Just saw this story on Yahoo's home page after sitting up here talking about games all night. Perfect timing for the 4 month anniversary of this system's release. I think the article also underlines some of points made on recent threads about what sells systems. Not the best article in the world but I just brought it to you all's attention since I saw it highlighted in the features section of the Yahoo home page. Enjoy. John Lucas Is Wii winning the console race? by Mike Smith Mar 16, 2007 Plus: Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto asks what Nintendo means to you -- exclusive to Yahoo! Of all the pundits that tried to call the console race before Christmas, few predicted the Nintendo Wii, with its modest hardware and oddball control system, would still be lining up the punters in March. 436,000 Wiis sold in January, beating the Xbox 360 and PS3 handily, and there's no sign of the pace slackening. The handheld DS is doing nearly as well, tightening Nintendo's 18-year stranglehold on the portable market and capitalizing on its first-rate software selection. A total of 635,000 new Nintendo systems made their way home with eager U.S. purchasers in the supposedly quiet post-holiday period. Even with that quantity of systems moving through the retail system, both the Wii and the DS remain hard to find in stores nationwide, while the other two consoles are lining the shelves. If you're unfortunate enough to still be looking, your best bet is to keep your eyes on online trackers like ours or resort to the usual auction sites. Wii games are shifting well, too. Although Wii heavy-hitter The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess sold well in January, it was actually beaten to the top spot by quirky minigame-fest Warioware: Smooth Moves, despite the latter not actually coming out until the 15th. Rayman: Raving Rabbids came third, with under half of Zelda's sales. Unsurprisingly, Wii owners have vast appetites for games that take advantage of the machine's uniqueness. Nintendo's fast pace of impressive releases continued in March with the surprise appearance of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the N64 smash hit that's remembered as one of the best Zelda games -- if not the best -- of all time. Coming up in the next few months, fans of classic Nintendo systems can expect to see Super Metroid, Excitebike, Mario Kart 64, and Duck Hunt hitting the service. So even when the release calendar is quiet, as it was throughout February, Nintendo still provided Wii owners with a compelling collection of re-releases and old favorites. 12 of the 20 all-time best-selling video games are Nintendo products (and, incidentally, seven of them feature Mario in some form or other). With all these great titles to draw on, they can keep up this pace for years. No video game publisher, developer or hardware manufacturer commands the adulation of as many dedicated fans as Nintendo. Started in 1889 by a Japanese businessman, the company initially made its name by producing "hanafua" -- Japanese playing cards. It struggled through much of the 20th century, until the company's visionary third president Hiroshi Yamauchi (now the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners) hired a 25-year-old artist from Kyoto named Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto, along with Game and Watch designer Gunpei Yokoi, set about laying the foundations of Nintendo's current success with games like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. Yokoi's story ends sadly: he resigned from Nintendo in 1996 after falling from grace (he was responsible for the failed Virtual Boy handheld) and died in a car accident a year later. Miyamoto's story, in contrast, mirrors Nintendo's: he was instrumental in the development of both the Zelda and Mario series, and ranks as one of the most recognized and successful game designers of all time. Miyamoto currently heads Nintendo's Tokyo development team. Among its home console innovations Nintendo counts the first joypad, the first use of force feedback and the first analog stick -- and now the first fully featured motion control system in a major console. It's famously innovative in its strategy, too, dodging the race for more and more powerful hardware in favor of trying to expand its consoles' audiences beyond tech-heads, geeks, and video game addicts. And it seems to be working. The Wii has been a big hit in an Illinois retirement home, where the inmates are organizing Wii Bowling tournaments and showing up their grandkids. The Mayo Clinic and the International Sports Science Association are already studying the potential health benefits of Wii games. You can't buy that sort of word of mouth. With the release of the Wii, Nintendo is adopting tactics we more often associate with its competitors, Microsoft and Sony. With the Channel updates that have rolled out in the last couple of months, the Wii is now the only full-size console with a usable web browser, an online news and weather service, and even its own email address. These are functions we would normally associate with those Internet set-top boxes that were all the rage back in 1997. Could the Wii, with its unique mouse-like pointer control system, be making a play for the "convergent device" Holy Grail, delivering multiple diverse functions straight to your TV? Contrast that with the Wii's attitude to online gaming. Or perhaps that should be "lack of attitude." While Microsoft and Sony both invest much into their single-login, integrated systems that pack online functions into every game, Nintendo's content, for the time being, limits its gamers to one-console multiplayer. The phenomenal success of the system so far indicates, however, that either this just isn't an issue for most buyers or, and perhaps more convincingly, that the PS3 and Xbox 360 are already sating our appetite for online multiplayer entertainment. t's coming, though. June 25 is the scheduled release date for Pokemon Battle Revolution, which will use the console's Internet connection to enable head-to-head online battles between trainers. It'll also be the first to link the DS and Wii together, enabling players to transfer their Pokemon from handheld titles to the Wii, and use the DS as a Wii controller. Given the continued popularity of the Pokemon games, both among its intended demographic and older RPG fans, it's sure to be a big seller. Nintendo's other guaranteed hit, Mario, isn't coming to the Wii until later this year, although his debut appearance in the Miyamoto-designed Super Mario Galaxy is looking to be yet another stunner. Another fan favorite, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, is also expected before 2008, and for the first time includes a non-Nintendo character: Snake, from the Metal Gear series. Of course, none of that will console you if you're still hunting for your Wii. Nintendo tells us they're making continuous shipments to feed the "huge demand around the country." At some point they're sure to get ahead of the demand, but with the next few weeks seeing the release of anticipated Wii titles like Super Paper Mario, Prince of Persia: Rival Swords, and The Godfather: Black Hand Edition, we're not holding our breath.
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WE ARE THE NATION...OF DOMINATION!