Monday, 9 April 2007

Wii Appeal

Hot on the heels of Reuters, arch-rival Bloomberg emotes on third-party developers scrambling to play catchup on the Wii, now that it has proven itself as a viable revenue generator!

Bloomberg outlines the wake-up call that major publishers and developers received when they belatedly discovered that the Wii would probably sell like hotcakes - their tardiness is deplorable in the wake of Nintendo's DS success! The report doesn't cover particularly new ground, as we’ve seen analysts warn publishers about not jumping on the Wii early on, reported on particular companies cashing in on their early Wii investments and witnessed major publishers shift resources to Wii.

But it’s nevertheless interesting to see how the wait-and-see strategy can come back to bite you.

“Those companies [who waited on Wii development] are backtracking,'' Piper Jaffray & Co. analyst Anthony Gikas told Bloomberg. “They're going to need to get their best-branded product on that platform. That will take a good nine to 12 months.''

Ubisoft is one company in particular that saw the potential of the Wii very early on. The Paris-based company released big Wii sellers such as Rayman Raving Rabbids and Red Steel at the console’s launch.

“It's not really a bet anymore,'' Ubisoft marketing VP Tony Key told Bloomberg. “It's a viable system that's going to make us money.''

Wii titles helped drive Ubisoft's December quarter sales up 24 percent to $405 million. Wii games accounted for 21 percent of sales during that quarter.

Other companies that invested in the Wii early on include THQ and Midway. Activision plans to release six Wii games this year.

Meanwhile, companies such as Electronic Arts have acknowledged the Wii’s viability, even recently purchasing a studio that would develop Wii games exclusively. Take-Two plans to bring three games to the Wii this year, including the expectedly ultra-violent Manhunt 2.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime is undoubtedly pleased that third party publishers are giving the Wii some attention, even though some of that attention is coming slightly late.

He recently told Newsweek that getting more third parties on board with Wii development is still a major focus for Nintendo, whose previous Nintendo 64 and Gamecube saw flagging third party support.