To some, it may seem like the end is near for the Wii. To Nintendo, that's far from the case. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime believes that the four-year-old Wii has just now reached the end of the first half of its cycle, and that there's a whole lot more Wii players just waiting on the other side of the proverbial hill.
"The back half of any system cycle always attracts a higher proportion of buyers who are concerned with price, ease of use and group play," said Fils-Aime in an interview with the LA Times. But with Wii sales in the first 10 months of this year down 24% from the same period last year, not everyone is so sure.
"The success of the Wii has been bound in large part to people who enjoyed it as a fad and have now moved on," said Marc Jackson, chief executive of Seahorn Capital, a game-focused consulting firm.
Nintendo has talked only vaguely about a successor to the Wii, so it doesn't seem too eager to replace it. However, the DS (and its various iterations) does seem to finally be reaching its point of maturity, and will become more obsolete when the 3DS comes out next year.
2011 will be interesting for the Wii, as its motion control is no longer an exclusive novelty. We'll have to wait and see if Nintendo tries to make it fit into the HD, 3D, online-focused times, or if it opts to maintain its course and pick up these 'late-adopters.'
Despite his "fad" comment, Jackson hasn't dismissed Nintendo's ability to innovate, or the initial sucess of the Wii. "Nintendo is contrarian by nature and they always seem to have a longer-term plan than their competitors," he said. "I'm sure they're figuring out what to do next and it's going to surprise everyone."