'Evergreen', Says Fils-Aime
When the burgeoning industry finally stalled at the turn of the millenium, lowering games' barrier to entry and broadening the audience was just the shot in the arm revenues needed.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these comments came from Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, speaking at the annual BMO Capital Markets Interactive Entertainment Conference. He spoke at length about the promise of user-generated content in the games industry, and then discussed his company's specific vision.
"By now, you all know how Nintendo chose a fundamentally different path," said Fils-Aime. "Instead of competing for the very best players, we decided to shoot for the most players."
Naturally, he segued into the Wii's successes, highlighting how the console's peripherals, like the steering wheel and balance board, supported accessibility. He also noted that a slate of more mainstream titles also helped welcome in new audiences.
"Personally, I may enjoy mowing down aliens and saving the world, but I have to acknowledge that not everyone has the same sense as mine for their entertainment," he said, citing Nintendogs, Brain Age and Wii Fit as revolutionary titles that "question the very definition of a video game, and they're also changing the way we look at the software business."
Fils-Aime showed trendline data that indicates that Wii Fit had more consistent month-to-month sales than titles like Halo 3 or even Nintendo's own, more core-focused Super Smash Bros. Brawl, whose initial enthusiastic receptions saw a predictable drop-off post-launch.
"And to be clear, this is the traditional downward trend for the game software business," said Fils-Aime -- but Wii Fit is "currently mapping at the same type of evergreen sales status that has already been achieved by Brain Age and Nintendogs on the DS."
"And in fact this could be another title that just keeps on selling," Fils-Aime added, predicting that October NPD will show Wii Fit seizing the rare feat of more than 475,000 units sold in each of three separate months in 2008.
He also noted that Wii Fit's retail revenue has trumped even that of Grand Theft Auto IV on either Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 -- even though it hasn't been on shelves for quite as long.
"Wider appeal can also translate to longer appeal and maybe even to better appeal," he said.
Still, the Nintendo exec acknowledged, "If there were journalists here today from core gamer sites, they'd be grousing, 'yeah, well what about us?'"
"So, I don't want to disappoint them even in absentia," concluded Fils-Aime, finishing up his presentation with a demo of content he said is aimed at that core market, including Punch Out! for Wii, the U.S. debut of Sin and Punishment, and Sega's sci-fi third-person shooter The Conduit.