So today Kotaku writes about Nintendo trying to attract more hardcore gamers once again. Many hardcore gamers (us included) believe the Wii is not capable of producing complex calculations needed for physics and next-gen graphics. The other thing is it seems very costly for Nintendo to try and capture shares of the hardcore gaming market where Sony and Microsoft are competing fiercely in.
It just doesn’t make sense when you think about it. The hardcore market is very niche and fickle. We can only imagine how much they paid or promised in licensing to acquire the exclusive for Monster Hunter 3. That is money better spent funding indie developers and making more casual games more to Wii’s style. I think Nintendo is starting to lose their vision. Sure they’ve always been seen as weak in the eyes of hardcore gamers. The one big title for hardcore fans was Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and it was delayed. But does Nintendo really need to focus on and plug up this shortcoming? I really don’t think so.
Nintendo seems to be run in an old fashioned sense. The corporation wants to eliminate any weakness in their product by throwing more money at it. That weakness would be their lack of hardcore games in the eyes of gamers. This seems like the most logical approach, but ironically it may not be the most economically beneficial. I believe Nintendo should focus on their strengths and pull ahead even farther in the casual games market. They have the unique opportunity here to dominate an entire market, and not a small one at that. Let Sony and Microsoft compete for the name brand games and bleed their coffers dry. Spend the money investing in new IPs and small developers. They are the comes coming out with innovative new games which captivate the players. There’s so many more things that little magic wand called the Wiimote can do.
One step in the right direction is the WiiWare service that allows indie developers to sell their creations to Wii owners over the internet. Why not take it a step further and implement a hub online for players to meet and play some of these multiplayer games? Not all of us have a posse at our beck and call to summon for some Wii Sports. It doesn’t have to be a fancy 3D environment like Home or have an intricate ranking and points system like Xbox Live. It just needs to be a chat room to meet others and start a game with. Once people are able to find game partners online through a central location, the multiplayer game sales will take off.
Now we’re onto the subject of independent developers. I believe this is the group most neglected by the game console manufacturers and large game companies. Every gamer has had an idea for a new game at some point. Most of these will probably not be retail material, but there are always diamonds in the rough. An unavoidable example is Jonathan Mak’s Everyday Shooter which just showed up on PSN yesterday. Nintendo should be spending more time and resources recruiting these indie developers to create titles for distribution over WiiWare. They may not be the big names, but usually a fresh approach and gameplay makes for successful new titles.
I hope Nintendo realizes this before they delve deeper into the hardcore gaming pit. They should be working towards their strength instead of trying to cover for their weakness. Getting tangled with Sony and Microsoft over the big name hardcore titles is a costly affair and Nintendo cannot afford to lose momentum right now. For now, Nintendo would be better served to continue making casual games and to help other developers make the most out of their unique system.