The Nintendo Wii
The Wii has allowed Nintendo to reclaim their strong foothold in the videogame console market, repeating their success with the Nintendo Entertainment System back in the 80s. These days, The Nintendo Wii has beaten both Sony’s PS3 and Microsoft’s XboX360 in mainstream critical success and in total sales of both the Wii console and its large library of first and third party games.
A large part of the Wii’s success, besides the fact that Nintendo has a strong and loyal following in the North American and Japanese market, is the fact that they did not try to compete with Sony and Microsoft based on hardware superiority. At that time, the two rival companies were hyping their consoles as the most technologically advanced, or the most powerful, or had the best graphics available. Nintendo on the other hand, admitted that the Wii was severely underpowered compared to the Xbox360 and the Sony PS3 – only having a more powerful Gamecube serving as the engine behind the console – but what they offered was an innovative and whole new way of playing games. By the time they demonstrated the actual gameplay of Mario Wii, it was made clear that what Nintendo has done is not surpass the technology of its competitors, but made a brand new gameplay experience that is lightyears ahead in terms of fun and enjoyment.
The gameplay experience with the Nintendo Wii is radically different because instead of sitting in front of the console and the TV while holding a gamepad for control, Wii games encourage the player to participate more actively while holding a remote sensor. While the Wii has a traditional gamepad built in to its remote (complete with an 8 way directional pad and a set of buttons) and can be played as such if the games require it, most of its games work by letting the player control the action through hand or body motions with the remote sensor, which can be fitted with various add-ons or accessories designed to enhance the playing experience. For example, the steering wheel for Wii Mario Kart, the nunchucks included in some nintendo wii bundles and even the entire kit included in WiiFit.
The different control scheme, and the physical exercise involved in the Wii has allowed Nintendo to attract people who wouldn’t play videogames under normal circumstances. For example, an elder woman who’s looking for an enjoyable way of exercising, or active individuals who want to maintain a physical workout regimen without the need to go to the gym. The emphasis on physical activity and interaction, coupled with the multiplayer support built in to each game has made the Wii the videogame console of choice for party games, gatherings, and simple stay ins between friends, relatives and families. As a further advantage, the Nintendo Wii is also the cheapest videogame console in its generation.
All in all, the Nintendo Wii has proven itself to be in a class all by itself, starting out as the underdog who made its own rules instead of trying to beat the competitors at their own game.