Monday, June 29, 2009

The WiiSports Resort bounce?

I'm curious to see how the new Wii Sports does.

Well ok, I'm sure it is going to do well, but I don't know if it will be #1 game of the year well or #5 game of the year well.

Certainly it is following up on one of the biggest games ever released, but...and this is a big's actually a very expensive game.

WiiMotion Plus is $20/unit.
WiiSports Resort is $50 (includes one WM+)

Altogether it's $110 (which is cheap compared to Rock Band, I know...however...)

I have two general concerns about how the public will react to the game.

#1 - I wonder if the public will 'understand' the add-on. Add-ons are big business. Wheels, Guitars, Guns, and of course the Balance Board have become very dominant in the Top 10 charts. However, each of those add-ons has something that WM+ lacks. You can look at it and immediately understand it.
Guitar/Drums - got it, you play it like an instrument
Gun - pull the trigger, easy
Wheel - turn it like a wheel, all-good
Balance Board - stand on it like a kitchen scale/snowboard, makes sense
Now the list goes great right up until you add in WM+, which plugs into the Wii Controller. It's like a peripheral, but not like the current peripherals dominating the market. Will the average consumer understand it when they see it? Or will it just make them raise questions that they didn't know they should have "You mean the Wii motion isn't very accurate current?" Will grandma be excited about it or say, "I don't understand that new Wii thing, what does it do?" In fact, I've wondered if Bowling wasn't included in WiiSports Resort for just to try and convince Grandma.

I'm interested to see how it turns out though as it's quite unlike the normal peripheral, and I'm interested to see if the public 'gets it.' That will be hard to measure as it is following one of the most popular games of all time, and the sales will probably be initially strong. However, if they aren't, I'll circle back to this post in a few months and say...I wonder if this was partially right?

#2 - I often hear that the Wii is the cheapest console, but in my mind it is one of the most expensive. Here's the math:
$250 - Wii
$40 - WiiMote (x3)
$20 - Nunchuck (x3)
$10 - One copy of WiiPlay with WiiMote

That's $440.
Of course many people will point out that two games were included, and it would be more to get a similar set-up with Xbox or PS3, but the difference is that less people buy 3 extra controllers for those consoles. The Wii is selling a lot more controllers as people are playing it in groups and families. So when looking at the average set-up, they become a little closer to parity.

It becomes more interesting with WiiSports Resort. Nintendo believes the game will be a system seller, and that is, in part, why they have not decreased the price of the console. However, if you add the $110 for WiiSports Resort and 3 WM+, you are now at $550!

I honestly don't know if $550 is going to be a price that people can handle. I do believe the game will sell systems, but I wonder if most of those systems will be bought b/c of WiiSports Resort, but not actually with WiiSports Resort. It seems to me that Nintendo by virtue of making a controller that costs $80 (Wiimote + Nunchuck + WM+), is pricing itself a bit on the high side and that it is likely to decrease the rate of adoption.

Paired together, I see these two reasons and making WiiSports a very interesting release for Nintendo. If it doesn't strike gold right away, I would expect Nintendo to look at a way to bring the console cost down either by WM+/game bundles or a price reduction to the console itself.

Either way, Nintendo is making an interesting gamble on what turns out to be a very high-priced entertainment machine, and I'm very curious to see how it plays out.

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