I found this Kotaku article interesting about the shift in the Wii’s software line-up this year. Any true open-minded gamer knows that this has been the best year the Wii has seen for quality software, quite possibly in its entire run.

It’s something of a “dead horse” argument that many considered Nintendo to have deserted its fanbase in search of the “blue ocean” strategy. The parents and grandparents. The casuals. The ones who never picked up a controller or lapsed from gaming long ago. In my opinion, 2007 was the last “traditional” year for how Nintendo used to handle things. That’s not to say that there weren’t some notable titles in 2008 and 2009, but they were few and far between, and quality was a whole other subject.

Yet Nintendo silenced naysayers with E3 2010 via an unprecedented number of high quality games. The “Wii has no good games” critique had been silenced. At least for this year. But what of the “new” audience the Wii had found at the cost of its original fanbase?

NPR Marketplace has this quote regarding and from 57 year old Elizabeth Bewley:

“She and her husband started playing every night for at least an hour. After six months, they got tired of the workouts, so Bewley figured she’d just get a new disc for Christmas.

Bewley: But we were really disappointed because all the ones I saw are really like video games.”

I had personally never considered this viewpoint, as I knew full well what a Wii was going in, Nintendo’s history, and Wii Sports, whatever my disagreements that I have with the series it created, I do recognize as a game.

What did people see the Wii as? An exercise machine? A low-end computer with internet and now movie watching capabilities? A party-time novelty? It still raises the question of if Wii Sports and Wii Fit (and their endless clones and rip-offs) created enough of a loyal consumer base to follow Nintendo into its next eventual phase, or does the console interest end here with no need to go further? Or have they found their recreation distractions elsewhere with social network gaming like Farmville, iPhone apps, or even the fact that motion controls are available for all systems now?

There’s also the whole matter of that’s it’s four years later, and Nintendo has probably secured the maximum audience base it could hope to reach. I’ve said for years that Nintendo really needs to balance out its software line-up. It went from focusing almost exclusively on the new audience, to shifting this year back to the old in an effort to restore faith and loyalty with the fans of the company itself and the numerous franchises. Now it risks alienating its new audience trying to patch things up with “the ex”. There are too many “jilted lovers” in this equation, and Nintendo will hopefully figure out what it needs to do to keep everyone happy (if such a thing can exist).

It will be interesting to see what Nintendo will attempt to counter all of this with come next year.

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Filed under: wii gaming