures on VG Chartz it looks like Okami still has Legs. Looking back on what Christian Svensson told IGN in an interview The PS2 version was still moving units a month before the Wii Release.

"It really speaks to the quality and the word of mouth and the effort of places like IGN to get the word out there. We are still selling PS2 copies of Okami. It's not huge. We're not shipping 10,000 a month of everything, but from distribution channels, we still get orders of a thousand here, a thousand there, and we're still selling it from the Capcom store. So it still has legs even now."


Even with that information, Svensson also goes to say this about celshaded games and how they usually have problems selling these types of games to mainstream audiences.

"I think that the mainstream doesn't see cel-shaded titles as super appealing. If you look across the slew of all cel-shaded games, developers sort of have an inside joke, saying,'Okay, it's cel-shaded -- it's going to be sent to die.' Believe it or not, unfortunately the mainstream doesn't react well to the 'games as art' pitch and to do big numbers sometimes you have to tap the mainstream."


And they did.. kind of, by Foregoing the television marketing for online marketing. There was a contest on deviantart and sites like IGN had a few web banners here and there. Even with that working against them they still did fairly well, and established a cult following for the game. The game even spawned a sequel for the DS, So I can't say the effort was a "flop". Then again, according to this article Capcom wasn really counting on blockbuster sales to begin with.

"If it did the numbers that we did on the PS2, I'd be very happy. This doesn't need to be a mainstream success for this to be a success for the company,"
I, myself own the Wii version of the game, buying it thanks to the word-of-mouth from a friend who owned the PS2 version. The game dragged on a bit towards the end, but it was a solid game and maintained a zelda-like feel.



- Here The Wii sales are just a couple shy of hitting the GC overall sales number. The PS2 version is clearly the highest selling version. This could also have been helped by the Resident Evil: The Essentials 10th anniversary box set that was released in 2007. I was given a copy of RE4 from a friend who bought the box set but already had the game. I own the Gamecube version, and I refuse to repurchase games I already own even if it did have new content (which The Wii version doesn't). I want to believe that many other gamers share the same sentiment, but that's only my speculation on the matter.









- In this breakdown, The Wii version is third in overall sales of Rockband 2 ( I spent quite a bit of time at parties playing the 360 version, myself.), yet first in overall sales of Beatles Rockband and Guitar Hero 5 (not by much). You can clearly see from the sales figures of Beatles Rockband, and Guitar Hero 5 that music games are really in decline. This could be due to oversaturation teamed with a very vocal show of plastic musical instrument fatigue. Even with this information I'm sure the losses will be made up in DLC anyway.

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I respect your decision not to develop disc based games for the Wii. After all, you do have to look out for the best interests of your company. I do wonder if you also placed developing games for Wiiware under consideration? There seems to be a smaller risk and room for experimentation as stated by Medeverse CEO Jesse Lowther. Despite some gripes that were expressed at the previous GDC, there are quite a few developers like Frontier, Gaijin games and 2D boy that found success. I'm sure you proabably already have considered this, but I figured i'd throw it out there and ask.

I admit, I am a passionate gamer who looks for quality titles for a console i invested my hard earned dollars into. It's the same passion i have for my 360, my Ps2, my Dreamcast, and many of the older generation consoles i've purchased since my love affair with gaming started so many years ago. Thanks to a short-lived job in corporate america (I formerly worked with military contractors for 5 years.) I understand quite a bit about pitching and budgetary restraints. However, it was during those times that we had limited budget and stressful deadlines is when we put out our best efforts. I just feel like in lieu of all those things, There are companies that can make it. It's just a mixture of strong effort, the right mindset and right use of the tools provided. This is why I tend to be critical towards the opinions stated.

again, thank you for commenting.

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