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Wii Games and Marketing: Why Third (and First) Parties Fail

Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Wii Games and Marketing: Why Third (and First) Parties Fail

More than one company has recently stated that "the Wii is a hard sell," often coupled with subtle insults toward the Wii's fanbase. This is usually easy to counter by their utter failure to market the games properly, but in some cases, companies have put forth at least a token effort and still seen it fall flat. Why is this? I believe that the problem is in their methods.

The problem is that you cannot market to the Wii's audience the same way you market to fans of other consoles. The Wii's audience is not easily taken in by shiny trailers and awesome screenshots: the way most games are marketed. For many -in particular, the blue ocean- this is because they haven't yet had the marketer-conditioning required to believe that graphics matter. Others forgot this but have been disillusioned by the last few years and come around, and a few never forgot in the first place. In all cases, the result is the same: trailers and screenshots do not impress them. Traditional game marketing depends so heavily on these tools that marketers seem know no other way. But it is possible to market to Wii owners. Nintendo has mastered the art with its Wii _____ series, though it has neglected to do so with most of its other games. This leads me to believe that even Nintendo does not know what it has really accomplished.

How do you do it, then? How do you convince the blue ocean to buy games? The key in this is to look at the questions people ask. Trailers and screenshots are designed to answer the questions "Is this game pretty?" or "Will this game excite me?" But the blue ocean isn't interested in these questions to nearly the same degree. What they want to know is a different question: "Is this game fun?" But how do you demonstrate how much fun a game is? Screenshots only show what the game looks like; they don't reflect the player's enjoyment, and the same is true of trailers. Instead, you have to take some of the focus off of the game and put it on the player: show people having fun with the game.

Does this work? Consider the case of Wii Music: a game viciously smeared by reviewers, and generally considered the greatest sales failure of the Wii _____ series. But even this game broke 2.5 million copies sold, and I believe this is due in no small part to being marketed in exactly the way I describe. This figure that eclipses not only the "casual" offerings on the Wii's competitors -even LittleBigPlanet, casual-HD's greatest success to date- but it even beats many of the blockbuster titles on all three consoles that were released in a much friendlier climate than Wii Music was. In this light, Wii Music represents an astounding success of this marketing model, and it leaves one to wonder what could happen with this model for games given a fairer shot in the marketplace. That question, however, is also easy to answer: consider not only other Wii _____ games like Wii Sports Resort and Wii Play, but also Mario Kart Wii: one of only 20 games in industry history to break 15 million copies sold, and one of the few Wii games outside the Wii _____ series to be marketed this way.

If third parties want to sell better on the Wii, then this is what they have to do: marketing which can actually convince the blue ocean that their games are fun, which is most effectively done by showing not just the game but also the player. It seems so simple, and it should be, but I have to wonder: why is it not done more often? Can it be so difficult to find people visibly having fun in third-party games? And if it is, should that not be taken as evidence that it's time to take a page from Miyamoto and either upend the tea table or go back to the drawing board, depending on which culture's idioms you prefer? Is a game truly good enough to release if you can't see the player having fun?



Complexity is not depth. Machismo is not maturity. Obsession is not dedication. Tedium is not challenge. Support gaming: support the Wii.

Be the ultimate ninja! Play Billy Vs. SNAKEMAN today! Poisson Village welcomes new players.

What do I hate about modern gaming? I hate tedium replacing challenge, complexity replacing depth, and domination replacing entertainment. I hate the outsourcing of mechanics to physics textbooks, art direction to photocopiers, and story to cheap Hollywood screenwriters. I hate the confusion of obsession with dedication, style with substance, new with gimmicky, old with obsolete, new with evolutionary, and old with time-tested.
There is much to hate about modern gaming. That is why I support the Wii.

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They probably fear there following nintendo's footsteps or something...
Even though it is a good way to market by showing others that a person is having fun playing the game... there is probably other ways I do not know... maybe by word... don't take my word that much since im not good at these kinds of things... -_-




              

I take offense.
Ha, not really



Don't forget the fact that Europe/Others is no longer allowing most of these "non-casual" games to even hit retail. Retailers are assuming which games will waste retail space and do not order them. This situation is occuring with Muramasa (and the PSP Go) and I wouldn't be surprised if it has happened to dozens of other games.

One of the reasons Others is such a hard territory to track is because some games aren't even being sold, despite having releases.

3rd parties can have success, but first they have to do 3 things:
1. Make a game that addresses the needs of the console.
2.The game needs unique quality, or at least well-implemented controls.
3.Effectively market to a specific demographic. If you do not know how to reach them or who they are, your game will fail miserably.

Spyborgs did none of this and hasn't managed 7,000 copies after a month.



Leatherhat on July 6th, 2012 3pm. Vita sales:"3 mil for COD 2 mil for AC. Maybe more. "  thehusbo on July 6th, 2012 5pm. Vita sales:"5 mil for COD 2.2 mil for AC."

Why third parties fail:

 

Spyborgs

Because the game sucks

 

House of the dead overkill

Because the game sucks

 

Zack and Wiki

Because the game sucks (yeah, that´s right, i said it)

 

Dead Space Extraction

Because its on rails, and it sucks even at that

 

Mad World

I dont have any idea why. This game is amazing.

 

In the end, The Conduit is doing kinda well, 300k already, No More Heroes sold enough to get a sequel. 

