When we first got the Wii a couple of years ago, it was a universal hit at Arc90. The bowling and golf games in the Wii sports package were just plain fun.
Fast forward about six months from the time we got the Wii and it’s a completely different story. It was hardly being used. Fast forward two years to today and I can confidently share that it probably hasn’t been turned on in over a year.
Every Wii owner I’ve spoken to, including myself, has the same story.
I’m not sure what could reasonably be done at this point to give the Wii better longevity and gameplay depth. Nearly every third-party title is awful. Nintendo’s games trickle out at a snail’s pace, and many of them are just as shallow, or more so, than Wii Sports.
One aspect that really doesn’t help is how dated the Wii’s graphics hardware is. It didn’t matter as much when the system was released in 2006 and everyone was (rightfully) enamored with the innovative new gameplay mechanics. But the Wii’s 480p resolution and Gamecube-era graphics hardware produce drab, dated, jagged-edged output on now-quite-affordable HDTVs, and it’s not helping the system age gracefully.
But the shallow, short-lived novelty of the few good Wii games is the truly fatal flaw. As this article states, it was a fad — and it ages as poorly as one. Playing Wii Sports today feels like reliving a shallow one-hit-wonder from the past, like listening to Kris Kross ironically in a PT Cruiser on your way home to feed your Tamagotchi and talk about Ron Paul on Reddit.
I’m not sure what Nintendo could do to convince the growing number of people tired with the Wii to come back to it. New sales were happening quickly enough that they didn’t need to care, but that’s now slowing. Where does the Wii go from here?
Like most used-up fads, I don’t think there’s a future for it.
I have no idea what Nintendo’s next console will look like, but I don’t think they have any great options. The novelty that made the Wii such a powerful fad will remove most people’s motivation to ever buy another system like it.