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Is the Wii a Threat to Hardcore Gamers?
By James Brightman

The Wii has been a great success for Nintendo so far, but this success could have larger implications for the industry as a whole and the types of games created and marketed. The influx of new and casual gamers could potentially lead to the hardcore set getting less of what they crave.


Tyler Bleszinski, older brother of Gears of War lead designer CliffyB, has raised some interesting points in a column published on N'Gai Croal's Level Up blog for Newsweek. Essentially, Tyler argues that the great success Nintendo is having with the Wii is forcing publishers to cater more to the casual crowd, and thus hardcore gamers will soon be left wanting for content.


Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has stated that Nintendo hasn't forgotten about the hardcore, but truth be told there aren't a ton of in-depth gaming experiences for the hardcore on the Wii. That's not to say that the hardcore crowd doesn't play the mini-game styled titles and the casual offerings, because they often do, but the long, epic adventure games may become harder and harder to find.


"I'm not saying that the videogame industry shouldn't strive to bring in as many new people as possible," writes Tyler. "It most definitely should, because new gamers mean a nice, healthy business. My problem is what this new crowd appears to be drawn to. Games like Wii Sports, Wii Play and Cooking Mama have become some of the biggest sellers, and that is what has me worried. If these are the type of games that become blockbusters, then you can count on other gaming companies who cater to the more hardcore gamer--aka me and the millions of others who've been driving this business--to promptly change direction. If we've learned anything about videogame companies, it's that they all are quick to follow each other if one is successful with something... If Nintendo winds up outselling the 360 and the PS3 by a wide margin, how soon will it be before we gamers are using the Sixaxis to chop up onions within Metal Gear Mama? How long before we're frantically swinging waggle remotes for tennis, bowling and golf in Halo Sports?"


He continues, "Will games like Halo and Gears of War ever go away? Hell no. But publishers aren't stupid. They're going to go where the majority of the money is and if people want to play the WarioWare mini-games more than the meaty experiences that hardcore gamers love, you're inevitably going to see a corresponding shift in development. Publishers are in the business of making money, so if they can spend six months or a year developing a mini-game package for five-year-old technology and make more profits than they would by spending 2-3 years crafting a long and detailed experience, you can bet your Wiimote that that's exactly what they'll do."


Obviously the hardcore style games aren't going to become extinct, but Tyler believes they'll be few and far between. For the publisher, "It's like suddenly discovering that business plan behind McDonald's is applicable to video games," he says. "I sincerely believe that bringing new people to video games is a good thing... But ultimately, going more mainstream can have unintended consequences--ones that could negatively impact the breadth and depth of the kinds of games that I love, as do millions of others."


Check out the full piece at the link above. It's certainly an interesting perspective on this emerging console war and the effects of Nintendo's new approach.
 

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Tho it is true that the Wii has been more demanding towards casual players compare to hardcore, but the video games market is big enough for all of us to get a lot.. It may seem like the casual are getting the goods now, but I don't believe Nintendo will exclude the hardcore out, because we are pretty much what made Nintendo alive throughout all those years! :D
 

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I really don't see it threatening serious gamers, just look at the sales of Gears of War, Metal Gears, etc...they won't get rid of these types of games just for the cheese that the Wii delivers. Although I enjoy playing the Wii at parties, I def. would not want all gaming consoles to follow in its path. I really think its more of a novelty thing at the moment..
 
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