Despite high ratings and its status as a media darling, Capcom's Zack & Wiki: Quest For Barbaros' Treasure
sold only 126,000 units in 26 months -- "abysmally," according to senior director of communications Chris Kramer.
"If you're not Nintendo, it does seem harder to make money on the Wii today compared to the PS3 and the Xbox 360," Kramer says. "It's a very tough market to crack and is ever-shifting."
Like many publishers, Capcom's stock rose in 2007 based on its investment in software development for the explosive Wii. But a new Gamasutra feature illustrates how numerous third parties are still challenged
to find success on Nintendo's platform.
Kramer recalls that at the time of the Wii's North American launch in November, 2006, simple casual games and party titles did so well that they soon saturated the market. "Now, I don't even know what the market is," he says.
"Third-party publishers are having a hard time determining who the Wii audience is," Kramer adds. "You can no longer say it is solely casual gamers or that only E-rated games own the space."
Publishers like Electronic Arts, with Dead Space Extraction
, or Sega, with Madworld
and House of the Dead: Overkill
have made bold moves into core territory on the Wii and have met with mixed results.
Sega's Constantine Hatzopoulos recently said
the company was so "stunned" by Dead Space Extraction
's sales figures that it will "probably not" try further M-rated content on Wii. Capcom itself had to stress its stance
as a multiplatform publisher after Capcom France's Antoine Seux criticized Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles
' weak 16,000-unit performance on Wii.
Says Kramer, "For any sort of solid statement you want to make about the platform or the audience, there are enough opposite proofs to show that it is extremely scattered and chaotic."
In the full Gamasutra feature, focused on the continuing challenges for third parties
on the Wii platform, we talk to publishers and analysts to examine several angles of the complex picture.