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Report: Publishers Caught Unprepared For Wii Buzz?

Report: Publishers Caught Unprepared For Wii Buzz?

July 18, 2006 | By Jason Dobson

July 18, 2006 | By Jason Dobson
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According to a new report published by financial site TheStreet.com, video game publishers were largely blindsided by the excitement and hype surrounding Nintendo's Wii console following its unveiling at E3.

According to James Lin, a longtime industry analyst and a consultant with Simba Group, publishers “weren't expecting anything" to come of the Wii prior to the annual event, which took place in May. As such, many developers had not yet begun projects for the platform, and will not have Wii titles available in time for the holiday season.

The one notable exception to this is of course Ubisoft, which showcased its Wii-exclusive title Red Steel at Nintendo's booth at E3, and will reportedly have the game on store shelves day and date with the launch of the new console. "No one's going to make money on the software except Ubisoft," noted a hedge fund manager in the report. "Everyone got caught flat-footed."

In addition, the report noted that Electronic Arts was "pleasantly surprised" at the Wii's reception, and though it only showcased a single Wii title at E3 – a version of Madden NFL 07 engineered to take advantage of the console's unique controller – the company recently confirmed that its dedicated Wii development team is working on "custom-designed titles" for Wii, including new releases from the Need for Speed, Harry Potter, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, SSX and The Godfather franchises.

The report also points out the fact that development for the Wii has been reported to be considerably cheaper than that of either the Xbox 360 or forthcoming PlayStation 3 consoles, as well as the fact that the console itself will cost substantially less than the competition.

Finally, according to cited comments, the fact that Nintendo had kept quiet on much regarding the Wii prior to E3 led many developers and publishers to focus their efforts on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, rather than the Wii. "We didn't have the information to work off of," noted Midway Games' vice president of publishing, Miguel Iribarren to TheStreet. "I think everyone pushed [Wii development] to the back burner till they got the information on the machine itself and the business model."


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