Kyoto Surprise

Having clocked a good deal of Wii time since picking one up in Times Square last Sunday, I think it’s fair to say that Nintendo has hardly put a foot wrong — from hardcore-friendly Zelda to the Wiimote showcasing Sports to the super slick front end to the awesome ads. And the sell outs show word of mouth spreading. It certainly spread to me. I’ve never waited in line at a product launch before this one.

If the Wii launch makes anything clear, it’s that Nintendo is determined to avoid repeating the abortive early history of Gamecube (Sony’s the launch problem child this time around). And I have to give kudos to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. For anyone (like me) who mocked him for mismanaging the Cube or questioned the motivations for the DS, Wii continues his sweet revenge.

But of course this is just the beginning; questions abound for the future. Can N sustain this level of quality and conviction? Can they figure out how to translate their brilliant offline properties into brilliant online properties? Will the third parties come back? Can they avoid the kind of post-launch nap that added insult to injury for early Cube adopters (Luigi’s Mansion and Blue Storm and…narcoleptic fit)? Can they balance the interests of hardcore gamers with the casual? Can they convince gamers to exchange brawn for soul?

It’ll be interesting to watch it all shake out. With bits like WiiConnect24 starting to take shape and Mario waiting in the wings inside 6 months, though, there’s reason to be hopeful. But what gives me the most hope is closer to home. My wife, who valiantly feigns interest in most of the games I obsess about, somehow can’t stop talking about Wii — especially Wii Sports Tennis and a certain band of deranged rabbits. And there are similar stories all over (more here and here and here). It seems the toy company from Kyoto may yet surprise the industry that so doubted it. Fingers crossed.

Update: 600k in the first week? Hot damn.

1 Response to “Kyoto Surprise”

  1. 1 Adam Romig

    I never doubted Nintendo for a second. I remember when they released the information and pictures of the remote. Everyone in the gaming world, forums, and whatnot were in an uproar. Now they’re all Wii fanatics. Nintendo knows what they’re doing. They’re doing something different while Sony is putting out the same old stuff – just with better graphics.

    Gameplay > Graphics

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