Codemasters CEO Doesn’t Think Wii Has Legs
The arguments over the validity of Wii as a gaming platform have become quieter as time has gone on and the system continues to sell out everywhere it appears. The real question at this point is just how long can Nintendo ride on the current success of hardware that is clearly inferior to what’s packed into the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 – if the PS3 is going to be around for nearly another decade, when does the Wii bubble burst? Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens has an interesting perspective on the situation he recently shared with GameDaily Biz.
Speaking of the cycles, how has the makeup of the current console war had an impact on Codemasters? What’s your take on how this is evolving? Certainly a year ago nobody would have expected the Wii to have dominated the way it has and for the PS3 to struggle initially.
The global event that’s been marked as a surprise for most people is the huge success that Nintendo’s achieved in every territory… The challenge that third-party software publishers face in supporting that market is that it’s clearly a market dominated by the first party and always has been. If you look back at the Nintendo track record over the last 20-25 years, it’s a typical situation where Nintendo will take 60-70 percent of the market and third parties will compete for the remaining 40 percent. One of the challenges is: will that result in a sudden flood of software by third parties onto a platform that’s currently seen as the Holy Grail, and as a consequence there’s a lot of wastage? So I think you have to have a pretty defined product strategy, which is platform specific… but certainly on a global basis Nintendo is the only platform in each of the markets to take up a position of leadership.
Anyone writing off Sony and Microsoft do so at their peril. I could give you an argument that says there’s going to be a Wii 2 pretty quickly because [Nintendo would need one] in order to sustain momentum over a 10-year period. And what type of software would it have then? Because right now it isn’t driven by technological supremacy or power. I wonder if the idea of opening up a whole new audience to 60-year-olds looking to make sure their brain cells don’t die off is a sustainable form of entertainment. Maybe they got it right because we are all an aging population in Western markets, but I somehow think as a form of entertainment that won’t be the case.
It seems a bit harsh to focus so much on the Brain games, given that much of the Wii’s success has also been due to its approachability, family friendliness, and appeal to Alpha Moms. I think there’s certainly an argument to be made against his point that there needs to be a Wii 2 soon, because the system simply doesn’t need more powerful hardware.
That’s not to say we won’t see some sort of HD Wii in ’09, in my estimation, though.