Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Wii Has *So* Won

The fat lady of gaming has sung, and Wii won. Kicked butt, in fact. Up against the much-touted Sony Play Station and Microsoft's Xbox, Wii has captured a nice share of recent game-box retail sales. The Nintendo device won gamer's hearts for a bunch of reasons. First, Wii is fun . Sleek and uber-modern, Wii is minimalist in appearance and footprint. The Wii wand is another unique marketing hook. It adds a tactile dimension to gaming, and more importantly, encourages an upright, on-your-feet playing style. Clever, that. But even more clever, or serendipitous as the case may be, the out-the-door story about gamers getting so excited that they actually broke things with wands flying out of their hands. The company, of course, had an instant fix. So no harm done there, but on the other side of the coin, the story drove every gamer in the universe crazy to see what the commotion was all about. Bingo, instant attraction.

Another big win is the way the device is playing with the girl-gamers, who evidently disdain the couch-potato approach to gaming. And of course, the similarity of Sony's device to the Ford Expedition can't be discounted. Overkill for current gamers, and the rest of us are not yet sure we want to cede control of our entire multimedia universe to Sony. More likely to Apple, Inc.

Xbox continues to impress, in an indelibly Microsoft sort of way. And its sales are robust. It's got some great games, but it *is* a Microsoft product and has that designed by committee of Redmond geeks feel to this writer. Bottom line, Microsoft has a lot of irons in the fire and its projects have been known to slip, or to slide down the internal priority rankings. Nintendo is focused. That fact ensures their total commitment to the gaming world.

All of this begs the question, wil gaming consoles morph into home multimedia content control and distribution hubs? Or, will some other device - probably with an Apple on it somewhere - fill that space, leaving gaming to dedicated consoles? I tend to go with the latter scenario, which fits with the Wii's ascendancy as well as with Apple's recent introductions. I know a little bit about this stuff, in case you're wondering. I introduced AEGIS: Guardian of the Fleet for Time Warner Interactive, before the group had its own, in-house communications people. And I gave Rob and Graham at Trilobyte their first corporate ID through a comprehensive press kit I wrote for The 7th Guest. Landeros designed the porfolio cover, and it was as killer as the game graphics. But that's another post for another day.

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