"Can you find an honest review buried in all the ‘fan boy’ comments?"3.5 starson by w4rr10r
Pros: Price. Proven interface (not gimmicky). Great 1st generation games.
Cons: Not High-Def. Controllers should have been rechargeable out-of-box. Questionable future 3rd-party support.
Summary: (Written 2/24/07)
If you are seriously looking for an un-biased review of any of the 3 next-gen consoles, be prepared to shift through a lot of uneducated, ‘fan-boy’ nonsense. Fist off, the Wii and PS3 just came out in November ‘06, so it’s too soon to put a definitive score on either at this point. The Xbox 360 had a year head start, so it currently has a much bigger library of games then either Wii or PS3. But nobody can claim a “best console” title until a year or so from now when all three had time to bring out quality software.
With that in mind, I’ve been a gamer for about 20 years and got my start with the Magnavox Odyssey2, Atari 2600, and the original Nintendo (NES). I currently own both an Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii (as well as all past equipment from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony). I’m planning on getting a PS3 as soon and more exclusive titles come out for it. But I’ve had experience with all three with at least 6 months hands-on time each.
The Wii is Nintendo’s ‘Hail Mary Pass’ in the home console market. While they dominate the portable market, their last two home consoles (the N64 and GameCube) have performed terribly in sales compared to the competition. Why does that matter? Because most titles that come out for a console come from 3rd-party publishers, and many have lost money in supporting Nintendo the past 2 console generations. Nintendo’s biggest hurdle is convincing publishers to support them this time around so they have as much compelling software as the competition. They are so far succeeding in this by offering a console at a great price point of $250 with a pack in game, currently outselling the competition in monthly sales (bigger audience = more people to sell your game to).
But the Wii’s other hurdle is also one of its major selling points – the new ‘remote-style’ interface. Nintendo has always pushed innovation; releasing new features to only have the competition mimic later, such as rumble feedback and analog control. But this new interface, while easy for anyone to pick up and play (including first time gamers), may not translate well to all genres of games. Being –so- different from the competition can pose an issue for any developer trying to release a game on all consoles (as many do). Many early cross-platform games have already been given better reviews on either the 360 or PS3, not just for improved graphics but control as well. Weather this means less cross-platform games and/or more unique titles for the Wii remains to be seen.
I personally love my Wii. I think the new interface will jump-start some much-needed creativity and original thinking the market desperately needs. The current library of games is great with some very exciting exclusive titles on the way in the next year. But would I buy a Wii if it were the only next-gen system I could own? No. This all adds up to an undeniable fact that the Wii is aimed at a different audience then the competition. And while even Nintendo itself says they are not competing directly with Microsoft or Sony, consumers are, and will compare them when making a purchasing decision.
So who is the Wii for? Nintendo fans, those looking for a way to get back into gaming, or serious gamers that can afford to support more then one platform. Anyone else curious should hold off until the system proves to have a more solid future then the company’s previous consoles.