In the above list, you cant deny: all games sold poorly because they suck (except madworld). You cant blame a gamer for not buy Zack and Wiki: just look at the damn cover, or at the game genre, or all the terrible trial and error that last levels turn out to be.

 

Make good games. People buy em. Its as simple as that. There should be a Lol Cat telling publishers that!



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Because its on rails, and it sucks even at that

 

Mad World

I dont have any idea why. This game is amazing.

Because it's a black and white beat-em-up.  The general public wasn't asking for any of those things.

I want to argue with your comment on Zack and Wiki, but I can't be bothered...and I guess it would be kind of derailing the thread! :)

Edit: further to Mad World, word on the street is you can beat the story in about 6-8 hours.  Yeah, there are extra difficulty levels but that still looks pretty bad for the game when people are just reading reviews.

What nobody has done on Wii is bring a brand-new, high-quality, traditional sequel to a major franchise to the system.  We have lots of spin-offs and new IPs and 8 hour "hardcore" games but nothing like a proper Grand Theft Auto or Resident Evil or Final Fantasy or even Burnout sequel.



couchmonkey said:

What nobody has done on Wii is bring a brand-new, high-quality, traditional sequel to a major franchise to the system.  We have lots of spin-offs and new IPs and 8 hour "hardcore" games but nothing like a proper Grand Theft Auto or Resident Evil or Final Fantasy or even Burnout sequel.

That´s a fact. Nobody wants spin-offs anymore.

 

 

 



I think that is a good theory, another point that would support your theory is the success of several third party games at launch (Red Steel, Rayman Raving Rabbids etc.) that had the "Wii would like to play" commericals, at least in America. These commercials like the commercials for the Wii__ series, showed people playing the game and having fun as much as it showed actual footage from the game.



I agree with this. Imagine if Chop Till You Drop had ads showing people nailing zombies and swinging the Wiimote along with the baseball bat (which is what a lot of the ads for the RE games did). Would have likely sold that 500K they wanted.

Then again, it would be best for another Dead Rising on the Wii to have Motion+, so the melee combat would actually work that way.

The Conduit could have been helped as well.

If these are the kinds of ads Monster Hunter Tri has over here, that could help it break through.



A flashy-first game is awesome when it comes out. A great-first game is awesome forever.

Plus, just for the hell of it: Kelly Brook at the 2008 BAFTAs

SaviorX said:
Don't forget the fact that Europe/Others is no longer allowing most of these "non-casual" games to even hit retail. Retailers are assuming which games will waste retail space and do not order them. This situation is occuring with Muramasa (and the PSP Go) and I wouldn't be surprised if it has happened to dozens of other games.

The PSPGo is not making it to store shelves because retailers don't want it too. I know here in Canada EBGames and BestBuy debated selling it themselves, however Sony pulled some strings and the console made it to the shelves. Why to be honest would EBGames or FutureShop/BestBuy want to sell more PSPGo's?

Every PSPGo sold is one less software sale at least. Retailers don't want download distribution to replace the stores themselves. I think it would be even smarter for all retailers to unanamously refuse to carry PSPGo.


Now back to the topic. Why do third parties fail?

Because the third parties are failing to target the Wii's main user base. I know this is going to be contriversial but the Nintendo user base is not the 20-30 year old male demographic that the other consoles have. Instead its 15-30 year old women and their husbands/boyfriends. Its a mixture of casual with a little hardcore.

So why are the third party titles failing? they are failing to appeal to the casual demographic. If Sega for example sold Conduit to veterns Sci-Fi Fans and women, maybe it would have been more successful. Instead of a TV ad on Spike TV maybe an ad taken in "The Times" or "Macleans" maybe advertise the game during BattleStarGalactica , or advertise it during StarGate SG1. Its all about knowing your market and publishers are failing to target their markets.

Example Deadly Creatures, instead of marketing it in gaming magazines and on Spike. It would have been more efficient to put an ad in National Geographic, or maybe put out ads in exotic pet magazines. Place ads in exotic pet stores and market the game to exotic pet enthusiasts. Same could be said for titles like Jambo Safari, if Sega advertises it in National Geographic or how about putting ads on Discovery channel. This would target the core demographic that would be interested in that game!

Why is the Wii series so popular? Because Nintendo markets it to the right demographic. You hear of ads during womens talk shows and you hear about ads placed in popular womens magazines. I just saw WiiFit advertised at my local SkyTrain station. Or how about Nintendo's biggest advertising asset, the stores themselves. When I walk into Walmart I see a huge NewSuperMarioBros:Wii poster and once I reach the electronics station I see a Wii with a WiiFit video playing. I look around and their are WiiFit ads everywhere.

I walk into my Best Buy and right near the front you see WiiFitPlus and a demo station of the Wii. Nintendo markets its products to the demographic's, third parties fail to do so. Targeting the casuals is of big importance to success on the Wii. Just look at Carnival Games it targeted families and was marketed towards families, where the casual market is, opposed to say MadWorld which was advertised and targeted towards the classic 30 year old male demographic.

Fact is the Wii isn't built on 30-year old males, its built on families , soccer moms and teenagers. As such games need to be adapted or marketed towards those specific demographics!



-JC7

"In God We Trust - In Games We Play " - Joel Reimer