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I guess Nintendo must be asserting itself somehow to keep the price of all Nintendo games at or above the $20 mark. Except for used games and the occasional Amazon sale, I've never seen them below $15. That's a real problem (IMO) for a casual market, which needs games at the $10 mark. I think it's not too late even now for the Wii to see a resurgence if it could fully tap into that casual market, the moms and dads buying up those slowly but steadily increasing shelves dedicating to hidden object and bejeweled clones. I know I'd get very excited if I could go to Wal-Mart and see a dozen or so new casual games for the Wii for $10 or less. Yes, I know you can get a lot of that stuff online or with Wii's virtual store, fine. But my assumption is that the kind of person buying casual games for his PC at Wal-Mart isn't interested in an option like that. I tried the Wii virtual store a few times and found it ineffective; the one hidden object game I downloaded was really terrible. I mean, if you can't even do that genre right, what the heck ??
Inexplicably, I think some time in 2010 or early 2011, Nintendo seemed to have lost enthusiasm for the Wii, and in turn it lost consumer momentum. Certainly much of that can be attributed to it reaching a critical sales mass - it really couldn't penetrate into more households at the rate it was going at its peak. Third parties also lost enthusiasm for the platform, outside of stalwarts like Ubisoft. At the same time, the Xbox 360 reversed its own momentum and re-captured the public's interest and then some, thanks in part to its games, and in another part to Kinect. Now the 360 has that solid combination of games, casual (Kinect) and media, with apparently more people using it for the latter than even gaming.
It's all an interesting study in design. Nintendo gambled correctly on things like a new type of control scheme, low price and their usual Nintendo properties, but lost out on long-term momentum due in part to not having enough forward thinking technology in the box. While Nintendo has proven time and again that powerful hardware is not the reason a system sells, they've also proven with the Wii that you do indeed need some minimum levels, in this case HD like the other two consoles. If the Wii had just a bit more power and HD resolutions, it might have never lost momentum and might of even had more consistent third party support.
In any case, the Wii is just going to continue to limp along until the Wii U comes out in November. Nintendo's main interest for the time being lies with the 3DS, which is doing gangbusters in Japan and selling well enough everywhere else. I just hope that the Wii U is indeed at least a little more powerful than the present PS3 and 360 technology, rather than on par, otherwise we may very well run into a similar type of frustration next generation...
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