According to Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter, a successful Wii game often scores big because it has a great concept, has a high recognition factor, and does a good job of utilizing the Wii controllers.
"The Wii audience isn't sophisticated enough to know whether the game they're buying compares favorably to, say, Gears of War
or LittleBigPlanet, because they probably don't own an Xbox 360 or a PS3," Pachter says, as part of a new Gamasutra feature
examining what it takes to create a hit Wii title.
"They buy the Wii games that they buy for the same reason that people go to McDonald's," Pachter says. "McDonald's doesn't win a lot of restaurant critic awards but they are approachable, they're consistent, and you know what they're going to serve you."
"I mean, who sells more food -- McDonald's or Ruth's Chris Steak House, which certainly serves better meat? Nintendo has become the fast food machine. Sony is very much the high-end restaurant. And Microsoft is somewhere in between."
Concept is essential to attracting this audience, Pachter asserts, even more than its gameplay and feel. From the analyst's perspective, the more easily recognizable a game's concept is, the more successful it can be.
"If the concept is right, if the recognition factor is there, if you 'get it' from what's on the box, sometimes the game doesn't even have to be that good in order for it to sell," Pachter says. "When a housewife is in Wal-Mart and sees Jillian Michaels' face on Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009
for Wii, nobody has to explain it to them."
"They recognize her from TV's Biggest Loser, they know they have a Wii Fit Balance Board at home, and they buy the game. Do they know whether it's a good game or not? Doesn't matter," he adds.
"For example, I thought THQ's de Blob
was a really great Wii game, but Ubisoft's The Price Is Right
outsold it 3-to-1. So did THQ's Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader: Make The Grade
. That's sad. But it tells you who the audience is."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature
on creating a "must-have" Wii game (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).